Students can learn how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts at the 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival which runs from November 12 to 25 at local primary and secondary schools in the city and county.
This free event, which includes shows and activities for school children, will culminate in a final day exhibition on Sunday November 25 at NUI Galway.
There is already tremendous interest in this year’s festival following the success of last year’s event. More than 15,000 students from 90 primary schools and 6,000 students from 24 secondary schools enjoyed shows at their schools in 2011. The final day exhibition, which will kick off at 10am on Sunday November 25, at NUI Galway attracted more than 20,000 visitors to the 80 interactive stands and 14 separate shows last year.
This year there will be 20 separate shows and 80 interactive stands representing research, education, industry and the environment at the exhibition. It will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings and has expanded to the Aula Maxima and new Engineering Building also at NUI Galway.
The festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths ) subjects among young people by bringing shows to schools throughout Galway city and county over the two-week event.
There is an exciting programme of events to choose from including three new shows. Students will learn how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts at Dr Ken’s Entertaining Science Circus Show. Jumping Clay by Jim Daly is an education programme for 3D clay modelling which can be used in animation or making popular art while Exploring Cells for 5th and 6th class students is a hands-on practice of cellular and molecular biology for budding explorers.
Popular shows making a welcome return to schools again this year include the K’nex Roadshow, which is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system and Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome where students can discover the wonders of the night sky in their school hall.
Jane McLoughlin’s Fun with Science presents easy science experiments and use of recycled materials and everyday foods to learn about science. Students can experience the technology involved in producing a live radio programme at the Galway Bay FM School Tour or visit the National Computer and Communications Museum which provides a fascinating insight into the development of communications and computing technology from ancient heiroglyphics to the internet.
NUI Galway will run many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including 3-D Tours of the universe at the Centre of Astronomy, which will take the audience on a trip from the earth to nearby stars, across the galaxy to groups of stars, and finally through the whole universe. The School of Chemistry is organising a primary schools outreach programme called Kitchen Chemistry. This is aimed at introducing primary school children to the world of chemistry. The Zoology and Computer Museums will also be open on the day.
GMIT, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, will host a number of interesting workshops for students including Skin Deep, which demonstrates how transdermal skin patches work, How Engines Work, and the return of the popular forensics workshop which examines poisons and forgeries.
Gerard Kilcommins, vice president of Global Vascular Operations and the general manager of Galway Site Medtronic says it became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival more than 10 years ago.
“Since then we are delighted to have experienced the journey that has seen the event evolve and flourish into one of the highlights in the calendars of the educational and science communities. This year’s theme is ‘Everyday Experimenting’ and experimentation is something that makes science and technology so fascinating.
“Engaging the younger generation throughout this festival in the wonders and possibilities of science and technology will help ensure we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland’s future success as a nation. As Thomas A Edison once said, ‘to have a great idea, have a lot of them’ and I have no doubt the action-packed programme over the next couple of weeks will generate lots of ideas and open minds to the many great possibilities and opportunities out there.”
Galway Science and Technology Festival chairperson Tom Hyland described Medtronic as a “wonderful sponsor”. He said the event has grown and developed into a very significant vehicle for the promotion of the STEM subjects among young people.
“We also appreciate the support of our partners Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science and Engineering, Cisco and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.”
Professor Tom Sherry, the dean of science at NUI Galway, stated that around the world Ireland’s reputation for technology, research and innovation was growing year by year.
“Galway’s annual Science and Technology Festival is a great opportunity to provide future generations of third level students with an enthralling experience of the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science and technology.”