Science Knitting Patterns for Science Week!

 

The Midlands Science Festival is a free, family-friendly, programme of events which allows people of all ages to discover something new, participate in a number of hands-on science and technology activities and see a whole host of live performances by science enthusiasts and communica tors.

We even have some science knitting patterns for those with a talent for crafting! Why not create a common virus or some body parts from wool in a fun (and non-contagious!) way.

We have plenty exciting science experiments on the way in just a few days time. We will bringing a whole range of workshops activities to Midlands schools from marine exploration and reptiles to superhero science and sustainability and also to people at home with our digital Discovery day taking place on November 7th to kick things off and our informative talks on issues such as resilience and the science of skin!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

We are delighted that this year for Science Week we will be introducing specialist Derma tology nurse, Fidelma O’ Dowd who is a co-founder of The Healthy Skin Clinic based in Dublin and also the Midlands. When it comes to our skincare products, it can often be difficult to understand what is actually in them and whether the more expensive products are really better for our skin or not. We will be talking to Fidelma all around the topic of the science of skin and some of the most common issues that she encounters in her day to day work. Meanwhile, we caught up with Fidelma to find out more about what she does..

What inspired you to choose a career in the skincare industry?

It was an easy progression for me as I work as a Derma tology Advance Nurse Practitioner in large teaching hospital in Dublin, which I manage a caseload of skin conditions: chronic skin disease clinics (psoriasis, acne, eczema, rosacea), skin cancer diagnostic procedure (minor skin surgery).

Three years ago I expanded my skill set in to the field of aesthetic and opened The Healthy Skin Clinic with clinics in Blanchards town, Dublin and Ballymahon, Longford. Providing treatments for hyperpigmentation/ melasma, pho to aging, anti-aging, acne, rosacea. The Healthy Skin clinic also provides a full range of medical aesthetic treatments such as mesotherapy, profhilio, micro needling, multideminsional de-pigmentation solutions, acne treatments, removal of benign skin lesions (skin tags)

At ‘The Healthy Skin Clinic’, all patients undertake a full skin/medical consultation prior to any treatment, to ensure all skincare treatment programmes are tailored and personalised to the client’s specific needs.

The Healthy Skin Clinic are s tockists to some of the world’s leading medical skin care brands some are Obagi, Mesoestetic, Mc Cosmetics, so patients can enhance their skin treatments with the most suitable home care products under expert advice and consultation.

Our Skin Team

Lead Clinician Fidelma ODowd, our team of healthcare professionals consists solely of Registered nurses and Medical Doc tors, providing medical skin treatment expertise.

Blanchards town Team

  • Fidelma ODowd: Derma tology Advance Nurse Practitioner/Lead Clinician.
  • Meave OSullivan: Registered Nurse/Clinician
  • Dr Lylas Aljohmani (B.A;M.B;B.Ch;B.A.O;MCh)Medical Practitioner/ Bo tox clinics

Ballymahon Team

  • Fidelma ODowd: Derma tology Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Lead clinician
  • Joan Naugh ton: Registered Nurse/ Clinician
  • Dr Lylas Aljohmani (B.A;M.B;B.Ch;B.A.O;MCh): Medical Practitioner/Bo tox Clinics

Mr Stephen Kelly: Emergency Department Advance Nurse Practitioner/ Operational Manager

What are the most common issues that patients present with in your clinic?

Dark Spots/age spots/premature aging: you don’t get to choose where it appears. Somehow it just finds a home for itself, right there on the tip of your nose, your cheek, or somewhere else on your face. It’s a dark spot or age spot. Unfortunately, these unwanted spots aren’t likely to go away on their own.

So how does it happen?

Melanin is what gives colour to your skin. Light from the sun actually speeds up the production of melanin. Being exposed to the sun over long periods of time can cause a cluster of melanin to appear-this is how a dark spot occurs

Tanning is also caused by reaction to sun’s rays. That golden skin tone may look desirable, but is actually a sign of skin damage. Over the long term, this damage can lead to premature aging or even cancer

But sun exposure isn’t the only reason dark spots pop up. Sometimes its just part of aging. Genetics also plays a role. If you have light-coloured or fair skin, you are more likely to develop dark spots.

