Mota Cave in the Ethiopian highlands where the ancient skeleton was buried

Irish scientists take lead in DNA testing from man buried 4,500 years ago in Ethopian cave

Illustration: Thinkstock

The ‘microbiome’ is proving to be a treasure trove for researchers, who have found a link between health and the quality of bacter(...)

The Science in Ireland Barometer shows too many people feel uninformed about major science issues such as climate and energy. They also believe scientists do not listen to ordinary people. File photograph: Getty Images

Too many people feel uninformed on big issues such as climate and energy, results show

All smiles: Paul O’Connell has little to worry about ahead of his side’s key RWC fixture with France on Sunday, according to one maths professor. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Crucial Rugby World Cup tie likely to go Ireland’s way, according to ‘Dr Maths’

A ‘chemical search engine’ is being used by scientists at the University of Glasgow to help synthesise chemicals that existed before life on Earth. Photograph: Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

New system creates complex chemicals similar to those that existed before organic life

Takaaki Kajit,   who has won the Nobel Prize for Physics with Arthur McDonald. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald win prize for research into mysterious particles

“Einstein’s nutty discoveries were off the wall but who is going to say giving him a research grant was a waste of money?” Photograph: AP Photo

New State investment plan needs to deliver a more efficient national research effort

Kristine Rose Beers, working on a mid-16th century Qur’an produced by the master artist Ruzbihan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Library conservators combine science and creativity in protecting and restoring the collection of 20,000 objects

Dead significant: although Homo naledi were highly primitive and animal-like, they used an underground burial tomb. Photograph: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic/AFP

The newly discovered human species adds astonishing information to our family tree

A reconstruction of Homo naledi’s head by paleoartist John Gurche, who spent some 700 hours recreating  it from bone scans.

Species named Homo naledi appeared to bury its dead

‘Some people will feel very ashamed and embarrassed they don’t have friends on call, but many older people lose friends and spouses.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

Isolation affects people of all ages. If it is not dealt with, it can lead to serious physical and mental health problems

The Famine sculpture in Dublin. “Incremental dentine collagen analysis” can show what children’s diet was like during the Famine. File photograph: Frank Miller

Chemical analysis of dentine can reveal diet changes and when starvation set in

The spectre that a form of brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease could infect healthy people via certain medical procedures has been raised by a research group in London

Experts deny disease could infect healthy people via medical or dental procedures

About one in 50 people acquire some kind of infection during a period in hospital, leading to major expenditure in follow-up care.

Good ventilation, barriers between beds and hand washing would reduce risks

iStan, the latest medical simulator technology, was on show in Bradford at the ongoing British Science Association’s annual Festival of Science.

‘Patient simulator’ used in universities as test bed to see how medicines affect body

An artist’s impression of stone monoliths found buried near Stonehenge which could have been part of the largest Neolithic monument built in Britain, archaeologists believe. Photograph: EPA/Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project

After discovery of superhenge, Bradford researchers turn to undersea Doggerland

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons in Game of Thrones.

Visual effects company Pixomondo studied bird’s anatomy to aid dragon animation

The Scottish government is planning to ban cultivation of all forms of genetically modified crops

Why base important decisions on facts when you could base them on politics?

Position of stone row at Durrington Walls monolith”superhenge” (green circles)  near Stonehenge in a British Science Association image. It may have as many as 90 large standing stones. Photograph: Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project/PA Wire

Prehistoric monument would have had stones higher than double-decker bus

A UK study has linked extra screen time with poorer exam results. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

UK study finds students dropped an average of two grades as a result of extra screen time

A logging site at Nesset, Mau Forest, Kenya. Humans are clearing  a net 10 billion trees a year from the surface of the Earth.

