Drug Abuse – Science, Society and Solutions Event in Tullamore

Dr Richie Maguire, Sean Kinsella, Dr Craig Slattery and Jackie Gorman at the Drugs of Abuse, Science, Society and Solutions event in Tullamore as part of the Midlands Science Festival.

A range of Science Week activities has been running in the midlands for the past week through the Midlands Science Festival. A topical, engaging and inspirational event took place in Tullamore last night [Thursday] exploring the science of drug abuse with a  focus on the linked topics of science, solution and solutions. With the Citizens Assembly on Drug Use currently underway in Ireland, this event was  a timely opportunity to learn more about the scientific and societal issues that drugs use raises.

The panel of speakers included Dr Richard Maguire, Principal Analyst, Medical Bureau of Road Safety and formerly of the National Drug Treatment Centre and Sean Kinsella, Health & Wellness Coach. Sean is an expert by experience and you can read more about his journey from addiction to a life of helping others through similar issues in various news articles online. The event was hosted by leading science communicator Dr Craig Slattery of UCD’s Conway Institute on behalf of Midlands Science.

The Midlands Science Festival is an initiative of Midlands Science and it is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and is a regional festival as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the people and world of the future.

There was a very engaged discussion with the audience at this event and people who attended were profoundly moved by the way in which Sean Kinsella shared his story of moving from homelessness and heroin addiction to a life now focussed on helping others with similar issues. It was clear that Sean believes that recovery is possible and that the narrative about drugs use needs to have more lived experience at the centre of discussions so as to have a real impact in making things better for everyone.  Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science commented ; “this event on drug abuse was a very engaged event with so many questions, comments and indeed experiences shared from the audience. I would like to thank all of our speakers Dr Richie Maguire, Dr Craig Slattery and Sean Kinsella who shared his expertise through experience to great effect. The discussions to be had in society about drug use need to be informed by science and also involved lived experience and we are delighted to have hosted this event in Tullamore as part of the Midlands Science Festival.” More information on Midlands Science is available on www.midlandsscience.ie

Seachtain náisiúnta na hEolaíochta i mBaile Átha Luain

Cillian Butler ag baint taitnimh as imeachtaí na Seachtaine Eolaíochta as Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Luain mar chuid den Midlands Science Festival.

Bhí ceardlann faoin eolaíocht ag Midlands Science i mBaile Átha Luain an tseachtain seo chaite. I nGaeilge a bhí an cheardlann agus bhí grúpa mór páistí i láthair.Is í Seachtain náisiúnta na hEolaíochta í – 12 go 19 Samhain 2023. Seachtain í seo chun an eolaíocht a cheiliúradh agus i mbliana is é an téama an duine. Tá claochlú déanta ar chruthaitheacht an duine, ar fhiosracht agus ar choincheapa an chaoi a mairimid, an chaoi a n-idirghníomhaíonn muid lena chéile, agus an caidreamh atá againn lenár bplainéad. Mhúnlaigh forbairtí dochreidte ár dtuiscint orainn féin agus ar ár ndomhan. Uaireanta mothaíonn sé go bhfuil athruithe as ár smacht, ó éigeandáil timpeallachta go dtí go mbíonn an teicneolaíocht ag dul i ngleic leo. Cad atá amach romhainn, agus cén ról a bheidh ag an eolaíocht chuige seo? Conas a mhúnlóidh na gníomhartha a ghlacfaimid anois ár n-eispéireas daonna comhchoiteann san fhadtéarma? I ndomhan éiginnte, tá cinnteacht amháin ann ó thalmhaíocht go AI, nach é an chaoi a mairimid inniu ná an chaoi a mairimid amach anseo.

Rinne na páistí roinnt turgnaimh, seo ceann le triail a bhaint as.

Lampaí  Laibhe – Tóg do lampa laibhe féin abhaile leat i ndiaidh na ceardlainne seo!

Am ag teastáil: 20 nóiméad.

Trealamh ag teastáil:

Próca gloine (le clúdach)

Uisce

Ola

Dathúchán bia

Treoracha:

Líon an próca gloine ¾ le huisce.