 

How can we prevent them?

The best way to help keep those pesky spots from appearing is to limit sun exposure.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy outdoors, but be aware of when the sun’s rays can cause the most damage. Between 10.00am and 2pm is when the sun is at its greatest strength. Limit your sun exposure during these hours if you can.

Also, as much as possible, wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and put on a hat to provide shade for your face. This applies for those times when you’re behind the wheel as well. Harmful rays can even penetrate through car windows(tinted windows offer some additional protection). As a general rule, if your going to be exposed to sunlight, wear a high-quality broad spectrum sunscreen with a UVA star rating 4-5, or

Logo on SPF, UVB 30-50.

What can I do to treat them?

If you want to help reduce the appearance of dark spots, practitioners frequently recommend products like Obagi Nu-Derm system. Obagi Nu-Derm includes  Prescription 4% hydroquinone, which is considered by many to be the gold standard in the treatment of dark spots. Ask your skin Practitioner  if Obagi Nu-Derm may be right for you.

Acne

Did You Know…….

  • A degree of acne affects nearly everyone between ages of 15-17
  • 15-20% of young people will experience moderate-severe acne
  • 85% prevalence rate in 12-24 year age group
  • 78% of girls between 8-12 have acne
  • 64% of 20-29 and 43% of 30-39 have visible acne
  • 3% of men and 5% of women with still had a degree of acne aged 40-49

 

Psychological Fac tors & Acne

Appearance has huge role in social communication and functioning. This effect is reinforced by media, industry and celebrity culture

Acne suffers experience:

  • Shame-70%
  • Embarrassment-63%
  • Anxiety-63%
  • Loss of confidence-67%
  • Impaired social contact-57%

Triggers

  • Hormones:

Puberty, premenstrual flare, disorders with high tes tosterone levels, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, anabolic steroids and oral steroids

  • Oils:

Contact with the skin through occupation or cosmetics

  • Stress:

Increase in sebum glands activity during period of stress

NICE Guidelines

What do they say?

Consider:

         A topical retinoid alone or in combination with Benzoyly Peroxide (BPO)

         A topical Antibiotic (1% Clindamycin) – oral antibiotics should always be prescribed alongside a BPO to prevent development of antibiotic resistance

         Azelaic Acid 20%

         Creams or gels

         If irritation occurs lower frequency or concentration

         Frequency of application can be gradually increased to daily if tolerated

Treatments

Obagi CLENZIderm M.D system

Obagi Nu-Derm System

What is a good routine for someone who really, just wants to start taking better care of their skin perhaps after years of not doing so?

At what age did you first start to think about taking care of your skin more seriously? For most, it was sparked by a specific skin condition or concern like the first time you noticed fine lines around your eyes or maybe you experienced acne for the first time as an adult.

While there are two products I strongly recommend using every single day- a cleanser and a sunscreen with SPF 30-50 will help the overall health of your skin.

As always, the best thing you can do to achieve healthy skin is to meet with your skin care practitioner to determine which products are best for specific individual skin care needs

Do products used on your skin have to be very expensive to work well?

Anyone who has visited a professional skincare clinic seeking to improve the appearance of his or her skin has likely heard of or received a recommendation to use professional skin care products the price of the products may be surprising.

Why purchase skin care products from a skincare clinic than a drug s tore?

It’s a good question to ask, and the reason are worth understanding if you are serious about tackling issues such as melasma/dark spots or acne, as well as the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and the host of problems caused by pho toaging.

Value

Consider value in the decision to purchase topical skin care. Products containing greater than 2% Hydroquinone that are indicated to treat hyperpigmentation and melasma, for example, are available only with a prescription. Non-hydroquinone cosmetic alternatives may not work as well, and therefore, repeated purchases may end up costing more than a well-formulated product. Similary, this added value applies to clinically-tested practitioner-dispensed acne products and certain cosmetics.

Clinical Results

The best practitioner-dispensed skin care is clinically tested for positive results, so you can be confident that such products are backed by real results. Before and after pho tos should give you an idea of typical results. Clinical study engagement is one cost in the development of good skin care products.

