Bake your way to the future with British Council Ireland

British Council Ireland is delighted to bring ‘Baking in Space – Bake to the Future’ to Science Week Ireland 2020, working with Midlands, Limerick and Wexford Science Festivals, and inviting audiences from across Ireland and the UK to join in the fun. We are thrilled to be featuring this event as part of our Midlands Science Festival 2020 programme. With lots of live demonstrations, tasting and audience interaction, your curiosity will be whisked, stirred, and taken out of this world…

We caught up with Programme Manager, Aysylu Mutigullina to find out more..

Space champion, Dr. Niamh Shaw, Great British Bake-Off finalist, Andrew Smyth, along with special guests including Britain’s first Astronaut, Helen Sharman, will bring you on a journey from Earth to the Moon and back, with demos and bakes directly to your kitchens! Liz, tell us how people in the Midlands can get involved?

First of all, we would love to see everyone at our online show! The tickets are free for all, and there is a special gift for the first 100 early birds, kindly supported by Yakult. But there is more: together with The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, Dublin we have developed a ‘Bake to the Future’ activity booklet for children and their adults. It’s full of interesting facts about the Earth and Space, games and DIY creations, as well as delicious ‘spacey’ recipes for the whole family to try out! And, of course, in this digital world, in the run-up to the shows we have prepared some fun online challenges for those in for a bit of a play, and a ‘Honeycomb Moon’ baking competition.  Entrants could win some great prizes and even feature in one of our shows! All winners will be revealed on our social media – make sure you follow #BakingInSpace to see them!

We have all been forced to adapt to new ways of living and doing things whilst in lockdown and as the Covid19 crisis continues. What kinds of related topics and experiments will be covered in the Baking in Space event?

The pandemic restrictions have reawakened a passion for baking in many of us (particularly for banana bread!) and we’ll maybe look at the psychology behind that. Covid-19 has also piqued people’s interest in science and raised awareness of the importance of scientific study and being curious about how our world works. In the show, we’ll explore our planet in lockdown, how we have learned to adapt and the parallels between living in space and living during COVID. Another topic which reflects the whole Science Week programme this year is our shared future, and we’ll look at how lessons learned from human space exploration can help shape our futures on Earth – sustainability, future foods etc.

Baking in Space is kindly supported by Yakult which is itself boldly going into space for experiments with astronauts on the International Space Station. As this is Science Week, can you tell us a bit about their mission to study the influence of Yakult’s bacteria on the human body?

Science is at the heart of Yakult, and we’re delighted that, as in previous years, the company is supporting our Baking in Space programme. Yakult was founded 85 years ago by the Japanese scientist Dr Shirota, who in the 1930s selected and cultivated L. casei Shirota, a unique strain of bacteria that is scientifically proven to reach the gut alive. Every little bottle of Yakult contains at least 20 billion L. casei Shirota. Now, Yakult is boldly going into space for experiments with astronauts on the International Space Station in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration agency (JAXA). Their mission is to study the influence of Yakult’s bacteria on the human body. In outer space, bacteria levels in the body are believed to change. This is a challenge which needs to be researched for extended future space travel. Yakult has developed a technology to freeze-dry their live bacteria and keep them in capsules at ordinary temperatures for as long as nine months. Crew members of the ISS are consuming these capsules of L.casei Shirota to provide the answers!

The British Council works with the brightest new talent in science communications and engaging the public directly with scientific subjects that affect our society, supporting best practice in STEM/STEAM education for the development of future scientists, and helping researchers in showcasing their work internationally. Why is it important for the British Council to get involved with events such as the Midlands Science Festival?

At the British Council we believe that, as the world grapples with the COVID-19 and other global challenges, the importance of clear and engaging communication about scientific subjects is more important than ever, and Science Week Ireland is a brilliant platform to do just that.  ‘Baking in Space – Bake to the Future’ is a fun and interactive show for the whole family to enjoy, but it does explore how science and space science in particular can help build a better future for our planet and society. We are so pleased to be able to work with Andrew Smyth and Dr Niamh Shaw again and bring the show to homes across Ireland. Andrew and Niamh’s unique blend of baking, engineering and space is for everyone who is even the tiniest bit curious about science.  We are especially delighted that Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, will join the webcast this year and share her experience of life and food in space.

