Five ways to learn in February School has gone back for the kids. They can have their boring long days of classes and uninspired textbooks. Melbourne boasts a wealth of free and cheap classes this month. Hone a skill you're already interested in at a workshop, or find out about a topic you know nothing about at a free public lecture in February.
This month, you have the chance to learn why a blue LED won the Nobel Prize. Image: Wikipedia.
Learn the art of light painting at a Laneway Learning workshop in February. Image: Laneway Learning.
Laneway Learning is a unique concept which is so very Melbourne. They run fun evening classes on a whole range of topics, and always in kitsch locations.
I recently went to the Comedy Writing for Newbs class, which got me out of my comfort zone. The class is what you make of it, and is a great opportunity to meet people while picking up a new skill. Upcoming classes for February include journalism, cross stitching and light painting. Most classes cost $15 and booking ahead is essential as classes usually sell out. There are more Laneway Learning workshops this month than there are days in February, so there are plenty of opportunities to work learn something new.
Public Lectures on Astronomy
There is more to astronomy than pretty pictures, like this image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. Image: Wikipedia.
Your family is rich with oral history that just begs to be recorded. You may have thought about writing down your family's history before, and now is the time to take action. Find out where to start by attending a workshop on Writing an Engaging Family History or Memoir. You will get pointers on how to research, write and publish your personal or family history.
The workshop is presented by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and will take place on the evening of the 17th of February. The cost is a mere $10, or free if you are already a member of the RHSV.
Melbourne Free University
Learn about the circumstances that lead someone to become a refugee at the upcoming seminar. Image: Melbourne Free University.
Open your mind without opening your wallet with the Melbourne Free University. The revolutionary MFU runs presentations and discussions in bars rather than in lecture halls, and of course there is no homework.
In February, the MFU is running a special seminar on refugees. The seminar will explore issues pertaining to Somali and Sudanese refugees, with presenters explaining why people leave their home countries to seek refuge elsewhere. The free event consists of a forty minute lecture followed by forty minutes of discussion time. It will be taking place on the evening of Thursday 12 February in East Brunswick. See the flyer for more details.
There are no details yet on their program for the rest of the year, but do stay tuned to their website for information at upcoming courses. They do have a call-out for anyone interested in running a course, so perhaps you could teach others something new instead.
Learn about the Nobel Prize
Red and green LEDs have long existed, but the blue LED was only invented in the 90s. Image: Wikipedia.
Last year, a blue LED (light emitting diode) won the Nobel Prize in physics. This does not seem particularly special. We already have LEDs. Your home is full of them- plenty of household appliances use LEDs as indicator lights and they even appear in children's toys. So, why a blue LED caused its inventors to win the Nobel Prize is a complete mystery to some. Thankfully, a public lecture at the University of Melbourne will answer all your questions.
The presentation, aptly called Why a Blue LED is Worth the Nobel Prize, will explain why it was so difficult to invent a blue LED even though red and green LEDs proliferate. The free public lecture will take place on the evening of Thursday 26 February.