Past Events

Science Cafe Cork, November 2009

The Placebo Effect – sorting out fact from fiction

Our friends at the Science Cafe in Cork are hosting this event as part of science week.

Venue; Scott’s, Oliver Plunkett/Caroline St, Cork.
Date; Thurs Nov 12th 2009
Time; 19:45

Organisers: Biochemistry and Biotechnology Society, UCC.

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November 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

Memory Matters

Over a century ago the renowned Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal proposed that: ‘neuronal connections are not definitive and immutable, since, as it were, provisional associations are created that are destined to remain or to be destroyed according to indeterminate circumstances, a fact that, incidentally, demonstrates the great initial mobility of the growth of neurons.’ This theory was revolutionary in its time as it suggested that experience leaves a trace in the human brain. That these traces are inscribed and linked, vanish and change throughout life. They are a form of plasticity allowing each person to be singular and each brain to be unique and free.

Professor Ciaran M Regan of the Conway Institute in UCD will discuss the crucial role for these memory traces in our personal survival and, also, as a creative device that allows us imagine our future.

Date: Tuesday 10th November 2009
Location:The Mercantile, Dame St, Dublin 2
Time: 7.30pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free – All Welcome!
The talk is a part of Science Week in association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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October 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

Stand up maths in the pub with Kjartan Poskitt

Kjartan’s Murderous Maths books have sold well over 1,000,000 copies worldwide, and he will present a selection of tricks and oddities that you won’t have seen at school!

Features include: How to make money from cards, Sense-defying Flexagons , Bizarre numbers, Paradoxes, Strange things you can do with a chessboard and How your birthdate affects your personality. He’ll teach you a few simple tricks to go away and impress your friends with.

Guaranteed to wake up parts of your brain that you didn’t know you had!

Date: Tuesday 13th October 2009
Location:The Mercantile, Dame St, Dublin 2
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free – All Welcome!
The talk is a part of Maths Week in association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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September 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

Emission Impossible: Stop Laughing Gas Emissions Using Crabs and Seaweed

Global warming is ravaging our planet, causing droughts and sea levels to rise worldwide. Nitrous Oxide (aka Laughing Gas) emissions account for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with most of those emissions deriving from agricultural practices. Shockingly over a 100 year period, nitrous oxide has 310 times more global warming impact per unit weight than carbon dioxide making reducing its emissions a matter of extreme urgency.

Ciaran O’Carroll from NUI Maynooth’s Environmental Technologies & Biomaterials Research Group, and a finalist in this year’s Science Speak contest, will discuss the group’s innovative research into using crab shells and seaweed to help reduce nitrous oxide emissions in agriculture.

Date: Wednesday 9th September 2009
Location: Flux Cafe, Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin
Time: 7.30pm (Sharp, note the new time please)
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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August 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

The nano-environment: nanotechnology applications and impact on the environment

Dr. Iseult Lynch is the Strategic Research Manager for the Centre for BioNano Interactions, which looks at the relationships between engineered objects at the nanoscale and living systems, and is one of the top nanosafety experts in Ireland.

In this talk, Dr. Lynch discusses the many benefits of nanotechnology for the environment, such as water purification and desalination, remediation, energy capture and storage and green nanotech manufacturing and engineering. Nanoscale sensors are being investigated for detection of biological compounds such as algal toxins in the marine environment or mycobacteria present in drinking water. Nanoscale particles used in treatment and remediation have the ability to access areas that larger molecules cannot, and their large surface area means that they can absorb very large amounts of pollutants or other toxic waste chemicals, thereby removing them from the soil or water.

Due to their very small size, engineered nanomaterials are able to access many compartments of living systems not usually accessible to bulk materials. This presents significant challenges for scientists to ensure that the applications being developed are safe and do not cause environmental harm.

While no clearly identifiable hazards have as yet emerged from nanoscale science alone, according to Dr. Lynch, it will be necessary to develop a thorough knowledge of any ecotoxicological impacts (and methods to identify them) before developing future practices in
environmental and health protection agencies.

Date: Wednesday 5th August 2009
Location: The Mercantile, Dame St, Dublin 2
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free – All Welcome!

In association with the Environmental Protection Agency, Discover Science & Engineering and CPL.
Thanks to our friend Marek we now have a video from the Cafe
Part 1, The Talk:

Part 2, The Q&A:

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July 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

Using stem cells for human therapy: cell replacement, drug screening
and disease modelling

Dr Stephen Sullivan of Rockefeller University, New York and the Irish
Stem Cell Foundation discusses stem cells:

What are they? What makes them special? What are the different types of human stem cells? How are different types of stem cells being used in different ways to treat human disease? Dr Sullivan will highlight common mistakes made in the media concerning stem cell research. He will also highlight how Irish patients face increased risk by basing medical decisions on unsubstantiated claims made on the internet. He will also describe how stem cell therapies have long been with us, and what diseases we can actually treat now.

Date: Wednesday 1st July 2009
Location:The Mercantile, Dame St, Dublin 2
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free – All Welcome!
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

Thanks to our friend Marek we now have a video from the Cafe
Part 1, The Talk:


Part 2, The Q&A:

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June 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

The Big Bang: fact or fiction?

Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh of the Waterford Institute of Technology discusses the origins of our universe. How old is the it? How did it come into being?

The Big Bang model of the origin of the universe is one of the most famous of all scientific theories. But is it just a theory or established fact? The evidence for the Big Bang will be reviewed in this session, and the limitations of the model explained. Recent discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe will also be discussed.

Date: Wednesday 10th June 2009
Location: Flux Cafe, Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Poster for the event can be seen here
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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March 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

Subjective experience and science

Dr Fred Cummins from UCD’s cognitive science programme reports from the fringes of many disciplines, trying to see how they all relate to something we are intimately familiar with: our world of experience

Science is built upon a foundation of objectivity. Clearly, this raises some problems if one should want to study subjective experience. Yet this is the problem faced by the several sciences of the mind, including psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and beyond.

The issue is not unimportant, as therein lie our hopes of ever dealing adequately with the human condition and suffering. Dr Cummins will share some thoughts on how science has approached this in the past, and some rather interesting trends recently that offer a tantalizing glimpse of a larger science, that may be able to address some elements of subjective experience.

Date: Wednesday 11th March 2009
Location: The Mercantile, Dame St, Dublin 2
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary food will be provided
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

Thanks to our friend Marek we now have a video from the Cafe
Part 1, The Talk:

Part 2, The Q&A:

Click on the cafe title to see a larger version.

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January 2009’s Alchemist Cafe

New ways to catch some rays
Can advances in solar energy conversion materials and devices really provide a low cost energy source?

Dr Dominic Zerulla, Project Principal Investigator in the SFI Strategic Research Cluster on Solar Energy Conversion and Senior Lecturer in UCD School of Physics will give a general overview on currently available solar energy conversion devices (and their limitations) and introduce the next stage technologies and their potential, including the Graetzel Cell.

Date: Tuesday 27th January 2009
Location: Flux Cafe, Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin
Time: 8.00pm (Sharp)
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Limited amount of complimentary food will be provided, food will be available to buy in the Flux cafe
Poster for the event can be seen here
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering
Thanks to our friend Marek we now have a video from the cafe.
Can advances in solar energy conversion provide a low cost energy source?(In two parts)
Part 1, The Talk:

Part 2, The Q&A:

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