Cuir isteach 3-4 braoiníní dathúchán bia

Líon an chuid eile den phróca le hola

Cuir an clúdach ar an bpróca

Croith an lampa laibhe agus féach!

Conas a oibríonn sé?

Ar an gcéad dul síos fanann an ola ag barr an phróca toisc go bhfuil sé níos éadroime ná an t-uisce. Is féidir linn a rá freisin go bhfuil an t-uisce níos dlúithe ná an ola. Ní mheascann na leachtanna seo. Ní mhaith leis an ola an t-uisce. Níl na móilíní in ann meascadh lena chéile.

Dúirt Jackie Gorman “Bhí sé iontach an oiread sin páistí a fheiceáil ag glacadh páirte sa cheardlann seo. Is  seachtain iontach í Seachtain na hEolaíochta agus is iontach an rud é páistí a fheiceáil ag déanamh gníomhaíochtaí trí Ghaeilge.”

Tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ar www.midlandsscience.ie

Exploring the Science of Swimming in Lough Ree

Swimmers including 10 year old Amy Walsh from Athlone, enjoying a swim in Lough Ree as part of the Midlands Science Festival event Splash which explored the science of cold water swimming.

Exploring the Science of Swimming in Lough Ree

Almost 100 brave swimmers dived into a cold Lough Ree on Sunday morning with the water temperature registering a chilly 8 degrees and it was all in the name of Science Week !! The swim and talk that followed was all part of an event called “Splash – Dive Into the Science of Wellness”, as part of the Midlands Science Festival.

The Festival is supported by Science Foundation Ireland as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the people and world of the future.

The swimmers returned to the Hudson Bay Hotel for hot food and refreshments and then took part in a discussion with Nuala Moore. She is the holder of two Guinness World Records for Extreme Cold Water Swimming and she took participants through her journey of swimming which took her from swims in Dingle to swimming in the Bering Strait and around Cape Horn. Following her presentation, there was a discussion on cold water swimming, the science of this activity and the health benefits it can promote. As Westmeath now has a large open water swimming community, participants included members of local open water swimming groups such as the Westmeath Noels and Nualas and the Westmeath Orcas. Nuala has swum in some of the most dangerous, remote and coldest waters in the world including Drake’s Passage. Her biography “Limitless” was recently published by Gill Books.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science commented ; “open water and cold water swimming has become extremely popular in Ireland over the past number of years and science helps to understand both how to care for ourselves in this activity and also the health benefits that the activity can provide. It was an honour to welcome a swimmer such as Nuala Moore to the midlands, she has achieved so much and is an inspiration to us all. She inspires us to think outside of the limitations we may set for ourselves.”

The event was part of the Midlands Science Festival and a range of activities are running across the midlands region until November 20th. More details can be found on www.midlandsscience.ie

Sing Up for Science in Tullamore

Tullamore Library was alive with sound of music last night as it hosted a special concert for the Midlands Science Festival. Sing Up For Science was a unique concert with Bohemian Strings and Dr Claire O’Connell. The concert took the audience through a variety of classical and pop favourites and also included a rapid name that tune game with a few seconds of a tune played for the audience. Many people won a prize for guessing tunes in a matter of seconds, including a young five year old participant who identified The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.” !!

The Midlands Science Festival is supported by Science Foundation Ireland as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the people and world of the future.

What could be more human than playing music and enjoying it ? After a lovely opening with “Spring” by Vivaldi, the music took a turn to the world of heavy metal with the string quartet playing AC/DC’s well known tune “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Lots of humming, singing and foot tapping ensued to the Aussie rocker’s well-known anthem. MC for the night Dr Claire O’Connell shared some interesting research on classical and heavy metal. In 2008 psychological data was collected globally from classical music fans and fans of heavy metal. It turns out there are some similarities between the two groups. They are both highly creative, extremely gentle, and confidently self-assured.