#bakingInSpace @britishcouncil ireland  @Niamh Shaw @cakesmyth @EuropeanSpaceAgency@curiouskim1 @ScienceWeekIreland @TheArkDublin @ScienceFoundationIreland @YakultUKIE @FameLab

 

 

Exploring the Science of Resilience in Uncertain Times

The term self-care is something that we have been increasingly hearing over the past six months as people come to terms with the Covid19 crisis. We are learning that it’s so important to make sure we look after our bodies and our minds every day but we also know that it can be hard to find the time for this when life is so busy and stressful. Midlands Science is delighted to present another unique, online public talk for Science Week 2020 which takes place this November. This event sees us delving into the world of the science of resilience and self-care with Dr. Craig Slattery, Midlands Science Chairperson who will interview Irish Psychologist & Psychotherapist, Dr Andrew Magee, who works closely with health service and the civil service staff on their mental and psychological well-being.

When asked about what kind of long-term effect that this Covid19 situation might have on people, Dr. Magee said,

‘We can equate this period of abrupt isolation to the Blitz in London during World War II in the sense that we know for sure this is a period of time which people will always remember aspects of. Many people are acting from fear at the moment, some are choosing not to even believe that the pandemic is happening. There is no doubt it will leave a mark. It will be recorded in history books and there is definitely a significant risk to our mental health not only because of the isolation and the uncertainty during this period of time but also for economic reasons and worries about the future.’

Self-care isn’t a way of preventing mental health problems but it is a practice of taking the time to look after ourselves in a kind and compassionate, which is great for staying psychologically healthy. There is a huge perception that self-care is selfish or self-indulgent or that it is seen as a reward, but it should not be viewed in terms of something we deserve or don’t deserve.

Dr Magee continued,

‘Resilience is something which has been commercialised in recent years. Resilience is all about a persons’ ability to function well despite very difficult experiences happening at the same time. It is not just about being a magic solution to bouncing back to normal after something negative happens. Resilience takes time and happens in small increments. The psychological aspects of resilience and self-care are closely linked as without that compassion for yourself, resilience struggles to emerge. Self-care allows us those critical rest periods in order to become more resilient.’

Midlands Science has been working with science communication experts and specialist professionals to create new science shows, informative talks and other online learning resources and running them online since the start of the Covid19 pandemic and this interview is part of a series of public events which will hopefully appeal to a large audience during these very different times.

Dr. Craig Slattery said,

‘Daily life has changed so abruptly and this is a time of massive challenge for people. This interview looks at how the pandemic and the associated uncertainty is impacting and weighing heavily upon people, how we are responding to the evolving crisis as individuals, the various phases and how it is affecting future plans and day to day commitments. Please join us online for this timely event, which explores not only the topic of resilience, but also the differences between psychology and psychotherapy and much more. It takes place during this year’s Midlands Science Festival and will be available online from November 7th and throughout Science Week 2020.’

Google workshops a great success!

We were delighted to run a number of Google CS first taster workshops again during this year’s festival across the region and these workshops were based on real world themes aiming to engage students of varying interests – Storytelling, Fashion & Design, Sports, Animation , Art, Music & Sound, Game Design, Friends and Social Media. With the help of their teachers, students availed of the google online CS Education to develop their Computer Science skills.

Claire Conneely of Google’s Computer Science Education team (EMEA) said,

‘Google is pleased to once again collaborate with Midlands Science to provide computer science outreach for young people during Science Week 2019. Cultivating a future workforce that is ready for the fast pace and many changing faces of technology today requires a commitment from businesses in this industry to help prepare the next generation with the right technical skills, to get them excited about Computer Science and encourage more young people to pursue a career in this field.’

