Focus on Heritage

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 12th – 19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and fun hands-on events. A key theme for this year is that of heritage and Midlands Science has teamed up with Creative Ireland to provide one Offaly school with a project which celebrates the work of a local nineteenth century pioneering scientist, microscopist and naturalist Mary Ward, who was working at a time when it was very difficult for women to be taken seriously in any field other than the domestic.

Amanda Pedlow, Heritage Officer of Offaly County Council commented,
It is wonderful to see this performance focusing on Mary Ward in Banagher for Science Week 2017. Creative Ireland has provided this opportunity for us to transform the ways in which our cultural heritage is perceived and unders tood. As heritage is a key theme this year, it is an even better fit and I have no doubt that students will really benefit from being involved with this performance curated by artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway which enables them to see just how diverse and exciting science can be.’

This is the fifth year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including science communica tors, performers and researchers, science and technology speakers, science and TY students, mini scientists and the general public from all over the Midlands and beyond.

Caroline Conway who will deliver this particular workshop said,
‘This a very exciting project and we are delighted to be bringing it to an Offaly school for this year’s Midlands Science Festival. This particular event is quite different to traditional ones as we are using a variety of art forms to promote science. The project consists of a projection of macro-pho tography and Zoetrope animation. Zoetrope animation was invented in the 1850’s at the same time as Mary Ward was examining the minutiae of nature with the microscope, and we are combining old and new technologies to bring excitement to this subject. There is also drama and music involved so we hope that the students will enjoy it, particular given the Midlands connection.’

CELEBRATING SCIENCE IN OFFALY THIS NOVEMBER

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 12th – 19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and fun hands-on events. Science Week, which is managed by ‘SFI Discover’ the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year.  The festival will take science out of the lab and in to libraries, theatres, sports clubs and primary school halls, giving people a variety of fun ways to explore and open up a multitude of ideas for a potential future career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This is the fifth year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including science communica tors, performers and researchers, science and technology speakers, science and TY students, mini scientists and the general public from all over the Midlands and beyond.

Midlands Science Festival Direc tor, Jackie Gorman said, ‘We are delighted to be heading in to our fifth year with the festival and in planning the year’s programme, we have secured some really new and different events and activities as well as bringing back some of the most popular ones from previous years. We have partnered with a number of schools and other organisations including Integra LifeSciences, Waterways Ireland and Bord na Mona in Offaly to create opportunities which aim to excite students about science. We also look forward to another new project for this year which focusses on the extraordinary flora and fauna of the bogs, with reference to the pioneering work of the nineteenth century local scientist and naturalist Mary Ward.’ 

The festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. Among a rich programme of events for this year is one being provided by Waterways Ireland for Daingean NS in Co. Offaly.

Manus Tiernan, Waterways Ireland Education Officer commented,

‘We were delighted to be supporting and participating in this year’s Midlands Science Festival. The event which takes place as part of Science Week is a fantastic opportunity to promote science subjects within Midlands schools and to reach young children at an early age. We are looking forward to visiting Daingean National School this November to provide a workshop all about the Grand Canal; one of Ireland’s greatest engineering achievements. Pupils will be introduced to the rich biodiversity of the canal and meet some of the mini beasts who call the canal their home! They will also have the opportunity to explore the his tory of the grand canal and the uses of the canal past and present.  This festival provides ideal activities and events to enable schools to learn about science and in this case also about heritage in a fun and interesting way.’

There are also a large number of other school events taking place in Offaly schools during Science Week such as high value science career talks, the return of the team from Go Fly Your Kite, the Reptile Zoo and many more. Thanks to local company Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd, events are being provided for two Tullamore schools in the form of marine exploration and rocket building workshops.

John O’ Donovan, Plant Manager at Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd commented,

‘Integra is very pleased to partner with Midlands Science as a corporate sponsor in order to provide hands-on, interactive science events to some of our local primary schools. Science surrounds us in ways that we don’t often think and we need to do all we can to ensure that young people understand the importance and significance of science in day to day life. The Midlands Science Festival creates many opportunities for people of all ages to connect with and celebrate science and Integra is delighted to be a part of this for 2017.’

Join us from November 12th-19th in celebrating science in Offaly!

Who doesn’t like to make slime!?

We are really excited about welcoming the Junior Einsteins Science Club’ to Laois this year. This unique club incorporates core science in to fun sessions of hands-on  experiments designed to stimulate and create a love of science and nature.

Pupils will get  to make and do their own experiments wearing their lab coats and goggles and using real scientific equipment including a university grade Van Der Graff Genera tor. This is always a popular one and we cant wait!

 

 

Gigantic Bubbles Fun!

Have you ever wondered why bubbles float or why bubbles are round?
It is so important to make sure that we reach children as early as possible to demonstrate the importance of science in everyday life.

