Professor John Parker: — The Turner Glass Museum.

Loving cup (1)The Turner Glass Museum is one of Sheffield’s well kept secrets. It is housed half way up a Sheffield University tower block and provides a very attract­ive area to enjoy coffee and view some excel­lent pieces of glass­ware.

Professor John Parker is a recently retired Emeritus Professor of Glass Material and Glass Engineering and his talk was wide ran­ging with the colour of glass as the link­ing theme. John is a world author­ity on his sub­ject and he did a great job of explain­ing com­plex mat­ters in lan­guage easily under­stood by the layman. Whilst touch­ing on the effect of dif­fer­ent chem­ic­als on colour and dif­fer­ent wavelengths he explained why Danish beer bottles are green and red wine is in dark col­oured bottles and whisky is in pure clear glass.

It came as no sur­prise to learn that lead is little used now in glass because of the health danger to oper­at­ives making the glass, but few under­stood how clear the glass is in photo­vol­taic panels and why glass fibre optic cables form such a fun­da­mental part of our cur­rent world. John explained the basic con­cepts of how to trans­mit data and how the sig­nals are optic­ally amp­li­fied to travel such large dis­tances.

After cov­er­ing areas of “state of the art tech­no­logy” he con­cluded with a dis­cus­sion of medi­aeval stained glass, and the admit­tance that it is pos­sible we may not be able to rep­lic­ate a few of the glass col­ours used five hun­dred years ago.

This was a talk that was both enjoy­able and rein­forced the attrac­tion of the wide range of sub­jects covered by Probus in help­ing to under­stand the expert­ise con­tained within our City.