Archive for June, 2008

July edition

In this packed edition . . . a juggling fly, hunting the Higgs, a chance to win immortality, and what to call our new book?


Art & Society
. . .

We are here 3.0 :
This year’s festival, now on at venues around Dublin, explores contemporary urban experience through technology and live performance, probing the lives of citizens online, and offline in the real world. Different, and definitely worth a look. Until July 5.

Art and Darwin 200:
celebrations have begun at the great man’s birthplace in Shrewsbury, with an art exhibition by noted Irish artist Dorothy Cross, who spent time in the Galapagos Islands last year (we are envious as hell!) on a Gulbenkian artist residency. Her exhibition, Stage, is in the town’s Unitarian Church, where Darwin attended as a small child with his mother. Meanwhile, plans proceed for a programme of Darwin 200 events in Ireland. Contact egill@wit.ie if you would like to contribute.

Through the looking glass:
world premiere of an exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens by artist and sculptor Jon Mitton, promises “a perspective into nature in its element, seen through the magic of three-dimensional portals”. ‘For Alice’ runs July 2-22. Adm free.

Imagining the planet
: Art & Science Collaborations Inc (ASCI) is inviting artists, designers, scientists and, well, anyone it seems… “
to examine their environmental concerns, indulge their fantasies, and then share their fabricated/montaged visions of how a sustainable future might look”, for the 10th International Digital Print Open Competition. Closing date: August 10.

Roll up, roll up! See the amazing juggling fly! (we kid you not) The microscopic world of cheese mites!! And other fantastic phenomena. Yes it’s the fascinating world of science filmmaking from the early 1900s, in a new exhibition at London’s Science Museum. Thanks to online video and YouTube, we can now see some of these historic films. Early filmmakers went to extra ordinary lengths to capture microscopic life and timelapse photography. Most films last only a minute, the length of an early reel of film. Films of Fact at the Science Museum, runs until February 2009.
The strongman fly — see it juggle!
The Birth of a Flower
New Scientist video report,
Science Museum exhibition
100 years of wildlife filmmaking

Symmetry, mathematics and immortality: these days you can have a star named after you, but how about a mathematical object? New scientist is offering one lucky reader the chance to have a mathematical symmetry named after them. The particular group of symmetries lives in hyperspace, so you won’t have a three-dimensional object to impress your friends with. But still, a minor inconvenience when you are being offered immortality. Entries by July 11.

What to call the new book? our new book of tips on sustainable living — 101 ways to save money, time and some of the planet’s other scarce resources — is coming out in the autumn from New Island. But we haven’t yet settled on a title, and since hopefully some of you might buy the book, we’d welcome feedback on the possible titles here, at our new blog.

Melting Greenland caught on camera: Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, John McConnico, went to Greenland to photograph the impact of climate change there in 2007 — when temperatures reached a record sultry 22°C. The resulting exhibition is touring Europe, and in Dublin until July 11, in the OPW offices, 51, St Stephen’s Green — checkout the wonderful marble exhibition in the foyer! — open 9-5, Mon-Fri; adm free.
Meanwhile, the EPA’s successful public lectures on climate change, held this winter and spring, are now available as video broadcasts.

TechnoThreads: fashion and technology meet at the TCD Science Gallery’s current exhibition, which continues until July 25 with a programme of associated events. You can also watch the opening night online.

Know of events that would interest Science@Culture readers?
Send details of forthcoming talks, exhibitions, books, etc
to Science.CultureBulletin [@] gmail.com

Conferences & Opportunities. . .
Mathematics & calendars: the second international Computistics Conference 2008 in Galway, July 18-20, brings together experts on mathematics, calendars, astronomy, Biblical interpretation, time-reckoning and Celtic manuscripts . . . Organised by the Foundations of Irish Culture project.

Digital Humanities Summer School: How digital technologies are changing the nature of libraries and facilitating research in the humanities, including text encoding, digital imaging and the future of libraries. . . summer school this week, July 1-5, organised by the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO), at the RIA.

