Talking STEM Careers with the Next Generation …

We are really pleased to team up with a number of expert speakers for Science Week 2019 to deliver a range of high value career talks to schools across the region. Speakers will include biomedical scientist,  lecturer and science communicator Dr. Craig Slattery who is also Chairperson of Midlands Science, Dr Helena Bonner of the Royal College of Surgeons and Midlands native and senior Intel manager, Bridget Molloy who will address senior cycle students in relation to subjects and future careers in STEM.

Bridget Molly commented,

‘I am delighted to be returning to Tullamore as part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival. It is so important to enable students to connect learning to actual real-world situations and show them how much innovation there is in science and technology fields. Midlands Science is doing extensive work to give local schools the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the world of work and the types of future jobs that might be available to them, particularly in the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The more work that can be done in this area, the more likely it is that students will consider one of these fields as a future career option. I am really happy to support this and participate in the aim of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and I am really looking forward to seeing what else will be taking place during this year’s festival which promises to be engaging, educational and fun.’

#believeinscience

Science of Water Workshops for Midlands Primary Schools

We are really looking forward to these workshops in association with Waterways Ireland. This will be another unique opportunity to explore how science can help us to understand the world around us. Environmental expert Paula Farrell will introduce pupils to the rich biodiversity of the water system in Ireland. They will also look at the features of a river and compare the river and canal networks in Ireland. Each group has the opportunity to meet some freshwater invertebrates and newts during hands-on activities throughout the day!

Manus Tiernan, Waterways Ireland Education Officer commented,

‘We are pleased to once again collaborate with the Midlands Science Festival team to host a series of interactive workshops to Midlands schools during Science Week 2019. The workshops will be delivered by Paula Farrell from the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and will be action packed with lots of hands on activities sure to enthral participants! Events like these introduce science and the world around us in an informative but also fun and interesting way. During our workshops, students will have the opportunity to learn and discuss the journey rivers take from source to sea and compare this with the man-made structure of the Grand Canal. As these two features within the Irish landscape pass through our towns and villages the workshops will turn its focus on the variety of wildlife that call these waterbodies their home. The young people taking part will get an opportunity to experience life from beneath the water surface with a live freshwater invertebrate identification session. Waterways Ireland strives to be actively engaged in the communities where we operate so we are delighted to be teaming up with the science festival again help to promote the importance of science education to our local young people.’

 

#believeinscience @waterwaysirelan

Photo: Looking back on a Science Week Waterways Ireland workshop in 2016

Free ASD Science Workshops for Offaly

Christie Campbell with Chloe and Alannah Dooner age 4 and 8 from Ardagh
Photo by Shelley Corcoran

Local development company, Midlands Science is delighted to announced a series of workshops which will take place in Birr library this November 15th as part of the annual Science Week celebrations. The workshops are suitable for age seven and up and will give the children with ASD, their parents and siblings a practical and enjoyable experience of science in a supportive workshop environment. This event is a great opportunity to learn about the fun and of science and to practice focusing and concentration, social cognition, collaboration and teamwork, listening, comprehension skills and more. Anyone 4 Science are an experienced team of science outreach educators who have expertise in working with children on the ASD spectrum. Each workshop takes 45 minutes approximately and can be booked online now.

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science CEO said,

‘Join us for a series of specially curated workshops with Anyone 4 Science for children on the ASD spectrum during this year’s Midlands Science Festival. We not only want to provide fun and engaging activities within classrooms and other settings such as libraries, theatres and even outdoors, we also want to bring together the people who can help move our knowledge forward to make improvements and provide support and education events for others who may not always be able to avail of such opportunities. Over the past number of years, we have received valuable feedback from people with autism and their families about their challenges and we want to help provide meaningful events that align with their individual strengths and interests too. Check our events page on www.midlandsscience.ie for details and booking as there are still some places remaining.’

Christine Campbell of Anyone 4 Science commented,

‘I have been working with Midlands Science for a number of years now during Science Week to deliver a range of interactive and fun workshops for pupils across the Midlands region. I am delighted that this year for the first time, I am able to provide some very unique workshops which have been designed for young people on the ASD spectrum. Innovative partnerships between organisations such as Anyone for Science and Midlands Science are really important because they help us to continue the critical conversation about autism and inclusion and ensuring that all children have the opportunities to have new and exciting experiences.’

 

 

 

 

Gillian Maunsell,

Communications Manager,

Midlands Science,

2nd Floor,

Block 6,

Central Business Park,

Clonminch,

Tullamore,

Co. Offaly,

R35 Y6YO.

