Virtual Advice for College Awareness Week with the RCSI

Midlands Science is delighted to partner with Dr Helena Bonner, a Neuroscientist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, as well as an Outreach officer at the Centre for Systems Medicine, RCSI in providing informative virtual talks for a number of schools across this Midlands for College Awareness Week. Helena is also a member of the Midlands Science Expert Advisory Group and has worked with Midlands Science over the past few years to raise awareness of science as a career path and on various fields within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

In normal times, Helena hosts various seminars and laboratory tours in RCSI to TY and 5th year students. She also visits various secondary schools in the Midlands throughout the school term to talk about the different careers available to STEM graduates, and the ample opportunities that are available in the different STEM sectors.  Her talks aim to inform TY, 5th and 6th year students about the various types of careers available to them, should they take a third level course ( Cert, Diploma, or degree) in a STEM related field of Study. Helena is also hosting a virtual Mini Science TY programme on February 1st for any students that would like to attend.

Helena said,
‘I am delighted to join Midlands Science and work with many other committed individuals as they continue to make great progress in promoting science as a career to people of all ages. It’s important for us to explore new ways to collectively change the face of STEM and reach out to young people to inform them on the type of research being undertaken at RCSI and to encourage them to pursue these exciting careers. I understand that it is really difficult to give the students the usual TY experience this year. We would normally hold a three day ‘in house’ programme at the RCSI but this year it will be held virtually. Given that, I know the students will still enjoy the programme and will walk away with a little more insight of what it is like to work as a scientist or researcher in the field of Biomedical Science.’

Digital Midlands Science Festival 2020 a Great Success

For the first time since it was founded eight years ago, the Midlands Science Festival was last week hosted online as an immersive digital event as part of national Science Week. The core theme for Science Week 2020  which is now in its 25th year was ‘Science Week – Choosing our Future’ and this focused on how science can improve our lives in the future and in the present. This year’s jam-packed festival enabled schools, teachers, parents and people of all ages to get involved virtually and thousands of  people had the opportunity to enjoy engaging talks, interactive workshops and presentations in a whole new and innovative format.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

‘Our first ever virtual festival was a great success and we were delighted through support from Science Foundation Ireland, Rethink Ireland, our wonderful event providers and a number of key partnerships to bring a large number of exciting science events to the Midlands again this year, in spite of the current pandemic. We explored everything from marine life and climate action to the science of Star Wars, from astrology and reptiles to ice cream making and lessons in sustainability. Science can help us understand what is happening and also provide us with the information to make different choices and pursue solutions in the future. This is now more important than ever. We also have made available online the DR Mindflip Ultimate Learning Experience as a game on the indie gaming site Itch and ran a number of short videos during the week with children exploring science in Irish.  People of all ages had the opportunity to join us from their homes to have a close-up lesson about a whole variety of different topics, all with a science twist.’

Science Week is a wonderful opportunity for small science enthusiasts and their families to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology. It is also the perfect chance for someone who is just tipping their toe into science for the first time to participate in activities and live performances by science explorers, communicators and experts whose mission it is to educate, entertain, inform and inspire.

‘The festival is a fantastic way to really capture the imagination and show people that science can be fun. We would like to thank the many people involved this year for all their support, diligence and help in managing the delivery of this week-long event to so many people in the Midlands and beyond. As a team, we decided earlier this year to host Science Week in a virtual manner and this took a lot of additional time, training and co-operation from providers and schools. This online model was a very different way of doing things but it allowed us to continue to raise awareness and extend people’s real-world understanding of science during such a challenging time.’

In a period of increasing unease, the Midlands Science team strongly believe that it is more important than ever to continue to provide activities to continue to engage our young people, build optimism and help them to explore science and how it relates to everything in our day to day lives.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘The Midlands Science Festival celebrated science in the Midlands in a number of different ways this year. Other key highlights included an inspiring journey into Space with Dr. Niamh Shaw, informative public talks on the ‘Science of Resilience’ and the ‘Science of Skin’ and a range of high-level, virtual career talks for secondary schools with some of our industry and academic partners, which we hope will encourage more and more students to consider science as a future course and career option. This year also included an online exploration into Viking Heritage with the National Museum of Ireland and Westmeath Heritage and a unique, interactive British Council Ireland event where we baked our way to space. I wish to thank Science Foundation Ireland, all of our partners, speakers, performers, the local media and school venues for making this all possible.’

