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Evening Irish Geological Association (IGA) Lectures

February 2024

IGA Lecture February 21st 2024

Seeing Beyond the Visible with ‘Virtual Palaeontology’

By Dr Chris Mays (University College Cork)

Chris Mays IGA logo


Abstract: Putting fossils in a ‘nuclear oven’ may not sound like a good idea, but high-energy radiation from a nuclear reactor can provide a unique, non-destructive approach to examine fossils, inside and out. Such non-destructive methods are being increasingly sought after by fossil researchers to avoid making potentially regretful mistakes when preparing and examining these irreplaceable relics from our past.

In this talk, Dr Chris Mays will discuss the applications of various high-energy imaging techniques to ‘virtually extract’ and ‘virtually dissect’ fossils, even those still embedded deep within their host sedimentary rocks. Chris will demonstrate these new tools in the palaeontologist’s toolkit with a series of case studies from his specific research on fossil plants and mass extinctions.

Date and Time: Wednesday, 21st February 2024, between 19:00 and 20:00 via Zoom and in-person in Museum 4, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin.

To Register: send an e-mail to 

A Zoom link will be sent on the day to those who have registered.