Humanism in the Global Village: that’s the title for an all-Ireland humanist summer school, organised by the three humanist associations on the island. Carlingford Heritage Centre, Co. Louth August 29-31

Dublin, City of Science, 2012: in our June bulletin we canvassed for contributions to a possible programme of events for Dublin 2012. Thanks to those who replied, and apologies: we inadvertently gave the impression that Juliana Adelman was on the organising committee, where as she was helpfully assisting some committee members. Apologies to all concerned.

Shooting landscapes: the Copper Coast GeoPark, Co Waterford, is running a summer photography competition for students aged 11-16. Categories: landscape, nature and geology; closing date September 30.

Organising a course or conference?
Advertise your event here, and reach the perfect audience.


Omniumgatherum . . .
Bad astronomy: To the growing list of sceptical scientific blogs — our favourite remains Ben Goldacre’s badscience.com –we can add bad astronomy, from astronomer and self-confessed sceptic Phil Plait who “likes reality the way it is, and aims to keep it that way”. A recent post investigates the Tunguska blast. . . . a powerful dietary supplement originating from the miracle of 1908 in the Tunguska region of Russia, no less!

Voyage to the ends of the Earth: follow a BBC television crew as they explore the Arctic Ocean, having departed early June, on their blog and website. For a new series on Arctic waters to be screened this autumn.

Subatomic radio: What have Irish people ever invented? Subatomic, the new radio series aimed at a young audience, and broadcast on Sunday mornings on East Coast FM, is devoting a programme to Irish inventions on Sunday, July 6. Tune in, at 10:30 a.m.

The end of the scientific method? We have entered the petabyte age: sensors are everywhere, there is infinite data storage and clouds of processors. Chris Anderson argues in a thought provoking article in Wired that the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete: just mine the data, and information should follow. Hmm.

Hunting the Higgs — and: Massive bosons blew my unit! The world’s most expensive and biggest ever scientific experiment will be switched on in July, when the first beams are introduced into the larger hadron collider (LHC) particle accelerator at CERN on the Swiss-French border. The main aim is to search for a subatomic particle, the Higgs boson. If this is double-Dutch to you, then try this two-minute elegant explanation on YouTube of both the experiment and the boson. For a more detailed account, see the Guardian’s supplement. We hear that BBC Radio 4 will devote a full day to science to mark the experiment’s start.

Nobel physicists & the Higgs: Nobel physicists gathering for the 58th meeting of laureates at Lindau, Germany, are giving their expectations for the LHC on July 1. See the live webcast.

LabLit: Many bulletins ago we mentioned the LabLit (laboratory/science literature) project when it started, and promptly forgot about it. So we were pleasantly surprised to see how active it is now.

Can mobile phones really cook popcorn? If you missed this viral video a couple of weeks back, catch up here, and then here. But how is it done? Some suggestions here. Sadly, seems we still have to pop corn the old-fashioned way.

Out & about . . .

Walking, talking geology: a packed programme of events for Planet Earth year continues. A special is the chance to spend an afternoon exploring the geology of the Giants Causeway with expert and author Paul Lyle ( County Antrim, July 19); and a field trip exploring nearby Murlough Bay and Fair Head (August 2). Events are free. Check the website for events near you.

Could St. Swithin Have Predicted Global Warming? public talk about climate change by John O’Flanagan, from Met Eireann’s station in Ireland West Airport (Knock). Adults and children over 7; National Museum Turlough Park, Co Mayo. July 20, 2:30pm; adm free. educationtph@museum.ie

How would you have fought the foot and mouth epidemic? If you are in London this week, you can find out: a summer exhibition at the Royal Society includes an interactive mathematical simulation to fight and control animal disease epidemics. Adm free, until July 3.

Wild Wicklow: the national park’s busy summer programme includes nature-based Thursday afternoon sessions for primary schoolchildren (July 10-August 28); an evening bat walk (July 17, 9:15pm,bring insect repellent!), a bog walk (19th July), and a season of Thursday evening lectures on topics such as pine martens, conserving Canada’s bogs, the wild game industry in South Africa, golden plovers in Ballycroy National Park County Mayo, and reintroducing the red kite to Wicklow.

Star gazing: in the days before television, people were reduced to watching the night sky! What do they learn from the stars? Find out, in a special afternoon event for children aged 7-12 at the National Museum, Kildare Street July 6. One of a number of educational events organised by our friends at the Natural History Museum, despite its closure. Details of this and other events at the website.