 

 

 

Sealife, Planets and Virtual Experiments!

Today in schools across the Midlands, we have the Rediscovery Centre, the Exploration Dome, Marine Dimensions, Anyone 4 Science, Secrets of Superhero Science & The Irish Peatland Conservation Council. Tonight it’s Baking in Space!

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

“ This year we are inviting people to step inside a free, virtual science sphere to join top science communicators, workshop presenters, industry experts, science ambassadors and more! This pandemic has really brought an awareness to the way in which we all work, learn and consume information. We have been working diligently over the past seven months to adapt to an online model to continue to raise awareness of science and we would like to thank all of our wonderful partners and sponsors who have supported and encouraged us to do this during such a challenging time. Throughout Science Week there will be a variety of ways for you to get involved through events, social media and much more. You can also use and follow #BelieveInScience online.”

We had some great feedback about our  workshops with Marine Dimensions yesterday where one teacher said,

‘The children loved it and learned lots. Being from a landlocked county, we are mad to learn all about marine life! It worked well in Zoom, and was quite interactive, which was great.’

 

#scienceweek #BelieveinScience

Climate action and our Health

Niamh Shaw, Science Communicator in Residence at the Community Garden Abbeyleix 
Picture: Alf Harvey.

The very important issue of climate action links to the 2020 theme for Science Week of Choose our Future. While climate action might sometimes feel overwhelming and even cause some anxiety it is important that we try to find the middle ground and this starts with each one of us.

On last night’s #climateaction discussion with Dr. Niamh Shaw we learned about the topic of Climate action and our health, how to live more consciously and how if we can feel more connected to the environment, we may find more balance.
Prof Eric Morgan of Queen’s University Belfast spoke about the effects of climate change on animal health. We heard about the gift of nature and the power of healing in planting and the environment from Fr. Paddy Byrne and how we can achieve wonderful things through calmness, optimism and mother nature.
Eilish Fitzpatrick, of Blackhill Woods spoke about slowing our breathing and self-care and the ways in which we can all play our own individual roles in looking after our surrounding areas.
Midlands Science is delighted to be a partner to this local community project as part of Science Week as it really shows the impact an awareness of science can have on the choices we make.

Snakes, Spiders and Sea creatures!

Today, as part of the Midlands Science festival we have a big focus on all things reptiles, sea creatures and other popular animals!

We have the Reptile Zoo, Dublin Zoo and Marine Dimensions all ready and waiting on zoom to chat to pupils across the Midlands and give them an up close introduction to the fantastic creatures they look after on a daily basis.

This is ideal way to demonstrate to children that science is all around us in so many different ways and get them really thinking and wondering about the world around them.

#believeinscience

STEM Career Focus! Science can take you places!

Choose your Future is the theme for Science Week 2020 and today for the Midlands Science Festival we have a number of career talks taking place in Midlands schools with topics ranging from Technology and innovation to Nanotechnology and Girls in STEM.
We would like to thank our speakers from Intel, Accenture and Trinity College Dublin who are virtually delivering these high value presentations to students. It is fantastic to see how science and technology can be brought to life when someone new and inspiring comes into the classroom or onto the screen and tells a science story from a different perspective.
Lucy Prendeville, our speaker from Trinity College Dublin said,
‘Science can take you places. I would highly recommend studying a science-related course at university level to any student that enjoys Biology, Physics or Chemistry in Secondary School. There are so many options out there and many general science courses where students can really discover what areas they are most interested in. Of course, studying science at university will require long hours in the library and a lot of dedication! But it’s such an exciting career path that can take you anywhere.’
Thanks again to all of those participating and to the regional schools in Laois, Offaly and Westmeath for hosting.