 

www.midlandsscience.ie

 

 

Free Discovery Day for Science Week in Tullamore

Excitement is building for an upcoming family Discovery Day due to take place in the Sacred Heart School this November 9th. This event is part of the annual Midlands Science Festival and it is sponsored by Tullamore based medical technology company, Integra LifeSciences.

Maria Rogers of Integra LifeSciences in Tullamore said,

‘We are delighted to join forces with Midlands Science once again for the annual Science Week celebrations and to support this fun and informative Discovery Day which will be a real treat for the whole family. It is extremely important for Integra LifeSciences as a local employer to provide as many young people as possible with inspiring experiences of science and to encourage them to consider science as a subject choice for the future. The workshops and experiences that people will find at the Discovery Day will not only extend people’s real-world understanding of science but it will also provide an opportunity for fun, creativity and learning which is what science should be all about.’

Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology with 19 manufacturing plants worldwide is dedicated to limiting uncertainty for surgeons, so they can concentrate on providing the best patient care. Integra offers innovative solutions in orthopedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, and reconstructive and general surgery. Integra has an enduring tradition of giving back. Part of Integra’s CSR Strategy is to create an awareness of science & technology skills and careers among students and teachers, by actively supporting positive STEM experiences in the Midlands. Integra’s local partnership with Midlands Science has enabled the company to facilitate the organization and delivery of hands-on workshops in local primary and secondary schools during the Midlands Science Festival over the past few years.

The Discovery Day will include Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience, the Exploration Dome, the Reptile Zoo, Anyone 4 Science, the 501st Legion, Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Cell Explorers and much more. Come along and make some ice cream, meet a storm trooper, hold a tarantula, explore the night’s sky and visit the 1960’s with Dr Mindflip. The event is free but booking is required on www.midlandsscience.ie and if you cannot attend, please cancel your place so it can be re-allocated.

Midlands Science to Partner with National Museum of Ireland for Unique Science Week events

Midlands Science is pleased to announce details of unique Science Week activities in Laois this year which are part of a new collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland which will see the National Museum bringing educational outreach activities to the Midlands region for Science Week.  This year’s activities in Laois are presented in partnership with the Heritage Office of Laois County Council.

Siobhan Pierce, Education Officer, Archaeology & Natural History at National Museum of Ireland commented,

‘We are excited this November to bring a day of events to communities in Laois, that will explore the rich archaeological evidence of life in the past in Ireland. Science Week is always busy for the Museum as we hold events to explain the science in archaeology and it is great to have a strong partnership which enables us to bring these events to the people who live in Portlaoise. Families can discover by joining in the Viking Artefact Challenge, just how archaeologists and museums discover evidence of everything from what Vikings ate, to their dress sense, and later that evening one of the Museum’s Archaeologists will give a public lecture for adults on one of the largest scientific projects of the Museum, the Bog Bodies Research Project. We were delighted when Jackie Gorman of Midlands Science approached us and to work with Heritage Officer Catherine Casey on this Science Week partnership. These events are the result of what is to the Museum an important partnership between the Museum with Midlands Science and the County Heritage Officers of the midland counties, and one which will continue for a number of years to plan and bring Science Week events to towns in the Irish midlands.’

The public event in Laois is appropriate for aged 14+ and will explore the history and science of bog bodies in Ireland with Isabella Mulhall, Assistant Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland. The NMI Bog Bodies Research Project was established in 2003 following the discoveries of two remarkably well- preserved Iron Age bog bodies in the Irish midlands. The scientific investigation which followed produced a wealth of exciting results.  Since 2003, further finds of bog bodies have come to light in Ireland’s peatlands and include the exceptionally well-preserved remains of Cashel Man unearthed in Cúil na Móna Bog in 2011 and subsequently radiocarbon dated to 2000 BC. This event entitled “Secrets of the Bog Revealed – The National Museum of Ireland Bog Bodies Research Project” takes place on Thursday November 14th at the Midlands Park Hotel and booking is available online on www.midlandsscience.ie.

Earlier that day at Treo Nua from 3pm to 5pm, there is a free family drop in event which does not require booking. This event will allow participants to explore the archaeological evidence of the Vikings with reference to Laois.  Did you know that archaeologists use lots of scientific techniques to figure out what life was like in Ireland hundreds and even thousands of years ago? Educators from the National Museum of Ireland will have lots of replica artefacts and raw materials, which you can pick up and take a closer look at. Use this evidence to solve the puzzle and discover how the Vikings cleverly used antler, wood, bone and amber in centuries past!