In-Depth Product Training/Education

Because the products are part of a skin care professional’s recommended regimen, practitioner training and instructional materials are provided by the manufacturer. Some professional skin care products may cause side effects in some patients; proper and continued education by the practitioner is critical for patients’ proper use and success. Skin care practitioners who recommend specific products will guide patients during their continued use to address any questions or concerns that may arise during the treatment course.

Consumers Be Cautious

Some may still wonder why purchase Practitioner-dispensed skin care products instead of those available through mass retail, which often advertise big promises. Products sold through mass retail skin care often make claims that haven’t been scientifically supported, so it’s often up to consumers to educate and protect themselves. Consider a quote from the FDA “if a product seems too good to be true, it probably is”

Some experts advise to drink three litres of water a day and others say it is more important to ‘eat our water’ through fruit and veg for better skin. It can be confusing. What is one of the biggest myths you have come across about how to look after your skin properly?

When it comes to taking care of your skin, it may be hard to separate fact from fiction, especially with so many skin care articles floating around.

Fortunately, we have put together five of the biggest myths that will help to make your skin care routine a little easier – and your skin a lot happier!

 You don’t need sunscreen in winter

 Whoever told you that sunscreen is only needed on sunny, summer days is either playing a prank on you or needs a lesson in skin care ASAP!

One of the main causes of premature skin aging is the UV rays of the sun, so your best defence is to slather on the SPF all year long. Just because it’s chilly or cloudy outside, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t damaging to your skin, because UV rays can still pass through clouds. The biggest surprise of all though, is that you can still get sunburn when there’s snow on the ground! The reason for this is because the snow reflects light from the sun, meaning that your skin is getting double the exposure – from the sun and the snow. If you don’t believe us, then just go look at the incredible tans (and sunburns!) skiers and snowboarders get while out on the slopes

If your skin is oily, you should skip the moisturizer

 We’ve heard this one often, but if you’re struggling with oily skin, then your skin may still be in need of a moisturizer.

By skipping the moisturizer, your skin may try to make up for the lack of moisture in the skin by creating its own, in the form of sebum, but unfortunately, the skin can over-compensate by producing too much. The end result is even oilier skin with an increased risk of breakouts.

If you’re using the right products for your skin, then you can’t go wrong. One of our favourite moisturizers for all skin types (dry or oily) is Obagi Hydrate®, which is non-comedogenic and provides 8-hour moisturization with innovative technology and naturally derived ingredients, including shea butter, mango butter, and avocado.

Diet doesn’t affect your skin

You certainly are what you eat – everything you put in to your body will have an effect on your skin. A poor diet can not only affect your waistline and decrease your energy levels, but it can also show up on your face as a dull complexion. For example, sugar is known to change the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, leaving you prone to skin that ages faster. And there’s no argument that alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body and skin.

The best diet is well-balanced with antioxidant-rich foods to help defend against free radicals, and foods rich in omega-3 to help maintain healthy and youthful-looking skin

You should start using skin care products when wrinkles appear

If you’re waiting for the signs of skin aging to appear before you invest in skin care products, please keep reading.

You may have heard that prevention is better than cure and this couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your skin. By starting to use products targeted towards the appearance of lines and wrinkles in your twenties or even sooner, before the signs of skin aging have manifested, you set a great foundation to ensure your skin ages beautifully and gracefully with minimal lines and wrinkles.

Of course, harsher products are generally reserved for more mature skin, but it wouldn’t hurt to start using a good retinol cream and eye cream in your twenties or sooner. Also, be mindful that there are many fac tors that contribute to aging skin, and lifestyle fac tors along with healthy skin care rituals are your best defense in the fight against the signs of skin aging

Hot water is best for opening up the pores

Hot water may feel great in the shower, but unfortunately, it’s not so great for your skin. While hot water does open the pores, it’s recommended through steaming the skin, not putting hot water directly on your skin!

Hot water on the skin will dry the skin out by stripping it of beneficial oils, and no amount of product will make up for this lack of moisture. Always rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat dry before applying your products. Leave the steaming to the professionals at your next facial!