Ireland has lowest level of forest cover in Europe at 11%, says State forestry firm Coillte

Pentecopterus decorahensis:  lived 460 million years ago and was more than 1.5 metres long, making it a top predator of its day, say scientists who dug it out of rocks in a riverbed in Iowa, US.  Credit: Patrick Lynch/Yale University

Pentecopterus decorahensis lived 460 million years ago and was more than 1.5m long

Researchers note that Isaac Newton, a neurotic brooder and worrier, was able to make outstanding creative breakthroughs. Photograph: Thinkstock

Researchers link creativity with area of the brain used to perceive threat and danger

A Nasa/Esa Hubble Space Telescope image showing the complexity of the “Twin Jet Nebula”. It highlights the nebula’s shells and its expanding gas

Astronomers estimate jets of gas are travelling away from the star system at a million kilometres per hour

Tall order: Amorphophallus titanum blooming in 2013. Photograph: Binghamton University

Amorphophallus titanum stands three metres tall and can take 30 years to blossom

The flu virus evades treatment because of frequent mutations which render older vaccines obsolete.

Universal influenza vaccine still has to be proven to be safe for humans

Nora Khaldi:   mathematician with a PhD in molecular evolution and bioinformatics from Trinity College Dublin has been selected to compete for Ireland at the “Made in Europe” event in November

The Nuritas founder and other participants will present solutions to societal challenges

Smoking is one of nine risk factors for Alzheimer’s linked to two-thirds of cases. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Majority of cases caused by just nine issues, including obesity, smoking and depression

A new study has shown that a feared dementia epidemic is not happening in Europe. File photograph: Getty Images

Ireland’s situation remains unclear as study indicates no epidemic in other countries

Dr Peter O’Brien and Dr Patrick Morrissey of the Irish Photonic Integration Centre with a photonics packaging system at the Tyndall National Institute.Photograph: Provision

Photonics, the generation, manipulation and use of light, is an industry likely to be worth €600bn by 2020

People  have a responsibility to better understand science

Informed public invaluable for ensuring right decisions are made by government

A moving robot child produced by the mother robot after the mother had tried different block combinations. Photograph: University of Cambridge

Better designs passed to next generation as ‘mom’ mercilessly discards inferior creations

An artist’s impression of Kepler-453b and the double star at the centre of its solar system. Photograph: Mark Garlick/

Planet orbits rare double star, much like Luke Skywalker’s home Tatooine

The stars will finally start to wink out like candles on a windowsill. Photograph: Getty Images

Research shows energy generated in heavens is in slow decline and will continue to fade

Minister of State  Damien English: new strategy for science, technology and innovation can be delivered by October. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Damien English believes a new strategy will help make Ireland a centre of excellence

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker decided after taking office that the commission no longer needed a chief scientific adviser. Photograph: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

European Commission moves fall short of reinstating chief scientific adviser role

‘It helps if you have ambitious people on both sides of the family. I didn’t come from nothing.’ Above, James Watson in Dublin recently. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist credits the former taoiseach with turning him towards the study of DNA. He is also excited about(...)

SkySails kite technology can make big savings in energy costs for long-haul cargo ships

The Irish Defence Forces is looking to add wind propulsion to its naval arsenal

There are some 48,000 people living with dementia in Ireland, with Alzheimer’s the cause in most patients

US study claims 34 per cent reduction in mental decline among users of drug

Fly-by: a region near Pluto’s equator shows a range of mountains rising as high as 3,500m, taken as New Horizons passed within 12,500km of the dwarf planet. Photograph: Nasa

The Nasa space probe is sending back surprising images from the dwarf planet

Climate change: 2015 may also push its way into the top 10 group because a strong El Nino - which climatologists refer to as the Southern Oscillation - seems to have formed. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

2015 set to be in top 10 as overheated Pacific ocean releases rising amounts of energy

Taken at a height of 12,500km above the planet the photograph shows the surface of Pluto. Photograph: Nasa

First image of the dwarf planet has been beamed to Earth by New Horizons spacecraft

The dwarf planet Pluto, captured from ‘New Horizons’ on July 13th, about 16 hours before the moment of closest approach. Photograph: Press Association

