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Friday, 18 January 2019

Earlier in 2018, we secured funding from the International astronomical Union (IAU) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) to develop an exhibition that does not rely on the traditionally visual side of astronomy. Our project aims at enabling participants to learn more about the Solar System through a low cost tactile planetarium, which includes a scale representation of the planets using household materials, an asteroid tunnel made by local Irish artists and models of the planets made by a professional artist based in the UK. We also incorporated lights and open discussions to appeal to participants’ other senses and to convey a taste for astronomy to all participants regardless their age or ability. During the Galway Science Technology Festival 2018, we exhibited the planetarium for the first time as an inclusive space where children and families of all abilities and ages could engage with their peers and explore the outer space through their senses. More than 200 people attended the exhibition and the feedback was very positive. Organisers: Adriana Cardinot, PhD student, School of Physics, NUIG Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, Lecturer, School of Physics, NUIG Prof. Andy Shearer, Lecturer, School of Physics, NUIG Artists: Kelly Stanford, Finbar McHugh and Tommy Carew Collaborators: IMPACTE and ISL societies

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Donal O’Regan and Dr Derek Morris, have ranked in the top 1% of Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018. The Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018 identifies scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence through publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Researchers are selected for their exceptional performance in one or more of 21 fields (those used in Essential Science Indicators (ESI)) or across several fields. For the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers analysis, the papers surveyed were those published and cited during 2006 - 2016 and which at the end of 2016 ranked in the top 1% by citations for their ESI field and year (the definition of a highly cited paper). The 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list can be seen in its entirety by visiting: https://www.clarivate.com/ Approximately 6,000 researchers are named Highly Cited Researchers in 2018 — some 4,000 in specific fields and about 2,000 for Cross-Field performance. This is the first year that researchers with Cross-Field impact are identified. Professor Colin O’Dowd is Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, and a Professor in the School of Physics, NUI Galway. Through his pioneering work in the field of atmospheric physics, Colin has become internationally renowned as one of the leading scientists in the field of climate change. This is the fourth year in a row since 2015 that Professor O'Dowd has been included in this prestigious list.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Researchers from the School of Physics in NUI Galway have been investigating pesticide exposures among professional gardener’s and amenity horticultural workers. The final results from this four-year study were recently published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. The research was led by Exposure Science lecturer Dr Marie Coggins and Alison Connolly, a PhD researcher in Exposure Science, both from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The research project was conducted in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive, Great Britain and the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. The project was funded by the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Colt Foundation UK.  Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and is extensively used in horticulture to control the growth of weeds and invasive species of plants, such as the Japanese Knotweed. Glyphosate has recently received much public attention following its ‘Group 2A – probably carcinogenic to humans’ classification from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other international agencies have concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. Despite the widespread use of glyphosate, there is limited human exposure data available for this chemical. Commenting on the study, Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, said: “Occupational biomonitoring data across Europe on chemicals such as pesticides is scarce. In this study detectable levels of pesticides in urine were low, however, further studies such as this one are required to fully characterise chemical exposures in humans to support risk assessment and to inform policy.” Key recommendations for pesticide users: Wear personal protective equipment when applying pesticide products. Dispose of all used personal protective equipment after the task or ensure that re-usable personal protective equipment is washed thoroughly after each work task. When taking breaks during the task, be careful when donning or doffing personal protective equipment, to prevent contamination of clothes and the body. Be careful not to contaminate personal items such as mobile phones and steering wheels when working with pesticides. The research has led to the development of a Guidance document on the safe use of plant protection products which is freely available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website at:http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/media/pesticides/content/foodsafety/PesticideResiduesinFood2015270317.pdf To read the final study's in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463917300688?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918302505?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918305972?via%3Dihub;    Further information can be found at the NUI Galway News Archive: http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/news-and-events/news-archive/2018/december/nui-galway-scientists-find-low-levels-of-pesticide-exposure-among-professional-horticultural-workers.html

Monday, 17 December 2018

Congratulations to NUI Galway Physics graduate, Amy Joyce, who is one of two Irish scientists selected to travel to the European Space Astronomy Centre  in Madrid, Spain to undertake an Irish Research Council (IRC) - European Space Agency (ESA) Traineeship. Trainees have the opportunity to gain practical experience in high-tech space activities such as space science, earth observation, telecommunications, navigation, mission control and operations, and human spaceflight.  Amy started in November and is working on developing tools for mission cross-calibration. She will also learn about the scientific uses of x-ray satellites as well as the challenges and procedures of operating a space mission. Peter Brown, director of the Irish Research Council, said ”This traineeship offers the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in Europe’s gateway to space. The IRC is committed to supporting the development of Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. We are delighted to support both Amy and Cillian on this project, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with ESA on this initiative."

