New €17m science building at IT Sligo named in honour of forgotten scientist

Posted in Life on September 1st, 2014 by steve

“He is the forgotten Irish scientist, who in the 1800s conducted his research in a hayloft over his stables and whose findings were rubbished in his lifetime. Tomorrow, though, more than over 100 years after his death, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will officially open a new €17 million science building at IT Sligo, named in honour of Charles Alexander MacMunn …” (more)

[Marese McDonagh, Irish Times, 1 September]

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Innovation Talk: Science graduates emerge into Ireland of little security

Posted in Life on August 25th, 2014 by steve

“The message is getting through to students and their parents – it is a good idea to consider studying physics, biology, chemistry and higher maths at second level to facilitate a jump into third-level studies in the sciences …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 25 August]

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Teaching the Scientific Method

Posted in Governance and administration on August 22nd, 2014 by steve

“I was going to write about Teaching Assistants this time but I’ve postponed that for next week. In the meantime, this article in Scientific American about parents’ reluctance to expose their children to injections of any kind, vitamin K in this case but also vaccines, grabbed my attention …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 22 August]


More is more as number of students taking Irish and science increase

Posted in Teaching on August 13th, 2014 by steve

“During her term as minister for education, Mary Hanafin increased the percentage grade for the oral component of Irish to 40%, aiming to increase the overall numbers taking Irish and the uptake at higher level …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 13 August]

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Doing a Man City on Irish Science?

Posted in Research on August 1st, 2014 by steve

“There is no doubt that the standing of Irish science and engineering has improved enormously in recent years. The international subject rankings prove this unequivocally. The reason for the improvement is simple: funding …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 1 August]

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Marked differences: time for new degree systems?

Posted in Teaching on July 31st, 2014 by steve

“The fact that firsts are far more common in science than arts boosts case for reform of UK system …” (more)

[Victoria Halman, Times Higher Education, 31 July]

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From PhD to Industry

Posted in Teaching on July 28th, 2014 by steve

“A few weeks ago I ran into a former student who had recently completed a PhD in a biology discipline and now works in technical sales. He’s a bright, outgoing, ‘emotionally intelligent’ sort of bloke …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 28 July]

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Ireland should follow the Danish model of science communication

Posted in Research on May 29th, 2014 by steve

“More than 90% of people believe – if the straw poll conducted on this site recent is accurate – that communication is essential for a scientist to be successful in his career. This result fits all the anecdotal evidence that is available …” (more)

[Seán Duke, Science Spinning, 29 May]

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Humanities left behind as China embraces open access science

Posted in Research on May 21st, 2014 by steve

China“Two large Chinese funding bodies for scientific research are promoting so-called ‘open access’ to research outcomes, according to an article in Nature …” (more)

[Michel Hockx, The Conversation, 21 May]

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Global scientific output doubles every nine years

Posted in Research on May 7th, 2014 by steve

International“It’s a common complaint among academics: today’s researchers are publishing too much, too fast. But just how fast is the mass of scientific output actually growing? Many would throw up their hands and declare the question impossible …” (more)

[Richard Van Noorden, Nature News Blog, 7 May]

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Athena SWAN review highlights scheme’s benefits

Posted in Governance and administration on May 3rd, 2014 by steve

“The Athena SWAN charter does advance gender equality in university departments that sign up to it, according to an independent review of the scheme …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 2 May]

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What medieval cosmology tells us about the value of Arts and Humanities in universities

Posted in Teaching on April 30th, 2014 by steve

“Here is a really interesting post on medieval cosmology: Cosmology: Unearthing a 13th-century metaverse | The Economist, which shows that really, the two sides of modern universities can’t work in isolation …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 30 April]

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New Leaving Cert science course poses risk to ‘high standards’ of education

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2014 by steve

“Leaving certificate teachers have expressed concerns over the new science syllabi proposed by the Department of Education …” (more)

[, 14 April]

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New Leaving Cert science courses may not ‘set the bar high enough’, report warns

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2014 by steve

“A planned new syllabus for Leaving Cert science subjects is in danger of creating lower standards by focusing on ‘learning outcomes’ rather than traditional building blocks of knowledge, a leading researcher has warned. Prof Áine Hyland, emeritus professor of education at University College Cork, has criticised the planned reforms …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 14 April]

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US university science: The shopping mall model

Posted in Research on March 21st, 2014 by steve

“US universities resemble high-end shopping malls. They use nice buildings and good reputations to attract good students and good faculty. To pay for this, external funding – once viewed as a luxury – is a necessary condition for tenure and promotion …” (more)

[Paula Stephan, vox, 20 March]

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Science in media is ‘sporadic’ and ‘limited’, says SFI

Posted in Governance and administration on March 6th, 2014 by steve

“Mumbo-jumbo, hokum and quackery rarely seems to have much trouble getting broadcast, but is there enough science on air? Science Foundation Ireland doesn’t think so …” (more)

[Laura Slattery, Irish Times, 6 March]

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Dear Minister – 10 things for you to think about regarding maths

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 3rd, 2014 by steve

“Dear Minister: You are clearly very happy with the surge in numbers taking honours maths. You claim that this is good news because it is crucial for the ‘knowledge economy’ that we have high numbers taking higher level maths, now transformed into Project Maths of course. Here are some assorted ideas and comments for you to consider …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 3 March]

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Are we all natural-born scientists?

Posted in Life on March 2nd, 2014 by steve

“Carl Sagan once said: ‘Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact’. I have heard this argument repeated many times by those seeking to improve the teaching of STEM subjects and I think it is dead wrong …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 1 March]


Is there a STEM crisis in these islands?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 26th, 2014 by steve

“Quacquarelli Symonds have published the QS world university subject rankings. One particular aspect of these tables has been noted in both the UK and Ireland …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 26 February]

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In which sexism leaves me speechless

Posted in Governance and administration on February 22nd, 2014 by steve

“There’s a lot of talk about sexism in science these days – blogposts, op-eds and tweets roll out on a daily basis, and even Parliamentary committees get worked up about it. It’s no longer a minority of isolated people concerned about the problem …” (more)

[Jennifer Rohn, Mind the Gap, 21 February]

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