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Research Using Nintendo Wii Indicates People Have a 'Truth Bias'
Friday, 7 November 2008
University of Memphis psychology expert Dr Rick Dale is to give a public lecture at NUI Galway on his experiments using the Nintendo Wii to investigate how people think and make decisions. The event will be hosted by NUI Galway's School of Psychology on Wednesday, 12 November, at 7.30pm in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building. Apart from being a popular videogame entertainment device, the Nintendo Wii has also been adapted to use for physical therapy and as a form of exercise. Dr Dale and his team took the Nintendo a step further to begin to explore the relationship between the mind and the body. He says: "The Wiimote is in fact the perfect interface to perform these kinds of experiments. As the game itself is already designed to absorb a person's body into the videogame experience, we just have to hook the Wiimote into a lab computer, and we can enjoy the rich streaming data that videogames typically use, but this time track them in experiments". Until recently, many psychologists concluded that thinking and acting were managed by relatively separate subsystems in the human mind. This was reflected in the way that when we make decisions, most of us feel like we think and then act. Dr Dale's research shows the systems that control thinking and those that control action are actually deeply intertwined. He explains: "We often begin to act before we think, even when making relatively simple decisions. Some might say that we even think through our actions". One of the experiments at the University of Memphis showed that people have a 'bias toward truth' in that there is a natural tendency to believe things are true. Participants in the experiment used the Wiimote to answer Yes or No to questions such as 'Can a kangaroo walk backwards?'. The results showed that it took longer for participants to decide that a statement was false, rather than true. In many cases, the cursor travelled first toward the yes, and then curved over to no. For the researchers, this indicated two things. Firstly, the body was in motion before the cognitive processing was completed. Secondly, the participants really wanted to believe most of the statements were true, even though they decided quickly that some of them were not. Dr Dale's visit to Ireland is hosted by NUI Galway and supported by the Irish Research Council on the Humanities and the Social Sciences. For further information on the public lecture contact Denis O Hora at the NUI Galway School of Psychology on 091 495126. -ends-
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Oscailt Oifigiúil an Ionaid Spóirt in OÉ Gaillimh
Friday, 7 November 2008
Is é an rothaí cáiliúil Seán Kelly a osclóidh an tIonad Spóirt nua in OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé hAoine, 7 Samhain 2008), Ionad Spóirt a chosain €22 milliún. Beidh cead ag mic léinn, ag comhaltaí foirne agus ag an bpobal úsáid a bhaint as an áis iontach seo. Tá achar 6,500 m² san ionad spóirt agus áineasa seo lena n-áirítear linn snámha 6-lána 25 méadar. Is féidir an t-urlár a ardú agus a ísliú inti. Tá cúirteanna scuaise agus raicéadaíochta, halla ina bhfuil trí chúirt cispheile, stiúideonna ilchuspóireacha, giomnáisiam an-mhór agus balla dreapadóireachta ann chomh maith. Is cuid é Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh de chlár forbartha caipitil €400 milliún, 'Campas na Todhchaí', chun na caighdeáin is airde d'infreastruchtúr fisiciúil a sholáthar ar mhaithe le tacú le feabhas sa teagasc agus sa taighde. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, An Dr James J. Browne: "Baineann suntas faoi leith le hoscailt an Ionaid Spóirt i stair OÉ Gaillimh. Cuirfidh an t-ionad nua-aimseartha seo go mór le sláinte, le folláine agus le hoideachas ár mac léinn agus ár gcomhaltaí foirne mar aon le léargas a thabhairt ar an ról lárnach atá ag an spórt i saol phobal OÉ Gaillimh". Mhaoinigh mic léinn OÉ Gaillimh cuid den ionad, nuair a vótáil siad in 2003 tobhach na mac léinn a mhéadú chun tacú leis an tionscadal. Beidh lascaine shuntasach le fáil do mhic léinn ar mian leo áiseanna an Ionaid Spóirt a úsáid. Thug Atlantic Philanthropies deontas mór caipitil don tionscadal trí shocrú a rinneadh trí Fhondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Cúpla lá ó shin anseo san Ollscoil bronnadh scoláireachtaí spóirt ar fiú os cionn €100,000 iad ar lúthchleasaithe atá ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh le cabhrú leo a gcumas spóirt a fhorbairt. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Paul Hession, ar bronnadh scoláireacht spóirt air roinnt blianta ó shin, ar mac léinn leighis in OÉ Gaillimh é agus ar lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach é: "Áis den chéad scoth é seo in OÉ Gaillimh a chinnteoidh go dtiocfaidh athrú iomlán ar na deiseanna spóirt a bheidh ar fáil anseo do mhic léinn. Beidh áiseanna traenála den scoth le fáil sa ghiomnáisiam nua, don lucht spóirt gairmiúil cosúil liom féin". Is foirgneamh glas é seo sa chiall gur beag dochar atá á dhéanamh aige don chomhshaol. Sampla den teicneolaíocht atá in úsáid san Ionad is ea aonad Cumhachta is Teasa in Éineacht, a ghineann leictreachas don ionad agus a dhéanann athchúrsáil ar an teas lena úsáid san fhoirgneamh arís. D'oibrigh na hailtirí cáiliúla Faulkner Browns ar an tionscadal, i gcomhar le Holohan Design, mar aon leis na tógálaithe áitiúla Glenman Corporation. Is é Kingfisher Fitness Group a bhfuil sé ionad áineasa acu cheana féin sa tír atá i mbun an Ionaid a rith. Glaoigh ar Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh ar 091 570 800 nó seol ríomhphost chuig firstname.lastname@example.org. Tá eolas breise le fáil ar www.kingfisherclub.com -críoch-
