‘XTRA-Ordinary’ Events in Store at Science Fair 2013




The countdown is on to the biggest free show in town, the annual Science Fair at IT Sligo.

It is a week of evening lectures on topics as diverse as Mars exploration to ‘fracking’ and shale gas reserves, all launched on Sunday, November 10, with a fanfare of entertaining family-oriented shows giving fresh insights into the world of science.

The 14th Science Fair at Institute of Technology Sligo is part of Science Week, which is a Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) project. The aim is to promote the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in everyday life and to demonstrate their importance to the future development of Irish society and the economy.

IT Sligo’s combination of fun, friendly and educational science shows and evening lectures usually attract around 3,000 visitors from across the North West, many of them career-minded school students. Science Week’s theme is “Exploring the XTRA-Ordinary.”

Dr Jeremy Bird, Head of the School of Science at IT Sligo, said: “The Science Fair goes from strength to strength and is now obviously a regular fixture for many families. It is a week-long platform for exploring and understanding the impact of science, its strengths as a driver of national economic growth and the opportunities for science based careers.

“As well as the fun side of it, the evening lectures should be extremely popular. A strong line-up of speakers will be addressing some very important and intriguing issues as diverse as Mars Exploration to the implications of the Great Famine on human health in Ireland and the diaspora”

The programme also includes a mid-week lunchtime nature walk, starting at the campus, led by two members of the Sligo branch of BirdWatch Ireland

Among the Sunday’s packed fun-day line-up are:

* Kelvin Recycle Magic Show –  magic routines and puppets that promote environmental awareness.

* Science Ireland – interactively exploring flight, waves, light, sound, electricity etc

* Entertaining Science Circus Show – learn why jugglers love gravity, and how clowns use science to avoid hurting themselves.

* X-traordinary Science – let Scientific Sue and her fire breathing dragon, Norbert, take you on an amazing journey of scientific discovery.

* Science, Magic or Mystery – watch water disappear and tornadoes appear in bottles.

Click here to download brochure


“Exploring Mars – Curiosity, Water and Life” by Dr Peter Grindrod.  Despite exploration of our solar system and the recent discovery of planets around distant stars, the best chance of finding life remains with one of our closest neighbours, Mars. Evidence of the history of water on Mars is recorded in the rocks that we see on the surface today. Dr Grindrod will discuss Mars exploration over the past 50 years and the latest results from the rover, ‘Curiosity’.


“Ancestral Echoes: Why the Great Famine still impacts on Modern Irish Health” by Professor Oonagh Walsh. 
Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression, the effects of which may persist over several generations. Modern research into major human trauma events demonstrates a link between maternal starvation and severe maternal stress with long-term health problems in offspring who were in gestation during those events.

Professor Walsh, will suggest that epigenetic research might add significantly to understanding ‘Why the Great Famine still impacts on Modern Irish Health’.



“Invasive Species Management – Your Country Needs You” by Dr. Frances Lucy. Dr. Lucy will focus on the pressures invasive species place on our natural world and what we can learn about the mistakes we made with the zebra mussel invasion!  In order to detect invasions at an early stage the public need to keep their eyes open to spot new invaders or the spread of those species already present, e.g. Asian clam. By combining smart technology and our basic nature skills, you can contribute to the management of a range of invasive species including a number of specific plants and animals.



“Fracking – The Significance for the Water Environment” by Dr. Pamela Bartley. Dr. Bartley will explain the three phases in the development of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract gas from shale formations below ground level. She will discuss the technologies involved in the Investigation, Construction and Exploitation phases as well as the possible environmental impacts, such as, aesthetic/visual and the legal constraints on developers to comply with legislation for the protection of surface water, groundwater, birds and habitats. 



“Introduction to Ireland’s Birds of Prey” by Jamie Durrant. Jamie’s talk will be an entertaining illustrated talk which will introduce the birds of prey of Ireland. He will give us details of their life and behaviour and also explain how to identify them in the field.


He has a fascination for birds of prey which has taken him to the Southernmost tip of Spain to witness the raptor migration – once witnessing over 2,500 raptors pass overhead in less than an hour and a half. He is also a keen photographer.



Each talk is at 7.30pm in Lecture Theatre A0004 or A0006. Topics and speakers are:


Science Week
Sunday,10th November Monday, 11th November Tuesday, 12th November Wednesday, 13th November   Thursday, 14thNovember Friday, 15th November
EVENT Science Fair “ExploringMars,Curiosity,Waterand Life.” “Ancestral Echoes:  Why the Great Famine still impacts on Modern Irish Health” Invasive SpeciesManagement –Your Country Needs You! “Fracking: The exploration ofShale Gas reserves in Ireland –What are the issues of significancefor the water environment?”

Introduction to Ireland’sBirds of Prey
DETAIL Full, Family Day ofScience & TechnologyActivities Dr Peter GrindrodCentre for Planetary Sciences, UCL/Birkbeck,University College London Prof. Oonagh WalshCentre for Social Historyof Health and Healthcare, Glasgow Caledonian University  Dr. Frances Lucy,Ecologist, IT Sligo Dr. Pamela Bartley,Hydro-G Consultancy,Galway Jamie DurrantBirdWatch Ireland
WHERE IT Sligo, Main Building IT Sligo, A0006 IT Sligo, A0006 IT Sligo, A0006 IT Sligo, A0006 IT Sligo, A0006
TIME 12noon to 6pm 7.30pm 7.30pm 7.30pm 7.30pm 7.30pm


Nov 11: Exploring Mars: Curiosity, Water and Life – Dr Peter Grindrod, Research Fellow in Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Nov 12: Ancestral Echoes:  Why the Great Famine still impacts on Modern Irish Health – Professor Oonagh Walsh, Glasgow Caledonian University Centre for Social History of Health and Healthcare.

Nov 13: Invasive Species Management – Your Country Needs You! – Dr Frances Lucy, Lecturer in Ecology, Dept. of Environmental Science, Institute of Technology, Sligo

Nov 14: Fracking: The exploration of Shale Gas reserves in Ireland – What are the issues of significance for the water environment?- Dr. Pamela Bartley, Hydro-G, Galway

Nov 15: Introduction to Ireland’s Birds of Prey – Jamie Durrant, BirdWatch Ireland


Photo caption: Scientific Sue and a show-stopping moment during last year’s Science Fair at IT Sligo