Discovering Science Online!

The Midlands Science Festival  got off to a great and busy start on Saturday when we held our online Discovery Day and hosted a range of  workshops, science fun, creative experiments and more. In a time of uncertainty, the Midlands Science  team is conscious that it is more important than ever to provide activities for our audiences to ensure that they keep learning about science in an accessible way.

Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, the Superhero Scientist, Anyone4Science, the Exploration Dome, The Reptile Zoo and Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience entertained and educated on the day and we had so many amazing questions from so many children from the Midlands and beyond, making it a really interactive and fun day of science and learning.

#believeinscience

Climate Action and Local Partnerships for Science Week

In a series of short videos exploring climate action on a local level, Dr Niamh Shaw meets people from diverse walks of life in ABBEYLEIX and surrounding areas who are concerned about climate change and undertaking actions every day in their community to make a difference.

This series of videos for Science Week Ireland is part of the Climate Action project, supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns and Midlands Science.
We are exploring climate action in our community, share your thoughts and actions below #SenseofPlace #CreativeIreland #ClimateAction #Laois #scienceweek #believeinscience #GetNiamhToSpace

 

Exciting Science Week Space Events with Popular Science Communicator

Midlands Science is pleased to announce events that will be taking place with Dr Niamh Shaw during Science Week 2020 and the annual Midlands Science Festival. Niamh is a performer, writer & communicator with 2 degrees in engineering & a PhD in science. Passionate about igniting peoples’ curiosity she explores crossovers in STEMart & communication to share the human story of science. Niamh was the proud recipient of an award from Science Foundation Ireland for her work in communicating STEM, in recognition for all the events and talks and writing that she does about space and science.

Niamh commented,

I’m delighted to be a part of Midlands Science festival this year. My events will all be space-themed and shared with stories and videos about my own space adventures. While there are lots of facts in my events, they aren’t science shows and I’ve made them especially for people who feel that science isn’t really their cup of tea. So lots of videos, pictures and stories about space and designed for people of all ages and all interests.’

When asked about her main mission in life and about what people can expect and at Niamh’s events which will be delivered to schools in Laois and Offaly during Science Week, Niamh said,

‘I have devoted the rest of my life to get to space. I haven’t it all fully figured out just yet but that’s the best part!  I do know that in achieving this,  that I get to share stories about the adventure with all of you! I want to be the ‘normalnaut’ storyteller! And so far, I’ve shared a few of my adventures- like being on a simulated Mars mission in the middle of the desert in America, then I went to Star City in Moscow and took a zero-gravity flight to feel what microgravity (or weightlessness) feels like in the body (very strange, in short!). And other adventures too which I’ll share with you all at the festival in November.’

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘We have been working with Niamh since the schools returned after the first closures and have had excellent feedback on her virtual workshops into schools which the pupils have loved and teachers have said it has been a most welcome and exciting distraction for the children during these challenging times. Niamh’s book ‘Dream Big’ from Mercier Press (a memoir of sorts of the story so far in getting to space) came out in bookstores about 2 days before the first COVID restrictions hit the country. She is also planning the next future space adventure and she should have been working with the International Space University during the summer on their graduate programme in Space Humanities activities but is really looking forward to meeting lots of students during this year’s Midlands Science Festival!’

 

 

 

Science Knitting Patterns for Science Week!

 

The Midlands Science Festival is a free, family-friendly, programme of events which allows people of all ages to discover something new, participate in a number of hands-on science and technology activities and see a whole host of live performances by science enthusiasts and communicators.

We even have some science knitting patterns for those with a talent for crafting! Why not create a common virus or some body parts from wool in a fun (and non-contagious!) way.

We have plenty exciting science experiments on the way in just a few days time. We will bringing a whole range of workshops activities to Midlands schools from marine exploration and reptiles to superhero science and sustainability and also to people at home with our digital Discovery day taking place on November 7th to kick things off and our informative talks on issues such as resilience and the science of skin!