From Babylon to the Big Bang: a history of astronomy from ancient times is the ambitious topic for Astronomy Ireland’s July public talk, but it will be no trouble to best-selling authors and TV producers Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, who are in Ireland to promote their new book on the history of astronomy. Dublin, July 14; Cork, July 15 — both at 8 p.m. Adm €7.


Next edition: August/September 2008.
We try to ensure links are valid when we go to press• but can’t be responsible for other websites.




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In this packed edition . . . a summer school on Cape Clear Island, bursting a water balloon, and much much more


Art & Society
New compounds
: a musical composition inspired by the immune system, a film about architecture and the brain, bacterial paintings, and an intelligent room… four projects from the Wellcome Trust SciArt scheme, that will be presented at a special evening in the Wellcome Galleries, LONDON on May 29. For more about the projects and the event, see: http://tinyurl.com/4ps6rm

The future of fashion?: shirts that send hugs, spray-on dresses and even living garments… just some of the clothing in the latest exhibition at TCD’s Science Gallery. TechnoThreads, curated by Irish fashion and technology expert Marie O’Mahony, and featuring fabrics and designs from around the world, runs until July 25. Note, the gallery keeps unusual hours: Tues-Fri noon-8pm, Sat-Sun noon-6pm, closed Mondays. http://www.sciencegallery.com/events

The art of botany: the world’s first gallery dedicated to botanical art has opened at Kew Gardens, London. Unfortunately, it is not also online — you just have to go there. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/6knbtn
Thanks to the Guardian, however, here is a glimpse behind-the-scenes of Kew’s herbarium: http://tinyurl.com/473837

From atoms to patterns: a creative group of X-ray crystallographers, designers and manufacturers were inspired by the patterns discovered in crystal structures to create textiles, wallpapers, carpets and more, for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Their work has been rediscovered in a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, until August 10

Know of any events that would interest Science@Culture readers?
We are always keen to hear about forthcoming talks, exhibitions, etc
Send details to Science [dot] CultureBulletin [at] gmail.com

Conferences & Opportunities
Island ecology, summer school: ecosystem sustainability, bird identification, the Irish names of plants and animals, and the ecology of Irish farmland. Just some of the topics for a 5-day summer school on Island ecology, on Cape Clear Island, Co Cork. The course also includes afternoon expeditions and excursions, all given by experts in their field. Organised by UCC zoologist Dr Paddy Sleeman, and freelance biologist and Cape Clear resident, Dr Geoff Oliver, on behalf of the island cooperative. July 7-11 2008. Open to all. Cost: €200. For full details, see: http://tinyurl.com/66z6eu or phone Mary on 086 063 7060

Data auditor, Natural History Museum: the National Museum of Ireland seeks a data auditor to work with the Natural History Museum records. Work will involve assessing data sources, checking against registers and mapping data from various data sets into a common format in the NMI collections management system (Adlib). This must be done in advance of full documentation of exhibits by the team responsible for the evacuation of collections from Merrion Street as part of the museum restoration. Daily rate euro220, 70 working-day contract. Closing date for applications 7 May, 2008. Full details at www.museum.ie/jobs


Study the Earth: if you’ve ever wondered how continents move, how old the earth is, how landscapes and fossils formed, or where minerals come from, then this new introductory geology course will be of interest. Run over five evenings (May 26-30), and culminating in a weekend field trip (June 1st), the course includes lectures and practicals and focuses on the geology of the Waterford coast. Organised by the Copper Coast Geopark. Course Fee: €110, places limited to 24 and allocated on receipt of €40 deposit. To book, contact Paula at 051-292828 or Sophie at 01-6782741. www.coppercoastgeopark.com

Pay Attention!: the first international conference on attention, brings together experts from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and the philosophy of mind and language, to explore attention and its role in thought. Humanities Institute Ireland, UCD School of Philosophy, May 29-30. http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/attention/index.html

Picturing life and landscapes
: your mission — if you are over 60! — is to take a photograph illustrating fauna, flora or a landscape, for the Natural History Museum Bealtaine photographic competition, and submit your entry by June 27. There will be prizes! http://tinyurl.com/697oyy

Science & technology in 19th century Ireland: a conference on this theme takes place in Dublin in July 2009, organised by the Society for the study of 19th century Ireland, the RIA committee for the history of Irish science and the Open University. The organisers are calling for 20-minute papers, and the wide range of suggested themes include Darwinism in Ireland, built and natural heritage, scientific publishing, and the linen industry. Deadline for submissions: 30th September 2008. Contact: juliana.adelman@gmail.com and g.hooper@open.ac.uk

Organising a course or conference?
Advertise your event here, and reach the perfect audience. Rates reasonable!

