Rocket science and space travel are among the subjects which thousands of youngsters from all over the west will be studying as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, which opens next week.
Over the past 10 years, it is estimated 250,000 first and second level students have been involved in the festival, and another 20,000 are expected to attend the Science and Technology Festival exhibition which will be held in Leisureland and the Galway Bay Hotel on Sunday November 23.
The show feature stands from many of the west's biggest high-tech industries, and among the star attractions will be a visit by the Armagh Planetarium Stardome. This offers children and adults a unique and exciting way to learn about the universe and space travel.
During the festival a number of shows will visit schools, explaining rocket science, holding workshops on the building and fueling of rockets, and explaining the fuels of the future, which may not alone hold the future of space travel, but, possibly, travel on earth also. Among the exhibitions and shows will be hour-and-a-half sessions for up to 30 youngsters who can study and build functioning machines, hands-on electronic workshops, and labs where they can study light and magnetism and weather.
Included among the guests visiting the schools will be well known botanist and entomologist and broadcaster Eanna Ni Lamhna, and broadcaster and environmentalist Dick Warner, who will conduct field trips with schools throughout County Galway.
The exhibitions and workshops at schools all over County Galway from November 10 to 23 are part of the 11th Galway Science and Technology Festival. The festival aims to make the study of science, engineering, and maths more attractive to young people.
The festival is a major part of a national campaign associated with Science Week to ensure the numbers taking science, engineering, and maths are kept up to the levels needed if Ireland is to continue as a knowledge-based economy and as a world leader in areas such as software, communications, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and other high-tech sectors.
The head of one of Galway's biggest industries, Gerry Kilcommins of Galway Medtronic Vascular, said the future economic growth of the country depended on the continued development of skills among young people in areas such as science and engineering.
Speaking at the launch of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, he said these skills would keep Ireland in the role of a global centre of excellence in high-tech sectors.
“Our goal is to make this a centre of global excellence for science, engineering, and technology and this can only be reached by development of the talented engineers and scientists of the future,” said Mr Kilcommins. “There is no doubt in my mind that the future of Ireland’s economic health and growth is dependent on the skills of our younger generation,” he added.
Medtronic, one of a number of key medical device and technology companies based in the west, are among the major sponsors of the festival.