Science Week 2021 Success!

Midlands Science was delighted to recently present a full week of free interactive science and exploration as part of national Science Week. With plenty of virtual events ranging from entertaining animal workshops with Dublin Zoo and the National Reptile Zoo to informative public talks on subjects such as ‘Joint Health’ and the ‘Science of Chocolate.’ It was therefore no surprise that thousands of people attended this year. Most events were all held on a digital platform this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but the positive part of that was that more people from all over Ireland and not just the Midlands, were able to access activities than ever before.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival commented,

‘I’m delighted at the success of our ninth Midlands Science Festival, which as promised was event bigger and better than the one we ran last year during Covid19 times. It was wonderful to see so many schools registering for workshops which all pupils could access, as previously these events may only been available for a few classes. Organising such a largescale event online is certainly a challenge, but one we have really enjoyed and I wish to thank Science Foundation Ireland, all of our partners, speakers, performers and sponsors once again for making this all possible.’

It was great to see audience of all ages, ranging from school pupils and teenagers to highly respected science experts, communicators participating this year. The festival is a fantastic way to really capture the imagination and show people that science can be fun. A large number of Midlands students also had the opportunity to avail of some high-level careers advice from companies such as 3M, Irish Manufacturing Research, Cpl Recruitment, Accenture, IPCC, The Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland and many others this Science Week.

Royal Society of Chemistry Education Coordinator, Ireland Dr John O Donoghue, spoke about the online event exploring ‘Sugar and spice and everything science – the Science of chocolate’ where scientists Christine Campbell and Craig Slattery explored everything from why we like the taste of some chocolates more than others to creating the perfect chocolate sauce. This event which was a huge hit with schools and families alike during Science Week.

Dr John O Donoghue said,

“It’s fantastic to see more chemistry during science week, especially something so accessible to lots of different audiences like the Science of Chocolate. The video is very professional and engaging, we’d love to see more initiatives like this in the future!

Midlands Science was also delighted to partner with Bord na Móna for this year’s festival in providing a guided walk and talk at Lough Boora Discovery Park in Co. Offaly. At this event, Bord na Móna safely hosted a number of young pupils from Kilcormac and provided an overview of the ecological, environmental and cultural value of raised bogs while also focusing on the biodiversity features of interest available at the Lough Bora Discovery Park.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘We have been overwhelmed by the level of goodwill from local media, our providers and many other organisations and individuals throughout the region. The large public turnout shows the appetite for this type of online event and after another successful year, we can hopefully look forward to bringing the Midlands Science Festival back to this region again.’

The virtual Discovery Day which was supported by Integra LifeSciences drew an audience of thousands of young people nationwide and included the Exploration Dome, the Reptile Zoo, Anyone 4 Science, Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Anyone4Science and more. People of all ages had the opportunity to explore the night’s sky and learn about the science is Superheroes as well as meeting some very interesting reptiles and dinosaurs and this was all done online. Science Week is a wonderful opportunity for young science enthusiasts and their families to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology.

Sinead Harten of Boher School in Co. Offaly said,

‘We were delighted to work with Midlands Science to ensure that our pupils had the opportunity to avail of events for Science Week and this has been a real treat for them after this past year and a half. It is extremely important that schools provide as many young people as possible with inspiring experiences of science and to encourage them to consider science as a subject choice when they are older. The workshops that are run by Midlands Science extend our pupils’ understanding of day to day science but also provide an opportunity for creativity and learning which is what science should be all about, especially for younger children.’

 

 

 

Celebrating the Diversity of Science

We were delighted to receive so many of your photos during Science Week. They really showcased just how wide and varied science actually is and it is wonderful to see that despite most of this year’s events remaining online, students from all over the Midlands and beyond still got to celebrate and explore science in a myriad of ways! We still have more to come with experiments from Anyone4Science, Career talks, Dinosaur science, Marine life exploration and lots more this Science Week!

One teacher commented,

‘ Science is a very important subject in our school and we are always looking for fun and interactive ways to bring science to life for the pupils here. Through working with Midlands Science to host these workshops in school, we hope to foster an interest in science and technology at an early age so that when it comes to picking subjects in the later years, the children will know that science is multi-faceted and such a big part of daily life. We would like to thank Midlands Science for continuing to provide plenty of fun activities online during these challenging Covid19 times and we look forward to more science fun in the future.’

 

 

I Like to Move It!

‘I Like to Move it’ is a unique online event exploring the science of joint health with Angela Camon, advanced rheumatology nurse practitioner and Dr Craig Slattery of UCD.