Take the dog for a walk:
Amazing to see where modern robotics have got to — the latest Boston Dynamics ‘big dog’ robot is incredibly lifelike. . . what is somewhat unexpected, is the emotional response as you watch this –we worried when it started to slip on an icy road! See it go through its paces in this YouTube video

Splitting the atom . . . You never know what you’ll find on Wired.com. So maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised, when Ireland’s only Nobel scientist gazed out at us from the website on April 14. Turns out, it was the anniversary of the day in 1932 when Ernest Walton and John Cockcroft successfully split an atom. Read Wired’s nice summary with some useful links here:

The FitzGerald letters: there are many archive digitisation projects underway, such as the major Darwin one (see below), but also a new RDS project on its collection of letters by noted Irish physicist, George Francis FitzGerald (1851-1901). Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at TCD, and a member of the RDS, among other noted contributions, he famously was the first person to suggest, in a letter to Nature, that perhaps nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. The RDS Library holds 2,116 of his letters, and these are being digitised, and will be available online in a project due to finish this autumn. http://tinyurl.com/3ph5uw

Wasps, figs and biscuits:
Another climate change anecdote, it seems — but if you haven’t been able to buy fig roll biscuits recently, then this could be why. http://tinyurl.com/3s943h

What happens when you puncture a balloon filled with water?
Watch, at 2,000 frames a second, and you don’t even need to speak Japanese. Wish they’d followed the water all the way to the ground, though. http://tinyurl.com/6z6xr7

When galaxies collide . . . stunning images of galaxies colliding, from the Hubble space telescope, just released in a new gallery of nearly 60 images http://tinyurl.com/49z935

Learn some science. . . From the Big Bang, to the ‘little hobbit’, from energy and entropy, to viruses . . . The Guardian newspaper has been publishing science courses each day this week, written by a fine team of experts and science writers. Not something you expect from a newspaper, even the Guardian (of which, as you may have gathered, we’re a fan). http://tinyurl.com/5lfxlz

Digital Darwin: in the run-up to the great Charles Darwin anniversary next year (200 years since he was born, 150 years since Origin was published), there are now several good websites, including a stunning online archive of nearly 100,000 pages of manuscripts, notes, photographs and sketches, including his first draft of the theory of natural selection.

Evolution for the perplexed: meanwhile, New Scientist recently published an interesting and entertaining explanation of some of the confusions, myths and misconceptions that arise about evolution and natural selection. Such as, why do no animals have sensors that can detect radio waves? http://tinyurl.com/4kdzn2

Navigating the Shannon: the river Shannon is the longest river in Ireland or Britain — 251 kilometres from source to estuary; plus 83 km of estuary, 15 lakes and numerous tributaries making a total 1,500 kilometres. This vast system drains 20% of Ireland and 12 counties, and for centuries has been a major transport artery and source of hydropower, but also a barrier — the grey squirrel for example, has yet to cross the Shannon to the west.
In the 1750s, work began to make it navigable. By the 1840s, it was largely complete creating the fine navigation enjoyed today. The work also helped improve the annual flooding problems. Writer Ruth Delany, one of Ireland’s best known inland waterways experts has written a new history of the Shannon Navigation, in a richly illustrated new book. Ideal for anyone who lives in Shannon territory, or keeps a boat on the river. The Shannon Navigation, Lilliput Press 2008, 304pp €30 (pbk) €60 (hbk) http://tinyurl.com/59fj97

