UL researchers to celebrate Science Week in spectacular fashion

Anne O’Donoghue


Anne O’Donoghue

Sisters, Kate Newe, Castletroy College and Beth Newe, Milford NS, explore crystals with the SSPC at the launch of their national crystal growing competition, which is open to primary and post primary students. Picture: Sean Curtin
Limerick is getting ready to celebrate science in style with a host of events planned for this year’s Science Week.

Limerick is getting ready to celebrate science in style with a host of events planned for this year’s Science Week.

In tandem with Science Week Ireland which takes place next week, November 9 to 15, a special Celebrate Science festival has been organised.

November 13, will see younger students travel to the University of Limerick to discover more about science.

Primary school pupils will be treated to a science magic show, while a careers workshop will take place for secondary school students.

Dr Sarah Hayes, Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) UL, said the magic show “will help students to realise that there are really interesting scientific principals behind the booms and bangs”.

The final day of Science Week, Saturday, November 15, will see events move to the city centre.

Science busking will take place at the Milk Market from 9:30am to 1pm.

The action moves to the Hunt Museum at 12pm, with research, altitude and crystal growing workshops.

The Celebrate Science festival will finish up that evening with Pub Science at the Locke Bar.

Five minute lightning quick talks will be given by researchers on a range of topics from: ‘why do bubbles in Guinness sink?’ to ‘above the clouds’.

SSPC, based in UL, is one of Science Foundation Ireland’s seven research centres.

Each of the centres are taking part in the Celebrate Science festival, alongside Science Week.

Science Foundation Ireland commissioned these events with the aim of making science more accessible to the general public, said Ms Hayes.

“The idea is that we are trying to bring our research to the public, so instead of people coming all the way out to us in UL, we are coming into the city centre and confronting people with really interesting science stuff.

“Like with the busking in the Milk Market, you would mostly get musicians or poets, we always associate that with the arts. This is about presenting science in a fun and alternative way,” she said.

As part of the Celebrate Science festival, the SSPC has launched a national crystal growing competition.

The competition is open to primary and post primary school students from across Ireland and coincides with the 2014 international year of crystallography.

Professor Kieran Hodnett, SSPC Scientific Director, said the crystal growing competition will enable students to grow their own crystals and increase their understanding of crystals in our lives.

“Crystals are all around us and in every aspect of our lives, from chocolate to medicine to paints and plastics.

“There is a significant crystalline part to chocolate and the exact type of crystals determines the taste of the chocolate,” added Mr Hodnett.