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NUI Galway Biochemistry Student hopes to Beam Science to the Classroom
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a laboratory really looks like? Maybe you pictured it as a bustling place full of explosions and multi-coloured concoctions getting mixed by people in white lab coats? Of course researchers in NUI Galway are more than happy to discuss their work with anyone willing to listen, but it is simply not feasible to have an open door policy to laboratories. So, how can researchers show the inner workings of a scientific environment to those that are curious? Modern video conferencing technology is making this a real possibility. NUI Galway's partners at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in Atlanta have pioneered a research-led teaching programme where high definition cameras are placed in labs to enable researchers to interact with primary and secondary students in real-time. In this way the magic of science can be beamed directly to classrooms and incorporated into science curriculums providing an insiders view of the world of research. Georgia Tech have dubbed this teaching technique 'Direct to Discovery' or D2D. The benefits to education via D2D are many. Students see how the textbook concepts they are studying get applied to real research questions by actual research scientists. In one example already developed by GTRI, students learning physics and chemistry are able to control the gas levels used to produce carbon nano-tubes in a nano-materials lab. In another example students were instructed to gather fossils which they then sent into the microscopy lab for analysis. In this way budding young researchers can be involved in the real world of science and technology they would otherwise never see. A link was recently made between Georgia Tech Ireland and Killina Presentation Secondary School, Co Offaly as part of the 100mbps Post Primary Schools Project. This will allow the Killina students to join the D2D network that already links schools in America, Canada and Australia and will soon involve schools in Chile and Kenya. Over the past few months the Biochemistry Department at NUI Galway have been working with GTRI on the feasibility of launching Direct to Discovery in Galway. Oisín Keely, a Biochemistry masters student working on multi-media teaching technology, recently went to Georgia Tech Research Institute on a ten day study visit to investigate D2D first hand. Oisín also attended the FutureMedia Fest 2010 in Atlanta, a conference focused on the latest trends in media creation, distribution and use of media content. Large corporations, including Cisco, HP, and CNN sponsor the event which enables the leading people in the field of media to come together and discuss strategies for progress. At the conference Oisín and GTRI co-presented a poster on the D2D system and how the project is progressing in Ireland. In the words of Karin Markey, a teacher in Kingsley Charter School in Georgia that is using Direct to Discovery, this scheme gives all students the "opportunity to picture themselves in a college community". The teachers involved in D2D at Kingsley School found that students who were not normally passionate about these subjects were often inspired to progress into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in the future. Oisín Keely added, "It's a great idea. It really has the potential to inspire students and honestly I wish it was available when I was in school." So now, with the magical world of science being beamed out of laboratories, don't you wish you were back in school? For further information please contact Oisín Keely at email@example.com -Ends-
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Flirt FM launches Alumni Hour
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
NUI Galway's student radio station, Flirt FM 101.3, is launching a new programme in which well-known alumni will tell stories of their student days in Galway. The programme, Alumni Hour, promises to be a big hit with fellow alumni and Galwegians who will recognise the times, places, people and sounds of their own college days. Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, will be the first guest in conversation with the show's host, Alumni Association Board Vice-Chairperson, Sandra Butler. As well as sharing stories of his school and college days in the 60s and 70s, listeners will enjoy a musical selection of Dr Browne's favourite tracks from those times. The line-up for the coming series of Alumni Hour includes some familiar names like Michael D. Higgins TD; Will Leahy, 2FM; Lt Commanders Roberta O'Brien and Orlaith Gallagher, Ireland's first female naval vessel captains; Guggi from the Róisín Dubh; Padraic Breathnach, Arts Festival and Macnas co-founder; Padraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann; Eamon Gilmore TD; Olie Jennings, Arts Festival co-founder and Saw Doctors manager; and Sean O'Rourke, RTÉ. Alumni Hour is co-produced by the NUI Galway Alumni Association and Flirt FM and will be aired on Flirt FM 101.3 on Thursdays at 2pm starting on 4 November. A streaming online audio will be available online (from 4 November, 2pm) at www.mixcloud.com/flirtfm//. The first show with Dr James J. Browne will be aired on Thursday, 4 November at 2pm. Flirt FM schedule is available at www.flirtfm.ie/schedule/show/240/. -Ends-
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Topical Lectures to be held at NUI Galway for Science & Technology Festival