Picturing science: Robert Hooke’s first views of microscopic organisms, Copernicus’s diagram of the solar system, Watson and Crick’s sketch of DNA’s double helix structure… just some of the images in a new book about the role of imagery in developing our understanding of science. The book is by noted Cambridge cosmologist and author, John Barrow. Cosmic Imagery: Key images in the history of science, contains over 200 images and explores the importance of images in both explaining a concept, and furthering the development of that concept. Bodley Head, £25 Read a Guardian essay here: http://tinyurl.com/5c9lop

Out & about
The God question: are religion and skepticism mutually incompatible? That’s the question up for discussion at this month’s meeting of the Irish Sceptics, on May 7, 8 p.m. in Dublin, when the panel will include UCD psychologist Dr Gary O’Reilly, ‘believer’ Dr Donal O’Mathuna (DCU School of nursing), and non-believer Ms Ann James of the Humanist Association. Should be fun. http://www.irishskeptics.net/?p=169

Judging books by their covers: the little-known Edward Worth Library, founded in 1733, is celebrating its 275th anniversary. Located in Dr Steevens’ Hospital, adjacent to Hueston Station, Dublin, which is now home to HSE offices, it is not normally open to the public, but is open to scholars and worth a visit if you can make it to one of the monthly seminars, and this month the topic is the bookbindings in the library, by Prof Nicholas Pickwoad, from the University of the Arts, London. Friday, May 9, 4 pm www.edwardworthlibrary.ie

150 years of the Natural History Museum: when our favourite museum was forced to close last summer, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the museum was about to celebrate its 150th anniversary. But now its director or ‘Keeper’, Nigel Monaghan — always an entertaining speaker — is giving a special public talk on the museum’s history in the RDS, May 21, 6 p.m. Book your free ticket(s): lectures@rds.ie or phone (01) 240 7254. www.rds.ie

Natural history mystery: No, not how the Natural History Museum manages to run public events despite being closed, but the title for one of its events for children 7-12, this Saturday morning. Other coming events include a rock pool workshop (May 25), and several events on Saturday, June 7 marking world ocean day. Note: all events are free, and take place in the National Museum on Kildare Street, Dublin. See: http://tinyurl.com/y94nap

How to become a fossil
: just one of the talks during Planet Earth Week (May 26-June 2). The many walks and talks around the country include the poetry of landscape, and the private lives of quarries, plus a week of events at Copper Coast geopark in Co Waterford, with its rich heritage of geology and mining. (See above for details of the Copper Coast geology course.) http://www.planetearth.ie/Events/

Rock on . . . more geology! Explore the spectacular folds in the rocks at Loughshinny beach, Co Dublin (this Saturday, May 3, noon), and a chance to have your rock samples and fossils identified by an expert at an open evening (wine, coffee and nibbles provided), May 8, 8 pm at the Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin. See: www.geology.ie

Bugs or Us, and nuclear energy
: Just why is nuclear energy on the agenda? That’s the question posed by British energy policy expert, Dr William Nuttall, who is giving a public talk for the RDS on Monday, May 12. Bugs, immunity, and the battle for survival is the topic for a 2nd RDS science talk, by TCD immunologist Prof Cliona O’Farrelly, May 15. Both start at 7pm. Adm free, booking advised. See: www.rds.ie/science/lectures.

Canary plants
: Been to the Canary islands? Now’s your chance to learn more about their fascinating plant life. This year’s Moore lecture at the Botanic Gardens will be by David Amwell, director of the botanic gardens on Gran Canaria. May 8, 8 p.m., free, booking essential. While in the gardens, you could take in their exhibition on the history of the potato, and Hard Rain, an outdoor exhibition combining the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song with photographs that illustrate climate change, poverty, pollution, habitat loss and human rights. http://tinyurl.com/rb83p

Summer science: the Celtic festival of Bealtaine marked the start of summer, and at Waterford IT, the science and outreach project is running a week-long Bealtaine festival of outdoor science (May 11-18), with events for the general public, adults and school students, and everything from bat walks to building bird boxes. http://www.calmast.ie/

Human nature: that’s the topic on the menu at this month’s Alchemist Cafe. May 15, 7:45pm Dublin; adm free, all welcome http://www.alchemistcafedublin.com/

