Built in 1785, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) Dunsink Observatory has a long history in the service of science. I help organise open nights at the observatory, where the public can meet the scientists at DIAS who are expanding our understanding of the universe, the Dunsink team who care for the history and future of the observatory, and the community of astronomers and space fans who help make Dunsink one of the most important sites for space exploration in Ireland.
I am Principal Investigator of Astronomical Midlands, which is a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Project. We use the recently constructed Irish Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) and Education Centre at Birr Castle to engage students, teachers, and members of the public in rural communities in the Midlands of Ireland with astronomy.
Sunspotter is a part of the Zooniverse collection of citizen science projects. It asks the public to organise sunspot images in order of complexity to better understand and predict how the Sun’s magnetic activity affects us on Earth. I am part of the science team that designed the project, and am currently analysing the results!
Astro Science Challenge
The Astro Science Challenge is an interactive, space science adventure for children aged 7-11 that will coincide with ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station in 2015. The adventure consists of six ‘episodes’, each with a new science-based challenge for the students to complete. I was involved designing the ‘space weather’ episode, acting as science advisor for content and providing data for the students to analyse. The content is still available online for schools to use anytime.
From arctic expeditions to deep space discoveries, LIFE AT THE EDGES was a Science Gallery Dublin exhibit exploring frontiers and limits, and boldly pushing the boundaries of space, humanity, technology, biology, and determination. I advised scientific planning of the exhibition, helped create the Mediator Handbooks, and participated in public events related to the exhibition.