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Have you ever wondered what happens when a star dies? Or how basic science can improve our health? Then don't miss the series of public lectures being held at NUI Galway from 8 to 21 November as part of this year's Galway Science and Technology Festival. Topical lectures including 'Detecting and Predicting Volcanic Ash Cloud Dispersion' along with the 'Molecules of Murder' will be held in lecture theatres throughout the university during the festival. On Tuesday, 9 November, Professor Michael J. Hynes from NUI Galway School of Chemistry will look at the use of chemical substances by some infamous murderers in their attempts to murder famous victims. The crimes are analysed from both the viewpoint of the properties of the poison itself and the manner in which the perpetrators were uncovered and brought to justice through the use of forensic science. The lecture will be held in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre at 6pm. Former Chairman of Intel Corporation Dr Craig Barrett will also give a special talk on Education for Innovation in Áras Moyola on Tuesday 16 November. The Festival, which was founded to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people will culminate with the Festival Exhibition in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway on 21 November where over 20,000 young people are expected to attend. This year's Exhibition will be formerly opened by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. Both NUI Galway and GMIT open their doors throughout the two week festival to all primary and second level students in the city and county. At NUI Galway, there are a number of shows and events to stimulate the mind including the 'True Physics Rocket Workshop'. Guided tours of NUI Galway's Research Institutes are also held. A full list of the public lectures at NUI Galway can be viewed at www.galwayscience.ie/ . -Ends-
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Former Guantanamo Prisoner to Speak at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the NUI Galway Muslim Youth Society are jointly hosting a public lecture by Moazzam Begg. Entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar, the lecture will take place at 6pm on Monday, 8 November, in the Martin Ryan Annex in NUI Galway. Moazzam Begg was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani police and CIA officers, held at Bagram airbase for nearly a year and then transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was one of nine British citizens held at Camp X-Ray. In all, he spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was subjected to over three hundred interrogations, as well as death threats and torture, witnessing the killings of two detainees. Begg was labelled an 'enemy combatant' by the US government. He was released on 25 January, 2005 along with Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. President Bush released Moazzam Begg over the objections of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, who warned that Mr. Begg could still be a dangerous terrorist. At the lecture Begg, who is the co-author of a book about his Guantánamo experiences also entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, will speak about his experiences in custody and detention under the US authorities. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Chair of the lecture, said: "In the aftermath of September 11, a 'war on terror' was declared by the US and other allies. A language was developed to explain the extraordinary measures which were meant to address the emergency, including the need for 'rights free zones', such as Guantanamo Bay. Whilst the Obama administration has promised to close Guantanamo; this has yet to be realised. What has also been insufficiently addressed is the impact of detention for prolongued periods without trail. Moazzam Begg gives a face and a story to those who were (and continue to be) detained and beyond the reach and protection of law." Admission is free and open to the public. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Public Lecture: 'Making Peace in Secret'
Monday, 1 November 2010
NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies will host a public lecture to be delivered by Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh entitled: 'Making Peace in Secret: Evidence from the Brendan Duddy Papers at NUI Galway', which focuses on the role Brendan Duddy played as a secret key intermediary between the British Government and the IRA during the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, 10 November, at 8 pm in the Charles McMunn Lecture Theatre at the University and is free of charge. This public lecture draws on the personal papers of Brendan Duddy, which were deposited at NUI Galway in 2009 as a result of a relationship between Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, and Brendan Duddy himself. They include notes, documents and previously unseen diaries of negotiation. The papers are a large personal archive of great historical significance to all on the island of Ireland and beyond. For twenty years a secret channel of communication linked the British Government to the Army Council of the IRA. It was through this channel that both parties held intensive peace talks in the mid 1970s and attempted to reach a negotiated settlement of the hunger strike of 1981. It was through the same channel that they returned to dialogue again in the early 1990s in the approach to the IRA ceasefire of 1994 and the Good Friday Agreement. At the heart of this dialogue and negotiation was Brendan Duddy. Codenamed Contact , his identity was a closely guarded secret for three decades. This channel provided a direct link between the Army Council of the Provisional IRA and successive British Prime Ministers from Harold Wilson through Margaret Thatcher to John Major and was so closely guarded that it was kept secret from other members of the British cabinet. Dr Ó Dochartaigh stresses the importance of the Duddy Papers in this period as "the negotiating relationship and the struggles for advantage and information that took place at this intersection are vital to understanding the process by which peace was finally made in Ireland". The Brendan Duddy Papers therefore provide the perspective of the individual who operated secretly at that intersection during some of the most crucial stages of the conflict in Northern Ireland. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Award Winners Create Technologies of the Future
Monday, 1 November 2010