Wild Wicklow: the national park’s summer programme has begun, including a woodland walk at Knocksink Nature Reserve (Saturday, May 10, booking essential, not suited for children); a ‘dawn chorus day’ gathering (Sunday, May 18, open to all; followed by optional birdsong workshop — Glendalough, 5 am!), and a tree identification walk at Knocksink (Saturday, May 24, booking essential, not suited for children). See: http://tinyurl.com/pp52t

3D astronomy: the enthusiastic Robert Hill, from Armagh planetarium, promises a 3-D public talk demonstrating how the latest stereo animation technology could revolutionise classroom teaching. Astronomy Ireland monthly talk, May 12, 8pm, TCD www.astronomy.ie


Next edition: June 1st 2008.
We try to ensure links are valid when we go to press• but can’t be responsible for other websites.


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Darwin 200

Celebrating Darwin and the theory that shook the world

First Irish event in Darwin 200

One of the most important scientific discoveries of all time was announced 150 years ago, on
1 July 1858, when Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace jointly announced their ideas about natural selection. A year later, at the age of 50, Charles Darwin published his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. … making next year the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin.

Celebrations are now beginning, the first Irish event takes place later this month, on Saturday June 21st, and plans are under way for further events in Ireland marking Darwin 200.

Celebrating Darwin 200 in Ireland

Dr Bob Bloomfield, Natural History Museum London and co-ordinator, Darwin200
Darwin Events in Ireland, Eoin Gill & Nigel Monaghan (iSCAN) followed by discussion.

Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin
Sat 21st June 2pm, Adm free.

Organised by iSCAN (Irish Science Centres Awareness Network) to highlight the coming anniversary and encourage activity for 2009. And a chance to see the new Science Gallery, if you have not already done so.

Dr Bloomfield will explain why it is important to celebrate Charles Darwin, give an overview of Darwin’s life and how he formulated his theory of evolution by natural selection, and describe the UK and international plans for Darwin200, which include: a new film on Darwin, an Open University course on Darwin and natural selection, a major TV series, visual arts, theatre and a European-wide Evolution Megalab involving tens of thousands of people, plus exhibitions, talks, family events and more.

Contact iSCAN if you are interested in contributing to the Irish Darwin 200 programme.

Dr Bob Bloomfield :
Head of Innovation and Special projects at The Natural History Museum, London and coordinator of Darwin 200. After a brief career in lecturing he joined The Natural History Museum to pursue his interest in informal learning and interpretative design. This has culminated over the past decade in projects including the Museum’s Earth Galleries and the Darwin Centre. This latter project led to a major innovation in how the Museum’s scientific staff engaged in discussions and dialogue about their work with the visiting public. In 1994 Bob was jointly responsible for The Natural History Museum being the first UK Museum to have an Internet presence and his innovation work continues to reflect his interest in the effective use of new media and network technologies for science communication. Bob is senior policy developer and strategic manager for initiatives in the field of Science and Society. A particular interest is the importance of evolution to the understanding of science today, and how this relates to wider perspectives within society. He is engaged in the plans for celebrating Darwin’s achievements during Darwin200.

iSCAN: this is a network for all those running science visitor centres, science awareness groups and individuals interested in science awareness on the island of Ireland. iSCAN’s aim is to promote the public understanding of science and technology, and the organisation plans to stimulate interest in and coordinate activities for Darwin 200
Contact: Eoin Gill, Chair iSCAN / egill[at]wit.ie / + 353 (0) 86 2630902


Next edition: July 2008.
We try to ensure links are valid when we go to press• but can’t be responsible for other websites.


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June edition

In this edition . . . creative mathematics, conservation work on Asgard, bank holiday events and, Wanted: science ambassadors!


Art & Society

Creative mathematics: here’s something unusual for people who teach mathematics — a weekend exploring innovative ways to highlight the creativity of mathematics, including geometric forms, fractional processes, algebra, geometry and trigonometry and encompassing art, building, music and rocketry. Cultivate Centre, Dublin July 7-10. Bring compass, ruler, paper, calculator and colored pens.

Etching Rembrandt: two new exhibitions at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin: a temporary exhibition of over 70 Rembrandt prints on loan from the Netherlands, and a new permanent exhibition on the Arts of the Book. For the Rembrandt exhibition, there will be a talk and demonstration on etching techniques by Robert Russell (Graphic Studio Dublin); Thursday, June 26, lunchtime.

