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 in to 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 cura tor 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 in to 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.
pho to: 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, Direc tor 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 in to 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 s torm 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 Naugh ton 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 in to science for the first time to participate in activities and live performances by science explorers, communica tors 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 in to 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 in to 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.’

 

 

 

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

Midlands Science Festival Goes Virtual

For the first time in its eight-year his tory, 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 communica tors, 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 in to 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 in to 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 in to 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, Direc tor 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 in to 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 fac tors 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!’

 

 

Pho tos: 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

Marty Jopson Show a Huge Success!

We were thrilled to have science performer and BBC One Show’s resident scientist, Marty Jopson partaking in this year’s Midlands Science Festival this week in Co. Laois. Marty presented to a large audience of pupils from Clonaslee Community College and the surrounding primary schools and was an as tounding success.

Marty said,

‘Science is not an optional extra in our 21st century society as pretty much everything around us has a basis in science or engineering. My job and the work of other presenters at the Midland Science Festival is to enthuse the public and give them a look in to that science, since if you don’t understand what its all about how can you really participate in our modern democratic society? That’s the serious answer, but really its all about fun. Science is just cool and interesting and that is generally what drives me to do what I do.’

Whirling in to Wednesday!!

It’s Wednesday so it’s the science of water with Waterways Ireland, Life sciences career talks, distributing 1000 trees and the fantastic Science of Harry Potter workshops. There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don’t expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making !! #science #scienceweek #believeinsciende

Teamwork Tuesday!

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

It really is all go today across the Midlands for Science Week today! We are starting out in Tullamore for a careers talk with Jazz Pharma before heading to the library for our spectacular Foodoppi shows! Then we go across to the students in Tullamore College for some climate change science and we are really excited about that!

There is plenty happening in Laois also with Marty Jopsons ‘Invisible worlds’ show and ‘The Secrets of superhero science’ is also taking place today..Moving down to Longford we have Mary Wards’ World of Wonder;  an inter-active workshop with artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway exploring the life and legacy of Mary Ward, one of Ireland’s first female scientists.  And in Athlone, we ‘Travel to Chernobyl’ for a unique event which will explore the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986.

#stem #believeinscience #science week