 

 

 

Doing things Differently!  

Oc tober and November are very busy months for us as we work with a whole host of schools, partners and providers to deliver to you a packed programme of events for Science Week. This year, the Midlands Science Festival will take place online. The team at Midlands Science have been busy over the past while upskilling in various digital platforms and educational approaches to make the online experience for all those attending as enjoyable as possible. The team would like to give a big thanks in particular to Maebh Coleman of TU Dublin who has provided much valuable input in to the design and ethos of this year’s festival. Midlands Science hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to celebrate science with us just like we do every other year from November 7th – 15th.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said,

‘In our planning for this year, we have co-created and pre-recorded events with our various speakers, worked with our brilliant workshop providers to ensure that events for all ages can still be accessed remotely and set about really creating a science festival with a difference for 2020. We feel that the online approach could give even more people access to informative public talks and live science shows than ever before, as we are often restricted by numbers and by events taking place in particular locations.’

As more and more online educational experiences and live-streamed events continue to find their place amidst the unprecedented worldwide disruption, the Midlands Science Festival will be open to everyone and we look forward to seeing you there soon.

Midlands Science Executive Shortlisted for LIFT Ireland Award

LIFT Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation that works to build positive leadership skills in communities across Ireland. It created an awards initiative to recognise strong leadership at all levels of Irish society from grassroots organisations to corporate boardrooms. Midlands Science Business Development Executive, Pauline Nally, was recently shortlisted for one of these awards. We caught up with her to find out more…

 

Pauline, you are Business Development Executive for Midlands Science. Can you tell us a little bit about what that work involves?

 

My role can be quite varied depending on the needs of Midlands Science and the particular time of year but in the main, it is my job to fundraise, to produce high quality pitches and presentations, to identify and speak with relevant business and academic contacts who may be interested in collaborating with Midlands Science and track those leads. Building business relationships with existing clients and sponsors is also essential.  I have a passion for bringing value to non-profits and sourcing new opportunities and partners for the organisation is the key aspect of my role.

 

You have recently been shortlisted for an award in Dedication & Determination, having participated in LIFT Ireland’s programme over the past 12 months. Congratulations!

Can you tell us about your experience of availing of this programme and why leadership skills are now more important than ever?

 

I am truly honoured to have been shortlisted for a LIFT Ireland leadership award in dedication and determination. LIFT aims to get the people of Ireland talking about values and leadership and to grow our self-awareness which then informs both our decision-making and determination in our professional roles. The wonderful training that I experienced with LIFT has helped me to really understand where I need to focus attention in order to improve the quality of how I approach both my work and my life in general. I believe that when you are really aware of your values, you will not only increase your chances of success but will also encourage and bring others along with you towards achieving your collective corporate goals.

 

The values of LIFT impact our homes, our families, our friendships, our communities and our workplaces. What are some of the most important skills you feel you have acquired that you can take in to your professional role going forward?

 

I am really looking forward to the practical day- to-day application of this facilita tor training and to focusing on the core values including cus tomer service excellence, innovation and continuous learning. Excellent communication skills are so important in my role as I interact with a diverse range of individuals and organisations at all levels of business on a daily basis. It is also so important that I have a positive and proactive attitude to driving new business and partnerships for Midlands Science so that involves building my knowledge about science education and promotion and being willing to learn about the sec tor and how it is developing all the time. As the escalating Covid-19 crisis is forcing the cancellation of many physical events, those of us involved in fundraising really need to think fast and strategically in order to prepare for the times ahead and one of the critical things that this training has taught me is to keep communicating and at all times in the most considerate and empathetic way.

 

What did you enjoy most about the training with LIFT and would you recommend it to others?

 

It was really great to engage and connect with people across all levels of the others organisations who par took in the training. During a time which is increasingly challenging for everyone, it provided a lovely opportunity to reflect on my work and think about some small changes I could quite easily make. There was something very reassuring about networking with others and realising that everyone has their difficult days but it is all about taking note and then having the tools to keep pressing forward to the next opportunity in a positive and confident way. I am delighted that I got involved and am very pleased to be nominated for this important award.