Friday, 30 November 2018

Congratulatios to James Blackwell, School of Physics and Medical Physics Research Cluster, who won the NUI Galway Threesis Grand Final last night (29th November) against very strong competition - a full list of competitiors can be found at the NUI Galway Research twitter feed. The Threesis competition is a fast-paced event featuring a series of three minute talks by researchers sharing the story of their research using just three presentation slides in front of three judges. It is open to all research students and postdoctoral researchers at NUI Galway. The title of James Blackwell's presentation was "Finding Brain Tumours using Ultrasound". Well done James on communicating the story of your research topic clearly and concisely (and with good humour!) at this public event.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Congratrulations to Mohammed Alaswad on winning Best Oral Presentation Award at the 18th AOCMP (Asia-Oceania Congress of Medical Physics) & 16th SEACOMP (South-East Asia Congress of Medical Physics) which took place 11th - 14th November in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. AOCMP and SEACOMP are both important annual events in medical physics in the region.  The objective of the congress is to gather the medical physics and allied health professionals in the region for the sharing of knowledge, expertise, scientific discussions, cultural exchange and medical technologies updates. The theme for this congress was “A Sustainable Future for Medical Physics”. The title of Mohammed's presentation was "Radiation Dose Intensity and Local Tumour Control of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Radiobiological Modelling Perspective".

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

How our footsteps could be used for security and health checks Analysis: new research shows how behavioural biometrics such as walking provide valuable data about who we are and our health and well-being . Image analysis of faces, fingerprints and retinal scans to identify people is well established at this stage. But "behavioural biometrics" such as walking provide valuable biomechanical information since every human has to walk or interact with gravity to get about. If you would like to find out more about behavioural biometrics, please follow this link: RTE Brainstorm: How our footsteps could be used for security and health checks   

Friday, 9 November 2018

Vacancy for Postdoctoral Researcher working in the Exposure Science Research Group, School of Physics, NUI Galway Project: Indoor Air quality, ventilation and occupant comfort in Irish Domestic dwellings post Deep Energy Renovations  (Ref. No. NUIG189-18) Funded by: The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full time, fixed term position as a Postdoctoral researcher with the Exposure Science research group within the School of Physics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded by The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and is available from the earliest date possible to 31st December 2020 (with a possibility to an extension). About the project The impact of energy efficient measures such as Deep Retrofit (DR) on indoor air quality (IAQ) is largely understudied internationally. Although research shows that improving the energy performance of a building improves indoor temperature and occupant comfort, the impact on IAQ is unclear. This research project, aims to measure the air concentration of ten priority pollutants for health in homes participating in SEAI’s DR Pilot programme, before and after deep energy renovations. The study will also evaluate the impact of the renovation works on occupant comfort and how occupants use and adopt to new energy saving features in their home. Further details attached. Further information for Ref. No. NUIG189-18 available at the following link : NUI Galway Research Jobs   

Monday, 12 November 2018

Explore the world of nanoscience with dance and theatre! This multimedia piece will explore the science of the very small, with performance and projection devised by visiting choreographer Deidre Cavazzi, Saddleback College. The performance will be preceded by a short talk by Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics, NUI Galway. Art and science intertwine in this exciting new dance theatre piece that explores physics, technology, and wonder. Performances will take place at 6pm on Thursday, November 15, and Friday, November 16, in the O'Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway. The Thursday performance will include a talkback session with Jessamyn and Deidre, facilitated by Marianne Ní Chinnéide of the NUI Galway Discipline of Drama and Theatre Studies.  Tickets are free but must be prebooked here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/nanodance-tickets-52221724584 Choreographjy & Direction: Deidre Cavazzi Nanoscience Talk: Dr Jessamyn Fairfield

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Congratulations to Alison Connolly who successfully defended her thesis on: Characterising Occupational Exposure to Glyphosate among Amenity Horticulturists. Pictured are: Alison Connolly and Dr Marie Coggins (supervisor).    ‌Congratulations to Kirsten Fossum who successfully defended her thesis on: Size and compositional dependent effects of marine aerosol on cloud condensation nuclei. Pictured are: Dr Rachael Cave (internal examiner), Kirsten Fossum, Chancellor Kaarle Hämeri (external examiner) and Prof. Colin O’Dowd (supervisor).