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US Foundation Award for Humanities at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
NUI Galway wishes to announce a donation of €340,550 ($459,000) it has received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The donation takes the form of a research enhancement grant to the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies designed specifically to assist researchers on three of the Institutes' current projects to internationalise their efforts. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant will provide support over a four-year period (2008-2012) to three strands of the research agenda 'Texts, Contexts, Cultures at the Moore Institute' already being funded by the Higher Education Authority under its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, Cycle 4 (PRTLI4). These strands are: The Life and Legacy of Columbanus directed by Conor Newman and Dr Mark Stansbury; Transmission and Cultural Exchange directed by Daniel Carey and Professor Jane Conroy; and Globalisation, Empire and Culture, directed by Dr Lionel Pilkington. The enhancement grant to these three interconnected research strands, with their associated graduate training, will enable the scholars and students engaged on these projects to bring a series of international scholars to the Moore Institute to provide specialist seminars and master classes; to support researchers and research students while they engage in short study visits to major research libraries and institutes abroad; and to arrange major international conferences relating to the subject of their research. Professor Nicholas Canny, Academic Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: "The donation from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the Institute to further engage an international community of scholars in its research and graduate training mission which has always been transnational, multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional. It also brings credit to all who have worked in this vibrant research community over the past eight years". Since its inception in 2000, the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies has enabled humanities researchers across a range of disciplines to situate their work in a global context, bringing best practice in international scholarship to the Irish research community. The Moore Institute also caters for the mentoring of early stage researchers and for the transmission to them of transferable skills that promise both to develop their capacity for employment in the public sphere and to develop Ireland s knowledge economy. The Institute is called after the Moore family of Moore Hall in County Mayo whose members, in successive generations, sponsored such change in the west of Ireland over the course of four centuries. -Ends-
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Scoláireachtaí Spóirt ar fiú €100,000 iad bronnta ar Mhic Léinn de chuid OÉ Gail
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Tá scoláireachtaí spóirt ar fiú os cionn €100,000 iad bronnta ar lúthchleasaithe atá ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh le cabhrú leo a gcumas spóirt a fhorbairt. I mbliana tacóidh Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh le 80 mac léinn atá ag díriú ar spóirt éagsúla lena n-áirítear Lúthchleasaíocht, Cispheil, Peil, Liathróid Láimhe, Iománaíocht, Dreapadóireacht Aille, Rámhaíocht, Rugbaí, Sacar, Snámh agus Leadóg. Bhronn Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, scoláireachtaí ar na mic léinn ag searmanas speisialta a bhí ar siúl san Ollscoil ar an 3 Samhain. Bronnadh 16 scoláireacht nua i mbliana – scoláireachtaí ar fiú €2,000 sa bhliain iad go dtí go mbeidh na mic léinn críochnaithe lena gcuid staidéir in OÉ Gaillimh. Ciallaíonn sé sin go bhfuil 25 mac léinn as OÉ Gaillimh anois ag baint tairbhe as scoláireachtaí spóirt. I measc na mac léinn ar bronnadh Scoláireachtaí Spóirt orthu i mbliana tá: an reathaí Orla Ní Mhuircheartaigh, na himreoirí cispheile James Loughnane agus Paul O'Brien; na peileadóirí Úna Carroll agus Gareth Bradshaw; an t-iomróir Niall Kenny; an snámhaí Dairne Ryan; agus an t-imreoir leadóige Marion Hanley ar de bhunadh Chontae na Gaillimhe iad. I measc na mbuaiteoirí eile bhí: an t-iománaí Séamus Hennessy agus an peileadóir Ciarán McDonald as Tiobraid Árann; an t-imreoir sacair Michael Creane agus an t-imreoir rugbaí Keith Farry as Sligeach; an t-imreoir liathróid láimhe Diarmuid Nash agus an t-iománaí John Conlon as An Clár; an dreapadóir aille Joan Mulloy as Co. Mhaigh Eo; agus an t-imreoir rugbaí Jeffrey Neville as Luimneach. Lena chois sin, bronnadh sparánachtaí ar fiú €1,000 an ceann iad ar 50 mac léinn. Bronnadh na sparánachtaí seo ar mhic léinn atá i mbun cineálacha