The Science & His tory of Vaccines

The word vaccine has a particular and curious origin. It comes from the name for the cowpox virus vaccinia and it was first used by Dr Edward Jenner. He observed that milkmaids infected with cowpox were immune to the smallpox epidemics that regularly occurred where he lived. Jenner made his tory in 1796 when he gave a patient what became known as the first “vaccinia vaccine”, a vaccine made from the cowpox virus. The doc tor took pus from the cowpox lesions on a milkmaid’s hands and introduced that fluid in to a cut he made in the arm of an 8-year-old boy named James Phipps. Six weeks later, Jenner exposed the boy to smallpox, but James Phipps did not develop the infection, then or on 20 subsequent exposures to the disease. In fact, Phipps later married, had two children, and lived long enough to attend Jenner’s funeral in 1823. Through extensive research Jenner discovered that cox pox protected people from smallpox. This was a ground-breaking discovery and it laid the way for the scientific fields of immunology, vaccination and preventive health which we benefit from today. Thanks to progress in science and a massive vaccine campaign by the World Health Organization, smallpox was finally eradicated from the planet in 1980.

Today with Covid19, vaccines are on everyone’s mind and you can follow the development of vaccines for Covid 19 at an excellent live vaccine tracker created by The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html The Jenner Institute at Oxford University which is currently working on a promising vaccine for Covid 19 is actually named after Dr Edward Jenner.

This year in Ireland, people are encouraged to get the flu vaccine as doing so could be vital to help the health system cope with any additional strain caused by Covid-19.While flu vaccination is important in its own right, it is really important that the country is not overwhelmed with “dual outbreaks” of influenza and Covid-19. Flu season runs from September to end of April and the strain of flu virus changes every year. The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies (proteins that fight infection). Contrary to what you might read on social media, there is no aluminium, thiomersal, mercury, gelatine or porcine gelatin in the vaccine used in the 2020/2021fl campaign. You can read about what’s in the vaccine here – http://www.hpra.ie/img/uploaded/vaccines/SPC_PA2131013001.pdf

The vaccine for flu changes every year because viruses evolve by mutating so there are changes in their genetic code over time. The way it happens is a bit like the game Chinese Whispers, where one person says a word to another and it’s passed on further. By the time it reaches the last person in the game, the original word is lost and has transformed in to another word. We can think of a biological genetic material as a sequence of letters and over time, sequences mutate: Mutations occur randomly, and any changes that occur in a given virus will be inherited by all copies of the next generation. Then, much as we could try to decode how one word becomes another in a game of Chinese Whispers, scientists can use models on genetic evolution to try to determine the most likely evolutionary his tory of the virus. This year’s seasonal flu vaccine contains protection against 4 strains of flu virus. These are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season. The four strains are:

  • an A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Washing ton/02/2019 (B/Vic toria lineage)-like virus
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus

You can read more about the flu vaccine programme in Ireland and the flu vaccine here. https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/pubinfo/flu-vaccination/about-the-vaccine/

There is a lot information online about vaccines and vaccine development and it’s important to be aware of how information is developed and shared. You can sign up to be a Share Verified Information Volunteer with the United Nations here. https://shareverified.com/en

A recent study by the British Medical Journal concluded that over one-quarter of the most-viewed videos on YouTube about COVID-19 contained misleading information. Consider the best places to get evidence based, verified peer reviewed information on health and vaccines. Roll up your sleeve and help in the fight against the flu, this winter it is more important than ever.

#fluvaccine #yourbestshot #askfortheevidence #shareverified #believeinscience

 

Thoughts on World Book Day!

World Book Day in Ireland takes place today in Ireland, Thursday 5th March. Over the last 23 years, World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading. I caught up with Midlands Science CEO, Jackie Gorman who is a published poet and avid reader (as can be seen from one of her many shelves in the image) to hear her views on the importance of reading and what we can do to encourage it from an early age…

Creating a love of reading for pleasure in children is so important. It encourages a love of learning, provides fuel for their imaginations and provides escapism. What are some of the other scientifically proven benefits to reading and starting at an early age? 

