Festival of Science in the City has the formula for fun for all
The film taken by an eavesdropping, camera-mounted drone is mesmerising as well as eerie
IF YOU like science and technology, this is a great time to be in Dublin, and this week in particular is your chance to take part in some fabulous science, technology and arts-related activities and events.
The Science in the City festival is now in full swing and runs until July 15th. It includes a wide range of events across the city. It’s all part of the Dublin City of Science year, which gets some serious oomph this week because of the five-day Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) 2012 conference, which is bringing many of the world’s most famous and important science figures to Dublin. It is on through Sunday at the Dublin Convention Centre.
On top of that, Trinity College Dublin’s Science Gallery has a fantastic new exhibition on called Hack the City, which features some fascinating stuff in the Science Gallery – which is very children-friendly for parents seeking a fun, science-filled hour or two for the kids – and ongoing activities on the streets around the city and a pop-up venue on Capel Street.
At the Gallery, I especially like the 3D printer versions of graffiti artists’ signatures, suspended from the ceiling and lit by a spotlight to produce the original signature on the wall, converted back into a 2D shadow.
The suspended 3D forms are delicate and beautiful, produced by placing sensors on the artists to record their arm movements, converting those to a computerised 3D form, then printing it. I also found the film taken by an eavesdropping, camera-mounted drone mesmerising as well as eerie.
The drone hovers near the head of Daniel O’Connell’s statue in the city, providing strange yet familiar views of Dublin; buzzes into the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin; and peers through the windows of Google and Facebook’s buildings, often without the people inside even noticing. Kids and adults will enjoy the flying spy drone’s amazing city perspectives, but adults surely will spot the implications.
Kids will definitely enjoy looking at these and other things in the exhibit, such as the sensor-covered umbrella, as much as adults, and can have fun making their own cola and engaging in other activities alongside their parents in the Gallery’s Hacklab.
As the Science Gallery, with grant support from Google, readies for international expansion into such cities as London, New York and Moscow, all of which have been pestering for the opportunity to duplicate this unique venue, we should take serious pride that the idea originated here.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Liffey, the ESOF is on its starting blocks this morning. Lucky for us, it is not just for boffins. While the conference, which launched last night, is packed with serious sessions on science and technology, many of its speakers will also be out in the community giving public talks that anyone can attend.
Some are sold out, including tonight’s lecture at TCD by human genome project leader Dr Craig Venter and Friday’s lunchtime Leviathan panel discussion featuring science-loving comedian Dara O Briain, but others remain open as of this writing.
Plus there’s the UCD Imagine Science Film Festival with screenings at the Lighthouse Cinema – see UCDimaginescience.ie– and Icarus at the Edge of Time, a fully orchestrated multimedia event at the National Concert hall on Saturday. See NCH.iefor more information and tickets.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art, at its temporary location next to the NCH, has a special exhibition exploring connections between art and science, running until July 15th.
A full list of events, including some for children, and many that merge arts and science in entertaining ways, is available on dublinscience2012.ie.
And now, for those who can’t get enough science, the ESOF organisers have made available the option of buying a one-day pass to the event for €100, which allows anyone to select a day packed with Nobel laureates, pioneering technologists and scientists, business innovation discussions – every angle of science is being explored. The ESOF runs every day from today to Sunday. The difficulty for anyone will be picking a single day.
If you can’t make it for a full day, there’s an excellent-looking set of evening panel discussions at the Alchemist Cafe, free Wednesday to Friday in the Kudos Bar at the Clarion Hotel at the IFSC. There’s even some free finger food. For more information on each evening’s event there, see alchemistcafedublin.com.
So there’s no excuse for sitting around with nothing to do this week. Get out there and indulge in the extraordinary smorgasbord of science on offer.