NUI Galway astronomers make important pulsar discovery

NUI Galway astronomers make important pulsar discovery-image

Monday, 23 April 2007

Researchers at the Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway have made an important discovery regarding brown dwarfs which has revealed that these "failed stars" can possess powerful magnetic fields and emit lighthouse beams of radio waves thousands of times brighter than any detected from the Sun. The team of Gregg Hallinan, Stephen Bourke and Caoilfhionn Lane; scientists based at the Armagh Observatory; and US researchers in New Mexico and Arizona, has discovered that the brown dwarfs are behaving like pulsars, one of the most exotic types of object in our Universe. "Brown dwarfs tend to be seen as a bit boring – the cinders of the galaxy. Our research shows that these objects can be fascinating and dynamic systems, and may be the key to unlocking this long-standing mystery of how pulsars produce radio emissions," said Mr Hallinan who presented his findings at a recent meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in Preston, UK. Since the discovery of pulsars 40 years ago, astronomers have been trying to understand how the rotating neutron stars produce their flashing radio signals. Although there have been many attempts to describe how they produce the extremely bright radio emissions, the vast magnetic field strengths of pulsars and the relativistic speeds involved make it extremely difficult to model. The researchers have found that brown dwarfs are now the second class of stellar object observed to produce this kind of powerful, amplified (coherent) radio signal at a persistent level. The emissions from the brown dwarfs appear to be very similar to those observed from pulsars, but the whole system is on a much slower and smaller scale, so it is much easier to decipher exactly what is going on. Importantly, the mechanisms for producing the radio emissions in brown dwarfs are well understood, as they are almost identical to the processes that produce radio emissions from planets. Dr Aaron Golden, lecturer at the Department of Information Technology, who supervised the group said: "The observations that yielded this discovery involved the use of some of the world s finest astronomical facilities, but it was sheer hard work and focussed, inspired analysis that have put astronomical research at NUI Galway on a global stage. "I think it is particularly important to stress that such world class research being lead by astronomers at NUI, Galway is a testament to the quality and ability of our postgraduate students on campus, and a vindication of the University s recent decision to approve the setting up of the Centre for Astronomy." Mr Hallinan added; "It looks like brown dwarfs are the missing step between the radio emissions we see generated at Jupiter and those we observe from pulsars". The group is now planning a large survey of all the known brown dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood to find out how many are radio sources and how many of those are pulsing. If a large fraction of brown dwarfs are found to pulse, it could prove a key method of detection for these elusive objects. ENDS

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Medieval Research Scholarship unveiled at NUI Galway

Medieval Research Scholarship unveiled at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 23 April 2007

The inaugural recipient of a travel grant supported by the Louis & Nellie Sieg and Frank G. & Gertrude Dunlap Scholarship Fund, USA, to assist research in Medieval Studies has been announced by NUI Galway. Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President for Research, NUI Galway, presented Rory Sherlock, a Ph.D student in Archaeology, with his award of €1,200 which will enable him to attend the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, next month. Mr Sherlock will present his paper on 'Past and Present Approaches to the Study of Tower Houses in Ireland' at the Kalamazoo Congress, which attracts over 3,000 scholars worldwide with an interest in Medieval Studies. Mr Sherlock will be accompanied to the Kalamazoo Congress by Dr Kieran O'Conor, Department of Archaeology, NUI Galway, who will address a panel devoted to 'New Research on Castles in Britain and Ireland'; and Dr Kimberly A LoPrete, Department of History, NUI Galway, who will speak on a panel she organised on 'New Documentary Communities in the Twelfth Century'. The scholarship fund has been established with an endowment donated by a Michigan-based charitable organisation, the LoPrete Family Foundation, which supports educational activities in the Arts and Humanities among other ventures. Recipients of the award are selected annually by a panel of academics convened by the Director of the MA in Medieval Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín. For further information on the scholarship, see . Further details on this year's International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo can be found at: ENDS

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Minister to launch new research staff association at NUI Galway

