Communicating Science Workshop

Thursday, April 18th 2024

15:30 to 17:00

Physics Lecture Theatre, Fitzgerald Building

A workshop on communicating science to the general public and policy makers. Contributors include Trinity Physics Alumni Siobhán Ryan (Meteorologist, Met Éireann), Hal Hodson (The Economist's Special Projects Writer), Dr. Michael Moloney (Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Physics) and Dr. Cormac O'Raifeartaigh (South Eastern Technological University).

Never at any time in history has technology and science been so embedded in daily life. We are depending on it to solve the grand challenges of our time including addressing the impacts of climate change, reversing the effects of human activity on the planet, space exploration, communications, renewable energy and medical advances to name just a few examples. To be effective scientists we must be able to explain the science and its implications to policy makers, business leaders and the general public. This workshop will explore how to effectively engage, inform and influence the public, from government to school children.

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siobhan-ryanSiobhán Ryan is a Meteorologist with Met Éireann. She graduated with an honours degree in Material Science (Maths, Physics and Physical Chemistry) from Trinity College Dublin. With interests in both Arts and Science, Siobhán then went to complete a Masters in Film Theory and Production at D.I.T. However, her interest in Science led her to Met Éireann and in 2006 she completed a Masters in Meteorology at University College Dublin. Siobhán worked both in Dublin Airport and Met Éireann Head Quarters as a Meteorological Officer and has been forecasting on television since 2010.   


Hal HodsonHal Hodson is The Economist’s Americas editor, co-ordinating the paper’s coverage of the Western Hemisphere outside the United States. He is based in London, where he was previously the special projects writer. He joined the paper in 2016 as science and technology correspondent. In 2018 he was named Britain’s best science writer. In 2019 he moved to Hong Kong to take up a new role as Asia technology correspondent. He returned to London during the pandemic to join the paper’s covid team, writing on the immune system, vaccine manufacturing and data science. Mr Hodson’s commentary has appeared on the BBC, CNN, NPR, and Sky News. Before joining The Economist, Mr Hodson worked at New Scientist in Boston and London. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in astrophysics in 2010. Mr Hodson is the author of special reports on the electricity grids, technology in China, the technologies of the pandemic and the ocean.

michael-moloneyMichael H. Moloney is CEO of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). For nearly a century, AIP has worked to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences by supporting its Member Societies to broaden their impact and achieve results beyond their individual missions and mandates, and to advancing the physical sciences writ large through independent research in social science, policy, and history. Prior to joining AIP, Moloney was the Director for Space and Aeronautics at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. For more than 15 years at the Academies he was study director or senior staff on about 100 reports on space science, engineering and technology; aeronautics; materials science and engineering; and physics and astronomy. Previously, Michael was a foreign service officer for the Irish government for seven years. An experimental physicist by training, Moloney holds a doctorate from Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization that manages the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. He also sits on the Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) Inaugural Polaris Council at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Moloney is a recipient of a distinguished service award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Cormac O’Raifeartaigh holds a doctorate from Trinity College Dublin. A solid-state physicist by training, his research has recently focused on the history and philosophy of 20th century physics.  He has published on the Standard Model of particle physics and the rise of the Big Bang model of the evolution of the universe. Best known for several original discoveries concerning the cosmology of Albert Einstein, in particular the discovery that Einstein once attempted a 'steady-state' theory of the universe. This work was described in NatureScientific AmericanDiscovery Magazine and The New York Times. Cormac is a well-known science communicator, including the science blog Antimatter and a monthly science column in The Irish Times. Science Ambassador for Discover Science and Engineering Ireland. Experienced public science presenter with appearances on The Six One News (RTE TV 1), Drivetime (RTE Radio 1), Pat Kenny Live (Newstalk) and Futureproof (Newstalk). He is also former Chair of the RAW public science debates at Science Gallery Dublin.