Many studies show that toddlers and young children who are read to every day have a larger vocabulary than those who aren’t read to. Reading enhances a child’s vocabulary and it can help them understand how to read and write, but reading aloud to children also helps them to understand different topics about the world and everyday life. As we grow up, reading can become part of our toolkit to deal with stress. In 2009, scientists at the University of Sussex studied how different activities lowered stress by measuring heart rate and muscle tension. Reading a book for just six minutes lowered people’s stress levels by 68 percent—a stronger effect than going for a walk, drinking a cup of tea or coffee or listening to music. Reading can also help you live longer. A team at Yale University followed more than 3600 adults over the age of 50 for 12 years. They found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day lived nearly two years longer than those who read magazines or newspapers. The benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read more !!

Today’s reality includes a lot more technology than when this important day was first launched. Some children now often prefer to play on an iPad than get lost in a good book. What can we do to encourage a love of reading?

Encouraging reading is important and there are lots of things to consider. Ensure that your children see you reading is the first thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a cookery book, a computer manual, magazine – anything is good. Lead by example. Encourage children to join in – ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are turning on the  TV. Give books or book tokens as presents and visit the local library together on a regular basis, and enjoy spending time choosing new books. Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the Harry Potter series, or The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Read books you can all talk about. There are also great Irish language books now for children such as Harry Potter – Harry Potter agus an Órchloch ! I’m resding  An Leon, An Bandraoi agus An Prios Éadaigh myself at the moment, an Irish translation of CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Aside from escaping the pressures of the modern day are there other proven benefits to reading for adults?

Reading can change us a person. A University of Toron to research team asked 166 people to fill out questionnaires regarding their emotions and key personality traits, based on the widely used inven tory which measures extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability/neuroticism, and openness. Half of the group read An ton Chekhov’s short s tory The Lady with the Toy Dog, about a man who travels to a resort and has an affair with a married woman. The other half of the group read a similar nonfiction version presented as a report from divorce proceedings. After, everyone answered the same personality questions they’d answered before—and many of the fiction readers’ responses had significantly changed. They saw themselves differently after reading about others’ fictional experience. The nonfiction readers didn’t undergo this change in self-reflection.

The aim of World Book Day is to celebrate authors, books, illustra tors and of course reading! What are some of the books on your current ‘ to-be-read’ list?

I have a pile in my living room which are to be tackled over the next few months ! Things in Jars by Jess Kidd, Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievich, The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting, Mama’s Last Hug by Frans De Waal and Elmet by Fiona Mozley are my immediate priorities. I also use Audible a lot when I walk every day and I’m listening to The Secret His tory read by the author Donna Tartt at the moment.

 Can you tell us about your favourite science book(s)?

The Flamingo’s Smile by Stephen Jay Gould, The Man Who Mis took His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks, The Emperor Of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

What is your favourite science fact, if you can narrow it down to one?!

Answering the question why the sky is blue is my favourite thing because it’s a question we’ve all asked since childhood. I also like that it was research by an Irishman John Tyndall  which explored and solved this question. He used a simple glass tube to simulate the sky, with a white light at one end to represent the sun. He discovered that when he gradually filled the tube with smoke the beam of light appeared to be blue from the side but red from the far end. Tyndall realised that the colour of the sky is a result of light from the sun scattering around particles in the upper atmosphere, in what is now known as the “Tyndall effect”. He thought that the light scattered off particles of dust or water vapour in the atmosphere, like the smoke particles in the tube, but it’s now known that the light scatters off the molecules of the air itself. Tyndall knew that white light was made up of a whole rainbow of coloured light and thought that the blue light appeared because it was more likely to scatter off the particles. We now know that this is because it has a much shorter wavelength than red light and is much more easily scattered, so to our eyes the sky looks blue.

 

 

Mullingar Students ‘Experience Engineering’ with Midlands Science

Midlands Science teamed up with a range of local and national partners recently to host a special week of career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks from companies such as ORS, Robotics and Drives, Shay Murtagh, Waterways Ireland, Steripack, and Cpl resources. A number of transition year students from Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar participated in the week Experience Engineering which also focused on other various key learning aspects such as, CV preparation, interview skills and internship opportunities.

