Tipperary Festival of Science Looks to the Future for Science Week

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St Patricks College, Thurles

Tipperary Festival of Science returns this November as part of Science Week 2020, which takes place from 8-15 November.

Led by Mary Immaculate College (MIC) and run in collaboration with LIT Thurles, the festival will focus on how science can improve our lives in the future, and in the present.

Now in its fifth year, Tipperary Festival of Science will move online this year with a jam-packed schedule of free STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities taking place throughout the week for people of all ages.

Designed to inspire and engage children and adults in STEM, this year’s festival will explore how science can help us to make positive choices that will impact the environment, our health, and our quality of life.

Some of the highlights of the Tipperary Festival of Science include ‘How to Build an Iron Man Suit’ with superhero scientist Barry Fitzgerald, ‘Looking at the Stars: An Introduction to the Night Sky’ with Astronomy Ireland, as well as ‘The Science of Skincare’ with Fidelma O’Dowd, dermatology nurse at Beaumont Hospital and co-founder of The Healthy Skin Clinic.

The National Reptile Zoo will be bringing their Reptile Zoo to Zoom with snakes, tortoises, tarantulas, geckos and more appearing on your screens. 

Dr Maeve Liston, Director of Enterprise and Community Engagement at MIC and senior lecturer in STEM Education has created a STEM Activity Pack for primary school children containing lots of challenges that will encourage children to think and act like engineers by using the Engineering Design Process to solve the different design tasks.

Other highlights include an online cookery demonstration with Happy Food At Home who will be exploring the ‘Science of Vegan Food’ and throughout the week, Dr How’s Science Wows will be sharing experiments on the Tipperary Festival of Science Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tipperary Festival of Science will also take place in classrooms with a number of online workshops and webinars taking place in primary and post-primary schools throughout Tipperary.

From kite-making to mysterious microbes and genomics to geodesic domes, there will be lots of opportunities throughout the week-long festival for children to engage in STEM in ways that are fun, informative, and inspiring.

MIC Thurles will also be getting involved in this year’s festival. As the campus works towards becoming a Green Campus, the College will host a public webinar on 12 November with Richard Mee from Grow It Yourself (GIY). Richard will discuss how people can improve local biodiversity and will also be answering questions submitted from the general public.

In addition, MIC Thurles mathematics lecturer, Dr Derek Kitson, will present a live lecture for transition year, fifth year and sixth year students, which will explore the lost theorem of Hilda Geiringer.

According to Patricia O’Sullivan, Enterprise and Community Engagement Manager at MIC and organiser of the Tipperary Festival of Science, “Science is all around us and plays a huge role in our everyday lives and perhaps, now more than ever we see first-hand the importance of science in the race to find a vaccine against COVID-19. As one of the flagship STEM events for MIC, Tipperary Festival of Science allows us to reach and engage with a large proportion of the community and encourage them to get involved and interact with STEM in ways that are both fun and educational.”

She added, “Tipperary Festival of Science has a very varied schedule with different events that will appeal to lots of people. And now as the festival is completely online, people can attend events from the comfort of their own homes which makes the festival more accessible than ever before! I would strongly urge anyone interested in learning about science and STEM to check out the range of events taking place throughout the week-long festival.”