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield of the School of Physics is one of the winners of this year’s NUI Galway President’s Award for Societal Impact, for her work enabling public engagement with research through projects such as Bright Club, Soapbox Science, and the March for Science. She has also been working with the Mawazo Institute in Nairobi, Kenya to develop their public engagement strategy, running training and events to empower local researchers and communicators, funded by the Institute of Physics Virdee Grant. Her next project combines nanoscience and dance, with performances scheduled for Science Week 2018.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Soapbox Science Galway 2018 will take place on Saturday 7th July in the Spanish Arch, Galway from 11am to 2pm. This is an event which brings science to the streets! 12 speakers will be sharing their work in technology, science, medicine and engineering while standing on a box in the Spanish Arch area of Galway city. It is a great opportunity for the public to get a taste of some of the exciting research taking place locally and nationally. This event is organised by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield and Dr Dara Stanley.  Jessamyn is a nanoscientist and comedian, whose research is focused on building electronics like the brain. She is a lecturer in the School of Physics and CÚRAM (Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway.  Dara is a scientist interested in ecology and biodiversity, and in particular in plants and the insects that pollinate them! She is a lecturer in Botany and Plant Science, in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. Further information about the speakers and their discussion topics can be found by clicking on this link to the Soapbox Science website.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Alison Connolly  was awarded the UK Ireland Aerosol Society ‘ Outstanding Junior Scientist’ award for a conference presentation on her PhD research work entitled; ‘An assessment of occupational exposure to pesticides among amenity horticulturists’. The UK Ireland Aerosol Society Conference was held in the University of Birmingham on November 16th 2017. Alison is a PhD student working with Dr Marie Coggins in the School of Physics

Friday, 24 November 2017

Professor Martin Leahy of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) group at the School of Physics,  NUI Galway will lead a consortium, who have been awarded a €6 million European grant, to develop a novel imaging platform for regenerative medicine. This new project, ‘STARSTEM’ will allow researchers and eventually, hospital doctors, to detect and measure the healing effects of novel stem cell therapies, even where they occur under the skin. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies provide unique opportunities for treating a wide range of human diseases. While clinical trials have shown very promising results, scientists do not yet fully understand how stem cells trigger healing, or indeed where the cells go after they are administered to the patient. This uncertainty makes it difficult for regulators to approve new stem cell therapies, and for doctors to prescribe them. The new STARSTEM project will address both of these challenges. Therapeutic stem cells will be ‘tagged’ with tiny gold star-shaped nanoparticles (‘nanostars’) invented at NUI Galway, which will make them much easier to detect with an exciting new imaging technology, optoacoustic imaging (OAI). This will enable researchers to track the location of very small amounts of stem cells, after they are administered. The effects of the stem cell therapy will also be measurable using OAI, which can detect healing as it happens, by measuring oxygen levels in the blood, formation of new blood vessels, and other signs of healing. These new insights will greatly help to take regenerative medicine into the clinic, a key aim of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. While STARSTEM is focused on developing new imaging technologies, it opens the door to new clinical research in regenerative medicine, with new tools and capabilities, and so helps to unlock the promise of regenerative medicine. Initially using osteoarthritis as its model disease target, STARSTEM’s platform has the potential to advance new treatments for cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and a host of other illnesses. Professor Martin Leahy, Coordinator of STARSTEM and the Director of TOMI at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to use fundamental advances in the physics of imaging to validate stem cell treatments for arthritis. Once demonstrated in this application the STARSTEM technology can be used to enable a wide range of stem cell therapies.” Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: “It is critically important that we understand dynamics and distribution of stem cells so that we can optimise treatments for patients. This project will allow us to make great strides in this regard.” STARSTEM brings together leaders in the nano-materials, regenerative medicine, and bio-imaging fields from across Europe. The team includes; NUI Galway (Project Co-ordinator); Technical University of Munich; University of Genoa; University of Cambridge; The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona; iThera Medical GmbH; Biorigen Srl; and Pintail Ltd, Ireland. STARSTEM has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. This article has been extracted from the following source: http://irishtechnews.ie/nui-galway-to-develop-novel-imaging-platform-for-regenerative-medicine/

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has awarded the Mary Somerville Medal to Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of the School of Physics, for “stellar work as a speaker and writer on physics for a popular audience, and for having organised and hosted many innovative events bringing physics to the Irish public.” The prize is awarded annually to an early career researcher with exceptional contributions to public engagement with physics.   Dr. Fairfield is the director of Bright Club in Ireland, a research comedy variety night supported by Science Foundation Ireland with events in Galway, Dublin, Athlone, and Cork. She is also co-organizer of Soapbox Science Galway, an event bringing female scientists into public spaces to talk about their work. Dr. Fairfield gives regular public lectures, writes for Physics World and her own blog, and collaborates with artists and the community to demonstrate that physics is for everyone.   Information on the IOP  Mary Somerville Medal and a summary of Dr Jessamyn Fairfield's contributions (to public engagement with physics)  can be found at the following link: IOP Early Career Awards. All of the IOP award winners for 2017 are listed on their website. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

The VERITAS gamma-ray astronomy collaboration has launched a new citizen science project as part of Zooinverse, an online platform for collaborative ‌volunteer research. To get started visit the Moun Hunters website at muonhunters.org. Humans can still outperform computers at many image recognition tasks and we would appreciate your help. NUI Galway is a member of the VERITAS Collaboration which operates an array of array of gamma-ray telescopes in Arizona. The muons are found in images taken by these telescopes. Muon hunters is led by the University of Minnesota

