Pay by card at rail car parks

CASHLESS pay and display machines are to be introduced in several Surrey railway station car parks by May this year. A total of 115 ‘Metric Aura Pay and Display machines’ will be installed at stations Brookwood, Esher, Guildford, London Road, Guildford and Woking. The new machines at 35 South West train’s car parks offer quicker credit or debit card facilities. Weekly pre-paid parking tickets and mobile phone payment are also available from the new machines, as well as cash payment at other machines. As part of South West Trains’ £13m investment into car park improvements the new machines work collectively with 2,000 extra spaces, better CCTV and improved lighting to bring the car parks in line with the ‘Park Mark Award’. Cherie Murray, project manager for South West Trains, said, “Motorists want to use cashless, fast and secure pay and display, and this is exactly what we are going to provide at 35 of our busiest station car parks.”

‘Breaker of things’ is on a quest
Dr David Jesson’s ‘ultimate goal’ is to find a sustainable natural material through his work at the University of Surrey. Melanie Hall finds out how he’s doing.
WHATEVER you do, don’t call Dr David Jesson a lecturer – perhaps a scientist or maybe an engineer, but what the University of Surrey researcher really prefers is a ‘breaker of things’. For the 32-year-old materials engineer from Guildford, this is the description that best sums up his job, which includes working with carbon nanotubes, searching for truly sustainable fibres and testing materials to breaking point. “People always ask ‘What do you do?’ and when you say it’s material sciences, they either say, ‘huh’, or ‘fantastic, you get to play with pretty fabrics’, so I usually go with ‘breaker of things’”, Dr Jesson explained. “I do research with materials, mainly the breaking of them. But I’m not a lecturer, I have no aspiration to be a lecturer in terms of having to organise a sequence of lectures around a particular topic. “It’s one of those things where I get a chip on my shoulder because everyone expects you to be a lecturer.” Although he does some teaching throughout the year, researching was Dr Jesson’s main aim when he joined the University of Surrey as a member of staff, having completed his undergraduate degree in materials science and engineering and PhD there. Dr Jesson, who describes himself as a ‘lifer’, said that after completing his PhD, he left to get a job elsewhere, but when nothing turned up, he took on a role as a post-doctoral research fellow at the university, and ended up taking on further responsibilities when a colleague left. “At one stage, I thought I would have to become a lecturer in order to secure my research areas,” he said. “That way your research area is more secure but I don’t get as much time on it, because you have a commitment to teaching.” On the debate over whether universities are there to teach people or do research, Dr Jesson replied: “The answer is both. “I’m not going to say that such and such a university is terrible because they don’t do such and such, but fundamentally a university is there to do research but it’s also there to teach the next generation of scientists, lawyers, politicians etc.” However, the opportunity for university scientists to focus on their research is under threat because of government cuts in higher education spending, said Dr Jesson. “What a lot of people tend to forget is that the reason why universities can charge tuition fees is that the government is taking away money,” he said. “There’s a shortfall from the government grants we used to get. Someone somewhere has to pay that. “There’s an issue of how you are going to get your research done when you can’t afford to employ a PhD student to be part of the team and provide tutorial support.” He said that on the one hand, scientists should stop and look at what they are researching and ask themselves what they are contributing with their research. On the other hand, Dr Jesson argued that many discoveries have come about through exploring theories, “Where you wonder what happens if you do this or that – if you don’t have the time, space and money to do that, then everyone suffers.” As for his own research, the quest to find a sustainable natural material is Dr Jesson’s ‘ultimate goal’. Through analysing materials at the atomic level, he is hoping to make naturallyoccurring fibres that are more environmentallyfriendly to produce. Citing hemp as an example, Dr Jesson explained that

First aid lessons
ST JOHN Ambulance in Surrey is holding its annual ‘Breath of Life’ first aid training day in April. The event on April 2 from 10am to 3pm is open to the public free of charge and lasts 30 minutes; providing essential training on how to save lives in an emergency. The training day comes following the St Johns’ desire to educate more than 1,500 members of the public on basic first aid skills. The recovery position, how to clear airways, how to perform chest compressions and the breath of life are a few of the skills on offer for all the family. Booking is not needed at the venues: Ash Vales’ Community Centre, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Hall in Cobham, Cranleigh Village Hall and Dorking Sports Centre, Guildford Spectrum, The Nuffield Health Fitness and well-being centre in Leatherhead, Walton Leisure Centre and Woking Pool in the Park. For more details visit www.sja.org.uk/surrey.