Directions at your fingertips and genetic algorithms-generated Sudoku puzzles are just some of the exciting new technologies that graduates of the Information Technology discipline at NUI Galway have won awards for recently. Prizes were awarded to students who excelled in their projects, which span a wide range of fascinating topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology. Stephen Lenihan from Cong, Co Mayo, a graduate of the B.Sc. in Information Technology developed a software system that uses genetic algorithms to generate Sudoku puzzles. The algorithms were used both to generate the puzzles and to create varying difficulties by reducing the number of initial numbers given. Stephen was awarded the Best Project in the B.Sc. in Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco System. On a more practical application, Steven Connolly from Achill, Co Mayo, Thomas Mitchell and Andrew Sweeney both from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, all students in the M.Sc. in Software Design and Development, used web and smart phone technologies to develop an innovative mobile application that allows users to get map based directions for specific locations on campus, find friends and timetabled events, and receive point of interest alerts as they walk around the campus. All three were awarded the Best Project in the H.Dip / M.Sc. in Software Design & Development, sponsored by Cisco Systems. For those with an interest in creating music, James Tomkins from Galway City and Jonathan Lynch from Tullamore, Co Offaly, both graduates of the B.A. in Information Technology created a MIDI based music tutor. This novel software application generates sheet music, which is played by the user using a MIDI instrument and the programme then provides feedback on the user's performance. Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services. At NUI Galway, students of the B.Sc. in Information Technology study Professional Skills and Business Planning as part of their core academic work. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded for the students who produce the best business plan. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to Sean Herald from Belfast, for his "Heat Tech" idea – a Carbon Monoxide monitoring device with Bluetooth/SMS interface to alert a home user if their central heating boiler is operating inefficiently or dangerously. Professor Gerry Lyons, Professor of Information Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway also welcomed Cisco Systems as the new corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes. "We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on Final Year Project work," he said. He added: "These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work." For further information, please contact: Dr Des Chambers, B.Sc. (Computer Science & IT) Programme Director, email@example.com, 091 493311; or Ms Tina Earls, Executive Assistant in Information Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org, 091 493143. -Ends-
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International Speakers to Mark 10 Years of Irish Centre for Human Rights
Monday, 1 November 2010
World-renowned human rights experts will feature as guest speakers at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 19 to 20 November. Speakers at the two-day event will include Andrew Clapham, Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; David Scheffer, American lawyer and diplomat who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Leila Nadya Sadat, Professor at Washington University School of Law. A special Gala Banquet will take place on Friday, 19 November hosted by Senator David Norris. Guests on the night will include Michael D. Higgins TD, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs; Don Ferencz, son of Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz, and Professor Doug Cassel, Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School. A special video message by former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will also be relayed on the night. Events to mark the tenth anniversary include a photography exhibition entitled 'Human Rights through the Lens', a discussion about the 'Right to Peace' chaired by International Criminal Court Judge Daniel Nsereko, plus many more which will ignite debates surrounding global human rights issues from an innovative standpoint of new and forgotten rights. These events are designed to celebrate the Irish Centre for Human Rights' ten years of contribution to human rights around the world. The Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights since opening its doors in 2000. A book launch on Saturday, 20 November by Dr Edel Hughes entitled 'Turkey's Accession to the EU: The Politics of Exclusion' will take place in the lobby of the IT Building at 6pm. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William A. Schabas says, "The tenth anniversary weekend offers an opportunity to celebrate a decade of distinction. The Irish Centre for Human Rights now offers academic qualifications at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level. Our research and advocacy activities have traversed issues as diverse as the death penalty, the right to food, and environmental law, and spanned most regions of the world." NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said, "Over the past ten years, NUI Galway has become a global leader in human rights education through the work of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Since September 2000, when the Centre welcomed its first LLM students, our academic programmes have produced many of the world's leading human rights researchers, advocates and policymakers. I pay tribute to my colleagues in the Centre, led by Professor Schabas, for their commitment to the highest quality teaching, research and outreach in global human rights." For more information please contact: Yvonne McDermott at email@example.com. -Ends-
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National Events Planned to Explore 1916 and After
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