éagsúla spóirt, tonnmharcaíocht agus clársheoltóireacht ina measc, spóirt a bhfuil tóir ag go leor daoine in Iarthar na hÉireann orthu le blianta beaga anuas. Bronnadh dhá sparánacht eile ar fiú €1,000 iad, trí Scéim Scoláireachtaí CLG Cadbury mar chuid de Chraobhchomórtas Peile CLG Cadbury Faoi 21, ar Pheileadóir Idirchontae na hIarmhí, John Connellan as Baile Átha Luain, agus ar Imreoir Idirchontae Mhaigh Eo, Chris Barrett as Béal an Mhuirthead. Deir Tony Regan, Oifigeach Spóirt agus Áineasa OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil tús á chur le ré nua i gcúrsaí spóirt in OÉ Gaillimh: "Tarraingíodh aird ar chúrsaí spóirt anseo in OÉ Gaillimh in 2008. I measc mhic léinn agus alumni OÉ Gaillimh a ghlac páirt sna Cluichí Oilimpeacha i mBéising i gcaitheamh an tsamhraidh bhí Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Alan Martin agus Cormac Folan. Ag an am céanna, tá áiseanna den scoth ar fáil anois san Ionad Spóirt nua ar an gcampas - linn snámha 25 méadar, cúirteanna scuaise agus raicéadaíochta, cúirt cispheile idirnáisiúnta, giomnáisiam den chéad scoth mar aon le balla dreapadóireachta". Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt sé "Is mian linn tréaslú leis na buaiteoirí cumasacha seo ar fad agus gach tacaíocht a thabhairt dóibh lena chinntiú go n-éiríonn go breá leo amach anseo. Is iad buaiteoirí na Scoláireachtaí Spóirt seo an chéad ghlúin eile dár laochra spóirt". Cuid lárnach de mhisean OÉ Gaillimh é feabhas a bhaint amach i gcúrsaí spóirt, agus spreagann an Ollscoil mic léinn nua a bhfuil luí ar leith acu le spórt éigin le hiarratas a dhéanamh ar Scéim na Scoláireachtaí Spóirt. Is é an spriocdháta do Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na bliana seo amach romhainn an 31 Márta 2009. Tá sonraí le fáil ó mhúinteoirí gairmthreorach nó trí ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig email@example.com - críoch -
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NUI Galway Student Athletes Awarded €100,000 in Sports Scholarships
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Student athletes at NUI Galway have received over €100,000 in scholarships to help them to continue to develop their sporting excellence. This year, the NUI Galway Sports Scholarship Scheme will support almost 80 students in sports such as Athletics, Basketball, Football, Handball, Hurling, Rock Climbing, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming and Tennis. At a special ceremony in the University on 3 November, students were presented with the awards by Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway. A total of 16 new scholarships were awarded, each to the value of €2,000 per annum for the remainder of the students' studies, bringing to 25 the number of students currently on sports scholarships. The new Sports Scholarship Awardees include athletes from county Galway: runner Orla Ní Mhuircheartaigh, basketball players James Loughnane and Paul O'Brien; footballers Úna Carroll and Gareth Bradshaw; rower Niall Kenny; swimmer Dairne Ryan; and tennis player Marion Hanley. Other counties represented included: from Tipperary, hurler Séamus Hennessy and footballer Ciarán McDonald; from Sligo, soccer player Michael Creane and rugby player Keith Farry; from Clare, handball player Diarmuid Nash and hurler John Conlon; from Mayo, rock climber Joan Mulloy; and from Limerick, rugby player Jeffrey Neville. In addition, bursaries to the value of €1,000 were awarded to 50 students. These bursaries cover a wide range of sports and include surfing and windsurfing which are growing in popularity in the West of Ireland. Two further awards of €1,000, sponsored through the Cadbury GAA Scholarships as part of the Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship, were made to current Westmeath Inter-county footballer John Connellan from Athlone and current Mayo Inter-county player Chris Barrett from Bellmullet. Tony Regan, NUI Galway Sports and Recreation Officer, said the University is entering a new era in terms of sport: "2008 really has thrown a spotlight on sport at NUI Galway. Our students and alumni, namely Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Alan Martin and Cormac Folan flew the flag with distinction in Bejing. Meanwhile, the new Sports Centre enhances sports facilities on campus with a 25-metre pool, squash and racquetball courts, an international basketball court, a state-of-the-art gym, specialist elite gym, and a high-tech climbing wall". He added, "We would like to congratulate our awardees who represent a cross section of outstanding talent and offer them every support in taking their talents further. This year's Sports Scholarship Awardees are the next generation of sporting heroes". The pursuit of sporting excellence is part of the mission of NUI Galway, and the University encourages all school leavers who have a particular sporting talent to consider applying to the Sports Scholarship Scheme. The closing date for next year's Sports Scholarships Scheme is 31 March 2009. Details are available from career guidance teachers or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org -ends-
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NUI Galway Postgraduate Researcher Awarded Fellowship in The Netherlands
Monday, 3 November 2008
