EU Commissioner to open annual science teachers’ conference

NUI Galway will host the 52nd annual Irish Science Teachers’ Association Conference on Friday and Saturday.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and NUIG president Jim Browne will officially open the conference entitled “Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley”.

The Irish Science Teachers' Association is the professional association of science teachers in the Republic of Ireland. It is more than 50 years in existence and is the longest established provider of continuous professional development for science teachers, with internationally renowned speakers invited to present frontier science to teachers. The conference will host a total of 30 exhibitors in the area of science education.

On Saturday April 12 there will be a full day of events in the Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway, starting with parallel talks and workshops in the morning and plenary sessions in the afternoon. Topics vary from ‘The Physics of Cancer’ to ‘Life Saving Chemistry’. Professor Donal O’Shea will give a talk on childhood obesity and FameLab science communicator Fergus McAuliffe will also be on stage.

Workshops in biology, chemistry, and physics will be conducted by teams from the professional development service for teachers, and there will also be short presentations on EU linked projects such as SCIENTIX, TEMI (teaching enquiry with mystery incorporated ) and Chain Reaction. Primary science is also included, as Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College will present a practical workshop for primary school teachers.

In the first plenary session of the afternoon the Nottingham based Professor Martyn Poliakoff, of Periodic Table Videos fame, will give a talk entitled ‘From Test-Tube to YouTube’. This will be followed by the launch of the Hyland Report which looks at international best practice in the design of science syllabi for second level schools.

The first lecture will be presented by Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Oxford and is entitled: ‘Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain; From Pessimist to Optimist, can we really change?’ It will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday April 11 at 8pm. Professor Fox’s work has been discussed in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times.

Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey will address the question: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ Full programme details and bookings are available on and on social media @IrishSciTeach and Facebook. For registration visit


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