Dr Mary Rose Sweeney: “Some countries have mandatory addition of synthetic folic acid to staple foods.”  Photograph: Frank Miller

Research Lives: Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, senior lecturer and associate dean for research in the faculty of science & health at Dublin(...)

Prof Kevin McGugan: “I can’t think of anything I would rather do than this research”

Research Lives: Even Irish sunlight can be used to kill bacteria in water in glass or plastic bottles, says Prof Kevin McGuigan

Dr Norma Bargary

Dr Norma Bargary of the University of Limerick on the difference between good and bad statistics

Prof Laoise McNamara: “Osteoporosis is a huge healthcare challenge, and that’s a big motivation to keep going with the research.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Research Lives: Prof Laoise McNamara, professor of biomedical engineering at NUI Galway, explains her work on bones

An augmented reality dinosaur in Belfast

Are the kids getting bored? Here’s a handful of ways to keep their minds nourished

Colouring robots at last year’s Festival of Curiosity

The Dublin festival, now in its fourth year, has something for all ages

Prof JC Desplat: “Supercomputers are really only the tip of the iceberg for high-performance computing”

Prof JC Desplat, director ofthe Irish Centre for High-End Computing, on the practical applications of his work

11-year-old  Katie Reilly,  from Kimmage, Dublin,  with her Lego Mindstorms robot that solves  Rubik’s Cubes at CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects Awards  at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph:  Conor McCabe/MediaConsult

Rubik’s Cube-solving robot among 700 projects on display at Coolest Projects Awards

It is recommended to anyone in midlife that they avoid a sedentary lifestyle and exercise three times a week. Photograph: iStock

A study seeks volunteers over 50 with mild memory problems to search for possible links between exercise and dementia prevention (...)

“I also feel enormously privileged that I get to look at things we could not have seen or understood in the same way 50 years ago”

Dr Niall Smith of Cork Institute of Technology and Blackrock Castle Observatory talks about his career – and love of ELO

Algal bloom off Ireland: it might look beautiful in satellite images, but its effects are anything but

For the competition Tell it Straight, researchers must explain their work simply and quickly

Jules McDermott and Leon McDowell at the launch of the first Bubble Day fundraiser

Irish start-up helps asthma and allergy sufferers identify triggers in environment

“The competition is a way in which we want to teach young children about the importance of clinical research, and get them to understand what a clinical trial is and the processes that are involved.”

Students offer ideas for a contest for primary schools run by HRB-TMRN

Who are you calling common? Above, the viviparous lizard. Photograph: Kieran Flood

Access Science: A nationwide survey will draw together information on common lizards and slow worms

Two of the 50 or so makers showing their creations at Dublin Maker last year were just nine years old, including Ciara Whelan, above, who made a smart dollhouse

The Dublin event exhibits everything from smart dollhouses to 3D-printed prosthetic limbs

Researchers collect plant material containing endophytes

Relationships with microbes from the soil help plants to survive stresses in their environment and thrive

It is hoped that the online approach will make it easier for people to be honest about what they eat. Photograph: Thinkstock

Access Science: FoodBook24 is testing a tool that will track eating habits, which should fuel deeper nutritional research

Some urban bird species are in decline, most notably the swift, which migrates and typically returns to the same site over and over. Photograph: Artur Tabor

Access Science: Birdwatch Ireland wants the public to keep eyes peeled for various species to help inform conservation work

Dan Kastner started his detective work on the immune system when he encountered a patient  who had familial Mediterranean fever, a rare inherited immune disorder.

Dan Kastner has been finding clues about ‘danger signals’ that ramp up inflammation

Fresh eyes can offer new perspectives and innovations

New approach can lead to fresh perspectives and innovations in model based on Stanford programme

Keep on clucking in the free world: Second Livestock by Austin Stewart, a “really far-out project” that explores how chickens might plug into virtual reality to make them feel as if they are free range

From cow sensors to lab burgers, it’s all on the menu at a Science Gallery exhibition

Sleuthing at a CSI event at last year’s NI Science Festival

This year’s NI Science Festival focuses on how science affects everyday lives

A Minecraft rendering of the GPO in Dublin

MindRising 2016 wants young people to develop digital stories about Ireland’s past and future

‘As the microbiome field emerges from its teenage years full of exuberance and promise, reality is hitting in as to how we target it to maintain health and prevent disease.’ Illustration: Thinkstock

Gene-editing advances may lead to increased understanding of brains and guts

Plaster over the cracks or should we plan for the health effects of climate change now? Photograph: Thinkstock

Climate change will raise many new health issues globally, so what can we do to prepare?

