by UCCIreland 243 views
Professor William Reville
The biggest cash crops in the world have been genetically engineered to resist the chemical pesticide Roundup. However, the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection is allowing the weeds to become resistant to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup. Science must now devise new strategies to protect these crops, while critics increasingly question the wisdom of relying on genetic engineering.
William Reville is an Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry and Public Awareness of Science Officer at UCC. He organises the Annual College of SEFS Public Lecture Series, has written a science column in The Irish Times since January 1995 and the book "Science Today: Understanding the Natural World" (Irish Times Books, 1999). He is Chairman of the Board of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.
by UCCIreland 1,276 views
Dr. Tom Moore
As Darwinian entities with strong physiological and psychological drives towards personal survival and reproduction, humans share many similarities with their animal cousins. However, humans have developed a capacity for self-reflection and cultural innovation that is uniquely highly developed. Part of the current human cultural repertoire is the anti-Darwinian practice of voluntarily limiting one's personal reproduction through sexual abstention, contraception or abortion. In his book 'Better Never To Have Been: The Harm Of Coming Into Existence', the South African Philosopher, David Benatar, argues that such practices should be encouraged, and that the human species has a moral obligation to become extinct because this would reduce the amount of suffering on the planet. Benatar's counter-intuitive views appear surprisingly difficult to refute. If you enjoy debating challenging and provocative ideas, I invite you to join me in discussing his disturbing conclusions.
Tom Moore is a veterinary surgeon who pursued PhD and postdoctoral studies in London and Cambridge, UK, before returning to Ireland in 2000. His major research interests are in the areas of evolutionary and developmental genetics underpinning the physiological and psychological relationship between the mother and the developing embryo and child. He is the co-originator of an influential theory of Genetic Conflict which explains important aspects of the genetic control of embryonic and childhood development. He teaches medical and developmental genetics to UCC Science students.
by UCCIreland 196 views
Postgraduate Student Public Presentation Competition
Come and hear a selection of our finest postgraduate students explain their researches in science, engineering and food science, in terms understandable to a general audience. These students are the finalists in our Annual Postgraduate Student Public Presentation Competition. The competition will be judged by a panel of lay-judges.
by UCCIreland 351 views
Biodiversity and Infectious Disease - Towards One Health - Dr Paddy Sleeman, University College Cork
Infectious diseases are a major world problem. They, like many invasive species, specifically pose a threat to native biodiversity. The extent that conservation of biodiversity requires disease management as well as the health benefits of such conservation are the focus of this lecture. This is with particular reference to collections of exotic species as well as agriculture. Some examples of the influence of biodiversity on diseases are examined. The integration of all those interested in health and biodiversity has been proposed by the One Health movement. Dr Sleeman recently attended a course on Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Paddy Sleeman was born in 1954, like Mick Jagger says 'A 1950s model, built to last'. He has worked on bovine tuberculosis in badgers for many years, and helped with the development of a vaccine for badgers. He has also researched past episodes of rabies and has been involved in ecological re-construction projects in Africa and Madagascar.
by UCCIreland 484 views
Toxic Chemicals in Consumer Products: Human Health Implications - Prof Jim Heffron, University College Cork
Many synthetic and natural chemicals are present in a very wide range of consumer products, for example, perfumes, cosmetics, household cleaning agents, furniture, carpets, food containers, toys, fuels and hardware equipment. Some of these chemicals entered the food chain accidentally as in the 2008 Irish pork crisis or deliberately as happened recently with baby food manufactured in China. Some of these chemicals have toxic properties and may cause various adverse human health effects depending on the dose/amount and the duration of exposure. The new EU chemical safety assessment system REACH aims to prevent harmful chemicals being used in industry generally and to protect the consumer from harmful exposure. In this review, I will comment on the nature of these chemicals and their toxic potential in exposed humans, and how exposure can be reduced or prevented.
Jim Heffron has enjoyed a distinguished lecturing and research career at University College Cork. He held academic positions at Mayo Clinic and Graduate School of Medicine, USA, the Witwatersrand University Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa and was Royal Society-Royal Irish Academy Research Fellow at University College London. His research on the human genetic disorder Malignant Hyperthermia led to discovery of the MH gene and to advances in biochemical toxicology of anaesthetics and pollutants. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Science, was elected member of Governing Body and has long established research links with the pharmaceutical industry. He was adviser and contributor to the World Health Organisation's Air Quality Guidelines for Europe(2000), elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, member of the American Chemical Society and Chartered Scientist(UK). He graduated with a First Class BSc in Biochemistry at University College Dublin (1964) and PhD(1969). He publishes widely in Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, British Medical Journal etc; was awarded DSc by NUI and Royal Irish Academy Silver Medal for distinguished biochemical research.
by UCCIreland 148 views
Re-Imagining Irish Innovation Policy: Re-Claiming Innovation for Business - Dr Declan Jordan, University College Cork
Ireland's 'smart economy' drive is running up against the realities of our fiscal crisis. While taxpayers' funds must always be allocated effectively, the requirement to do so is even more pressing in the current economic context. This paper questions the emphasis on science-push innovation policies in Ireland since the start of the century. Not only are these policies unlikely to produce desired and needed outcomes in terms of growth and jobs, they threaten to undermine broader attempts to support business in an increasingly competitive global economy. This is because they fail to appreciate the economics underpinning innovation and knowledge in a market economy and that innovation is a business phenomenon. Successful innovation requires contributions from managers, salespeople and customers just as much, if not more than, researchers and scientists. Drawing on empirical evidence from Ireland and economic theory, the paper questions the current science-push model and suggests an alternative framework upon which innovation policy can more effectively be based.
