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

An inside view of a Large Hadron Collider magnet. Photograph: Richard Juilliart/AFP/Getty images

After a two-year upgrade, the Large Hadron Collider is 60% more powerful. So what are scientists hoping for?

A solar eclipse in Varanasi, India, in July 2009. Ireland is set to experience up to a 95 per cent eclipse on Friday, though it is highly dangerous to look at the sun directly while observing the event. Photograph: Saurabh Das/AP

Up to 95% of sun will be blocked out by moon for about an hour from 8.30am

The signatories are advocating that less funding emphasis be placed on economically-driven research. Photograph: The Irish Times

More than 800 signatories express concerns about commercial focus in ‘Irish Times’ letter

Prof Katherine Fitzgerald is based at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where she is professor of medicine. Photograph: University of Massachusetts website

Prof Katherine Fitzgerald presented with award in Washington by Taoiseach

A project from Dr Lorraine Brennan of University College Dublin will look at the relationship between diet and health.  Photograph: Jason Clarke Photography

Awards come from EU’s Horizon 2020 research budget

The Royal Irish Academy was aware of a consultation process, but other stakeholders were not told. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Bodies including Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and Isme received no notice

Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Survey of fur colour via irishtimes.com finds black with white patches is most common. And there’s more

Geese: one type of bird most affected by turbines. Photograph: Johnny Greig

Swans, golden plovers, hen harriers and geese among species most affected by turbines

In a handout image, an artist’s rendering of what researchers believe Mars looked like around 4 billion years ago, when water now frozen in the planet’s icecaps formed a great northern ocean. NASA estimates that water could have covered about 19 percent of the red planet’s surface. Photograph: Greg Shirah/NASA via The New York Times

Research shows red planet was covered by water that evaporated over past billion years

“We are trying to figure out how cells die,” says Prof Séamus Martin, the Smurfit professor of medical genetics at Trinity College Dublin, recipient of the 2014 RDS Irish Times Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Exploration of vital process is core subject of talk by Prof Séamus Martin

The study at Trinity College Dublin included almost 5,000 adults and found a positive link between flouride in drinking water and oral health.

Older people in flouride areas are more likely to have all their own teeth

Researchers France led by Prof Karim Benchenane of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research conclude in a new paper that they have successfully implanted five mice with ‘artificial memories’. Photograph: Warner Bros

Scientists in France claim to have accomplished ‘Inception’-like brain manipulation

Data explosion: a research project at TCD aims to build in consistency and quality assurance for developers who want to access the information embedded within the data source

‘Aligned’ project designed to attack complexity, scale and inconsistency of web data stores

University College Cork (UCC). Researchers in UCC and NUI Galway have received about €2 million each in  funding from the European Research Council for their work in the life sciences. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

European Research Council awards Irish researchers for work in the life sciences

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said she did not think “it is fair on the students if we continue to prevaricate” on the issue of Junior Cert reform. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Education does not ‘think it is fair on students if we continue to prevaricate’

Prof Seeram Ramakrishna: ‘The view [in Singapore] is you have to look at the long term. You have to invest more to prepare for the future.’

Ireland risks missing out if it fails to invest in research at a high level, says a globally influential scientist

Cutting edge: Kapil Katyal, a robotics engineer, with a Darpa-sponsored robotic hand and arm; the prosthesis mimics the movement of the sensor glove he is wearing. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty

The return from Iraq and Afghanistan of US soldiers with missing limbs has driven much of the innovation in bionic prostheses

Séamus Martin at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics in Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘The world of cells is as amazing for its complexity and beauty as it is for the pragmatic way it deals with problems,’ says Séamu(...)

A computer programme that learns from its mistakes can teach itself how to play classic computer games such as Space Invaders, performing better than skilled human competitors at many of them.

‘Artificial agent’ learns from its mistakes to master Breakout, Pong and Boxing

The study showed that yeast used to brew the perfect lager can also be pressed into service to produce excellent stout. Photograph: The Irish Times

DNA analysis of substance used to brew stout shows origins are rooted in India

Five pointers can help you  find a middle ground where food and dietary choices aren’t driven by all the marketing and advertising. Photograph: Getty Images

The news you should feed peanuts to children at risk of developing peanut allergy runs counter to previous advice

Tuskar Lighthouse: many of the technology and engineering challenges of wave, tidal and offshore wind are likely to have been overcome, and we will have offshore “farms” where energy is harvested from the seas around us

The mix in 2050 will include gas-powered turbines and offshore wind-and-wave farms

The best way to prevent peanut allergy in young children is to feed them peanut products, according to a study published on Monday by researchers from King’s College London. Photograph: Getty Images.