An artist’s impression of the probe Philae separating from Rosetta and descending to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for space exploration

Roisin Tuohy and Gabriele Kolesnikovaite, from Lucan Community College, are investigating the impact of screen time with teenagers. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Testicular cancer, tremor gloves and sleep patterns under the spotlight

Particularly captivating was a heart-shaped feature, estimated to be 1,600km across at its widest point, on Pluto’s surface

In July, a visual feast poured back from a Nasa probe’s fly-by of Pluto

Prolonged kissing – not just a peck – reduces some allergic responses among kissers. Photograph: Thinkstock

The Ig Nobel Prizes are home to some unique studies, from the power of a pash to how long it takes various species to pee

Thorough cooking kills the bacteria, so the usual rules apply: no pink meat and be sure that the juices run clear. Photograph: Thinkstock

Campylobacter is the bacterium that causes the most food poisoning in Ireland – and it loves turkey and other poultry

In The Water Book, Alok Jha takes us on a journey from the Antarctic to the monsoons of India (above)

Stocking fillers for science lovers

Dr Jim Sullivan, vice-president of pharmaceutical discovery at AbbVie: “It is important in basic research to have the talent working well together.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Global biopharma giant AbbVie is backing two new multimillion projects here

Dr William C Campbell: “It is so often not recognised how much parasitism comes into play in the whole natural world.” Photograph: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Interview: William C Campbell’s work to fight disease using parasites won him the Nobel Prize, making him just the second Irish ma(...)

Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe with her husband. Photograph by permission of  the director of National Botanic Gardens

Trailblazers are to be remembered in a public talk

An image from Science Hack Day 2014 in the Innovation Academy at UCD

‘People make things from scratch, they start with nothing and end up with something new and fun’

Much of the information for big data logging your way through the day comes from sensors, from cameras and smartphones and, of course, from the internet

Big data may have answers to everything from avoiding traffic to reducing hospital waiting lists

Dr Cathal Gurrin: “Many years ago, nobody was that interested in what I was doing.”

DCU expert has taken more than 16 million images of the things, places and people he sees during his everyday activities

Antonia Schultze, Jim Moloney and Cathal Mariga of Midleton College, Cork, at the launch of MakerDojo. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Sessions at Tyndall National Institute in Cork enable participants to roll up their sleeves and learn by making

The Spire on O’Connell Street in Dublin can physically change depending on the weather. Photograph: Getty Images

City of Physics aims to get us thinking about the physics of what goes on around us

If the signalling process in your brain goes awry, for whatever reason, it can lead to problems, including brain disorders or diseases. Image: Getty

Going back to basics to learn about how the brain works could help guide better treatments for diseases

Art by Rob Doyle on a traffic light box in Cabra, inspired by a game Hamilton invented

Plus: Cast your vote to tackle a major European problem

Atlas of Mammals in Ireland project is mapping where wild mammals are – and it wants your help

A French cod-fishing boat handling a large trawl. Photograph: Marcel Mochet/AFP/Getty Images

A Trinity project is examining how cod fisheries shaped human diets and practices in centuries past, and what this tells us about (...)

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, an organiser of Bright Club Dublin and improv performer

Plus: artistic surprises at the National Botanic Gardens

The Cravings exhibition experiment about how combinations of sensory cues affect flavour perception. Photograph: copyright Science Museum, London

‘Cravings’ exhibition at London Science Museum explores what happens in our brains and guts when we indulge in tasty fare

Mary Njenga processing samples at the OpenBiome stool bank in the  US.

Introducing someone else’s microbes could help with recurring bowel infections

Growing their Stem businesses: Mary Carty (third from right) with some of the participants in Outbox Incubator

Outbox Incubator in London provides support for talented young entrepreneurs, some of whom are Irish

Augmented reality: a Daqri helmet being demonstrated at DCU’s 36-hour hackathon

Hackathons, a popular ‘sport’ for innovators, are a fun way of coming up with new ideas

An event at last year’s Festival of Curiosity

The four-day, family-friendly festival has something for everyone

Ariel Waldman at Inspirefest in Dublin recently: ‘I want to give people the same realisation that I had a few years ago in discovering that I could contribute to space exploration in a meaningful way despite not having a background in it.’ Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Spacehack.org helps people to find ways to contribute to space research. No formal training is required

Coder Ciara Whelan (9), whose project is all about making her doll’s house interactive with an Intel Galileo board. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Some 500 projects will go on display in the RDS on June 13th

Photograph: Thinkstock

‘The symptoms of chronic itch can be more bothersome than the underlying disease,’ says one researcher who is working on ways to b(...)

