Explore the extraordinary at the Galway Science and Technology Festival next month

The 16th Galway Science and Technology Festival which is part of National Science Week was launched last Monday, October 14, in Medtronic’s new global Customer Innovation Centre.

The festival, which runs from the November 11 to 24, aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths ) subjects among young people by bringing free shows to schools throughout Galway city and county. The final day exhibition takes place on the NUI Galway campus on Sunday November 24 and will host 80 interactive stands and more than 20 shows and workshops representing areas in research, education, industry, and the environment.

Primary schools can look forward to exciting new shows like the Bug Doctor introducing students to stick insects and much bigger creatures. Lego education workshop will introduce robotics to young children. The Science of Sound teaches students how to make sound and test how it travels, and for junior and senior infants Little Cells introduces students to the concept of cells that form our body. Festival favourites Bubble Magic and K’nex Roadshow make a welcome return.

Secondary schools can also avail of many brilliant shows including Dr Ken’s Circus, which reveals the scientific principles used by circus performers using gravity in their stunts, True Physics shows students how to launch rockets and and learn about flight pressure, travel on a hovercraft in The Strange World of Forces by Dr Paul McCrory, learn how to Bend it like Beckham in James Soper’s Science Shows and perform live experiments in Scientific Sue’s Chemistry Show.

Students of all ages can get involved in Reel Life Science, a new science communication video competition for primary and secondary schools, the first of its kind in Ireland, which aims to promote science to a wider audience. The festival is seeking students to submit a short one to three minute video communicating a scientific topic in an engaging and entertaining way.

There is something science for everyone at NUI Galway this year, featuring educational tours to the geology, marine biology, and computer musuems, school visits and talks including RTE’s BugHunter, the second annual THREESIS Competition where researchers battle it out to get to the point in three minutes, The Bright Road to Ireland’s Energy Future, 3D DNA, and the NCBES Roadshow looks at the exciting future of biomedicine in Ireland.

GMIT will host Smartbay Ireland Workshops: Exploring the Subsea Environment, an ECar Schools Experience, which is part of a student energy research project, and marine research laboratory workshops on The Ocean and Us: An Introduction to the Awesome Atlantic. Engaging Engineering with the Community looks at what GMIT students can do to use their skills in their community and in the world, and GMIT will host the Bord Gais Science Forward event on November 14 and 15.

While Medtronic is the main sponsor of the festival other sponsors include Discover Science and Engineering, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Galway Enterprise Board, NUI Galway, GMIT, Avaya, Hewlett Packard, SAP, Covidien, Fidelity Investments, Creganna, IDA Ireland, Lake Region, Galway County Council, Irish Marine Institute, Údarás na Gaeltachta, and Enterprise Ireland which, according to festival chairman Tom Hyland “all help to bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and the county”.

The programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the festival exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday November 25. Bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com

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