Dunstable residents invited to study at University of Cambridge with Super Tuesdays lectures

Dunstable residents can attend courses given by academics at the University of Cambridge.
Dunstable residents can attend courses given by academics at the University of Cambridge.

Dunstable residents are invited to attend lectures given by the University of Cambridge, opening up ‘an exciting world of history, literature, science, and more’.

The ‘Super Tuesdays’ programme aims to target groups who often ‘miss out’ on adult education opportunities, such as parents with young children, shift workers and those who are retired.

However, academics at the University of Cambridge are now leading a new series of bite-sized courses, with the opportunity to study more than 20 different topics, and are inviting Bedfordshire residents to attend.

Janet Stow, a retired school teacher from Dunstable, said: “The lecturers are absolutely superb. They don’t just talk, they ask you questions and encourage you to talk about your ideas and opinions.

“One archaeology course was led by an academic who was doing a dig at Stonehenge and he brought in artefacts that had only been dug up the previous week. They were thousands of years old, and nobody else had even had the chance to see them yet.”

The programme will run on Tuesdays throughout the academic year 2019/20 and cover topics including the work of William Shakespeare, the challenges of ‘post truth’ politics, and the social implications of future technologies.

Run by the university’s Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), each course will provide a three-hour introduction to a specific topic – often seen through the lens of two different academic disciplines – for £45.

Each course will consist of two lectures, given by university academics who are at the cutting edge of research. Two such three-hour sessions will run most Tuesdays, from 10am–1pm and 2pm– 5pm.

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is part of the university and provides part-time and short courses for adults. It is based at 16th-century Madingley Hall, on the edge of Cambridge.


10am - 1pm: Dr Tom Smith will be leading a morning session on fireworks on Tuesday, November 5.

Dr Smith trained as a chemist, and having graduated in chemistry from Oxford University, remained to do a doctorate in synthetic organic chemistry.

He subsequently went to work for Kimbolton Fireworks full time, being responsible for over 200 displays staged each year around the World.

These included the Hong Kong handover display in 1997, and the World’s largest firework competition in Montreal in 1993 and 1996 as well as major events celebrating London’s 800 anniversary and the 50th anniversary of VJ Day.

In 1998 Tom set up an independent explosives consultancy – CarnDu Ltd – which works all over the World advising on safety and use of explosives including pyrotechnics. Tom has been a pyrotechnic consultant for the London New Year’s Eve display since 1999.

Tom is also the principle author of a book – Firework Displays: Explosive Entertainment – as well as many academic papers on the safe manufacture, transport, storage, handling and use of pyrotechnics. He lectures and teaches best practice all around the globe including courses on Pyrotechnic Chemistry, Risk Assessment for displays and use of the ShellCalc© program.

At 11.15am there will be a tea/coffee break.

In the afternoon, Dr Mark Nicholls will be discussing ‘Gunpowder Plotters’ and ‘Treason’.

2pm: The Crimes of the Gunpowder Plotters: part 1, Dr Mark Nicholls

What did Guy Fawkes and his colleagues seek to achieve by destroying the House of Lords on 5 November 1605? We will explore the abiding mysteries and unanswered questions that still surround the story of the Gunpowder Plot.

3.15pm - Tea break

3.30pm Treason, Dr Mark Nicholls

Running across seven centuries, we will examine the nature of treason in England, asking if there is a life-cycle to the crime, and explaining why if was so important to the state for so long, and why it has more recently been set aside and has ‘died’.

5pm Finish