Minister to launch new research staff association at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Pictured at the launch of the NUI Galway Research Staff Association (GRSA) are from left: Dr. Barry Glynn, Chairman, GRSA; Mr Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Professor Tim O Brien, Director of Regenerative Medical Institute, NUI Galway The newly formed Galway Research Staff Association (GRSA) at NUI Galway has been officially launched by Eamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs at a ceremony on Thursday, 19 April 2007. With over 250 contract researchers currently working in the National University of Ireland Galway, the primary function of the GRSA is to promote the interests of contract research staff within the University and in so doing to create a working environment which encourages excellence in research and serves to attract and retain high quality researchers. Speaking at the launch, Professor Tim O'Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medical Institute (REMEDI) at the University said: "Structured research careers for PhD graduates will be crucial to the future economic success of the country. This has been recognised by the Advisory Council for Science Technology and Innovation who are currently drafting a report for Government on this issue. Successful implementation of a plan to address this issue will be necessary if we are to continue to attract the brightest and the best students to a career in research". GRSA chairman, Dr Barry Glynn, who is based at the National Diagnostics Centre, NUI Galway said: "The Association welcomes the increased investment in science required for building Ireland's knowledge economy. However recognition of the contribution made by the existing researcher base is lacking and the means to integrate them into the proposed structure remains unclear. "Contract researchers at NUI Galway contribute to the economic as well as educational success of the University. Despite their evident importance to the university problems facing researchers have not been properly addressed including: job security, career structure, pensions, and salary levels relative to qualifications." The specific aims of the GRSA are: To provide a collective voice for researchers within the University to articulate and promote their views and to liaise with University authorities. To improve the status of researchers on fixed contracts within the University, commensurate with their contribution, experience and responsibilities. To encourage greater recognition of the contribution of researchers through parity of esteem and reward. To provide a forum for research staff to meet, network and discuss issues of mutual concern and in so doing to build a cross-disciplinary University research community. According to the Association, state funding of research centres will fail to deliver results unless experienced research staff is in place, while training of the next generation of PhD students, essential for the Government's strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, depends upon the direct involvement of these researchers. Further information is available at or by emailing ENDS

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NUI Galway offers new Degree in Project & Construction Management

NUI Galway offers new Degree in Project & Construction Management-image

Monday, 16 April 2007

The Faculty of Engineering at NUI Galway is to offer a new full-time, four-year degree programme in Project and Construction Management starting in September 2007. The honours BSc degree is being offered in response to the shortage of suitably qualified professionals across all sectors of the built environment following the enormous investment in physical infrastructure in recent years. The degree programme is listed on the CAO website as GY410 and an additional notice will shortly be sent by the CAO to all students who have applied through the CAO process. Potential applicants can then include the programme through the Change of Mind process until July 1 2007. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering at NUI Galway said: "This programme represents an exciting new offering in the area of construction/project management. The programme represents a further expansion of NUI Galway's degree options in the area of the built environment which also include degrees in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Health and Safety and an MA in Planning. The new degree will equip students with a knowledge and understanding of project management, particularly in the construction sector, and enable them to embrace the challenges of modernisation, innovation and change in tomorrow's knowledge based economy." A key aspect of the programme is the broad-based multidisciplinary approach involving several faculties. In addition to the strong input from Civil and Industrial Engineering, there is also a significant input from the Faculty of Commerce along with Science and Law. This broad-based training will provide graduates with a unique set of marketable skills that will allow them to meet the challenges that they will face in an ever competitive industry. Prof. O'Donoghue added: "Deficiencies in the supply of graduates in the areas of project and construction management have been identified and the new programme will meet these demands. Thus, the course aims to prepare graduates to be capable of assuming technical, management, academic and research/development level positions in the construction industry." Further details and information can be sought from Prof. Padraic O'Donoghue or Dr. Kevin McNamara, Department of Engineering, NUI Galway at 091 492170/492291 or e-mail ENDS

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NUI Galway Human Rights Expert Awarded International Law Accolade

NUI Galway Human Rights Expert Awarded International Law Accolade-image

Monday, 16 April 2007

The Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William Schabas has been awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law. Prof Schabas was honoured for his book, 'The UN International Criminal Tribunals: the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone' (Cambridge University Press, 2006), which was chosen from a list of 60 publications worldwide. The Society awards three certificates every year for what it judges to be the best books in the field of international law. The American Society of International Law is one of the leading learned societies in the field of international law. Prof. Schabas received the accolade at the Annual Meeting of the Society in Washington, D.C. from Society President, Professor José Alvarez. Certificate of Merit Awards were also presented to Professor James Hathaway, of the University of Michigan, and Professors Fionualla Ni Aoilain and Oren Gross, of the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster. Meanwhile, Prof Schabas has addressed the Baker Peace Conference in Ohio, where he delivered a keynote speech on international criminal justice. The theme of this year's annual conference, organised by the Centre for Contemporary History, Ohio University, was the transatlantic relationship and issues facing the Atlantic Alliance, including the use of force, the role of international institutions, U.S.-British relations, war crimes and the international criminal court. "The paradox of the United States position is that it has always been at the top of the list of countries enthusiastic about international criminal justice, and this goes right back to Nuremberg in 1945," said Prof Schabas. "But of course in recent years, the United States has become rather hostile to the most important new initiative in this area, the International Criminal Court. Basically, the United States resents the fact that the Court is independent of the Security Council. This has been welcomed by most other countries, who see this as important to the Court s impartiality and integrity. But for the United States, it means it cannot control the Court, explained Professor Schabas. "United States opposition to the International Criminal Court is part of the larger phenomenon of a growing rift between the United States and Europe on many issues in the field of human rights. We disagree on so many things, from capital punishment, to basic entitlements to medical care and education, to the International Criminal Court." ENDS