1916 and After is the title of three events which will explore the cultures, histories and consequences of the year 1916 in global context of the First World War, the Easter Rising, and after. The first of these events will commence on Saturday, 6 November, in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, followed by a reading of a new play in development by the Druid Theatre Company, Lizzie Nunnery's To Have to Shoot Irishmen, which is based on the murder of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. On Saturday, 13 November, Trinity College Dublin will host the second event on Imperial Cultures in the Long Room Hub on their campus. A guided historical walking tour of sites related to the Easter Rising will complement the lectures and discussions. The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast will hold the final event of the series on Saturday, 20 November, entitled Radicalism and Sovereignty, and will include a guided tour of exhibits in the Ulster Museum. National and International speakers will give lectures and contribute to discussions at each of the three events. Professor Mary Daly, from University College Dublin, Professor Michael Winter, Princeton University and Professor Jay Wood, Yale University are among the many leading critics and historians who will contribute to three days of debate on subjects that include the context and legacy of republicanism; the memory of imperial service during the great war; human rights; the failure of the home rule movement; the role of labour in Irish society; the Irish language; Ireland's experience in comparison to Poland, colonial East Africa and India. 1916 and After is led by Professor Nicholas Allen, Moore Institute Professor, NUI Galway. In describing the events Professor Allen said: "The coming years from now begin a centenary cycle of events from the promise of Home Rule to Independence, Partition and the Civil War that shaped twentieth century Ireland's social, political and cultural history. Looking at these centenaries from our contemporary moment prompts reflection on the ways in which events like the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme might be compared to events then happening in Europe and globally. Taking a broad perspective, we hope to place the familiar beside the newly found, bringing the best in current research into contact with the people who make Ireland what it is now, our citizens. As the anniversary of 1916 approaches, we want to ask questions of the past that speak to the turbulent present. If we live in a failing state, like previous generations we might find the imagination and application to think of our potential again." Participation in the three events is free. Registration and information for each day is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/mooreinstitute/. These events were made possible by the Research Support Fund at NUI Galway. -Ends-
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Manager of NUI Galway's Sports Centre wins Manager of the Year Award
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
General Manager of the Sports Centre at NUI Galway's Barry Phelan has scooped the title of 'Irish Leisure Manager of the Year' at this year's Institute of Leisure & Amenity Management (ILAM) Awards. The club also won the prestigious ILAM White Flag Award for a second year in a row. The €22 million Sports Centre at NUI Galway is operated by Kingfisher Group and the state-of-the-art facility is available to students, staff and the general public. The 6,500 sq.m. sports and leisure complex includes a 25 metre 6-lane swimming pool with moveable floor, squash and racquetball courts, a three-court basketball hall, multipurpose studios, a substantial gym and a high-tech climbing wall. At the recent ceremony the club was also awarded the ILAM White Flag Award, which is a quality mark designed to provide a quality standard for swimming pools, sports halls, fitness studios, health suites, spas and gyms in the absence of government legislation. Manager of the Sports Centre at NUI Galway, Barry Phelan says he is delighted with the award. "I am delighted to receive the award of 'Irish Leisure Manager of the Year'. It was certainly an unexpected accolade and the fact that I received it is due in no small part to the first class facility I was given to operate, the Kingfisher Group and the hard-working team I have around me. It is fantastic to have such a fine place to work in." Mr Phelan added, "NUI Galway in partnership with the Kingfisher Club provide staff, students and members of the public with excellent facilities in which to pursue physical fitness and wellbeing. The White Flag Award for the second year in a row is the standard we want to achieve and maintain in regard to staff training, health and safety and the provision of facilities. This is something we can continue to build on into the future." -Ends-
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New Book on Ireland's Recent Weather Disasters Launched
Friday, 22 October 2010
From the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2010, Ireland experienced a remarkable and unexpected sequence of weather disasters not seen for a generation or more. This sequence of events is the subject of a new book Deluge Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 by NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr Kieran Hickey, which was launched yesterday (Thursday, 21 October). A record-breaking wet summer in 2009 was swiftly followed by a November which was the wettest month in over 200 years in many parts of the country. This accompanied by torrential rain led to severe flooding, especially in the West. Vast tracts of countryside and numerous villages and towns were flooded, including many new housing estates. In some places, the floods lasted until February 2010, coinciding with one of the most severe and persistent cold spells ever recorded in Ireland. When the snow and ice finally melted, it re-flooded areas that had only recently dried out from the previous deluges, causing tens of millions of euro worth of damage. Deluge: Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 also looks at the planning process, the management of waterways, the role of local authorities and the response of central government, voluntary agencies and ordinary people. The book also covers the possible meteorite fall of early February 2010, the Co. Clare earthquake of 6 May 2010, and the Icelandic volcano eruption that caused such extensive travel chaos across much of Europe at times throughout Spring 2010. Speaking at the launch, Dr Hickey, said: "This book is a reminder that Ireland is not immune from natural disasters particularly of the weather variety but even volcanoes and earthquakes can affect us as well." Deluge Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 is available in most book shops and is published by Four Courts Press. For further information, visit www.fourcourtspress.ie. -Ends-
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