This event will explore everything from the science of arthritis to the science of pain management and is part of national Science Week, supported by Science Foundation Ireland.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman commented,

‘According to statistics published by Arthritis Ireland, one million people in Ireland, including many children, are living with arthritis. There is therefore a very strong chance that we all personally know other people who are suffering with this condition. Unfortunately, there is so much more to arthritis than just the actual joint pain itself. People of all ages are also struggling with managing the associated fatigue, stiffness, inflammation and the effects that joint pain can have on their mental health.’

Society is also undoubtedly affected by arthritis, which is often classed as an invisible disease and is the cause of many people being unable to attend work due to ongoing pain issues. However, with the right quality of care, advice, understanding and in some cases, lifestyle changes, many people are more in control of the effects of arthritis and can still lead full lives.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘Everyday tasks can become frustratingly difficult for people with arthritis. We hope that this event, which will explore ways to better manage your joint health will help people who are living with pain and we look forward to hearing from advanced rheumatology nurse practitioner, Angela Camon, on how people can take an active role in their pain management for a better day to day quality of life.’

In Conversation with Dr. Barry Fitzgerald – Midlands Science Festival Curator

Barry W. Fitzgerald, BW Science, author of Secret Science of Santa Claus & Secrets of Superhero Science.
photo: Bart van Overbeeke

We were delighted to recently catch up with Dr. Barry Fitzgerald in advance of the upcoming Midlands Science Festival to chat about his role as festival curator. Barry has been providing innovative workshops for the festival for the past few years and this year, he has played a big part in co-curating the week-long event..

Can you tell us about your role in co-curating this years’ Midlands Science festival Barry..In what way does your experience add value as a science festival curator? 

When I was asked to co-curate the Midlands Science Week Festival for 2021, I jumped at the opportunity.

Since 2015, I’ve been presenting workshops at schools and science festivals for Science Week Ireland. It’s one of my busiest weeks, and a great opportunity to meet so many students, teachers, and members of the general public.

When I meet these audiences, I have two main aims; to share inspiring stories about incredible scientific research, and to listen. After an event, I thoroughly enjoy chatting with audiences about their hopes, their dreams, and their thoughts about science and what it means to their lives.

These conversations provide me with ideas for content for subsequent events and workshops, but as I traditionally work alone when it comes to science communication events, it’s difficult to follow through with all of these ideas.

Co-curating the Midlands Science Week Festival 2021 is the ideal platform for me to complement the already outstanding line-up of the annual program with new events and formats that have been inspired by my previous Science Week experiences.

 

What can viewers expect to encounter when the festival launches on 6th November? 

The festival has something for everyone. It all begins with the Open Day on Saturday November 6th with a stimulating program featuring dinosaurs, superheroes, galaxies, and lots more.

Then starting on Monday November 8th we’ve got a dedicated school program in conjunction to evening events for all tastes.

We’ve got a great animated series “The Wonders of the Body” that will profile some of the organs of the human body. Then there’s the “Science of Running”, an event that I’ll be hosting with very special guest – Keith Whyte, the Irish record holder for the 100 km ultramarathon. And in a talk related to the running event and running health, we’ve got the event “I Like To Move It” that will explore the science of joint health.

And there’s so much more. There’s “the Science of WandaVision” – the popular MCU superhero series that captivated audiences at the start of this year, there’s an event about flooding science, and we’re also going to exploring the science of chocolate. Unfortunately, we won’t be giving out free chocolate samples with the last talk, which is a pity – I was hoping to get some myself!

It’s a week of inspiring talks with science very much at the foundation of all events, and what’s great is that there is so much diversity in the science covered in the events. Get ready to learn. Get ready to be inspired. Get ready for science!

How have preparations for this year’s festival been impacted by COVID-19?

 Of course, COVID-19 has impacted preparations for this year’s festival. With the virus still very much present in society, we had to ensure that the program delivered enthralling science, while at the same time keeping the wellbeing and health of our audiences as the highest priority.

As a result, all events will take place online, either live or via pre-recorded videos that will premiere at specific times during the week.

Science has played a key role in helping to manage and contain the spread of the virus, and with the emergence of vaccinations we now have the medical tools to protect society at large.

It is disappointing that we won’t have live events this year, but thanks to science we are moving in the right direction. All going well, there will be live events as part of next year’s festival.

What are the benefits and challenge of running a festival of this nature online?

Over the past year, I’ve built up considerable experience with regards to presenting online. For example, for last year’s Science Week festival, I set up a home studio and presented all of my talks from my living room.

In my case, I have discovered that certain content works well online, better than it would for traditional in-person presentations.