A primary objective for Midlands Science is the development and implementation of awareness-raising initiatives designed to increase science capital in the region. For this to succeed, there needs to be a more joined-up approach within the many sec tors of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This includes the sharing of expertise, participation in out-of-school science learning contexts, for example how often a young person participates in informal science learning contexts and continuing to highlight the message that STEM subjects are relevant for everyone. With this in mind, participants were briefed and given the opportunity to work  as part of a project team which involved planning ideas and looking at the diversity of the field and the types of engineers that would be needed for specific engineering projects.

John Brennan, Managing Direc tor of ORS in Mullingar commented,

“Engineers and surveyors are in increasing demand in Ireland and a supply of talented graduates from both professions is fundamental for our social and economic future. ORS was delighted to support and participate in this innovative initiative to increase knowledge and understanding of the world of engineering and surveying and encourage more of our future generation to consider them as potential third level and career choices. By setting the students a hands-on challenge we hopefully encouraged them to really think about how vast engineering and surveying can be, to get creative and have fun while at the same time learn about how to find solutions to the many urban and environmental challenges that we face in society today.’

Science and engineering fields play an ever-increasing role in Ireland’s future within the global economy. Continued focus on education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will open doors to today’s students in jobs they might not yet have even heard of. Change is happening all around us at an alarming pace in workplaces, the economy and our everyday and most of this change is driven by developments in STEM.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said, ‘Through specially designed programmes like ‘Experience Engineering’  we are aiming to ensure that as many young people as possible understand the economic, cultural and environmental impact that engineering can have. We are most grateful to all of our partners who helped to make this programme so worthwhile and with their assistance and support, we hope to be in a position to continue to provide opportunities like this to more students around the region in to the future focusing on other sec tors. Pauline Nally, Business Development Executive with Midlands Science played a key role in the development of this pilot, based on feedback from students that they faced significant difficulties accessing STEM based work experiences which would help them to decide on college courses and careers for the future.’

Wildlife science with Dublin Zoo!

Watching excited young faces meeting some of the fantastic presenters and seeing them learn so many new things…these are some of our happiest memories from this year’s Midlands Science Festival. Science helps children to answer some really tough questions but Science Week itself enables us to make this happen in much more entertaining ways.

One of our key goals is to help primary school children understand that science is all around them, every day and in all kinds of ways. Science is a part of daily life from cooking and playing sports to watching the rain or enjoying the sunshine. This year we were delighted to welcome our friends from the outreach team from Dublin Zoo. Children learned about biofacts such as skulls, skins and other interesting specimens and explored the science of wildlife and conservation.

We want to encourage young pupils to collect information, ask more questions, observe and draw their own conclusions because science can really teach children to form their own opinions. It allows them to experiment and realize that not everything has to work out perfectly all the time. It makes them query how the world works, sparks ideas and helps them to find solutions to everyday problems in the most simplified of ways.

 

#believeinscience

Science Week in Offaly County Library, Tullamore!

We are delighted to be teaming up with the county libraries in the Midlands again this year to deliver a range of events during Science Week 2019 and it was great to see their programme of events in Offaly County Library, Tullamore, this morning when we were dropping off some branded merchandise.

Martina Needham, Offaly County Library said,

“We are delighted to partner with the Midlands Science Festival team once again for 2019 to provide as many high-quality outreach events as possible during Science Week. It is so important that we continue to work towards our goal of increasing the number of pupils, teachers and parents coming in to our libraries and collaborating with a local company whose key aim is to promote science education is an ideal way of doing so. In Tullamore, we are particularly looking forward to Foodoppi, an exciting, fast-paced science & food show which gives audiences an opportunity to see food become experiments you can eat. We are also co-hosting an event on November 15th which will explore what we now know about various types of cancer, their causes and cures. Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research with the Irish Cancer Society and Dr Craig Slattery of UCD will also look at how citizens and patients can become more fully informed. Don’t forget to check www.midlandsscience.ie  for event details and booking and join us this November for a range of hands- on, interactive events in Offaly county libraries.’

Popular TV Chefs coming the Midlands for Science Week!

