TCD Hosts Major Science Festival

Posted on: 12 September 2005

One of the world’s leading scientific events, The BA Festival of Science, was hosted by Trinity College Dublin in September. Dublin city was alive with science when over 10,000 people attended the Festival to enjoy public talks and debates, take part in hands-on activities, observe demonstrations, join in visits or field trips, meet scientists and generally have fun.

Organised by the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), the week-long Festival consisted of an academic programme, a schools programme and a BA Festival of Science in the City.

It has been 48 years since it was last hosted in Ireland. Visiting a different city every year the BA Festival aims to bring the public together with over 300 key speakers and representatives from the world of science, engineering, technology and the public to help foster a greater understanding of the value and significance of the scientific endeavour.

There was something for everyone at the Festival. Science is an integral part of our lives, and this is reflected in a programme of activities which was stimulating, challenging and above all entertaining.

Over 7,000 school children from across the country participated in a host of exciting events in the special programme for primary and secondary school pupils. Great emphasis is placed on providing a programme to appeal to all ages, according to Lord Robert Winston, President of the BA for the Advancement of Science.

The main Festival programme consisted of 700 public lectures that revealed many of the latest developments in scientific research to a general audience under the themes of: Archaeology, Agriculture & Food, Anthropology, Biological Science, Chemistry, Economics, Education, Engineering, Geography, Geology, General, History of Science, Mathematics, Medical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Psychology, Sociology & Social Policy.

The Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty, said “Trinity has a proud history of scientific excellence in education and research. This event played a big part in renewing the interest in science among young people and in showing how science is as much about culture as it is the basis by which we will sustain ourselves economically and environmentally in the future. It is most appropriate that the Festival returned to Ireland this year – the Hamilton Year of Irish Science and the bicentenary of Hamilton’s birth in September 1805.”

Among the Science in the City events were debates on the agenda for science in Ireland and on the effects of Ireland’s smoking ban, exhibitions, readings, an open-air film screening, an exploration of the science in Flann O’Brien’s comic novel “The Third Policeman” and a chance to manipulate DNA at kiosks in St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. Even the Leviathan political cabaret got in on the act with a debate on Sellafield.

The main sponsors of the BA Festival of Science were Trinity College Dublin, the Department of Education and Science and Discover Science and Engineering.