Superhero Science for Laois!

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald visited Portlaoise branch library this week and we were delighted to have him back for this years science festival where he delivered ‘secrets of superhero science’ workshops to Laois pupils .

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald is a superhero scientist, speaker, author, and enthusiastic science communicator. His research interests include particle processing, responsible innovation, science education, scientific outreach and communication, and superhero science. For the latter, Barry aims to identify the science and technology of today that could lead to superpowers tomorrow.

Barry is the author of the popular science books “Secrets of Superhero Science” and “Secret Science of Santa Claus”. His latest book “How to Build an Iron Man Suit” is out from October 2019.

Barry said, ‘I first presented workshops as part of Science Week in 2015 and am delighted to be back in the Midlands to celebrate science again this year. Several science themed events will take place around the country this November, providing a wonderful opportunity to explore and learn about the world of science and technology that surrounds us and there really is something for people of all ages. It is a really valuable platform for researchers and those working in scientific communication to encourage the next generation to consider science as a subject and future career option and an opportunity to inspire young people to engage with science in a fun and exciting way. ‘

Camross Parish working for Climate action

As part of national Science Week which has a theme of Climate Action this year,  Camross Parish Development Association planted a number of trees on November 15th at noon  in their New Village Park in the Slieve Bloom Mountains near Mountrath.

The theme of this year’s Science Week is 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. 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 mixture of native saplings.

Ger Buckley, Establishment Managervof Coillte commented; ”Coillte while operating commercially and sustaining many rural jobs nationally also recognises the key role that all its woodlands both Conifer and Broadleaf have in Climate action. As such we currently manage up to 20% of our Forest estate with the primary objective of Biodiversity enhancement”.

Johanna Mc Donald Steenkist from Camross Parish Development Association commented ; “Trees and woodlands make a positive contribution to an area’s biodiversity and landscape, providing a habitat for wildlife and a place of recreation and relaxation for those who live in the area. We are delighted to part of this national tree planting initiative with Laois Heritage Office and Midlands Science and to plant so many trees in our new community woodland site in our Village Park during national Science Week.”

The village of Camross nestles close to Ard Erin-the highest peak in the Slieve Bloom Mountains and its name in Irish actually means ” Crooked Wood” ! In fact, research by Helen Roe, the first County Librarian in Laois in 1932 speaks to the enduring association of trees to the Camross area in its evocative place names – Marsh of the Elder Tree, Field of the Wood, Rough Oakwood and Oakwood of the Freeman.

 

Science of Chernobyl comes to Athlone…

We hosted a packed event earlier this week in  Athlone Library which explored 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. We were delighted to see so much interest in this fascinating topic which was another reminder that science really is all around us.

Science teacher, writer and birdwatcher Rory Duffy explored the science of Chernobyl and his recent visit to the site. The discussion was moderated by toxicologist, Dr Craig Slattery of UCD and was 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.

 

#believeinscience #stem #scienceweek

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.

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

Please bear with us!

A whole range of exciting science of events are currently uploading to our website over the coming days. Some events across the region are already booked out with waiting lists, more will be coming online. We look forward to seeing you during #scienceweek.

Don’t forget though we do free school workshops all year around so contact us for an expression of interest form and we’ll come to you!

Plans taking shape for Science Week 2019!

It may only be August but the weeks are flying past and we are nearly there with our 2019 #scienceweek programme. We cant wait to share it with you!

Dr Mindflip, Exploration Dome, Virtual Reality Gaming, Reptiles, Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, Star Wars, Turing Tumbles, Google Coding, National Museum of Ireland Outreach, Bog Bodies, Cancer Causes & Cures Myth Busting, Seven Ways To Save The Planet, Rediscovery Centre, Book Club, Science Knitting, Quiet Science (ASD appropriate), Chernobyl, Dinosaurs, Rockets, Electricity, Family Fun Day, Life Sciences Careers and much more.

Full programme will be online from October with booking links. #believeinscience