This was a really fun and exciting event which we held in Offaly a couple of years back which explored the magic and excitement of science using bubbles. The children really enjoyed it and also asked lots of questions so they got some valuable lessons in the process!

Merging Science with the Arts

Today we had a quick chat with Caroline Conway who will be delivering a very special workshop this year..Caroline’s work fits well with the key theme of heritage for Science Week 2017…

Caroline, we are delighted that you will be taking part in this year’s Midlands Science Festival. Can you tell us a bit about your project and what you will be providing?

Our project celebrates the work of Mary Ward, who was a nineteenth century pioneering scientist, microscopist and naturalist, working at a time when it was very difficult for women to be taken seriously in any field other than the domestic. We are looking particularly at the flora and fauna of the bog

What is your background? Did you study science at university?

Actually, both Tina and myself come from Arts backgrounds which makes this a very exciting project as we are using a variety of art forms to promote science. The project consists of a projection of macro-pho tography and Zoetrope animation

Zoetrope animation was invented in the 1850’s at the same time as Mary Ward was examining the minutiae of nature with the microscope, and we are combining old and new technologies to bring excitement to this subject. There is also drama and music involved

What experiences in school or otherwise influenced you to pursue a career in science?

I studied Physics, Pure Maths and Applied Maths for A level at school, alongside Art, and I find that the animation work I am doing now has a huge amount of Maths involved. Last year I made a real time strobe animation device for the Centenary, which involved a lot of Physics

What do you think we can be doing to inspire and encourage more young people to choose science as a subject and indeed as a third level college choice?

I think that seeing Science cross over to other disciplines can be very inspiring and can help to bring it to life. We are drawing on the Vic torian tradition of “Science as Performance” with this project to really get a sense of wonder.

SCIENCE PROMOTION FUN WITH BORD NA MÓNA

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a new partnership with Bord na Móna for this year’s annual Midlands Science Festival. Established in 1934 as the Turf Development Board, renamed Bord na Móna in 1946, the company has committed itself over 80 years ago to delivering sustainable industry to Ireland using indigenous resources. Bord na Móna is also committed to promoting awareness and education on biodiversity in schools and in communities and to protecting and preserving our heritage and environment for future generations to enjoy.

Jackie Gorman, Direc tor of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is all about taking science out of the lab and in to places like libraries, theatres and even outdoors in order to provide diverse ways for people of all ages to explore the world around them and to learn something new. We are delighted to be partnering with Bord na Móna for this year’s Midlands Science Festival and with their support and sponsorship, we will be providing some fun and interactive events for schools this November in various Offaly locations. In keeping with a key Science Week 2017 of ‘climate change’ we are particularly excited to be inviting two lucky schools to Bord Na Mona’s largest windfarm, Mountlucas Co. Offaly, where pupils will learn first-hand about wind turbine technology, the national significance of wind energy and the workings of a local windfarm. Thanks to the generosity of partners such as Bord na Mona, we are now heading in to our fifth year and our 2017 festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before.’

Exciting and interactive workshops from providers at the ‘Rediscovery Centre’ and the team at ‘Go Fly Your Kite’ will be delivered to schools and these workshops are a way of engaging young children about the diversity of science and technology and how it is such a big part of everyday life. Bord Na Mona has a number of sites in the Midlands that welcome visits from the public and particularly young people to learn more about the advances being made in the areas of renewable energy technology, power generation and ecology to name but a few.

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Bord na Móna, Mia McCarthy commented,

‘Bord na Móna’s strategy is focused on moving the company from being dependent on our traditional businesses. We have diversified to sustainable businesses including renewable energy. While providing employment is highly valuable, Bord na Móna provides more than just jobs. We have always perceived our role to be active and directly involved in the communities where we operate so we are delighted to be teaming up with the Midlands Science Festival this year to support events which help to promote the importance of science education to our local young people.’

Festivals attract people with curiosity…

We are pleased to announce a very different event for this year called Intimacy, The Science Of Relationships.’ Join author and neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzet to for a unique discussion exploring the science of relationships, everything from family, work to love and our engagement with technology. Giovanni is an engaging speaker who has published books on relationships and emotions. He was awarded the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award for his cross-disciplinary and science communication efforts. We had a chat to Giovanni in advance of Science Week to find out more..

Giovanni, you are currently a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin,
what brings you to Ireland and what exactly are you researching during your time here?
I am interested in understanding what intimacy is today, and how art, science, design and technology can together help us understand it.
 
What first inspired you towards a science-related career?
At about 16 I read an article about molecular biology in a scientific magazine. I was fascinated and wanted to learn everything about genes, proteins and invisible reactions. Later on, I became more interested in psychology and neuroscience. However, since I was a student I have always tried to filter what I learnt in science through the lens of art and the humanities, and vice-versa.
 