In my opinion, the online environment allows demonstrators to be more dynamic with regards to how they present their content. For example, pre-recorded videos can be scripted, and you can also take your time with regards to putting the video together. When presenting online live, it’s possible to have all of your materials within easy reach, which means that you don’t have to move large cases of equipment and spend time setting up intricate experiments on site.

However, with the festival being online there are two main drawbacks. First, with a live event you are at the mercy of technology and internet connections. If the connection goes down then it could interrupt. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that isn’t the case of the festival!

A second drawback is the change in audience interaction. One of the exciting parts of any festival is meeting the audience and engaging in conversation with them during and after an event. Nevertheless, we’ll be doing our best to replicate this for the online festival. For instance, for “The Science of Running” we’ve asked the audience to send their running data in advance of the talk so that they are not just part of the audience, they are also part of the presentation themselves. Their content will create content for the presentation – it’s part of a citizen science approach. And many online platforms offer unique ways to interact with the audience such as chat functionalities. So while the live audience won’t be there, we’ll be using the technological facilities at our disposal to replicate to the best of our ability.

 

What are you most excited about in relation to this year’s events and what can people look forward to?

The Science Week 2021 program at Midlands Science is perhaps the best Science Week program yet. We’ve got content for all ages and all scientific tastes.

Personally speaking, I’m really looking forward to presenting my talks on “the Science of WandaVision” and “the Science of Running”.

But I’m a real fan of chocolate, so I’m really looking forward to “the Science of Chocolate”. Fingers crossed the recommendation is that we should eat chocolate every day – although sometime tells me that it won’t be the case!

And then there’s the brilliant animated video series “The Wonders of the Body” which will profile a number of organs in the human body. Be sure to check that out!

Finally, there’s the Discovery Day where there’ll be talks on a whole host of topics such as astronomy, superheroes, rocket physics, and dinosaurs. That promises to be a day of exciting scientific learning!

 

What else is on the horizon for you in the world of science and technology promotion?

Science Week is one of the busiest times of the year for me. In addition to curating and presenting as part of the Science Week festival for Midlands Science, I’ll also be speaking at other schools and other festival events.

At the moment I’m super-busy with a number of projects. I’m working on a new book, which I hope will be finished by the end of the year. You won’t be surprised to hear that it has a superhero connection, and it’s a book that will take a look at another side of superheroes. The book is due to come out in 2022.

In addition, I recently started a YouTube channel – The Superhero Scientist. I’ll be making lots more content for the channel over the coming weeks and months. Of course, if you have an idea for a video, be sure to let me know. I’m always happy to make videos based on recommendations from viewers.

2022 is already looking like it’ll be a busy year with lots of superhero science activities on the horizon. I’m also developing training programs for would-be science communicators, so if you’re looking for further information, be sure to let me know. I’ll also be giving talks on topics other than superheroes over the course of the year, and topics related to various topics in science and engineering. And along with Midlands Science, we have some interesting and exciting plans for next year – so watch this space!

From Chocolate Science to Ultra Running at the Midlands Science Festival  

How do we taste things, how can chocolate affect our brain and why do we like sweetness? Find out at this year’s Midlands Science Festival which will be taking place online again this November and events are open for booking on the festival website. The Midlands Science team has worked hard to ensure there is something for everyone again this year and will look at a range of issues from how we can all improve our joint health to an exploration of biodiversity in Ireland, an animated series exploring the science of our bodies and digging deep into earth science and geology.

We will also be looking at ‘sugar and spice and everything science’ in a unique event exploring the Science of Chocolate which is kindly sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  Join Christine Campbell of Anyone4Science and Dr Craig Slattery of UCD and discover why we like creamier chocolate, how chocolate is processed from bean to bar and what it can do to your brain!

Secondary school students will also have the chance to take part in a wide range of career focused events and workshops specially developed for Science Week in the midlands and there will be a strong focus on the contribution that research in the midlands is making in the region, creating a better future for everyone.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘We will be bringing plenty of fun, interactive events to schools and exploring a range of exciting science topics at our virtual Discovery Day. We also have some brand new offerings for this year including a very special fast-paced event with Ultra-runner Keith Whyte who runs 100KM in his marathons and will be exploring the science of running, including the impact of running on the human body. This event will include analysis of data from all levels of athletes from all over the Midlands!  Supported by Science Foundation Ireland and a number of partners, this year is the ninth year of the festival. The guest curator for this year’s festival is Dr Barry Fitzgerald of Eindhoven University of Technology and Barry will be providing a number of events this year including the ever popular Superhero Science.’

This year’s festival also sees the festival’s continued partnership with the National Museum of Ireland, providing a continued insight into how science helps us to understand our heritage and where we live. The Midlands Science Festival Book Club for adult and younger readers is back this year as well and we will also be bringing science through classic sitcom in a unique exploration of the science of Wandavision!