Know of any events that would interest Science@Culture readers?
Send details to Science.CultureBulletin[at sign]gmail.com

Conferences & Opportunities

Wanted: science ambassadors! Are you enthusiastic about your science career? Want to spread the word about the benefits of working in science and technology? Discover Science & Engineering, aka DSE (the team behind Science Week and other initiatives), is looking for science ambassadors: people working in the physical sciences, whether newly qualified or well-established, who are happy to take a little time to help students make career choices. Your role in the science diplomatic service could be as simple as completing a profile questionnaire and supplying a photo for a webpage, to participating in science week events and contributing to publications. Full details at the science ambassadors page on DSE’s science.ie website.

Atmospheric symposium: the cleanest air in Ireland is in Connemara, arriving on prevailing winds off the Atlantic Ocean, making it an important site for atmospheric research in the northern hemisphere. There has been a research station at Mace Head in Connemara for 50 years, in a refurbished World War II coastal lookout post, and a scientific symposium marking the half-century takes place in NUI Galway on June 19, followed by an open day at the station on June 20. Adm free, all welcome.

Critical Technologies: the making of the modern world — one of the themes for the sixth world archaeological congress taking place at UCD June 29-July 4. Another strand, on geo-archaeology, will include presentations on how soils, sediments, landforms, rocks & minerals form part of the archaeological & palaeoenvironmental record. Conference fees will apply, but all welcome.

Dublin, City of Science: Ireland is bidding to be European City of Science in 2012 (this year’s festival takes place in Barcelona). A committee is now planning a programme of events, and welcomes suggestions, especially for public outreach activities. If you would be interested in hosting an event, or becoming involved, contact juliana.adelman[at]gmail.com

Geo-guides wanted: are you based in County Waterford? Interested in training as a guide with the Copper Coast Geo-Park? They are running a weekend training course for local guides, June 14-15. Or call 051-292828.

Ideas and Instruments in Social Context: advance notice of next year’s XXIII International Congress of History of Science and Technology, which takes place in Hungary July 26-31, 2009.

Island ecology, summer school: ecosystem sustainability, bird identification, the Irish names of plants and animals, and the ecology of Irish farmland. Just some of the topics for a 5-day summer school on Island ecology, on Cape Clear Island, Co Cork. The course also includes afternoon expeditions and excursions, all given by experts in their field. Organised by UCC zoologist Dr Paddy Sleeman, and freelance biologist and Cape Clear resident, Dr Geoff Oliver, on behalf of the island cooperative. July 7-11 2008. Open to all. Cost: €200. For full details phone Mary on 086 063 7060

Your notice here!
If you have a visitor centre, publication, course, or conference, even a job opportunity to publicise, this is the space to reach the perfect audience.
Rates reasonable (as always, no charge for notices about free public events).
Contact: Science.CultureBulletin[at sign]gmail.com

Listen, read
The life and work of Agnes Clerke: born in Skibbereen in the mid-19th century, Agnes Clerke achieved world fame as a science and astronomy writer of renown, even helping to shape the development of astrophysics. Dr Mary Bruck’s engaging biography of this unusual self-taught Irishwoman is now in paperback. Clerke’s ‘History of Astronomy in the Nineteenth Century’ went to four editions and became a classic, and her articles for the 9th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica were retained until 1961. Bruck, a retired Irish astronomer living in Scotland, brings Clerke’s life and work alive in an easy style that should appeal to anyone interested in the history of science and women in science. Cambridge University Press 280 pages, ISBN-10: 0521055792 £17.99

Plant hunters on the radio: a new series of Thomas Davis lectures about China and the Irish begins on RTE Radio 1 on June 9 ( Mondays, 10 p.m.), for nine weeks and lecture three (Monday 23rd) is an account of early Irish plant-hunting expeditions to China by three generations of the Earls of Rosse of Birr Castle, and recounted by the current Earl, Brendan Parsons. Other talks include doing business in China, planning mega-cities, and musical connections.

