For a second year in a row, the free day-long research festival, Sea2Sky, has been hailed as a huge success. Organised by NUI Galway last Friday (28 September), up to 10,000 visitors attended exhibitions in three different locations in Galway and in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork.
Sea2Sky was part of European Researchers Night, which took place across 800 venues in 320 cities. Throughout Europe, the general public were encouraged to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know researchers.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, officially opened Sea2Sky, saying: “I am delighted to be here at the Sea2Sky Researchers Night in Galway where scientists and researchers are opening up the world of science to the general public and to young people in particular. Europe needs to attract more young people into careers as researchers to stay ahead of the game in research and to tackle the biggest issues of our time, such as energy, climate change and our ageing population. Exciting events like this, which are bringing science to life right across Europe tonight, will certainly help to achieve this goal.”
Sea2Sky was organised by NUI Galway, with huge support from partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork.
Visitors to Sea2Sky had access to the ‘Accelerating Science’ exhibition in Leisureland and over 40 stands in the Galway Bay Hotel showcasing local research. The Galway Atlantaquaria was also open for free to the public.
Local scuba divers gave an exhibition in the aquarium, the Marine Institute showcased their Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and a Japanese oyster farmer made a special guest appearance as a tie in with the Galway Oyster Festival.
Thousands visited the Promenade in Salthill and watched a parade with Galway Colour’s Street Theatre, while others viewed the night sky through telescopes from Galway Astronomy Club.
“Sea2sky this year was an even bigger success than 2011 with astronomers, marine scientists and atmospheric physicists engaging with a wide cross section of the community from small children to the over eighties. One of the highlights was the Café Scientifique linking Galway, Cork and NASA astronaut Dan Tani in the US. Our Sea2sky event was even mentioned in the NASA broadcast showcasing the recent Curiosity Rover findings,” explained chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, a lecturer in physics.