Michael Keeney, a postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, has been awarded a fellowship, at a prestigious University in the Netherlands, to advance his work in the area of tissue engineering. His focus is on the latest science which aims to persuade the body to heal itself by increasing cell repair in degenerated tissue. Michael Keeney, who is originally from Donegal Town, will spend three months working at Radboud University, Nijmegen, which has a long history of bone and tissue engineering research. He is excited about the opportunity: "This fellowship will allow me a unique opportunity to test our functional biomaterial in one of the best research labs in Europe. The three months should prove invaluable to my research career". At NUI Galway, Michael Keeney is an Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) scholar and is in the final year of his dissertation under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit. In November 2007, Professor Pandit and his team were awarded €4.3 million for the development of a Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering research cluster at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. According to Professor Pandit: "NUI Galway is developing critical mass in the area of next generation biomaterials. Each individual researcher is playing an important part in our work and Michael is a perfect example. He has been an exemplary student and scientist since he came to the University in 2001. His research is advancing the field of tissue engineering and will have possible applications in bone and cartilage regeneration following injury of damage due to disease". Michael Keeney will be based in the Netherlands from January to March of 2009. The fellowship was awarded by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). -ends-
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NUI Galway Law Expert Addresses UN Conference
Monday, 3 November 2008
Protecting the rights of the world's 650 million persons with disabilities was the focus of a conference on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York which was addressed Professor Gerard Quinn of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. The conference followed on from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, which entered into force on 3 May 2008. It was composed of States that have ratified the convention and was the first time they met as a Conference of States Parties. In his presentation, Professor Quinn underscored that the Convention's success would be determined by whether it could ignite a new dynamic of change at a national level, cautioning that people must "resist the temptation of its elegance", and not allow it to substitute for the hard work that would be needed to change domestic laws. Professor Quinn was joined by a distinguished panel by invitation of the Chair of the Conference of States to reflect on implementation. The Conference will meet annually to share experiences and make recommendations with respect to the implementation of the treaty. Members of the new UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be elected today. The Committee will monitor compliance with the convention. Professor Quinn said: "It is an honour to be asked to address the first formal gathering of States that have ratified the treaty. We all hope and expect that Ireland will ratify soon. Unfortunately, since Ireland has not yet ratified, it will not be able to take part in the election to the new UN Committee. This does not diminish the importance of the event for the 'world's largest minority'. Several of our students have participated in the drafting of the treaty and our PhD programme in disability law follows relevant events closely". The Convention, one of the fastest treaties ever negotiated at the United Nations, and one of the fastest to enter into force, has been hailed as a landmark achievement. While the Convention itself does not create any new rights for persons with disabilities worldwide, it ensures that their existing rights are promoted, protected and ensured. The first new human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, it has been signed by 136 countries since 30 March 2007, and ratified by 41. The Optional Protocol has gathered 79 signatures and 25 ratifications so far. This would allow individuals and Groups to lodge complaints against their Governments in the new UN Committee. -ends-
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Tánaiste Announces Major Investment of over €45 million in SFI Centres for Scien