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Royal Meteorological Society has announced that Professor Colin O’Dowd has been awarded the Mason Gold Medal 2015. Throughout Professor O'Dowd's career, he has provided international leadership in the field of atmospheric aerosol particles.  His work has focussed on making detailed and careful observations of particles, particularly in the marine atmosphere, and providing novel insight into the advancement of our knowledge of many key processes. The Mason Gold Medal is awarded to a Fellow of the Society for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the fundamental processes that determine the variability and predictability of weather and climate. The Medal is awarded biennially and will be presented at the High Impact Weather and Climate Conference at the University of Manchester on 6th – 8th July 2016, followed by a one-hour lecture on the 7th July by Professor Colin O’Dowd. Further information highlighting this notable achievement is available here. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Compact Imaging and NUI Galway presentations at US photonics conference highlight the dramatic size and cost reductions made possible by MRO™ OCT Technology Researchers and technologists from Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) and their research collaboration partner NUI Galway, who together are developing miniature optical sensors that noninvasively image and measure subsurface characteristics of human tissue, had featured roles at the recent annual SPIE/Photonics West Conference, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. SPIE/Photonics West is the world’s premier photonics and bio-photonics industry conference. The conference, which is attended by scientists and industry executives from more than three dozen countries, consists of plenary sessions, presentations and panels on the latest research and developments in optics, photonics and bio-photonics. Martin Leahy, professor of applied physics at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, and a key adviser to Compact Imaging, served as a conference chair and presented a significant paper on Compact Imaging’s innovative OCT technology, MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT), titled, ‘The How and Why of a $10 Optical Coherence Tomography System’. More information can be found here: http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2016/02/26/nui-galway-research-features-at-global-photonics-conference-in-san-francisco/

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Centre for Astronomy at the School of Physics in NUI Galway are the lead researchers and authors of a recent international study published in January 2016 in one of the world’s leading primary research journals in astronomy and astrophysics, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS ). A joint Irish-French-US set of observations have led to a better understanding of the unexpected flaring activity seen coming from the Crab supernova remnant. The project led by Irish astronomer Professor Andrew Shearer from the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, involved using the NUI Galway developed, Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP ) polarimeter on the 200” Palomar telescope in California. Their work for the first time tied together changes in the optical polarisation with apparent changes in the gamma-ray (high energy x-ray ) polarisation. A supernova remnant occurs when a star explodes and spews its innards out across the sky, creating an expanding wave of gas and dust known as a supernova remnant. Arguably, the most famous of these remnants is the Crab Nebula, which exploded in 1054. The Crab Nebula has been studied extensively over the last fifty years and recently found to be the source of gamma-ray and X-ray flares. Professor Andrew Shearer from the School of Physics at the Centre of Astronomy in NUI Galway, said: “Our studies show how Galway’s GASP polarimeter will be important for future observations of these high energy astronomical sources. After the recent Government announcement that Ireland will join the European Southern Observatory (ESO ) we hope to contribute to future world class telescope projects such as the European Extremely Large Telescope.” Further information is available here.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The 15th annual IOP Ireland Frontiers of Physics Teachers Conference was held at NUI Galway in September 2015. The event, which is supported by the Professional Development Service for Teachers, combines cutting edge physics with practical sessions. Many aspects of physics were highlighted by speakers from the School of Physics, NUI Galway including Dr Miriam Byrne, speaking on the quality of air in schools, Dr Mat Redman on our astrophysical origins and Dr Mark Foley on biomedical physics. Dr Veronica McAuley and Martin McHugh from the School of Education spoke on teaching and learning with videos and hooks. Complementing the highlights of physics research were practical sessions on bringing physics back to the classroom including workshops on exploring light with Sean O’Gorman, Eleanor Nolan on CERN and particle physics, Dr Rebekah D’Arcy on states of matters while the Science on Stage team had a series of demos and ideas which they had picked up at the recent Science on Stage event in London. The event closed with a session reviewing and discussing  the 2015 Leaving Certificate physics paper.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Eleven researchers based in Irish universities have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means the person’s research is listed in the top 1 per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists. Inclusion in this publication means the researcher is among those “who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognise as vital to the advancement of their science”.  NUI Galway had three academics on the list: Henry Curran (engineering), Colin O’Dowd (geosciences) and Donal O’Regan (mathematics). Professor Colin O'Dowd leads the Atmospheric & Environmental Physics research cluster at the School of Physics, NUI Galway. He has been responsible for developing the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station on the west coast of Ireland into one of the best equipped and scientifically important WMO Global Atmospheric Watch stations in the world.   

Archived School of Physics News items

Archived School of Physics News items can be found at the following URL: http://www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/physics/news.html