Midlands Science Present Virtual Discovery Day with Integra

 

The Midlands Science Festival, which begins on November 6th with a virtual Discovery Day, celebrates the world of science with imaginative programming that is bursting with lively interviews and career talks, film productions, hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations for people of all ages.

John O’Donovan, Plant Manager, Integra LifeSciences Tullamore commented,

“Encouraging more young people to enjoy and pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education is very close to our hearts at Integra LifeSciences. We are proud to be working with Midlands Science this year once again for their annual Discovery Day to help spread messages about the importance of STEM. The events that Midlands Science run all year round encourage pupils to think like scientists and make the science subjects more meaningful and accessible. The Midlands Science Festival plays a key role in starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and the hope is that this inspires our local students to explore careers in these areas.”

Each year, Science Week offers workshops and events which span a diverse range of subjects that encompass science in the broadest sense, promising something for everyone.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘As an organisation, we took the decision to keep our festival on a virtual platform once more for 2021 because while some of our audiences may be ready to revert to hosting events in-person, others are not. Our Festival aims to connect people with scientists, engineers, and technologists and we managed to successfully do that online last year with plenty of engaging activities for adults and young people to enjoy. This year will follow a similar pattern beginning with our Discovery Day, which is kindly supported by local medical device company, Integra Lifesciences. This will be aired on November 6th and will feature a range of fun and exciting activities such as the Reptile Zoo, Exploration Dome and Superhero Science. This event is free of charge but must be pre-booked via our website.’

Virtual Midlands Science Festival Returns this November

Barry W. Fitzgerald, BW Science, author of Secret Science of Santa Claus & Secrets of Superhero Science.
photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Preparations are well underway for this year’s Midlands Science Festival which takes place online again this year as part of national Science Week 2021. This year’s Science Week, which is managed by Science Foundation Ireland is focused on Creating Our Future, the national conversation on research in Ireland.

The Midlands Science Festival, which begins on November 6th with a virtual Discovery Day, celebrates the world of science with imaginative programming that is bursting with lively interviews and career talks, film productions, hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations for people of all ages.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘As an organisation, we took the decision to keep our festival on a virtual platform once more for 2021 because while some of our audiences may be ready to revert to hosting events in-person, others are not. Our Festival aims to connect people with scientists, engineers, and technologists and we managed to successfully do that online last year with plenty of engaging activities for adults and young people to enjoy. This year will follow a similar pattern beginning with our Discovery Day, which is kindly supported by local medical device company, Integra Lifesciences. This will be aired on November 6th and will feature a range of fun and exciting activities such as the Reptile Zoo, Exploration Dome and Superhero Science. This event is free of charge but must be pre-booked via our website.’

 

The Midlands Science Festival encourages collaboration and once again this year, Midlands Science will be partnering with organisations such as the National Museum of Ireland to demonstrate that important connection between science, culture and the arts. The week-long programme will also feature events  with Dublin Zoo, sea-life exploration with Marine Dimensions, lively experiments with Anyone4Science and much more! It a wonderful opportunity for science enthusiasts to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology.

Welcoming the announcement of the Midlands Science Festival, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, said:

“We are delighted to be organising the 26th Science Week with the theme Creating Our Future. As Ireland’s biggest week of the year in terms of engaging the public in all things science, we aim to ignite and facilitate a discussion around the future we want and the role science can play in creating that future. With our partners we are excited to deliver a fantastic variety of virtual and in-person events to the public, so there are opportunities to discover, create, and engage with science wherever you are.

“As the government’s Creating our Future campaign culminates shortly after science week, we would encourage everyone that engages with Science Week to visit the creatingourfuture.ie website to submit their thoughts and ideas on the scientific research they believe should be carried out to create a better, shared future. This Midlands Science Festival will provide an opportunity for the public attend events and discussions that I hope will inspire ideas for future research.”

Each year, this festival offers workshops and events which span a diverse range of subjects that encompass science in the broadest sense, promising something for everyone.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘We are delighted through support from Science Foundation Ireland and a number of key partnerships to be bringing a number of stimulating science events to the Midlands this November. All things science will be explored through shows, demonstrations and interviews to advance our understanding and appreciation of everything from chocolate to star-gazing. We will also be delving into a range of relatable public issues from the importance of joint health, to ecology and environmental concerns like flooding. Science can help us understand what is happening around us and also provides us with information to make different choices in the future. We hope that people will take the opportunity to virtually attend some of the events which we have programmed for this year, they all feature world class experts who are passionate about science and they love to share that passion with others.’