Nut allergy falls by 81 per cent in children who consumed peanut protein

Cruising: won many Grand Prix show-jumping competitions

Procedure’s relative ease raises some ethical questions

BioCore’s Ellough site near Suffolk, England: “It is a major site,” managing director Peter Carey says, “and National Grid, the utility we are with, describes it as a significant site in terms of gas import.”

Plants decompose to release gas with the remains serving as a useful fertiliser

Looming danger?: a nuclear reactor dome rises over an English beach. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

We’re afraid of fracking, we don’t like wind turbines and we don’t have enough oil. Any chance we might cut down on energy usage? (...)

 Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has had his drink-driving case adjourned until March. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil’s Brian Ó Domhnaill also accused of failing to report a hit-and-run occurrence

Scientists in Britain have discovered the strongest biological material known to man, a limpet tooth. Photograph: Thinkstock.

Natural substance found in shelled creatures could be imitated for use in cars, boats and planes

Prof Luke O’Neill with flasks of inflamed white blood cells from the immune system in a laboratory in Trinity. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Tests reveal remedy could also halt diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and alzheimer’s

‘We have found they hedgehogs are virtually absent from higher ground.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

Help us answer this and other prickly questions. Or, if cats are more your thing, you can take part in a national survey of our fe(...)

“It’s tough when it comes to dating profiles because we want someone who seems like an amazing person, but we also hopefully will have a relationship with this individual, so we want them to exist.”

Profiles that appear ‘too perfect’ are a turn off for prospective lovers, US study shows

Engineers Week file photograph of Sue McGrath  demonstrating combustion properties using flour. A survey released as part of this year’s events shows   that despite national efforts 70 per cent of parents don’t know what Stem stands for. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Engineers Week poll shows that despite efforts most don’t know what Stem stands for

File image of a March 2008 launch from the European Space Agency’s Kourou facility in French Guiana. Photograph: Stephane Corvaja/ESA via Getty Images

Intermediate Experimental Vehicle expected to splash down in Pacific after 1hr 40m

‘There is no doubt that consuming a diet rich in saturated fats can leave you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.’ Photograph:  Jimmy Pozarik/Getty

Advice was given to millions of adults without sufficient scientific evidence

Prof Valeria Nicolosi: uses a form of 3D printing to make electronic components and advanced batteries.

Two receive €150,000 grants to help bring discoveries to market

Illustration: Thinkstock

Regular exercise causes profound changes in the body and mind. But what exactly is going on in there?

The crooked teeth and lower jaw of an Early Neolithic farmer Photograph: Olivia Cheronet

Dietary changes meant humans’ jaws became smaller but teeth stayed the same size

Bringing more women into the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects is a constant struggle

UCD report states that ‘the key issue appears to be motivation’

Brendan Farrell, chief executive of HiberGene Diagnostics: “The test uses an enabling technology called loop mediated isothermal amplification (Lamp).”

HiberGene secures funding which will enable it to bring its product to market

Dr Ruth Freeman, the Science Foundation’s director of strategy and communications: she says the goal is to encourage interest and debate about science, technology, engineering and maths. Photograph: Arthur Allison.

Minister says Discovery programme focuses on wide range of career opportunities with Stem subject

The Internet of Things is attempting to join together your television, car, computer and just about anything else that can generate or use data. Illustration: Thinkstock

Exploiting today’s information mountain is not all about online commerce: one of Europe’s largest analytics centres is advancing t(...)

An artist’s impression of the five rocky planets close to earth-sized orbiting the star Kepler-444. Illustration by Tiago Campante/Peter Devine

Researchers made find when sifting through four years of data

In the case of the new finding, by the University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University, once slowed the photons stay slowed, they don’t speed up again. Details are published in Science Express.

Scientists from two Scottish universities slow down light as it moves through free space

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the subject of the Rosetta satellite mission. Research papers based on the mission’s findings thus far have been published. Photograph: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS

Research based on Comet 67P mission published in Science journal

N49, the brightest supernova remnant in optical light in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG

First time super bubble linked to such high energy and seen in neighbouring galaxy

NUI Galway professor of psychology  Gary Donohoe said the study in terms of numbers was enormous but had to be so in order to succeed.

Three Irish groups participated in major international study

Cats aren’t just a meme thing: your one occasion to talk to us about your cat’s fur without raising eyebrows

The Science pages launch a national survey to learn more about cat genetics

From left, at the stables of thoroughbred  ‘Annagh Haven’ in Oristown, Co Meath is Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Damien English, Prof Fergal O’Brien, deputy director of Amber and head of the tissue engineering research group in RCSI, and Laurence Mulvany, owner of the filly ‘Annagh Haven’ (pictured).

Rebuilding of thoroughbred’s jaw allowed it to return to the track

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