Year’s end, and we say goodbye to the Year of Planet Earth, and hello to Darwin 200 Year and the International Year of Astronomy.
Art, society, culture
Lyrical senses: Artszone, Lyric FM’s great arts programme, often carries features that cross into science. Melissa Murray has looked at codes, from quantum computers to DNA. Now, she starts a series on the five senses. First Fridays, 7pm.
Dark matter: two Irish people — Cork-born poet Maurice Riordan, and Northern cosmologist, Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell – have edited an anthology of poems on space and astronomy, from John Donne to Paul Muldoon’s reflections on an expanding Universe. Includes work commissioned from poets inspired by discussions with space scientists.
New sciences in society: from nanoscience to stem cells . . . a symposium, Negotiating new sciences in society, aims to examine public attitudes, and ethical and regulatory issues, with speakers from France, Denmark and USA. 22-23 January 2009 at DCU. Contact: email@example.com
Spiderfish: mechanical artist Michael Kelly, and artist Susan Williams, cross boundaries (and species) to make great educational devices to excite young people about science with their company Spiderfish. Projects include da Vinci machines for The Ark, and re-creations of ancient mechanicals for Save the Robots.
Capitalising on culture: Science@Culture reader, Finbarr Bradley, has co-authored a book, ‘Capitalising on Culture, Competing on Difference’. For a sustainable competitive advantage, the book argues, Ireland must harness resources such as social and cultural capital, and national identity, together with science and research. Published by Blackhall.
Are you infectious? are you a microbial artist, viral marketeer, or carrier of dangerous ideas? Then TCD’s Science Gallery wants to hear from you now! Starting April 2009, INFECTIOUS will run for three months at the gallery with performances, talks, microbial art… Closing date for proposals is now, December 1. Wish they’d told us earlier!
Women, science and film: know of any documentary films about women in science, science by women, and stereotypes and gender equity? Christelle Viaud-Mouclier, of TCD’s WISER Centre, is looking for films to screen in a documentary series. Contact her with suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are the Irish science bloggers? Despite issuing a wide call, and a ‘fluffy link’ from Damien Mulley! we netted only two new Irish science blogs (see blog roll, right). Why are you all so quiet? Too busy with administration? Nothing to say? If you know of any bloggers I’ve missed, send me their details.
Make a mini movie? Short films, real science. Planet SciCast invites you to make a short movie explaining some aspect of science. If it’s about physics, you could win a prize! (closing date 9th January). Check out some previous winners: central locking, from St Joseph’s, Lucan, Dublin; and under pressure, Ballyclare high school, Co Antrim. Read instructions carefully – especially re use of (c) music in your movie.
Street science: Five scientists working in controversial areas – human-animal embryos, nuclear power, GM foods, MMR vaccine and nanotechnology – leave their comfort zone and face some of their harshest critics, in a new series all this week Street Science, BBC Radio 4 (December 1-5).
Let there be light: UCD physicists Alex Montwill and Ann Breslin have just published a comprehensive guide to light, from atoms to galaxies. Packed with diagrams, explanations and historical asides (e.g. Galileo and the Inquisition), with lots of fascinating background, such as photography and image making, it is aimed at science teachers and undergraduates, but may also appeal to the scientifically-literate general reader.
Birds of Ireland: This beautiful new book on the facts, folklore and history of Irish birds, is by one-time IT consultant, Glynn Anderson, now a guide at the National Botanic Gardens. Gorgeously illustrated, it covers names, culinary uses (apparently puffins taste like anchovies!) and much more. Perfect for the bird watcher in your life this Christmas. Author and publisher can take a bow.
Mars, a cosmic stepping stone: another new Irish book! This one by IT Tallaght physicist, Kevin Nolan, a great communicator, and published by Springer. We haven’t seen the book, but hear it is comprehensive, well illustrated, and aimed at the general reader.
A very short introduction to…: Oxford University Press has a nice series of pocket-sized ‘introductions‘ to a range of topics. Recent ones that caught our eye include relativity (by Russell Stannard, who wrote a delightful book on relativity for nine-year-olds), statistics, and a short history of life by dinosaur expert Michael Benton. Worth checking out.
