Every year in Ireland Science Week and Chemistry Week just so happen to fall back to back, which gives our Irish RSC members plenty of opportunities to promote the chemical sciences. This year was no exception with dozens of Irish RSC members organising and collaborating on events nationwide to showcase chemistry to school students and the general public.
Careers in chemistry
This annual event is run by our Irish Education Coordinator, John O’Donoghue, in partnership with the School of Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. This year the event showcased the diversity of chemistry careers with frank and honest discussions from experienced chemists. Nearly 400 senior secondary school students spent their day with an eclectic array of chemists – including a politician and sports star – as well as researchers and industry professionals.
Opening the event this year was Kate O’Connell TD (member of parliament) for Dublin Bay South, who is one of the only people in elected office with a chemistry background. She spoke about her ongoing work in bringing scientific fact – such as on the issue of fluoride in drinking water – to numerous political debates. She was followed by Camogie (Ladies Gaelic Hurling) player Julia White, who is a chemistry teacher and five-time all-Ireland Camogie winner.
The students also heard from experienced academic researchers and Royal Society of Chemistry member Michelle Browne, as well as industry professionals from Hewlett-Packard and Henkel – Andrew Kavanagh and David Branagan, respectively – to give the students a strong sense that chemistry is a hugely diverse career option.
The primary science quiz has become synonymous with Science Week and Chemistry Week in Ireland, run annually by Lifetime Lab in conjunction with University College Cork (UCC) and our local Royal Society of Chemistry member Eric Moore.
This is the second year that the event has been supported through the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry Week fund, helping it grow year on year to be a huge success.
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Feral Dennehy, was on hand again this year to give out the prizes to the winning teams.
The National STEM Learning Conference for primary school teachers rounded off our fortnight this year with both of our Irish Education Coordinators, John O’Donoghue and Declan McGeown, providing a workshop at the annual national event.
The theme for this year’s day-long event was 'Space', so the RSC Global Experiment Mission Starlight was chosen for the workshop. Dozens of primary teachers enjoyed the colour changing beads, coloured filters, liquids and science behind this hugely popular global experiment.
In addition to the above large events, the RSC Republic of Ireland local section also supported the annual Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA) annual Secondary School Science Quiz, which ran regional heats and the grand final during Science Week and Chemistry Week.
Our Irish Education Coordinator John O’Donoghue also provided a hands-on Learn Chemistry resources workshop for teachers and trainee teachers in Galway during Chemistry Week and our Spectroscopy in a Suitcase hosts in Cork were involved with the Cork Science Festival to provide a demonstration of Infra-Red Spectroscopy.
All of our Spectroscopy in a Suitcase hosts – University of Limerick, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology – also provided multiple school workshops during the fortnight, bringing Royal Society of Chemistry members into schools and giving secondary students a unique opportunity to talk about careers in chemistry, alongside their usual workshops.
Chemistry Week is an annual celebration of the chemical sciences, centred around our members sharing their passion with public audiences. In 2017 it took place from 20–26 November, and the theme was 'Global Science'. Members were able to apply for grants from our Outreach Fund to organise activities.
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