Nasa releases close-up photographs taken by its New Horizons space probe

A DNA molecule strand: the human genome has generated enormous amounts of information but in forms which cannot be sensibly translated into real-life advice for doctors, farmers and scientists. Photograph: Steven Hunt/Photographer’s Choice/Getty

Gene-altering technologies have potential to identify and repair defective genes such as those responsible for cystic fibrosis

The fruit fly had reduced sensitivity to alcohol when the Rsu1 gene was not working correctly, researchers found. Photograph: Science/AAAS/New York Times

Researchers believe gene mechanism may point to new treatments for alcohol abuse

Storm-force winds along the East Pier in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin. File  photograph: Frank Miller

Review of climate over 142 years shows dry weather is the exception rather than the rule

Bumblebees in Europe and North America may be heading for a wipeout as a result of climate change. They are not migrating northwards to keep in temperate conditions. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Researchers say bees dying out as they fail to migrate north to escape rising temperatures

Minister of State for Research Damien English: “We need a plan that will increase our spend in research.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Damien English announces plan at launch of annual report of Science Foundation Ireland

The aurora borealis lighting up the sky  at the Dun Briste sea stack in Mayo. Photograph: Brian Wilson

Aurora Borealis display triggered by biggest solar storm in a decade, astronomers told

Tetragnathid spider using silk as anchor. Photograph: Alex Hyde

Using the wind, the eight-legged creatures can cover 30km a day

Prof Neil Rowan: “Pulsed light constitutes a next generation approach to ultraviolet light disinfection.”

A light that clears out all bacterial contamination could end the need for “boil water” notices

The results from trials of a new treatment for cystic fibrosis have been welcomed by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland

To see a 3.7% increase in lung function from therapy is considered a ‘promising finding’

New research has found the lower the degree of genetic similarity in a couple, the more likely it is their children will be taller and quicker thinkers

New research finds shorter children more likely as parental ‘relatedness’ increases

Prof Poul Holm, professor of environmental history at Trinity College Dublin. File photograph: Joe Gavin

Poul Holm received European Research Council funding for Atlantic history project

A Cork-based scientist has warned that security controls need to be put in place ahead of quantum computing. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cork researcher warns controls need to be introduced ahead of quantum computing

The passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system, photographed by the US space agency NASA. Photograph: Reuters/NASA/JPL

Scientists and celebrities urge governments to defend the planet from space rocks

Having a command of two languages is said to delay the onset of dementia by 4.2 years compared to monolinguals

Changes in brain activity promote successful ageing, research suggests

Recent data up to 2012 show improvements in racehorse speeds are continuing, largely driven by speeds of sprinters particularly at elite level. File photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Greatest improvements seen over shorter distances, say researchers

Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Dr Teresa Ubide from Trinity College says the crystals they study come to the surface during an eruption. File photograph: Eric Meola/Getty Images

Scientists able to read cause of eruption from minute crystals formed deep within

Prof Ray Stallings, Director of Research and Prof of Cancer Genetics at RCSI

Dublin college to get new laboratories and facilities to support its work in research and education

A row of shanty homes sits atop a sea of garbage on World Environment Day in Manila: The growing world population needs what the planet has to offer in terms of resources now more than ever, but we are using them up and wasting them or polluting them just as quickly. Photograph:  Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

It took the industrial age and a rapidly increasing population to break into the big time when it came to wrecking the planet

Dr Elaine Dunleavy of NUI Galway: “I am trying to find out the genes that are important for fertility in males”

President Michael D Higgins presents award for research work on genetics of fruit flies

Sinead Winters, Prof Georg Duesberg, who leads the work here on the new type of biosensor, and Dr Nina Berner at Trinity College’s ASIN lab at the Science Gallery. Photograph: Alan Betson

Scientists have built a biosensor that can identify infectious diseases within minutes

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) creates beams of particles and speeds them up to almost the speed of light before letting them crash into one another. Photograph:  Cern/PA Wire

The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle smasher, has just started up again after a two-year shutdown for rep(...)