The quartet also played Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles and Dr O’Connell reminded the audience that this well-loved tuned was all about human loneliness. From a scientific perspective, we now know that social isolation in older age is not good for a person’s health and wellbeing, and a 2019 study by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) found that almost one third of adults aged 50+ in Ireland experienced emotional loneliness at least some of the time and 7.0% often felt lonely. And that was before the pandemic. So as the audience listened to this beautiful song about all the lonely people, the audience was encouraged to build compassionate connections with people as it could be good for everyone’s health.

The event was booked out and there was a full house of music lovers on the night who learned a lot about science along the way. Bohemian Strings are a quartet who have played with the Beach Boys, Richard Clayderman and Mick Flannery among many others. The event was part of the Midlands Science Festival which runs until November 20th and more events can be found on www.midlandsscience.ie

Science Scrum in Athlone

Buccaneers Rugby Club had a large crowd in attendance last Tuesday night for a special science week event exploring the science of rugby with Jack Carty and Rosie Foley. They were in conversation with leading science communicator Dr Craig Slattery of UCD and the conversation explored how much technology has evolved in the past number of years, allowing more and more monitoring of performance and training plans. The event was part of the Midlands Science Festival and showed how science relating to rugby involves everything from fitness to physics.

For instance, the use of GPS technology on the pitch provides players with invaluable performance analysis which previous generations could only have dreamed of. Data generated by companies such as Statsports offers a comprehensive understanding of each player’s strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. By harnessing the power of science, players can reach unprecedented levels of performance. Consider for a moment that the roll of an F16 fighter jet is equivalent to 9gs of force. Some players on the Irish team will give or take tackles registering between 10 and 20gs in any given match.

The science behind rugby extends far beyond performance analysis. On the rugby pitch, mathematics, physics, and fitness interplay to create a dynamic game and there were lots of good stories on the night from Connaught Captain Jack Carty and former Irish International Rosie Foley. Rosie also shared some great examples of her own playing career and that of her father Anthony and her late brother Axel Foley. Questions from the audience included everything from what’s the best foods to eat when training and advice for those considering a career in rugby. A large crowd of almost 100 ranged in age from 10 to 80, demonstrating the universal appeal of the game.

This event is part of the Midlands Science Festival and is supported by Science Foundation Ireland as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the people and world of the future.

According to Pauline Nally of Midlands Science, “Learning more about the science of rugby from two amazing players, Jack Carty and Rosie Foley was an eye-opening experience to their own dedication to excellence and also the increasingly important role that science is playing in the game and in the lives of its players.”

Vitruvian Man Comes to Tullamore

‘The Vitruvian: Uncovering the Layers of Cancer’ is a body of work by Tullamore local and leading Irish artist, Vincent Devine. It has been co-created with cancer researchers and patient partners at the UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin.

Inspired by the iconic drawing of ‘The Vitruvian Man’ by artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent has created a striking image of an androgynous human to visually map the different perspectives and approaches that researchers use to understand cancer at molecular, cellular, tissue and human levels.

These events will bring the exhibition to life. The artist and up to three cancer researchers and a patient partner will talk about the creative process itself and the ongoing cancer research efforts, highlighting progress in this area.

More than ever before, cancer survivors are living longer and better lives. Cancer researchers in Ireland are contributing to global improvements in cancer outcomes.

The work will be on display in Tullamore’s Esker Arts Centre and more details can be found on https://eskerarts.ie/events/vitruvian-uncovering-layers-cancer

Explore the World of Mammals with Jurassic World: Dominion Adviser Dr Steve Brusatte

The Midlands Science Festival takes place this November and is delighted to welcome back to Tullamore the Sunday Times Best Selling Author Dr Steve Brusatte. Known for his work in palaeontology, his work on National Geographic documentaries and as an adviser to Jurassic World ; Dominion, Steve previously visited Tullamore in 2018 as part of the Midlands Science Festival. He is one of the world’s leading palaeontologists who is making new discoveries through the use of new technologies.  Steve’s amazing work and discoveries have featured on BBC, CNN and National Geographic and he is the author of the Sunday Times Best Seller “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.”

This time in Tullamore, he will be speaking about his new book “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals”, an engaging and engrossing book about the development and evolution of mammals. With multiple contributions to science through his research and publications, he has also done lots of work on discoveries relating to dinosaurs having feathers and on small mammals such as the Repenomamus, a small badger like creature who actually ate dinosaurs, such fossil discoveries have rewritten the prehistoric food chain.