Subatomic radio: how do you design a football boot? What is it like to be an astronaut? Just some of the topics covered in a new 12-part radio series aimed at a young audience, and broadcast on Sunday mornings on East Coast FM. It won’t all be in studio — expect reports from Mondello Park, Dublin zoo, skydiving with the Irish Parachute club and stargazing in Co Wicklow.

Like a book? Loathe it? ever read a review of a popular science book and thought ‘I could do that’? The popularscience.co.uk website wants to expand its panel of reviewers. Send them a sample review, and if they like your style, they’ll invite you to join the panel and in exchange, you receive free books to review.

Out & about . . . including bank holiday possibilities
Irish scientists and the age of the Earth: it was Dublin man, Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) who counted the generations in the Old Testament, and calculated the date of the Creation at Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. But don’t laugh — it was the height of sophisticated science for its time, and helped start the science of geochronology. Later Irish scientists also helped to compute the age of the Earth. Geologist Dr Patrick Wyse-Jackson, curator of the lovely geology Museum at TCD and author of The Chronologers’ Quest: The Search for the Age of the Earth, gives this year’s Burlington House lecture for the Society of Antiquaries in London, June 13, 6 p.m.; free, booking essential: admin[at]sal.org.uk

Evelyn Cusack’s guide to weather: physicist turned TV weather woman, Evelyn Cusack presents a popular guide to weather for the Irish Sceptics. How do we know what the weather was like hundreds of thousands of years ago? Are hurricanes getting stronger? What is the difference between rain and showers? Where is the sunniest part of Ireland? Find out on June 4, 8 p.m., Dublin (adm: €6/3).

Industrial gems of Co Monaghan: our friends at the Industrial Heritage Association are running a one-day tour of industrial sites around Clones-Newbliss in Co Monaghan, including the Ulster Canal, watermills, and railway features. Saturday, June 28. Details tbc, depending on numbers; membership available on the day. If interested, contact frederick-hamond[at]utvinternet.com or tel: Belfast 9061 6480, by June 13.

Conservation science: another chance to see behind the scenes at the conservation workshops and laboratories in the National Museum, Collins Barracks, including work in progress on the Asgard project. Wednesday, June 25, 2:30 p.m., booking essential: bookings[at]museum.ie

Natural history mystery: not how our friends at the much-missed Natural History Museum
are managing to run public events (although, that too), but the title for a Saturday morning art, craft and science exploration of creature life they’re offering for children 7-12, on Saturday, July 5. Other events over the coming weeks include an exploration of boats in the National Museum collection, including a log canoe, a Viking ship and an Egyptian sailing ship, for World Oceans Day June 7. National Museum Kildare St; adm free.

Looking for WIMPs: that’s ‘weakly interacting massive particles’, an astrophysics concept that could help explain some of the Universe’s missing mass. All will be revealed in the next Astronomy Ireland monthly talk, to be given by Prof Tim J. Sumner (Imperial College London and the UK Dark Matter Collaboration). June 9, 8 p.m., Dublin, €5

Mill rights and water power: the association of Mills & Millers of Ireland is organising a weekend summer outing to Cork, with talks, and visits to hydro-electric conversion of old steam turbines, and a rare opportunity to see the fascinating remains of the water-powered gunpowder mill at Ballincollig (restored, but closed to the public for some years now). June 21-22; €30.

Rock on: the mining heritage of Waterford’s copper Coast, the glacial geology of the Comeragh Mountains in Co Waterford with the stunning
Coumshingaun corrie (Ireland’s largest), and a journey to the centre of a volcano across Carrick-a-rede rope bridge in County Antrim… just some of the events taking place in June as part of the ongoing programme for International Year of Planet Earth. For events near you, including bank holiday events, see: www.planetearth.ie

Hard rain: for the bank holiday, how about viewing the aclaimed photographic exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens (continues until August 31)? Their exhibition about the potato ends on June 4, but a new fruit and vegetable garden opens on June 8, with a sustainable environment fair that weekend (Sat-Sun), adm free.

Wild Wicklow: the national park’s summer programme includes a bug and beasties Safari walk (June 7), an introduction to ‘leave no trace’ walking (June 14), and a wildflower walk on June 28. Note, these take place on Saturdays.


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Next edition: July 1st 2008.
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