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘A key focus for Midlands Science is the provision of activities which demonstrate connections between science and culture. We are delighted to be working this year with the National Museum in Laois. The drop-in event for families and the public event for adults will enable us to reach new audiences and stress the important of science in understanding our heritage and culture. Our aim is to engage people of all ages and increase public awareness of science and it wouldn’t be possible to do this without the support of organisations such as the National Museum, so we are really grateful for the commitment and passion they have shown towards this outreach. We are also extremely grateful to the Heritage Office of Laois County Council whom have been so supportive, engaged and involved in our Science Festival since its inception and it’s a pleasure to be working with them on this project. Archaeology draws on a wide variety of science disciplines such as geology, physics, chemistry, statistics and botany, providing us with the tools with which to explore and understand our past and these events are a unique way to engage with science and heritage’

Catherine Casey, Heritage Office of Laois County Council said,

‘We were delighted to once again be supporting the annual Midlands Science Festival. Whether your interest today is in science, heritage, culture, engineering, maths or elsewhere, this year’s festival programme will have something special to spark the imagination and feed your curiosity. These events which takes place as part of national Science Week are a fantastic opportunity to promote science education to Laois pupils and especially to reach young children with the more fun and hands-on workshops. Visitors are also offered a unique chance to listen to real historical and scientific data, broadening their understanding from a completely fresh perspective.’

 Photo ©NMI 

In conversation with Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D.

Science Week 2019 will focus on climate action, seeking to help people understand climate change, how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change. As part of our ongoing focus on this very critical and current crisis we had the recent opportunity to speak with Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D. to get some her views on this very pressing issue.

Tackling climate change is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Can you give us an insight into what kind of work your party is doing to help tackle climate change?

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing Ireland and the rest of the world in this century and as a policymaker, our response to this challenge of a generation has huge implications. In 2016, I had a detailed discussion with the former Taoiseach Enda Kenny today about my concerns regarding Ireland’s slow progress in addressing climate change. The Taoiseach asked me to prepare a proposal and key part of this document was my request that the Government establish the Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Action and the subsequent Oireachtas Climate Action committee in order to get cross party consensus on this major issue. I was the Government representative on this committee and it worked for over 12 months examining the issues in detail and its final report has strongly influenced the Government’s Climate Action plan which was published earlier in the summer. The plan is to make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change and is an all-of-Government action plan that will give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future and will benefit generations of people. The plan sets out the actions we need to take in every Government Department and every sector. It identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, and puts us on a trajectory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It will mean changing the way we heat our homes, the way we travel and the way we power our country. Currently only 30% of our electricity comes from renewable sources but this plan will see us move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

Are you concerned about how climate change affects the local agriculture and biodiversity?

Yes climate change poses huge challenges to the entire economy and it is clear that Ireland’s biodiversity has decreased steadily since the intensification of our agriculture sector since the 1960s. However, farmers are increasingly facing the challenge of farming sustainably from an economic, social, and environmental perspective. Recent environmental research on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, protecting water quality, enhancing soil structure and fertility and encouraging biodiversity on farms, will help farmers to farm commercially while protecting the environment.

What would you say your three main priorities are for the year ahead on climate change?

a. Working with my Government colleagues to ensure that the specific actions across the Government Departments that are contained in the Climate Action Plan are achieved and that consistent progress is made.
b. I want to ensure that Offaly and the region is protected from the impact of the decarbonisation of the Midlands peat region in the context of Ireland’s response to climate change. I am determined to ensure that there is a just transition for workers, families and the communities.
c. That I and my family will make our own efforts to respond the challenges of climate change by the choices we make in our home, transport and expenditure.

What would you suggest young people do to play their part and help prevent climate change?

We all have to make changes in our lives to respond to climate change. We must make decisions that are sustainable, for example buying local produce as much as possible, reducing our food miles. It will be important for us all to improve the efficiency of our transportation, our homes and our businesses and to avail of the incentives and grant supports provided by Government to support our efforts.

#stem #believeinscience #climatechange

‘Travels in Chernobyl’ for Athlone during Science Week

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a key public event happening in Athlone next month as part of the annual Midlands Science Festival. This event will take place on November 12th at 6:30pm in Athlone Library and will explore the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986. The radiation exposure to the Irish population, as a result of the Chernobyl accident, has been estimated based on the large number of foodstuffs and environmental samples measured at the time. It was calculated that Chernobyl resulted in an approximate three per cent increase in radiation exposure to the average Irish person in the twelve months following the accident.

Science teacher, writer and birdwatcher Rory Duffy will explore the science of Chernobyl and his recent visit to the site. The discussion will be moderated by toxicologist, Dr Craig Slattery of UCD and he will be joined by Prof Gillian O’Brien of John Moores University Liverpool. Gillian has a special interest in dark tourism and the human fascination with disaster sites.