The Midlands Science Festival is supported by Science Foundation Ireland as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the people and world of the future.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science commented “ we are delighted to welcome Steve Brusatte back to the midlands again and his new book is just superb for anyone with an interest in nature and natural history. Some mammalian characteristics are very familiar to us all from our school classes in biology, milk production, warm bloodedness and hair but there’s one evolutionary advance that was in its humble way very profound setting us apart from birds, amphibians and  reptiles. The development of a joint in the jaw which gave us the ability to chew triggered a domino chain of changes to mammalian feeding, intelligence, and reproduction. Steve describes this in such brilliantly vivid prose, I was mesmerised by this fact and the book is full of these moments.  Turns out also that your mother was right  – chewing your food is really important !! Steve is an engaging, funny and passionate communicator of science and I would encourage anyone with an interest in nature to attend this event.”

At this event, Steve will be in conversation with well-known wildlife podcaster Ricky Whelan, host of “In Your Nature.” The event is kindly hosted by Offaly Library and Megan Cronly commented “In tandem with Offaly Libraries STEAM programme, Tullamore Library is delighted to host the Midland Science Festival during Science Week 2023.”

Details of this event and others can be found on www.midlandsscience.ie – events are free but must be pre-booked in advance.

Laois Leads The Way With A Discussion On Ireland’s Climate Future

Ireland’s Climate Future will be the subject of a special event in Portlaoise during Science Week 2023 in November. This event in the Midlands Park Hotel on the evening of November 17th will be chaired by well-known broadcaster Claire O’Brien from Mountmellick. The discussion will include Keith Lambkin who leads the Climate Services Team at Met Eireann and Dr Cian White of the Farm Zero C Project. This project won the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland Future Innovator Prize in 2021 for its work on sustainable farming and biodiversity practices.

The event is part of the Midlands Science Festival, which is supported by Science Foundation Ireland as part of national Science Week. Taking place from 12th-19th November, the theme for Science Week 2023 is ‘Human?’, which asks people to consider what it means to be human in today’s world, and how the decisions we make today will impact the ;people and world of the future.

This discussion of Ireland’s Climate Future will leave attendees with a profound understanding of the science and solutions we can bring to the climate change challenge and offer a chance for those attending to share their views on this vital issue. Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science commented; “climate change will affect everything from how we live, how we farm, what we eat and how we travel among a range of other issues. Come along to this event and discuss the issues and how we can affect change together, informed by science and a shared understanding of the kind of climate future we want to see in Ireland. We are looking forward to hearing from all our speakers including local Farming for Nature Ambassador John McHugh. He is a pioneering farmer from  Laois who has successfully integrated conservation practices into his farming methods. His work serves as an example of how agriculture can adapt to meet the challenges of climate change while maintaining productivity and conserving biodiversity. Five years ago in Laois, we had an event on climate change with broadcaster and metrologist Gerard Fleming and it was a packed event with fantastic discussion and we are looking forward to having another great event on climate change in Laois this year” Climate change not only means changes in the average climate such as temperature but also changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events.   One of the biggest challenges facing Ireland is decarbonising agriculture and food production as Ireland’s agri-food sector contributes 37% of country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and the country has committed to cut these by a quarter by 2030. Ireland has also committed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.  The key question now is how can innovation in food systems accelerate the changes that are needed and how can science help with this change? Agriculture in Ireland has huge ties to social and cultural issues across the country. Farming in Ireland is often passed down through generations and therefore decarbonising agriculture presents a very unique set of challenges. All details of this event and others can be found on www.midlandsscience.ie and whilst events are free, they must be booked in advance

Drugs of Abuse in 21st Century Ireland – Science, Society & Solutions

The Midlands Science Festival this year will be exploring drugs of abuse in Ireland with a focus on science, society and solutions. With the Citizens Assembly on Drugs Use currently underway in Ireland, this special Science Week event is a timely opportunity to learn more about the scientific and societal issues that drugs and drug use raise. Join us to discuss and debate these important issues as they relate to individuals, families, our communities and wider Irish society.