The heart of the Milky Way taken in near infra-red light using the Very Large Telescope. According to latest estimates the galaxy measures 4.179 x 10^38 metric tonnes. File photograph: ESO/S. Gillessen et al/PA Wire

Columbia-University-led study uses new method to give more accurate measure

The beam tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Meyrin, Switzerland. Energy levels to be reached on Wednesday will not have been seen since the formation of the universe in the Big Bang

Record-breaking energies will be reached with restart of Large Hadron Collider

Horizon 2020, the EU’s research budget,  has billions of euro available to support research taking place in our higher education institutions and in private sector companies

SMEs have been slow to go after research grants under Horizon 2020 programme

Alan Healy, chief executive of Exergyn Ltd: says he expects the company to be manufacturing 1,600 water-powered engines a year by 2019

Exergyn has set out to harvest electricity using just low-grade waste heat

Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English. Mr English has praised this year’s recipients of  the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme, who are to share €6 million in funding between them. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Irish Research Council announces 2015 postdoctoral grants for group of 80 fellows

(From left) Ryan Lawlor, Caoimhe Kelly, Aaron Scully and Elisha McAuley, 5th class pupils from Scoil an Chroi Ró Naofa Íosa, Dublin, tackle a science project at the launch of  the RDS Stem Learning project. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

RDS Stem Learning to be extended to hundreds of schools after success of pilot projects

Prof Thorri Gunnlaugsson (left) and Dr Oxana Kotova from Trinity College Dublin School of Chemistry with the functional luminescent gels they have developed. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

New substance could be used to prevent scarring on damaged skin

Ibec warns that the pipeline of discoveries as they move towards commercialisation will dry up without more blue-skies activity and also wants to see the establishment of a body independent of government to watch how we invest State funding in research

Ibec wants to see more scientific research and wants the Government to spend lots more in support of it

A marbled salamander moves through the forest litter on its way to a nearby pond to breed. Its distribution and range are increasing in response to warming winter temperatures. Credit: Mark Urban

Greatest risk in areas of shrinking habitats and difficulty migrating – especially tropics

Sinéad Cullen assembling an installation as part of the exhibition Home/Sick at the Science Gallery in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The exhibition Home/Sick examines positive and negative aspects of home

Rheumatoid arthritis: a disease that has a circadian rhythm. Photograph: Thinkstock

Co-ordinating drug administration with a person’s body clock has been found to reduce joint pain and stiffness in arthritis patien(...)

A picture of Carolan Crater near the planet Mercury’s north pole, taken by the Messenger satellite while in orbit around the planet. Credit: NASA

Turlough O’Carolan joins W.B. Yates and Wilhelmina Geddes among Irish features on planet

An artist’s impression of a new dinosaur, Yi qi which could have glided from tree to tree. Credit: Dinostar Co Ltd.

Yi qi or ‘strange wing’ could have glided from tre to tree during the Jurassic Period

Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, a vegetarian dinosaur despite being a close relative of famous meat-eaters like Tyrannosaurus rex. Photograph: Gabriel Lio

Species discovered in Chile is closely related to Tyrannosaurus rex but was vegetarian

The Growing Up In Ireland longitudinal study looking at overweight and obesity in nine-year-olds showed that one in four children were above their correct weight

Preschool children who watched an hour a day were 50-60% more likely to be overweight

John O’Donoghue CEO of Enbio, with Yves Bonnefous, the ESA’s solar orbiter project controller, at the opening this month of Enbio’s space technology centre in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. photograph: aileen drohan

Enbio has got €2m ESA funding to build a space technology centre in Clonmel

An image showing a region of rapid star formation called Westerlund 2 captured by the Hubble space telescope. This tapestry of your stars resembles a glittering fireworks display and is released to mark 25 years since the launch of Hubble into orbit. Credit: NASA and ESA

Important discoveries flowed from telescope that orbits earth at a distance of 550km

MRI scan showing a human brain. Researchers have successfully shut down brain swelling in a rodent brain by turning off a single gene.  Photograph: Getty Images

Researchers prevent tissue damage in rodent brains by turning off single gene

“We need a balanced research activity,” Ibec innovation and education executive Claire McGee said. “You have to ensure you have this continuum from basic research through to the commercialisation of discoveries. You need a balance, it is not one or the other.”