Throughout Science Week there will be a variety of ways for you to get involved through events, social media and much more. Please check our website for details which will be updated soon www.midlandsscience.ie and you can also use and follow #CreatingOurFuture and #ScienceWeek online.

Further details about Midlands Science can be found on www.midlandsscience.ie and it can be found also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Midlands Science is also encouraging everyone this year to take part in Ireland’s biggest brain storm by visiting www.creatingourfuture.ie, where you can submit your ideas for things you’d like researchers in Ireland to work on.

 

NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:

Midlands Science is a not-for-profit company which develops and delivers innovative STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] outreach programmes and events in the Midlands counties of Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath. They provide opportunities for people of all ages to explore and discuss issues of scientific interest, recognising that science is a unique and valuable part of our culture and society.  These opportunities include school outreach, public events, a regional science festival, capacity building for others doing STEM outreach and a range of special projects. All activities are provided free of charge to participants. The organisation is funded by Rethink Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, The Naughton Foundation, The Ireland Funds Private Donor Network and a wide range of corporate and philanthropic sources.

 

 

 

 

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.’

 

 

 

Midlands Science Festival Goes Virtual

For the first time in its eight-year history, the Midlands Science Festival will be accessible from November 8th – 15th as a week-long, immersive digital event as part of national Science Week. The core theme for Science Week 2020  which is now in its 25th year is ‘Science Week – Choosing our Future’ focusing on how science can improve our lives in the future and in the present. This year’s festival offering will enable schools, teachers, parents and people of all ages to get involved virtually and it will deliver engaging talks, interactive workshops and presentations in a whole new and innovative format. In a time of increasing unease, the Midlands Science Festival team is conscious 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.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

“ The theme this year will explore how science can help us to make positive choices that will impact the environment, our health, and our quality of life. We took the time to evaluate the situation as an organisation before deciding that a virtual festival really was the best way forward for Science Week 2020. It allows us to provide most of the events that we had already planned for our audiences, in a safe and secure manner.  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.”

The Midlands Science Festival will this year celebrate science in the Midlands in a number of different ways. Some of the key highlights will include an inspiring journey into Space with Dr. Niamh Shaw, informative public talks on the ‘Science of Resilience’ and the ‘Science of Skin’ which will be available online and we are also really looking forward to delving into the exciting world of Star Wars with Jon Chase. We are also delighted to be providing 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.

Dr. Craig Slattery, Midland Science Chairperson, commented,

“Sadly, we have seen highly influential public figures around the world openly attempt to undermine or discredit valid scientific information to service their own agendas.  Now, more so than ever, delivering authentic, exciting and informative public science events to the people of the Midlands, young and old, is of the utmost importance.  Under normal circumstances, Midlands Science would organise over 100 face-to-face events during the Midlands Science Festival with a combined audience of over 10,000 people each year. Naturally this year is going to be very different but we are confident that the enjoyment and inspiration on offer will not be!”

This year also includes an exploration into Viking Heritage with the National Museum of Ireland and a family Discovery Day, which will see the return of some of much-loved activities such Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Anyone 4 Science, the Exploration Dome, The Reptile Zoo, Ironman Engineering and Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience.

More information including the full schedule of events, speaker line-ups, and how to register will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

Some highlights from Athlone…

The opportunity to explore the science of Chernobyl in Athlone Library, space exploration at the Rocketeers Roadshow with Simon Watt and Harry Potter science were just some of the exciting experiences which took place in Westmeath during Science Week last week.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘We were delighted through support from Science Foundation Ireland and a number of key partnerships to bring a number of exciting science events to the Midlands again this year. We were delighted to again be working with partners such as the local heritage offices, companies, schools and libraries. Most of the event tickets were sold in advance so it was fantastic to witness the excitement that people anticipated. As Hermione Granger said “when in doubt, go to the library !” We hope that people enjoyed the events in their local area and we are already looking forward to an even bigger Science Week in the Midlands next year.’

The festival brings sciences out into the cultural mainstream in a more accessible, creative and impactful way. It was a wonderful opportunity for science enthusiasts to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology. The large public turnout again this year showed there is a great appetite for this type of regional educational event and one of the most encouraging factors was the diversity of the audiences attracted during the week.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘The Midlands Science Festival itself aims to engage and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to become leaders of tomorrow. It encourages experimentation and collaboration, inspiring students to solve real-world problems. We work to promote science throughout the year so keep an eye out for what we have coming next!’

 

 

Photos: Pupils from Athlone exploring the Science of Harry Potter with Anyone 4 Science in  Athlone Library during the annual Midlands Science Festival as part of Science Week 2019