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan T.D., has announced substantial awards totalling €45.7 million over five years, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). This investment provides second term funding for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway as well as two other world-class research Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs). Funding will be supplemented by an additional contribution from industry of €14.5 million, bringing the overall investment to over €60 million. At NUI Galway, DERI is researching technologies that will underpin the next generation of the World Wide Web – the Semantic Web. Announcing the awards, the Tánaiste said: "From its inception, the SFI CSET programme has been designed to facilitate the creation of internationally-competitive, large-scale research centres that support high-quality collaborations between higher education institutes and industry-based researchers. All three centres have been playing a pivotal role in contributing to the Government's goal of building a world-class research base in Ireland, and developing our human capital to support economic competitiveness. Today is an endorsement of this achievement to date, and marks the beginning of the next chapter for each individual researcher and their respective teams". Michael Turley, CEO, DERI, said at the announcement: "The receipt of this second term funding from SFI will enable DERI to execute on its strategies. These include world class research and the creation of fourth level human capital for Ireland s knowledge economy. This funding will give DERI the opportunity to exploit the commercialisation and job creation opportunities that will arise through DERI s industry partnerships and NUI Galway's technology transfer programmes. The University's education and outreach programme with schools and communities will also play a vital part in attracting third level students to the Engineering and Science disciplines". DERI's industry partners include: Nortel Networks (Ireland) Ltd, Cisco Systems Internetworking (Ireland) Ltd, FISC-Ireland Ltd, L M Ericsson Ltd, Storm Technology Ltd, Celtrak Ltd, Cyntelix Corporation Ltd, OpenLink Software (UK) Ltd. Stefan Decker, Scientific Director, DERI, NUI Galway, said: "DERI s mission is to create the foundation for interlinking the worlds knowledge. We are not only aiming for academic excellence, but together with our industry partners we want to change the way how people interact with the computers when using the Web or Desktop software. Starting from a basis of strength enabled by SFI s funding, we are confident that we are able to help shape Ireland s future." Also attending the announcement, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins T.D. said: "A total of 12 distinct indigenous and multinational companies will partner with these CSETs, and SFI funding will be bolstered by these industry partners' contribution of an additional €14.5 million in the form of funding, personnel and equipment. The funding announced today will directly support almost 200 researchers, graduate students and others in a well-structured and wholly-collaborative environment between now and 2013". The two other funding awards under the SFI CSET Programme announced today are for: Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) based at University College Cork which is focusing on research in gastrointestinal health; Director: Professor Fergus Shanahan, Industry Partners: GlaxoSmithKline and Alimentary Health. Other Partners: Teagasc CRANN, the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices which is hosted by Trinity College Dublin and is working in the area of Nanotechnology; Director: Professor John Boland Industry Partners: Hewlett-Packard and Intel Commenting on the awards, Professor Frank Gannon, Director-General of SFI stated: "SFI CSETs have led our portfolio of initiatives that are steadily moving Ireland towards a truly knowledge-based economy. These CSETs have been independently verified as playing an important role in building a world-class research system in Ireland, as well as linking successfully with major multinational companies and providing an attractor for multinational investment in research in Ireland. Funding for the three CSETs announced today was approved by the SFI Board following a rigorous, multi-faceted assessment process. This encompassed international scientific peer review, 31 international experts participated in the postal review process and 28 international experts participated in the four on-site reviews. In addition, a 'Strategic Value to Ireland' assessment was performed by key Government agency stakeholders, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Forfás, the Higher Education Authority and the Health Research Board. Ends
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Newgrange Winter Solstice Webcast Marks Start of International Year of Astronomy
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Dr Martin Mansergh T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works has announced broadcast details of this year's Winter Solstice at Newgrange, County Meath. Minister Mansergh said: "Last year, for the first time ever, the Office of Public Works (OPW) broadcast a live internet web stream of the iconic sunrise in the 5,000 year old chamber at Newgrange, County Meath. Many thousands of people all around the world tuned in to enjoy coverage and I am delighted, this year, to announce that we are providing a similar live stream of the event on our Heritage Ireland website, www.heritageireland.ie. In addition, Free to Air coverage will be available to any television outlets who wish to broadcast the event". The Minister continued: "This year also sees an exciting collaboration between my Office and the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). Ireland will be the first country in the world to mark the start of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 with this special event and we are happy to work in partnership with IYA2009, Discover Science & Engineering and NUI Galway, the main sponsoring bodies of the Irish node of IYA2009". The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) is a global celebration of astronomy and its entirely peaceful contribution to society and culture. 