Business representative says State needs independent advisory board for science

Ireland has some of the least polluted skies in Europe. Above, a clear night sky in Kerry. Photograph: Michael Sheehan

We will soon be able to compare our light and air pollution against other countries in a major study via two iPhone apps

The Atlantic coast of the US photographed at night from the International Space Station. Photograph: Nasa/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Industry and our lives are being transformed by photonics and other uses of light in the same way they were transformed by electr(...)

 A foraging buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, visiting an oilseed rape flower in a field in Ireland. Photograph: Dara Stanley/Nature

Scientists speculate bees attracted to plants because of chemicals’ nicotine-like properties

European Southern Observatory: ESO is a very interesting body at the moment given it is spending more than €1 billion to build the European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the largest telescope in the world when complete

The International Research Organisation review panel is considering if Ireland should stump up cash to join research bodies

EU Commissioner for research, science and innovation Carlos Moedas: “With public resources limited, it is even more essential to attract private R&D investment.”

Ireland’s history of innovation praised by new EU commissioner Carlos Moedas

Werner Nahm: left California for a professorship at Bonn University, but then moved to the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Photograph: Eric Luke

Prof Werner Nahm’s work in blending a rigorous mathematical discipline with theories about how the universe formed has had an inte(...)

NUI Galway scientists Dr Nicholas Devaney (left) of the school of physics at NUIG, and Dr Alexander Goncharov, who are developing optics technologies for use in large space telescopes. photograph:  Aengus McMahon

New ways studied to correct visual errors in space telescopes – and DVD players

  A section of the Ara OB1 Stellar Association photographed by the European Southern Observatory whose senior counsellor for international relations Claus Madsen said:   “If Ireland wants to be part of the global research community it has to have access to some of these international facilities.” Photograph: ESO/PA Wire

It is essential Irish scientists join European research, says observatory executive

Prof Orla Feely , Vice-President for Research , Innovation and Impact at UCD. Photograph: Eric Luke

Outgoing chairwoman Prof Orla Feely says we could be a world leader, but system must be ‘future proofed’ and look beyond overt eco(...)

Muscular dystrophy only affects young males and is the most common inherited neuro-muscular condition here, affecting one in 3,500 boys

Findings may lead to new treatments for inherited disorder

This map shows the rover’s entire traverse from landing Eagle Crater to its current location at Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

The 42km journey completed in just ... 11 years 2 months

Two prototype sunburn indicators, one with the blue dye and one that has lost its colour after exposure to UV light that causes sunburn. Photograph: SunCatalyst Laboratories

Queen’s University Belfast inventor says colour-change bracelet on sale soon

Normally calm, considered and restrained, the scientists, engineers and mathematicians are as mad as hell and are determined to make themselves heard

A letter signed by 800 scientists frustrated at lack of funding for basic research comes just as the Government calls for submissi(...)

A short break in the clouds gives a glimpse of Friday’s partial eclipse of the sun from the front square in Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Some 1,000 stargazers gather in Trinity College as clearer conditions seen elsewhere

Hundreds are gathered at Trinity College Dublin to see the solar eclipse. Not quite the show they were hoping for as clouds block the view. Photograph: Dick Ahlstrom

Daylight levels return to normal after moon obscures sun up to 95% in skies over Ireland

Viewing an eclipse in London in 1999. Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Solar eclipses of this magnitude are rare and cloud breaks should let most people see it

Children from the Eclipse Road area of London view the solar eclipse in 1999. Photograph:  Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Dos and don’ts during the solar eclipse

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