Special talks online: the personal side of robots, Hollywood special effects, and the future of space tourism . . . if you missed the sell-out Science Week talks, fear not: they are now available online.
City of Science 2012: in case you missed the news, Dublin unanimously won selection as European City of Science 2012 (it was Barcelona this year, and Turin in 2010). Expect a varied programme of events for scientists and the general public.
The Galaxy Song: brighten up your day . . . MontyPython’s wonderful and astronomically accurate galaxy song, now on the new MontyPython channel!
Conferences & opportunities…
NUI centenary: a two-day conference marking the centenary of the National University of Ireland, place in Dublin Castle December 2-3.
Science careers ‘webinar’: US journal Science and SFI are running a web ‘state of the nation’ discussion on science in Ireland. Your chance to put questions to SFI’s head, Prof Frank Gannon, and Ireland’s chief scientific adviser to the government, Prof Patrick Cunningham. December 10, 4pm GMT. Register in advance.
Geo-science: building the future one-day RIA seminar to create a five-year plan for Irish geoscience. December 3, Dublin
Medicine, health care and history: call for papers for a two-day conference on the history and context of medicine and health care, taking place in UCD April 16-18, 2009. Send proposals now!
Out & about
A divided land: did you know, Ireland was once split in two? And that the seam, where the two parts joined, runs from Limerick to Louth? Admittedly, this was several hundred million years ago, but you can still read the story in the rocks. Hear master storyteller and geologist, Dr Padhraig Kennan of UCD, recount this exciting journey, in the last public lecture for the year of Planet Earth. Dublin, Wednesday 3; Killarney December 4.
Young scientist exhibition: the annual jamboree, aka the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition January 6-10. Always worth a look, both for the prize-winning projects and the sideshows.
Darwin – the man and the myths: probably the first official Irish event in the Darwin 200 calendar: a talk by QUB science historian Prof Peter Bowler, appropriately at the RIA, where Darwin was an honorary member. Monday 19 January, 6pm. Adm free, booking advised.
Our place in space: your chance to see moon rock and meteorites, in the National Museum’s geo-science exhibition at Turlough Park, Co Mayo. Other museum events this winter include a look at the winter solstice and how it might have been celebrated in Stone Age Ireland. Kildare Street Dublin, December 21 3-4pm, ages 7+.
Where will medicine be in 2040? That’s the question Nobel laureate Prof Andrew Fire will ask in IT Tralee at a one-day conference of the Centre for Innovation in Distributed Systems. December 11.
Winter ramble: forget Christmas shopping, and join the ranger team at Wicklow National Park for winter ramble on Saturday, December 13.
Osteoarthritis, treatments and therapies: researchers from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute will talk about possible new regenerative therapies for osteoarthritis at a public forum, Galway December 9, 7:30 p.m.
Sustainable yuletide: how to save electricity, choose eco-presents, and deal with leftovers . . . and all in one hour! Public talk (booking advised), December 13, Temple Bar, Dublin
The greatest eclipses: the Irish Astronomy Society December talk is about solar eclipses. December 1, 8pm, Dunsink Observatory.
The human body, ultimate physics: the physics of aneurysms, flatulence, perspiration and even kicks . . . All in this year’s Tyndall lecture for schools by medical physicist Dr Kevin McGuigan (RCSI). Venues around the country January-February. Booking essential.
Extreme engineering: STEPS, the programme to encourage more people into engineering, is running seminars and events for teachers and students in December, with a special for guidance teachers on December 9.
How research is changing Ireland: from wearable sensors to new drugs, an exhibition marking 10 years of research funded by the Higher Education Authority, is at TCD’s Science Gallery until Tuesday, December 2. Catch it now – shame it’s only there for a few days. Adm free.
The Sun, and weather: Irish Meteorological Society’s monthly talk will be by Dr John Butler of Armagh Observatory, who studies historic weather patterns and variations in solar activity. December 4, Dublin, 8pm.
Living in the Sun’s atmosphere: where would we be without the Sun? Dr Lucie Green (Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UK) gives Astronomy Ireland’s Christmas lecture, December 8, 8pm, Dublin.
Next scheduled edition: mid-January, 2009
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