Our panel of speakers includes:

Dr Richard Maguire, Principal Analyst, Medical Bureau of Road Safety and formerly of the National Drug Treatment Centre

Sean Kinsella, Health And Wellness Coach with SK Life Balance and leading advocate for the Peter McVerry Trust, an expert by experience. He has also undertaken work the Irish Prison Service.

The event will be hosted by leading science communicator and toxicologist Dr Craig Slattery of UCD, on behalf of Midlands Science.

In developing this event, Midlands Science has put a strong focus on both the science of this issue and the lived experience of people. One of our speakers Sean Kinsella is empowering lives through lived experience. With a profound history of overcoming adversity, Sean has emerged as a passionate advocate for personal transformation and growth.

His journey began with a background in sports coaching and management, where he honed his leadership skills and commitment to empowering others. Sean’s unique path led him to work closely with individuals in addiction recovery, prison rehabilitation, and homelessness services.

Today, Sean is the founder of SK Life Balance, a wellness and coaching platform that leverages his journey to motivate and guide individuals towards healthier, happier lives. His engaging motivational talks have resonated with audiences in youth clubs, prisons, and treatment centres, providing hope and inspiration to those facing their own challenges.

Sean’s dedication to community engagement, combined with his love for outdoor pursuits and commitment to personal development, forms the foundation of his work. Whether he’s delivering workshops, coaching sessions, or sharing his story, Sean’s authentic and relatable approach fosters lasting change. His journey of resilience and transformation exemplifies the incredible potential within each of us to rise above life’s obstacles and emerge stronger, happier, and more fulfilled.

Come along to this unique event in Tullamore explore the issues around drugs use and abuse and how it affects us all and how can address these issues through science in our society.

Mammals, Music and Much More – Science Week in the Midlands

The Midlands Science Festival returns in November to excite curiosity and encourage people from a variety of communities across the midlands to engage with science. Co-ordinated by Midlands Science, the festival has a variety of events running this year including a cold-water swim with Guinness World Record holder Nuala Moore, astronomy nights in Lough Boora with Midlands Astronomy Club and natural history art workshops with children’s author Anne Brusatte. There will also be the opportunity to learn about the science of rugby with Irish flyhalf Jack Carty.

The festival is delighted to welcome back Sunday Times bestselling author Steve Brusatte whose new book  “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals” is a delight for all those interested in animals and nature. There are also events exploring the science of climate change, cyanotype workshops [an early version of photography], sustainability workshops and book club events.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science commented “we are delighted to be bringing such a wide variety of events to the midlands this year for Science Week and there is literally something for everyone, we have events covering everything from astronomy to zoology and look forward to as many people as possible participating this year. Science Week is a unique chance for all for us to appreciate that science is all around us and informs so many things we do every day, so come along and explore where science might take you next.”

Dr Craig Slattery, Chairperson of Midlands Science commented “events this year in the midlands include everything from a cold water swim in Lough Ree to making your own soap in Mullingar to exploring the night’s sky in Offaly. This is a great opportunity for people of all ages to explore science and what science can mean to you in your life. This year’s theme for Science Week is being human and science has a key role to play in helping us all to understand what being human means now and what it might mean in the future.”

Other activities include resources and science workshops in Irish, online animations exploring what it means to be human and a special family event in association with the National Museum of Ireland and a Discovery Day in association with Integra. A special music performance with Bohemian Strings playing a variety of popular tunes and movie themes will explore what happens when we listen to music. This year, whether it’s the world of mammals, the game of rugby or the science of music, it’s all about what it means to be human right now and what being human will mean in the future for all of us. All events are free of charge and will be available for booking online from late September on  www.midlandsscience.ie  The Midlands Science Festival is supported by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Programme 2023 and a variety of corporate and philanthropic partners

Photo Caption – there’s something for all ages at the Midlands Science Festival this year, everything from science open days for children to movement workshops for active age groups. Ethan and Nathan Henson are pictured with their Great Granny Gladys Gorman, all of them are looking forward to Science Week in the midlands this year.