In your research, you talk about the importance of human interaction for our well-being and yet loneliness is an epidemic? Why is this the case?
I suppose there may be a kind of disenchantment with relationships nowadays. While technology has given us the opportunity to connect widely, it may also make us spend a lot of time on our own.
 
How can we use science to improve interpersonal connections?
In general, an effective scientific method to improve personal connections is observation.
In habit and routine, we may keep making mistakes in interpersonal relationships. But if we begin to pay more attention to our own and other people’s needs, we will be able to improve the knowledge of who we are and what makes us most comfortable alone or with others. We will begin to rectify inconvenient patterns, and reinforce behaviour that is more helpful to us.
 
In your book, you look through the lenses of emotion, psychology, philosophy, art and personal experience… What can we do to ensure science meets art and culture more often in order to engage more people?
Complex phenomena like love, intimacy and relationships can hardly be unders tood satisfac torily from a single perspective. Indeed, most questions, be they personal life questions, societal issues or global challenges, earn a multi-disciplinary approach for an elucidation. I would concentrate on reinforcing a trans-disciplinary approach in schools and universities, as early as possible in the education of students. We need to reward and encourage transdisciplinary learning so that it becomes standard.
 
Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?
Events like the Midlands Science Festival are important because they represent a regular appointment with a curated series of lectures, conversations etc. where scientists, educa tors, students, and other interested people can gather and always learn something from one another, effortlessly. Festivals attract people with curiosity. Visi tors s tock up with ideas and bring home a lasting inspiring energy.

Explore Pets and Relationships during Science Week!

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for all ages from November 12th-19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and hands-on events. Science Week, which is managed by ‘SFI Discover’ the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year. The festival takes science in to libraries, theatres and even the outdoors, giving people a variety of exciting ways to explore a multitude of ideas for a future career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This year’s programme includes two very different events which will be held in Athlone and will be open to the general public. On the evening of Nov 13th at 8:00pm, ‘The Science of Dogs, From Wolf to Woof’ will take place in Athlone Institute of Technology. This event will appeal not only to pet owners but also to anyone with an interest in animals or science in general. There’s a lot of science to the dogs in our lives, everything from how to care for them to how they think and how they evolved from wolves.

Midlands Science Festival Direc tor, Jackie Gorman said,

‘In planning the programme, we have partnered with a number of schools, organisations and academia such as Athlone Institute of Technology, to create opportunities which excite students and the general public about science and how it connects to real life. It’s about creating greater interest in science education and careers which of course benefits the Midlands region. Join us for a fascinating evening with a Veterinary Scientist and an Evolutionary Biologist as they explore the world of canines. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans? Learn about the secrets of their tails and their skill at reading our attention. We will also be joined by some four-legged friends along with their owners, as we seek to understand an animal that there is still so much to know about.’

Fun-filled school workshops including a mobile planetarium, snakes and tor toises from the Reptile Zoo, career talks and rocket building are just some of the many events taking place across Westmeath this November as part of national Science Week for younger audiences.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. Among a rich programme of key speakers featuring for 2017 is neuroscientist and author Giovanni Frazzet to who will deliver a free and most unique science festival event all around the ‘Science of Relationships’ and this will also be held in AIT on the evening of November 16th and booking is essential. Giovanni Frazzet to is an engaging speaker who has published books on relationships and emotions. He was awarded the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award for his cross-disciplinary and science communication efforts.We look forward to hearing from Giovanni all about the neuroscience behind the way people relate to each other and this event promises to be one which will hopefully appeal to many different people. You can book this and our event about the ‘Science of Dogs’ by using the link below.’

www.midlandsscience.ie/events
twitter @curiouskim1

Pho to: David Nally and Neil Ashe with their dog Albert and Midlands Science Festival direc tor, Jackie Gorman

 

Mary Ward’s “Bog of Wonder”

Date & Time : Monday November 13th

Location: Banagher Community College, Banagher,  Co. Offaly.

Event: Film Screening, talk and discussion.

“Mary Ward’s Amazing Bog of Wonder” celebrates Ireland and Offaly’s scientific heritage. The mid-nineteenth century was a time of huge scientific advances and discoveries and the Vic torians were expanding their visual imaginations to keep pace with the changing world. This project has extended and combined these visual discoveries, with macro-pho tography echoing Mary Ward’s microscope work, and combining these images with Zoetrope animation, that had been invented in the 1850’s.

The project has drawn inspiration from the Vic torian idea of “Science as Performance”, combining old and new technologies, to produce an exciting celebration of the natural heritage of the bog, and the his torical and scientific heritage of Mary Ward. This event is now fully booked.

Careers Worshop

Date & Time: Wednesday November 15th at 9.30am

Location: Edenderry Library, Edenderry, Co. Offaly.

Event: Careers Workshop

Workshop exploring careers, subjects choices and the wide variety of options that STEM offers in today’s world.