Archive for September, 2009

Explore ancient Dublin volcanoes, get a free 1,800-page book, and think about Science in Society



seamlessDublin volcanoes: explore ancient volcanoes in Portrane, Co Dublin, on a Saturday afternoon field trip October 3 (2 p.m.) led by Dr Brian McConnell (Geological Survey of Ireland)

Lunchtime at the Academy: Robert Lloyd Praeger and the original Clare Island survey are the subject for lunchtime lectures this Thursday and Friday at the RIA, Dublin.

BOOK NOW!  For this year’s Hamilton lecture: to be given by Russian mathematician, Prof Efim Zelmanov, on October 16th, in TCD Dublin. Book here.

Science and Society:  interested in developing an EU-funded project on this theme? IRCSET is hosting an information day about this EU programme on Oct 7th in Dublin, and webcast over the internet.  Attendees can give a 1-2 minute presentation about their SiS interests.

Web of Stars: twinning Cork with San Francisco, October’s “first Friday” event at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork includes a live Q&A with the Oakland space Centre in California.

Sculpture in the Bots: the annual sculpture exhibition in the National botanic Gardens — Ireland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition — runs until October 16th.   A good excuse to visit the gardens, as if you needed one.


RECOMMENDED read: Remarkable Creatures: the new novel from Tracy Chevalierrccover2, author of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, is a very enjoyable and historically accurate account of the lives of two early women fossil collectors who lived in Lyme Regis: Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot.  Chevalier captures what it was like to work as a woman in the male-dominated world of science in the early 1800s.

See: Google does climate change: What will the world look like in 20 years?  You can now explore possible future climate change scenarios in Google Earth.

David Attenborough’s online Tree of Life:  evolution and how all living things are interconnected, presented in a new interactive format by David Attenborough and  the Wellcome Trust.

Watch: What price physics?

Is it worth spending millions on the LHC? Here’s how some of the physicists involved justify their funding. It’s the fifth in a series of Colliding Particles short films that provides new insight into how scientists work and how science develops.  The project, which follows physicists at University College London, supports the UK’s science curriculum (How Science Works, key stage 4), and includes classroom resources.

FREE BOOK: It’s Part of What We Are
In 2007, the RDS published It’s Part of What We Are, a comprehensive (1,800 pages!) collection of biographies of historic Irish scientists who contributed, over the last 300 years, to “astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and physics, plus some engineering and geology”.  Researched and written by Charles Mollan, the two-volume publication is now available free in PDF from science@rds.ie (put ‘Mollan book’ in the subject line).  (The 4-file download comes to 8MB.)

More events here:

We can’t include details of everything that’s on — use these links to find out what else is on.

Science Gallery / Irish ScepticsRoyal Irish Academy / National MuseumMeteorological SocietyDarwin 200 IrelandInstitute of PhysicsChemistry Ireland /Alchemist Cafe

ASTRONOMY: Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork / Year of Astronomy 2009Astronomy Ireland /   Irish Astronomical Society / South Dublin Astronomy Group

GEOLOGY: Geology Ireland / Copper Coast, Waterford

FLORA & FAUNABotanic Gardens / Burren LifeWicklow Mountains Park


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The nights are drawing in . . .  and there’s lots to do.  So much so, that instead of the monthly bulletin, I’m experimenting with a shorter but weekly one.  Let me know what you think.



art, books & culture

Paul-Bettany-in-Creation--004Darwin on screen: Creation, the new bio-pic about Charles Darwin, opens this week (Friday 25th) at Dublin’s IFI,  and selected cinemas nationwide.  The film focuses on Darwin’s family and personal life, and especially how the death of his 9-year-old daughter Annie from TB affected his beliefs, rather than on his scientific ideas and observations. But we liked it.  Based on ‘Annie’s Box‘, written by  Darwin’s great-grandson Randal Keynes, it has, perhaps not surprisingly, failed to find a distributor in the USA.

Quick — catch this tonight:

Catch of the day! A movie that could well change what you eat, The End of the Line, about sustainable fisheries and how we might all face a future of jellyfish sushi, is showing for one night only in Dublin’s IFI,   Tonight September 21 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a special Q&A.

age of wonderScience book winner:  we hear good things about The Age of Wonder, which has just won  this year’s winner Royal Society prize for science books. Richard Holmes is better known as a biographer, and here he turns his writing skills to the history of science, and the era of the great voyages of discovery in the decades before Darwin, to explain how science inspired the romantic generation.

Fizzics of foam:  can you wrap yourself in a bubble?  What does a bubble sound like? Just some of the questions you can answer at the current Science Gallery exhibition, devoted to bubbles and foam.  Ends this Friday, September 25

Culture and stuffed animals: Meet Ireland’s ‘Last Great Auk’, a Tasmanian Wolf, mammoth remains, a mysterious mammal with a two-foot-long tongue, and hold the longest tooth of any living animal. TCD’s Zoology Museum is opening its doors to the public during Culture Night this Friday 25th. Introductory walk and talks every 30mins from 5.30pm-8pm.

Ignite sets Dublin on fire: they say that, if TED talks are horse-racing, then Ignite events are a night at the dogs! You have been warned.  Ireland’s first Ignite event — all talks last 5 minutes, with 15 slides — is this Wednesday 24th, in the Science Gallery at 7pm. Everything from Japanese drums to DCU’s president.

There’s  lots more happening this week . . . and I’ll put up a load of links shortly so you can find events around the country, from astronomy to zoology.

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