Tributes to late science journalist Mary Mulvihill at Waterford event

Robert Boyle Summer School hears from speakers on the theme of fraud in science

Mary Mulvihill:  had a ‘wonderful gift’ for making science  accessible. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mary Mulvihill: had a ‘wonderful gift’ for making science accessible. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The late science journalist Mary Mulvihill had a “wonderful gift” for making science amazing and accessible, the fourth annual Robert Boyle Summer School in Waterford heard. Ms Mulvihill died earlier this month, aged 55, after a brief illness.

The event in Lismore was billed as a celebration of the life, works and legacy of its native son Robert Boyle, known as “the father of modern chemistry”.

Scientists and non-scientists attended the four days of talks and discussions around the theme of fraud in science.

They heard that Ms Mulvihill would have been very interested in the story of Robert Boyle’s sister and collaborator Katherine, later Lady Ranelagh, “a woman of great intellect and influence”.

A plaque in honour of Lady Ranelagh was unveiled at the entrance to Lismore Castle on Saturday to mark the 400th anniversary of her birth.

Speakers at the event included Prof Michael Hunter of Birkbeck College, London, and Prof Dorothy Bishop of Oxford University.

Robert Boyle, described during his lifetime in the 17th century as “the philosopher Boyle”, wrote widely on religion and theology, and funded the first translation of the Bible into Irish.

He is best known, however, as a scientist and by students for Boyle’s Law, which states that the pressure and volume of a gas are inversely proportional.

The summer school was organised by the Centre for the Advancement of Learning of Maths, Science and Technology (Calmast) at Waterford Institute of Technology and Lismore Heritage Centre, with the support of Lismore Castle, the Robert Boyle Foundation and other groups in the region.