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Nobel Prizewinner gives NUI Galway lecture

Nobel Prizewinner gives NUI Galway lecture-image

Monday, 16 April 2007

Pictured during Dr Prusiner's visit to NUI Galway are from left: Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President for Research, NUI Galway; Dr Stanley Prusiner and Professor Noel Lowndes, Head of the Department of Biochemistry, NUI Galway. Nobel Prizewinner Dr Stanley Prusiner was a recent guest of the Department of Biochemistry, NUI Galway where he delivered a lecture on 'Prions, Mad Cows and Dementing Diseases'. Dr Prusiner was awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his ground breaking discovery of Prion proteins (acronym for proteinaceous infectious particles), and identification of prions as the key agents in dementia-causing neurodegenerative diseases such as Mad Cow disease and Scrapie in animals and the counterpart human diseases Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS). Dr Prusiner's research also demonstrated that these diseases can be passed from one species to another. His findings have also been recognised as having implications in the identification of the cause of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Prusiner is currently the Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor of Neurobiology and Biochemistry at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Prusiner was the guest of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Society, the latter of which received Science Foundation Ireland funding for the event.

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'Citizenship, Globalisation and the War on Terror' Seminar at NUI Galway

'Citizenship, Globalisation and the War on Terror' Seminar at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 12 April 2007

NUI Galway's Keynote Seminar Series, organised by the Community Knowledge Initiative, (CKI) continues on Thursday, 19 April, 2007, when Dr Maurice Mullard, Reader in Social Policy at Hull University will deliver an address on 'Citizenship, Globalisation and the War on Terror'. Focusing on themes related to civic engagement and active citizenship, the series is being offered as a response to the impact that volunteering has in today's communities. Dr Mullard will argue that citizenship is not a static concept, but reflects changing hopes and aspirations. He believes expectations of citizenship are at present being shaped and defined by the dual processes of Globalisation and the War on Terror. During the seminar Dr Mullard will investigate two possible models of citizenship; the consumer citizen and the cosmopolitan citizen. The former lives in a world where consumption confirms identity and membership of community while the latter seeks to make real the nature of greater human connections in a globalised world. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of the Centre for Learning and Excellence (CELT) at NUI Galway and head of CKI says; "The theme of citizenship is topical just now with the Taoiseach recently launching the Taskforce on Active Citizenship report. This seminar will allow us to take a step back and look at the formation of notions of citizenship and the influence played by world events". Tickets for the free event, which is hosted in partnership with the Department of Political Science & Sociology, are available from Mary Bernard at the Community Knowledge Initiative at or on 091 493823. The seminar will be held in the Charles McMunn Theatre, Arts/Science Building from 1.00 to 2.00pm. Further information on the CKI Keynote Seminar Series is available at the CKI website at ENDS

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Award-winning film ONCE in special NUI Galway screening

Award-winning film ONCE in special NUI Galway screening-image

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The award-winning film ONCE by Irish filmmaker John Carney is to be screened in Roundstone, County Galway, on Saturday, 14 April, as part of the Folding Landscapes series in association with NUI Galway. The low-budget musical tale of boy-meets-girl is Carney's third feature film and has already won the prestigious Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Carney, who has in the past worked with some of the best known Irish actors including Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea and Gerard McSorley, made the film in just 17 days on the streets of Dublin for a mere $150,000. Starring Frames front man Glen Hansard along with Markéta Irglová, Bill Hodnett, Danuse Ktrestova, and Marcella Plunkett, ONCE has become quite a phenomenon. Carney will attend the Roundstone screening and facilitate a question and answers session with the audience. "I really did think when we made this film that we had made a film that very few people would want to see or maybe only people who are interested in music would want to see, and it turns out to be something quite different," he says. Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway says: "John Carney s ONCE shows that imaginative micro budget film-making has the capacity to produce strong versions of Irish cinema. Like his earlier feature November Afternoon and his memorable television series Bachelor's Walk, his combination of a free-wheeling narrative and good music is exactly the style that can engage contemporary audiences. ONCE is a striking version of what he describes as an 'art-house musical' and it is likely to be as successful here as at the Sundance Film Festival." ONCE will be screened at 7.00pm at Roundstone Community Hall and is a free event open to the public. Unfolding Ideas is a Colloquium Series launched by NUI Galway to provide a forum for scholars, educators and artists to engage in a series of public talks, group discussion and workshops. The programme is organised by the Faculty of Arts and Galway University Foundation. ENDS