Rory Duffy said,
‘A real understanding of science involves whole-life learning beyond the confines of the classroom so I am really looking forward to participating in this year’s Midlands Science Festival; which brings science out into the wider local community. Events like these provide unique opportunities to explore a whole range of subjects and themes with people of all ages, helping to improve public engagement and ideally leading to an increased uptake in STEM education courses. We need to really focus on supporting our young people in developing their core science and technology skills, both within and outside of the science lab. We need to work in collaboration with partners to raise awareness and encourage and influence participation in STEM and the annual Midlands Science Festival is an ideal way to increase our efforts to do this.’

Every year during Science Week and indeed throughout the rest of the year, the Midlands Science team endeavour to make science exciting for everyone by featuring lively, high profile talks, hands-on activities and fascinating demonstrations where the extraordinary properties of science, technology, engineering, and math collide!

You can find ways to join the conversation by checking www.midlandsscience.ie for details of events happening during Science Week 2019 across the region.

Exciting news from Coillte for Science Week!

Science Week Ireland is an annual week-long event in Ireland each November, celebrating #science in our everyday lives. The #scienceweek programme includes workshops, science shows, talks, laboratory demonstrations, science walks and other science-related events. Science Week 2019 will focus on #climateaction, seeking to help people understand #climatechange, how science and #technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change.

Coillte has kindly donated thousands of #trees to Science Foundation Ireland to be planted during Science Week as part of this year’s Climate Action theme. The trees are a mix of native sapling trees.

• Pedunculate Oak
• Red Oak
• Silver Birch
• Common Birch
• Beech
• Common Alder
• Sycamore
• Grey Willow

As part of the Midlands Science Festival, we will have 1,000 of these #free saplings to give away in advance of Science Week. They must be collected from one central location which we will circulate shortly. If you wish to register your interest in collecting some trees, please email jgorman@midlandsscience.ie. All are welcome to register and applications are particularly welcome from community groups, schools etc who may be able to undertake the planting of a number of trees in various locations around the #midlands #believeinscience

Myth Busting Cancer event in Tullamore

Local development company, Midlands Science are delighted to announce a public event which will take place during this year’s annual Midlands Science Festival. At this free event, Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research with the Irish Cancer Society and Dr Craig Slattery, Asst Professor of Toxicology & Regulatory Affairs at UCD will explore how citizens and patients can become more fully informed about cancer causes and cures, whilst also debunking some persistent myths around cancer causes and treatments. Questions and discussion with the audience will be a big part of the event which will take place in Offaly County Library, Tullamore on November 15th at 4:00pm.

Dr. Craig Slattery, Chairperson of Midlands Science said,

‘There are many persistent myths and half-truths around cancer causes, or about possible cures that might be available. These ideas are often presented attractively and can spread through social media and other media channels. But false information about cancer can lead to unnecessary anxiety among the public, and can interfere with patients making truly informed decisions about their cancer treatment. By highlighting some of these issues, the general public can be empowered to make better choices around their own health and treatment options. We are delighted to deliver this event in conjunction with the Irish Cancer Society, and invite members of the public, young and old, to come along for what’s sure to be an interesting and informative afternoon.’

The Midlands Science Festival brings science, technology, engineering, and maths to an audience of all ages every year through demonstrations, talks, performances and debates. Events promoting science are central to ensuring that critical thinking is encouraged and this is essential in a developing a society where science sits firmly and securely promoting the wellness of its citizens. A key goal of the festival’s events team is to provide useful and informative discussion during a week that is also jam packed with fun, engaging workshops and performances for the younger folk.

Dr. Robert O’ Connor, Irish Cancer society commented,

‘We are pleased to work in collaboration with as many national and regional organisations as possible in order to help educate and inform the public and bust some popular myths around cancer. We also want to expand our outreach into communities and inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science. Schools, parents and corporate leaders must work together to find innovative ways to ignite curiosity and nourish a passion for STEM in young people. We are delighted to team up with Midlands Science and UCD for this event which is part of an overall festival which encourages people of all ages to learn more about science and the research that we so critically need for the future of our society.’

Maths Week 2019 in the Midlands

We had a great session on #careers involving #maths in #longford yesterday and today we are in #offaly and #westmeath. Cpl provided an independent and comprehensive overview of careers involving maths with a particular focus on software development all this week across the midlands and it’s great to be working with Ireland’s leading recruitment company and getting such an engaged response from students of all ages.