Before joining the Department of Economics in UCC in 2003, Declan Jordan gained substantial management and corporate experience working in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and with Intel Ireland. Declan's research interests include innovation, regional development and competitiveness, business performance and strategy, and innovation and enterprise policy. Declan lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and also organises Executive Workshops in Innovation for Competitiveness. He is a frequent contributor to media debates on the Irish economy and innovation/science policy.
by UCCIreland 864 views
Faster than the Speed of Light - was Einstein Wrong? - Dr Cormac O'Raifeartaigh, University College Cork
In September 2011, a team of scientists at Gran Sasso in Italy announced that they had observed tiny particles of matter travelling slightly faster than the speed of light in vacuum. The finding made headlines around the world as it appears to be in conflict with Einstein's theory of relativity. So, was the experiment an anomaly, or was Einstein wrong? This lecture will describe the controversial experiment and consider the grounds for scepticism.
Cormac O'Raifeartaigh has a PhD in physics from Trinity College Dublin and lectures in physics and mathematics at Waterford Institute of Technology. He writes regularly on physics in newspapers and magazines and is the author of the well-known science blog ANTIMATTER. He is a science ambassador for Discover Science and Engineering, and has just returned from a position as Research Fellow with the Science, Technology and Society program at Harvard University.
by UCCIreland 783 views
Teaching the Principles of Computer Science to Primary-Aged Children - - Prof Barry OSullivan, University College Cork
Computers are extremely important in modern life. Understanding how they work, how they reason, how they "think", what are their limitations, is a fascinating subject called computer science.
This lecture is focused on making the fundamental ideas of computer science accessible to children from the ages of 7-12 and their families. We present a set of learning activities that teach computer science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. This lecture presents a subset of activities that form part of a Public Engagement Programme for Dublin City of Science 2012.
Barry O'Sullivan is Director of the Cork Constraint Computation Centre in the Computer Science Department at UCC, SFI Principal Investigator, President of the Association for Constraint Programming, Chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Association of Ireland, Coordinator of the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics Working Group on Constraints, and Executive Council member of the Analytics Society of Ireland.
by UCCIreland 160 views
Bodies and Souls: Performative Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland - Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin
Violence has probably always been an integral part of human affairs. Brutal regimes of punishment have featured in many political settings. These culturally-determined acts have motivations beyond the destruction of individuals and these often centre on the maintenance and extension of power.
This review of the use of violence in medieval and early modern Ireland suggests that regimes of punishment also have potential to reveal changing attitudes to bodies and to souls.
Dr. Barra Ó'Donnabháin is a lecturer in Archaeology at University College Cork. He specialises in the analysis of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites and is the co-editor of the forthcoming volume 'The Dead Tell Tales' to be published by the University of California.
by UCCIreland 346 views
Thanks to electricity, our society has changed more in a century than in a millennium. However, massive challenges lie ahead: the oil and gas resource is depleting dramatically, not to mention the threat of climate change. Hence, electricity producers worldwide are turning to renewables, which Ireland is fortunately blessed with, having in particular one of the best wave energy potential in the world.
However, contrary to coal or gas-fired power plants, ocean power plants have some characteristics that require changing the traditional way to operate the electrical network. This lecture will give an insight into the cutting-edge research of ocean electricity.
Anne Blavette holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Rennes, Brittany, France, and a M. Sc. E in Energy Engineering from EPF-Engineering School in Paris. She is now a third-year PhD candidate at the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre, UCC. Her PhD work focuses on the electrical grid impact of electricity generated from ocean energy converters.
by UCCIreland 279 views
New sensing devices that employ nanomaterials with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometres (1000 times smaller than the thickness or a human hair) as active sensors are now entering the marketplace. Ranging from the simple pregnancy test to complex disease diagnostics, these devices offer tremendous improvements, e.g., in sensitivity compared to current sensing technologies. For this reason, the global nanosensor market is expected to exceed $ 17.2 Billion by 2012. In this lecture, we look at (i) what nanosensors actually are, (ii) why they are so good at sensing, and (iii) what the future holds for these new emerging devices, particularly in Point-of-Care or early disease diagnosis.
Alan O'Riordan is a Principal Investigator and Staff Researcher in the Nanotechnology Group at Tyndall National Institute and an Adjunct Lecturer in Nanotechnology at Cork Institute of Technology. His research focuses on fabrication and characterisation of novel nanostructures and their applications to nano-analytical science, e.g., nanoelectrochemistry and nano-biophotonics.