We are really excited that TV Chefs and food educa tors Louise Lennox and Aisling Larkin for Foodoppi will be coming to the Midlands next week for the Midlands Science Festival to present a show exploring food! Foodoppi’s Molecular Gastronomy Live Event is an exciting, fun, fast-paced science & food show which gives audiences an opportunity to see food become experiments you can eat! The show directly links to the primary science curriculum integrating learning objectives from sections such as Living Things, Energy and Force and Materials and Change. Louise Lennox is one of Ireland’s leading chefs, broadcasters and food writers. Having featured in a number of popular television and radio shows for over 15 years, she is best known as the chef who is “full of personality” from the hit television series, The Restaurant. Aisling Larkin is tv chef, a busy mum of 3, food media broadcaster, feeding and mindful eating coach. Aisling appears each week on Virgin Media One’s Six O Clock Show teaching the nation her creative and functional & umami filled family-friendly recipes..We caught up with Louise in advance of the festival….

Q: Louise, you are a leading chef, food writer, broadcaster, a children’s food media specialist and the co.founder of Foodoppi.com ..can you tell us about Foodoppi and what led you to setting it up?

A: I wanted to share my passion and vision that food literacy is as important as the basic subjects thought in schools across Ireland. We eat at least 5 times a day, every child should leave school with a basic understanding for what food is.

In 2016 I met my business partner Aisling Larkin and we combined over thirty years of experience in food, science and nutrition together and Foodoppi was born.

The name Foodoppi means ‘food learning’ in Finnish. In 2017 Foodoppi was one of 10 companies selected from thousands across Europe to further develop our food education program in Finland, who are the world leaders in education. Foodoppi an Ed Tech company which creates online food and science courses for parents and the Department of Education.

Outside of the classroom Foodoppi began to help parents who were experiencing difficulties in getting their children to eat working with families offering live masterclasses, online courses, webinars and 1:1 online private consultation. I experienced first-hand what the stresses and problems living with a fussy eating child can bring and impact on the child’s well-being. In order to expand our knowledge in this area, we travelled to America and trained at The Texas Children’s Hospital, Hous ton. Part of my mission at Foodoppi is to make food education a global reality and to help change children’s food eating habits for a lifetime. Using science we make food fun, interesting and delicious.

 

Q: You focus a lot of your work on helping families understand the science of eating, do you have a helpful hint you can share with us for small fussy eaters?

A: Making food fun and playing with purpose.

This is very important part of learning, learning anything. If it is fun it doesn’t feel like learning.

Playing with the food makes it less threatening to your child and increases the likelihood that they will interact with it. Introducing food based play reduces children’s anxiety of thinking they may be forced to put this food in their mouth. Allowing them to explore at there own pace and them taking charge gives a more positive experience.Resulting in a greater change of the child building confidence and tasting the food.

Q:Have you always had an interest in/passion for food?

A:Yes, my mum started up her own food business and I use to help her after school when I was a child. I am dyslexic and I was so lucky to have an incredible teacher Mr.Banville in 5th and 6th class in primary school. He instilled self belief in me when I had none, by giving me homework to simply bake a cake. It was the first time I felt I was good at something and that feeling stayed with me all through my school years when other teachers would put me down. I have so much respect for him as he was able to look beyond the traditional academic ability schools back then scored children’s intelligence. Mr.Banville saw my own personal talents and helped them blossom and for that I will always be so grateful to him.

Q:What is your favourite part of your job?

A:To be honest it is so difficult to pin point just one favourite part. I love how creative and innovate my job is. No two days are the same. It makes me so happy when you see and hear the laughter and fun children have when we work with them. The other side is getting so many emails from parents thanking us for helping their family with getting their children to eat new foods.

Q:Midlands Science is working to encourage more young people to consider science as a future career option. Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?

A: It helps to breakdown the barrier and show cases that science is all around us. It also removes the stereotype that science is white lab coats and very serious. By showcasing how fun science is, we hope to spark an interest and encourage lots of the young people to see science in a different light and a possible future career. In our show “Eat Your Science” we show children that you can learn a lot about science using food and it tastes delicious.