2009 is the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo, in reality the beginning of the modern age in astronomy. The aim of IYA2009 is to stimulate a worldwide interest and encourage participation in astronomy and in science amongst students at all levels, and among the general public. In Ireland, a programme of events for IYA2009 is being organised by the Irish Node of IYA2009, headed by Professor Michael Redfern, Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway. According to Professor Redfern, who lectures in Astrophysics, the Newgrange event is the perfect way to mark the coming year: "The Solar new year actually begins with the winter solstice, so in terms of astrophysics we will already be entering 2009. Newgrange is an extraordinary structure, demonstrating what a deep understanding of astronomy and what great precision in building the passage tomb was shown by our Irish ancestors, some 5000 years ago. It is a most moving event to witness for oneself the first rays of sunlight entering and lighting up the inner chamber where they placed the cremated remains of their ancestors, as it must have been for them. The hope for 2009 is that initiatives throughout the year will encourage participation in science, will provide a modern gender-balanced view of science and scientists, and will encourage cooperation between astronomers in the developed and developing world. We are very grateful to the Office of Public works for the opportunity to work in partnership with them on this world-renowned event". In order to see the live webcast, viewers should log onto www.astronomy2009.ie -Ends-
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Prize Winners Visualise Irish Online Life in boards.ie Competition
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway has announced the winners of a competition run in conjunction with boards.ie. The competition brief was to produce an interesting creation based on a data set reflecting ten years of Irish online life from boards.ie, Ireland's largest discussion forum website. boards.ie is one of Ireland's busiest websites, with 1.7 million unique visitors a month. The site has recently won a Golden Spider Award for Best Social Networking or Community Site, and Irish Web Awards for both Best Discussion Forum and the Grand Prix. The most popular discussion areas are 'after hours', soccer, motors, poker and computers. Popular topic threads include: a virtual pub (over 4000 pages); member discussions (2800 pages); poker stories (1800 pages); Liverpool rumours (1250 pages); recruitment in the Gardaí (800 pages long); and a freebie list (250 pages). For the competition, the data from boards.ie (approximately 9 million documents) was represented in the Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC) open data format developed by DERI. Dr John Breslin, a researcher with DERI and co-founder of the boards.ie site said: "The competition had about sixty registrants and there were eight final submissions of very high quality that demonstrated really interesting usages of the Semantic Web data. There has been huge interest in the winning entries from many communities (developers, researchers, designers) and the winners have agreed to release the code for others to use". The winning submission was entitled "SIOC.ME: A Real-Time Interactive Visualisation of boards.ie Semantic Data within a 3-D Space". The entry illustrated how 3-D visualisations may be harnessed to not only provide an interactive means of presenting or browsing data but also to create useful data analysis tools, especially for manipulating the "semantic" (meaningful) data from online communities and social networking sites. Submitted by Darren Geraghty, a user interface and interaction designer from Co. Galway, the entry was praised by the judges for the huge amount of effort that went into creating it. In second place was a visualisation application called "boardsview" by Stephen Dolan of Trinity College Dublin. This interactive, real-time animation where one can watch the historical content from many discussion forums changing in real or compressed time. In the application, viewers can zoom into a particular forum to see individual users posting messages or to see threads being created and destroyed. Third prize was awarded to the "Forum Activity Graph" by Drew Perttula from California. This entry was a visualisation showing the popularity of forums on boards.ie as represented by coloured rivers of information, which were then rendered and displayed using Google Maps. The competition was judged by an independent panel of three experts: Ian Davis, Chief Technology Officer with Talis; Harry Halpin, researcher at the University of Edinburgh and chair of the W3C GRDDL working group; and Peter Mika, researcher at Yahoo! Research Barcelona and author of the book Social Networks and the Semantic Web. First prize was an Amazon voucher worth $4000, with a second third prize work $2000 and $1000 respectively. -ends-
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