Science and Technology Festival for all the family

The 14th annual Galway Science and Technology Festival, launched this week, will feature two weeks of shows and interactive demonstrations for budding scientists of all ages.

The festival, which will feature shows, demonstrations, and activities for primary and secondary school students and an exciting family day out at the final day exhibition, will run from November 14 to 27.

The festival was launched on Monday by Gerry Kilcommins, VP global operations and general manager of Medtronic.

“Following the hugely successful Galway Science and Technology Festival in 2010, we anticipate an even more exciting event for 2011,” Mr Kilcommins said at the launch. “Medtronic’s continued sponsorship of the Science and Technology Festival is testament to the importance we place on developing scientific awareness among the youth of today. Harnessing the power of science and engaging our young people in this area is pivotal to realising Ireland’s knowledge economy strategy.”

The festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects among young people.

This year’s programme of events includes Robert Hill's Celestia and Stellarium workshops, the return of Mr Bug with his snakes, cockroaches, and tarantulas, and Sue McGrath’s show which is full of pops, bangs, and fizzing craziness.

NUI Galway will run a number of interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including computer game programming with Kinect, an invitation to senior cycle physics students to practise experiments in the labs of the new engineering building, and a talk for students, parents, and teachers on cyberbullying. The zoology and geology museum will be open for tours along with Ireland’s only computer and communications museum.

The festival exhibition, which will take place in NUI Galway on Sunday November 27, will be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. There will be up to 60 interactive stands at the exhibition representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. This year a booking system is in place through to help people plan their day.

“For many years Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology,” said Dr James J Browne, president of NUI Galway. “As a university, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented, graduates to build Ireland's capacity in technology, research, and innovation. This festival allows us in the university to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science.”

GMIT will hold an open day on Wednesday November 16 and tours of all facilities including science, technology, and engineering laboratories will be provided. There are also various interesting workshops for students including modern medicines, the chemistry of smoking addiction and nicotine patches, and the workings of a forensic investigation.

This year a mentoring programme by local engineers is available to senior cycle students seeking advice on career options. Engineers from 11 different companies are participating in this initiative and will visit schools and talk to the students about subject choices they have made and give practical career advice. Details are available on the festival website.

The Galway Science Festival is a very exciting collaboration of education, industry, and Government, showcasing Galway as a leading location for life sciences and information communication and technology sectors.

Festival chairman Tom Hyland thanked the festival sponsors, including Medtronic, the Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering, and Boston Scientific, at the launch.

The 2011 programme of events is available at


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