Science Week

Final colur 2013 logo with themeTOG will be hosting a night of inspiring talks, on diverse subjects from dolphins to space and everything in between for Science Week. Short snappy talks will cover much science and leave you with plenty to think about the world around us. Each talk will be no longer than fifteen minutes with a break after three talks.

Date: Thursday 14th November

Time: Door’s from 6.30pm, start at 7pm

Tickets: No booking required, free entry.





Title: Parasite Planet


DescriptionAll around us is a hidden world of manipulators, ecosystem engineers and immense species diversity. This is the world of the parasites. Parasites are a portion of our planet’s biodiversity that is often unconsidered, but these tiny creatures punch well above their weight. Parasites not only shape the evolution of their hosts, but through their effects on their hosts, can shape the world around us. In this talk I hope to convince you to peek behind the curtain at the real rulers of our planet.

Speaker: Karen Loxton


Title: AQUAlab: Aquaponics & STEM Education


DescriptionAquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil less cultivation of plants in water) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in, creating a natural balanced cycle. The third participants are the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants. But this is only the surface of a bigger and highly valuable system.

Urban Farm’s aquaponic systems raise Tilapia & Rainbow Trout as a food source while helping to grow beds of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot chilli peppers, leafy greens, edible flowers, delicious micro-greens & fragrant herbs all totally organic & fresh.  Utilising Renewable energies, LED efficient lighting, re-circulating hydroponics, STEM principals & open source micro processing.
STEM Disciplines taught though aquaponics: Biology, ecology, zoology, botany, chemistry, development, engineering, agriculture technology, physics, mathematics, meteorology, agriculture, business, sustainability, nutrition and more.

Speaker: Andrew Douglas,  AQUAlab


Title: Epigenetics


DescriptionThe idea that humans evolved from “lesser” animals was around long before Charles Darwin. In the early 1800s, French naturalist Jean-Baptist Lamarck proposed that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was the driving force of evolution. He argued that modern giraffes gained their long necks from their ancestors, who spent all day stretching them upwards to reach leaves from high trees. According to this model of inheritance, the muscle-mass put on by a human body-builder in training could also be passed down to his children. Today, with our understanding of molecular genetics and Mendelian inheritance, Lamarck’s theories are ridiculed for their naive absurdity.However, in an emerging field of biology known as Epigenetics, we are beginning to understand that Lamarck’s ideas may be worth re-examining. We are beginning to learn that the human genome is not as static as we once thought, and is capable of rearranging and regulating itself through an elegant, elusive molecular system. There is still lots to learn about the Epigenome, however. With a potential to shift the current paradigm of human genetics and cancer research, Epigenetics is regarded as the new frontier of Molecular Biology.

SpeakerAlan Harrison,


Title: The Visual Time Traveller: 500 years of history art and science in 100 unique designs


Description:  In 1687 Isaac Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion using complex mathematics and theoretical arguments. How his book looked (graphically and typographically) was not important – although some deciphering was needed: 50 years later a book was published under the title “Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophy Explain’d for the Use of the Ladies”! But when we come to the matter of education and outreach perhaps design could play a much more prominent role than it is traditionally given. Visual communication (story telling in essence) is a powerful way to help people process information.  A key aspect of this wide-ranging project has been to provide a platform for innovative design to drive the narrative of historic facts. Furthermore research and images are posted daily on a facebook page providing a series of vignettes into the past and an alternative way to access history: a pertinent theme at a time when the Junior Certificate curriculum is changing radically.  The Visual Time Traveller is a graphically curated journey through history, art and science since the Renaissance. It will be launched on 6, 7 & 8 December at the RHA Gallery with an exhibition – a visual and intellectual feast. 

Speaker: Alison Hackett,


Title: Creative Space


Description:This not a talk about using space in a creative way. At least not space in terms of three-dimensional locations on Earth. This is about space in terms of the stars and planets, and the importance of being creative to help us understand the cosmos. Throughout history some of the greatest discoveries, and most spectacular failures, in space science have been by the observers that have dared to be creative. Has this pioneering spirit deserted the field of astrophysics or are we about to see a new wave of creativity?
Bio: Dr Joseph Roche has worked at NASA, used the Hubble Space Telescope to help understand dying red giant stars and recently, started putting space research into the hands of  Irish citizens. He is the resident astrophysicist at Science Gallery.

Speaker: Joseph Roche,


Title: Gorillas and/or potatoes?


Description:Though a confusing question, this is a very real concern in certain regions of the world. Northern  Rwanda is one of the few remaining habitats for the Mountain Gorilla (made famous through the film Gorillas in the Mist). However, Rwanda is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world, though the majority of people are subsistence farmers. So, the challenge on the margins of Volcanoes National Park is to develop these marginalised farmers (who mainly grow “Irish” potatoes) while at the same time protecting one of the most endangered and charismatic species on the planet. So, plant potatoes and sell them on, or conserve gorillas and reap the tourism rewards? My research, deliberately taking a social science approach despite my zoological background, has addressed the common denominator to every ‘conservation conflict’ around the globe; the human factor.

SpeakerShane McGuinness,


Title: Daylight Robbery: Plasmonics in Disease Detection


Description:Plasmonics is an area of physics that tends to be fairly unknown. It’s also been around for a long time (stained glass is stained because of plasmonics). Plasmonic metals have a tendency to steal light away if given the right oppurtunity. In the talk I’ll tell you how plasmonics does its thing, and I how my research hopes to repurpose the nanoscale thieves to do something useful, like disease detection.

Speaker: Adam Murphy,