Tiny patients have particular needs, and that is why some investigator-led clinical studies in Ireland are looking to develop better ways to cater for them, including how best to prevent infections being introduced from the equipment itself.  Photograph: Thinkstock

Investigator-led clinical trials in Ireland are seeking to meet the medical needs of tiny babies

Biobanks seek to collect samples from patients and store them safely for researchers who could find them useful: perhaps tomorrow, or perhaps even years down the line. Photograph: Thinkstock

Biobanks collect and store tissue, cell, blood and urine samples to find out more about diseases

Rick O’Shea introduces a talk by Dr David Mc Keown at last year’s Pint of Science

Access Science: Themes for this year’s fesival, which moves science to the pub, include sports, obesity and smart devices

A Sira poison frog (Ranitomeya sirensis)

There is a big question mark over how amphibians in the Peruvian rainforest make poison. The answer might have important medical i(...)

Prof Fergus Shanahan: ‘The trillions of bugs that colonise our skin, our bowel and our lungs gives us our immune education.’ Photograph: Tomas Tyner, UCC.

From gut bugs to inter-related bodily systems, chronic inflammatory conditions need a ‘big-picture’ perspective if we are to tackl(...)

Crowdfunding: ‘It has to be the correct flavour for the correct cause’

Parkinson’s research and water treatment in Kenya are two examples of successful crowdfunded efforts

Mags Mullarney’s social enterprise, Move4Parkinson’s, is helping people with the condition to understand how they can take a more active role in managing their life. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

From set-dancing to choir sessions, Mags Mullarney’s social enterprise Move4Parkinson’s is helping people with the degenerative co(...)

Left to right: Sadhbh O’Muirí (Dunshaughlin Community College), Lydia Koilparambil (St Dominic’s Cabra), Mary Ishabigi (St Dominic’s Cabra) and Niamh Scanlon (Girls Hack Ireland mentor) at Girls Hack Ireland in DCU

Dublin City University hosts first ever all-girls hackathon

TEDx talk: Adam Harris tries to give the  audience at DCU an insight into being a person on the autistic spectrum.

Adam Harris is a social entrepreneur who wants to give people with autism in Ireland more of a voice, and to encourage an autism-f(...)

Mary Nally, the founder of Third Age, a national voluntary organisation that represents older people. Photograph: Alan Betson

Social entrepreneur Mary Nally saw how older people could help others in the community and set up the Third Age organisation to ha(...)

 Liam Redmond of HeadstARTS at the club for people with intellectual disability with some volunteers at DCU. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Social entrepreneur Liam Redmond wants to build a network of clubs for people with intellectual disabilities to learn the arts

Jean O’Brien, founder of Irish Charity Lab, which was set up last year to help charities in Ireland develop skills and strategies for digital communications to support their causes. Photograph:  Laurence McMahon/Laurence J Photography

Social entrepreneur Jean O’Brien is helping Irish charities get a healthier return from their digital communications

Start the siren: cabbage white caterpillars attack. Photograph: Thinkstock

A study has found that plants recognise the chewing vibrations of insect herbivores and mount appropriate chemical defences

John Kearney, chief executive of Irish Community Rapid Response, in  Baltimore, west Cork. Photograph: Emma Jervis Photography

John Kearney is expanding a rapid response programme to get medical assistance to local emergencies

Jennifer Ryan of MyLife Solutions: ‘The idea that I am an entrepreneur baffles me; I don’t have a business head.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Psychologist Jennifer Ryan is helping children to build up skills to protect against bullying

Ray Burke of Active Connections pictured in Farran Woods, Cork. Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Social entrepreneur Ray Burke uses adventure activities to push young people out of their comfort zone and help them address negat(...)