Dr David Jesson is a materials engineer at the University of Surrey. (Ref: SA111208 3_5) the material was traditionally used to make ropes. “You can argue that a lot of the British empire is founded on hemp in terms of ropes that were used by the navy,” he said. “It’s a very strong material. We are trying to learn how we can work those properties within modern engineering composites.” However, producing such a material means finding a way to create it that does not use more energy than it would take to produce a man-made fibre, and also does not involve destroying wildlife habitats in order to grow the plants which the fibres come from. One of the biggest drivers to finding such materials is an EU directive stating that a certain amount of a car has to be recyclable, said Dr Jesson. He said: “As a life cycle, we are trying to think in terms of cradle to cradle, rather than cradle to grave, trying to use those waste products in the next step.” The next generation of materials which have generated great interest in the scientific community because of their incredible strength, spider silk and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are not yet viable options because they cannot be produced in large enough quantities, said Dr Jesson. Another issue surrounding CNTs are concerns about risks to respiration, as it involves such small particles. Using asbestos as an example, Dr Jesson said: “60 years ago, it was the best material ever. “Charlemagne had a tablecloth made of asbestos, and he would whip it off the table and put it in the fire place as a party trick. “But we now know it’s a horrible material that rots your lungs. “Everyone’s worried that CNTs will do similar things, because of the scale of the fibres we are talking about.” Although the University of Surrey looks at CNTs in the lab, it does not create them itself, explained the materials engineer, who added: “We are playing it safe.” Dispelling the myth of scientists with their gleaming white coats, Dr Jesson showed that his are far from it, holding up one particularly grimy brown one which has clearly been well-used while testing materials. “It’s a bit of a running joke, with my coat starting off white and quickly becoming almost black”, he added.

Ceremony honours bravery of public and officers
SURREY Police have honoured members of the public and their own estates management team for their bravery and commitment. The commendation ceremony held last Thursday at Guildford Cathedral recognised the efforts of four members of the public and various members of Surrey Police HQ Estates Team for going the extra mile. Dennis Ramsey, David Perez, Sophie Head and Caroline McEvoy were each awarded a chief constable’s commendation. Mr Ramsey was given the award after putting his own safety at risk to catch a thief attempting to steal vodka from a supermarket. David Perez, Sophie Head and Caroline McEvoy were awarded for showing collective courage when they intervened in a serious domestic incident at a neighbour’s house in December 2009. Facilities manager Chris Jackson and his deputy Norm Isaac from the Surrey Police Estates team also received special congratulations for their leadership skills. It was due to their commitment that roads were kept snow free during the period of heavy snow in January and December last year allowing hundreds of staff to get to and from work, a force spokesman said. Retiring Inspector Elaine Burtenshaw, in her role as Gay Police Association Force Co-ordinator, also received a commendation for the differences she has made offering support and acting as a role model in her attempts to develop equality in the police force.

Some of the recipients at the commendation ceremony.

Gig aims to boost ‘Help Dan Appeal’
THIS week saw the re-release of Queen’s first five albums re-mastered for 2011 to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. Next week popular Queen tribute band ‘Rhapsody’ will be rocking the night away at the University of Surrey as part of Guildford International Music Festival 2011. Band member and former Godalming College student Dave Clarke is hoping for a good turnout at the concert on Friday March 24 because it will raise funds for the ‘Help Dan Appeal’ that touched a chord around the world. When his friend Witley-based charity worker Dan Eley, who was helping street children in Colombia, was paralysed from the elbows down in January 2010, more than 8,000 people raised £90,000 in record time thanks to a Facebook appeal to fly him home for the best treatment. The fund provides specialist equipment to try to increase his range of movement at the Hydon Hill Cheshire Home near Godalming where he is now based. An inspirational figure in his own right, Dan now wants to inspire others to support his aim of founding his own charity to continue his work of helping street children in Colombia. Dan is making a guest appearance at next week’s concert and will take to the stage to describe the charitable dream that has given him new focus following last year’s diving accident that turned his life upside down. The concert looks set to be one of the festival highlights. Not only will festival artist in residence Roger Dellar be making paintings on the spot for posterity but students of performing arts and media are also making a film of the event. “We want this concert to be a sell-out so that we can make as much money as possible for Dan,” said Dave Clarke. ■ Tickets from the box office on 01483 444334.