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Met Éireann and the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC)

Met Éireann and the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC)-image

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) announced today that it is embarking on a new collaboration with Met Éireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service. The project will be led by NUI Galway, the host organisation for ICHEC. As part of this collaboration, ICHEC will provide computational facilities and support to Met Éireann to enable it to run its operational high-resolution forecast models on ICHEC's flagship supercomputer, Walton, currently the 376th fastest computer in the world[1]. This move will allow Met Éireann to avail of state-of-the art computing technology, known as High-Performance Computing (HPC), to improve the quality of its forecast products. This collaboration will also provide a suitable framework for ICHEC to bring its considerable expertise in HPC to the climate modelling and weather prediction communities. ICHEC will indeed take an active part in the development of faster and more accurate simulation codes that are of interest to Met Éireann and other national weather forecast agencies. This involvement is expected to bring considerable benefits to the environmental science research community in Irish universities. Dr. J.-C. Desplat, ICHEC Director, stated: "This collaboration constitutes a clear endorsement of ICHEC's professionalism and its ability to deliver a mission-critical service." Met Éireann, in collaboration with UCD, has already greatly benefited from the use of ICHEC resources. Through the Community Climate Change Consortium for Ireland (C4I) project, it has carried out major computer simulations of the past and future Irish climate in support of the National Climate Change Strategy. This new scientific collaboration with ICHEC, and the substantial computer resources it provides, will enhance Met Éireann's operational forecasting and climate modelling activities. Mr Declan Murphy, Director of Met Éireann, stated: "Modern weather forecasting methods depend on the availability of High Performance Computing facilities. By teaming up with ICHEC, Met Éireann will be in a position to run more sophisticated weather and climate models than it could afford to do on its own, and this partnership represents an excellent example of efficient use of national resources". Met Éireann[2], the Irish National Meteorological Service, is attached to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It is the leading provider of weather information and related services for Ireland. ICHEC is a project funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) with contributions from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) through the CosmoGrid project. ICHEC operates the National HPC service, a service offered to all researchers in Irish universities and research organisations. See [1] Source: Top 500 list at [2] See ENDS

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Seoladh Oifigiúil Scéim OÉ Gaillimh faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003

Seoladh Oifigiúil Scéim OÉ Gaillimh faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003-image

Monday, 2 April 2007

Lisa Ní Fhlatharta, Áras na Gaeilge, Dr. Iognáid o Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh agus Dáithí ó Madáin, Áras na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. Sheol Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh an Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh Scéim na hOllscoile ar an Aoine, Scéim a aontaíodh faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Is é príomhaidhm na chéad Scéime seo go gcuirfí le soláthar seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge san Ollscoil i réimsí acadúla agus riaracháin agus sna seirbhísí ginearálta. Seo mar a labhair an tUachtarán ag an seoladh "Mar Ollscoil atá suite ar thairseach na Gaeltachta tá sé mar sprioc againn campas eiseamláireach dátheangach a chruthú. Is scéim trí bliana atá i gceist agus roimh dheireadh na chéad Scéime seo (Deireadh Fómhair, 2008) beidh seirbhís trí mheán na Gaeilge á soláthar don phobal i dtrí cinn déag de shainréimsí oibre na hOllscoile." Mar chuid den seoladh, cuireadh tús le feachtas poiblíochta, feachtas póstaer agus bileog ina measc chun an pobal a chur ar an eolas faoi sheirbhísí dátheangacha atá agus a bheidh ar fáil do chustaiméirí de chuid na hOllscoile roimh chríoch na chéad Scéime. Lean an tUasal Ó Muircheartaigh "Tá sé tábhachtach go mbeadh a fhios ag comhluadar na hOllscoile agus ag an bpobal i gcoitinne faoi na seirbhísí dátheangacha seo, is é sin an fáth go mbeidh na póstaeir agus na bileoga eolais seo a scaipeadh, ní amháin ar fud na hOllscoile ach ar fud na Gaillimhe". Cuireadh in iúl ag an ócáid go bhfuil sé mar chuid lárnach d'fhís fhadthréimhseach OÉ Gaillimh go dtiocfadh forbairt agus borradh ar sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge. Mar fhocal scoir dúirt an tUachtarán "Tá sé ríthábhachtach go mbainfeadh muid úsáid as na seirbhísí seo agus mar atá ráite ar na bileoga eolais agus ar na póstaeir. Is libhse na Seirbhísí, Bainigí úsáid astu" Le aghaidh tuilleadh eolais déan teagmháil le: Dáithi Ó Madáin, Áras na Gaeilge ag 091-495449 nó rphost ag nó Lisa Ní Fhlatharta, Áras na Gaeilge ag 091 495451 nó rphost ag

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