Christy Moore entertains some of the protesters at an Anti-Nuclear protest at Carnsore Point, Co Wexford, in August 1978. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

When Carnsore Point was proposed as the site for Ireland’s first nuclear power plant

The emerging threat of peanut allergy.

The rise of the peanut allergy suggests there are others out there that we cannot yet explain

 The Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Torino, Italy

Why not enhance your summer travels with a visit to a history of science museum? Last month’s column had suggestions in Ireland an(...)

 Inside Howth Martello tower – home of Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

From the Leviathan telescope in Birr Castle to the former ‘Bedlam’ in London, many museums in Ireland and England offer unique ins(...)

Gregor Mendel

Solving the mystery of traits that disappear only to return in a future generation

Modern exhibitions of human bodies have been accused of using Chinese criminals in a striking parallel to their 16th-century predecessors

The ethics of publicly displaying or dissecting human corpses have always been grey

The lunar months that “lost” a day became 29 days rather than 30, and were known as occasions of “saltus” or jumps

Ireland and Britain had their own way of calculating the date of Easter

A child is vaccinated against yellow fever in a hospital in Brasilia, Brazil. So far this year, Brazil has had 234 confirmed cases of yellow fever and 79 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease. Photograph: Joedson Alves/EPA

Since the first vaccination – against smallpox – debate about vaccine safety has raged

Sir Francis Galton: The Victorian scientist proposed a system of selective breeding of Britons in order to improve the human stock of the nation. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It hasn’t gone away, you know: Victorian junk science has its race-baiting adherents

Photograph: iStock

Governments have a long history of interest in their citizens’ diets

Dry flesh or food poisoning are the potential risks of turkey roasting but can be avoided by the use of a good thermometer. Photograph: iStock

A string of less successful devices came before the hermetically sealed thermometer we know today

The Martin Jetpack is envisioned for emergency response situations and requires considerable technical knowledge to fly, but the manufacture promises a move to personal jetpacks if those used for rescue prove successful.

HSTM Network Ireland is holding a conference at DCU on the history of the future

US space shuttle Challenger lifts off on January 28th 1986 from Kennedy Space Center. Challenger was 72 seconds into its flight, travelling at nearly 2,000mph at a height of10 miles, when it was  enveloped in a red, orange and white fireball as thousands of tons of liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel exploded. Photograph: Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty Images

When Nasa’s shuttle exploded in 1986, killing seven, it put manned space travel in doubt

Channel Tunnel: at its deepest point it is 76.2m underwater. The shortest proposed Irish tunnel route required traversing an underwater gulch about 274m deep. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

Various schemes were drafted in the 19th century to build a tunnel, but insurmountable obstacles scuppered each

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil. Photograph: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

The chequered history of chemical quick fixes suggests that extreme caution should be taken

Pedestrians in Dublin during a heavy downpour recently. Photograph: Eric Luke

Old theories that hot climates make people weak and fearful have proven remarkably durable

The image on the annual report of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland for 1899, of an Irish red setter nursing the zoo’s three new lion cubs

The Royal Zoological Society of Ireland bred lions from the 1850s, principally for zoos and circuses abroad

Frederick G Donnan: during the first World War he assisted in improving the production of chemicals needed for manufacturing explosives and mustard gas. Photograph: SSPL/Getty Images

Several Irish scientists contributed to explosive research during the first World War

Illustration: Thinkstock

The image people have of a ‘scientist’ has changed since the 1950s, but some stereotypes are stubbornly persistent

William Wilde: Oscar’s father set about classifying the diseases of Ireland in 1851

You probably think you know what a disease is: it makes you sick. But that’s not exactly how it works

Nikola Tesla (blurred at centre) performs an electrical experiment for writer Samuel Clemens (left), aka Mark Twain, and actor Joseph Jefferson in 1894

FRIENDSHIP WEEK: Twain was hugely interested in technology and struck up a friendship with the scientist

Flooding in Athlone. Photograph: Alan Betson

At least as far back as the 17th century, Europeans believed that they could change climates

Photograph: Thinkstock

When a plan to run a cable linking Europe and North America hit trouble, Thomson stepped in

Next year will mark the fifth anniversary of the declaration by the World Organisation for Animal Health that the world is free of rinderpest

The isolation and slaughter of cattle are still routine responses to outbreaks

Eozoön canadense, a metamorphic rock made of interlayered calcite and serpentine, from Canada

Two scientists in Galway challenged the discovery of an ancient ‘fossil’ in Canada in 1864 but were ignored

Nicholas Culpeper

The physician’s 1649 book, A Physical Directory, explained the properties and effects of natural substances

Rowan Gillespie’s Famine statues on Custom House Quay in Dublin. Photograph: John Crowley

One lesson not learned from the Famine was that a monoculture is particularly vulnerable to disease

Thomas Grubb: his apparent lack of formal education did not prevent him from tinkering with telescopes and becoming an astronomical observer

The Grubb family pioneered telescope manufacturing in the early 19th century from their Dublin base

Photograph: Thinkstock

In the 19th century, George Romanes was pilloried for suggesting that the most intelligent animals could learn to form abstract id(...)

Portrait of Charles Cameron, circa 1892

Before Robert Koch established ‘the germ theory’, a Dublin doctor was examining the possibility of disease passing to humans via d(...)

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