Dr David McKeown, a research engineer at University College Dublin: ‘It will be just me and the microphone and that is scary.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Access Science: Researchers will take to a stage in Dublin to inform audiences while also making them laugh

The Earth seen in relation to a solar eruption

Sunspotter.org needs your time and brainpower to compare sunspot groups

Claire O’Connell at home in Dublin, trying to improve her life month by month. Photograph: Alan Betson

Instead of giving yourself one massive challenge at the beginning of the year, why not change habits one month at a time?

Dr Cliona Murphy: is taking part in the BioInnovate programme at NUI Galway

Winning idea looks to make it safer to introduce devices into arteries through needle puncture

Online reviews form a treasure trove of information, whether people are looking for advice or leaving their own opinions for others to read

Online reviews offer a trove of information for fellow customers, and researchers in UCD are figuring out how to analyse what the(...)

Taste is a powerful sense and can evoke vivid memories, but the primary function of our senses is far more basic. Background: a microscopic image of a tongue and taste buds. Images: Thinkstock, Getty

Our ancestors’ perception of taste was important for survival and thriving. Now researchers are trying to produce food with reduce(...)

Dr Cliona Murphy, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Getting gynaecological issues checked out in good time can pay dividends for quality of life

Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow and Ciara Judge from Kinsale, Co Cork, winners of the BT Young Scientists of the Year 2013 title. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Three girls whose passion has had award-winning and groundbreaking results offer tips for excelling at science

Dr David Mckeown, based at UCD is using maths to control space rocket vibrations

From freak waves to gut bugs, Irish scientists are working to crack some of the imponderables in life

Sthenurines: the largest of the species could grow to an estimated 240kg

Did extinct Sthenurines stride rather than hop at low speeds?

A microscopic view of bacteria in the digestive system

Changing the day/night rhythms of mice leads to fluctuations in the rhythms of their gut microbes too

From left, Gerard Scully, Angela Doyle and Nicholas Nolan, participants in the chronic illness exercise rehabilitation programmes at DCU.

The Pathway system tracks participants’ movements and provides feedback during exercise sessions

‘Blood Vessels’ by Charlie Murphy

Some people ‘will love’ an upcoming exhibition about blood and ‘some will find it pretty tough’

A new website and app called Hello Brain, developed by researchers at Trinity College Dublin, offers suggestions for daily conditioning tips or “brain buffs”

Keeping your brain fit and active now could have a protective effect later on, and a new initiative called Hello Brain tells you(...)

A study is hooking up native Irish speakers with a portable ultrasound device that can capture how their tongue movements correspond with saying consonants in their broad and slender forms

The consonant sounds of the Irish language may be under threat, and are being documented for posterity

William Rowan Hamilton

The annual Hamilton Walk celebrates a famous Irish ‘Eureka’ moment

Tissue bank: researchers can apply to use the banked tissue and data to help develop more effective ways to diagnose and treat the relevant condition

Biobanking makes donated human tissue accessible for research, so why isn’t more of it being done?

Dr Pete Klimley in action

Pete Klimley believes that white sharks – the type portrayed in the film Jaws – do not like to eat humans because we don’t have en(...)

A ruby-throated hummingbird

All birds lack sweet taste perception. So why do hummingbirds gravitate towards nectar?

ESA’s team of astronaut trainers in the caves of Sardinia preparing for Caves 2014, a two-week course for astronauts to get to grips with living in extreme conditions

It turns out that caves are good for space training. But how?

‘Raindrop’ by Alistair McClymont, part of the ‘Strange Weather’ exhibition at the Science Gallery

A forthcoming event at the Dublin venue is all about ‘battening down the hatches and imagining you are trapped in a storm’

Mind what you say near bags of crisps

Researchers have shown how it is possible to ‘eavesdrop’ by filming vibrations on objects such as crisp packets

Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim from a home in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. Photograph: EPA/AHMED JALLANZO

Derry-born scientist Dr Christopher Logue will travel to Guinea to help diagnose patients infected with the virus

A stuffed great horned owl

Two animal exhibitions are on show at the UCC venue

Remains at the prehistoric site at Al Khiday, central Sudan

Studies on ancient remains suggest that prehistoric people had a detailed understanding of plants long before agriculture

Tiny mite has been named Litarachna lopezae after the singer

Actor’s songs and videos ’kept researchers in a good mood’ when writing paper

Curious Science with theoretical physicist and comedian Dara O Briain will take place at Dublin’s Mansion House

The second Festival of Curiosity will host events including talks, guided walks, performances and discussions

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