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Ireland's Weather Disasters; The Future of Mobile 'Apps'
January 17, 2011 03:20 AM PST
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IMAGE: Ireland suffered horrendous weather patterns in 2009 and 2010 [Credit: Four Courts Press] 

The Question Is?

Software applications, or 'apps' for smartphones, such as the iPhone, are experiencing an explosion of interest. What is likely to happen in the mobile phone apps market in the next few years? We ask Barry Downes, a research leader in this field, with the Waterford IT-based TSSG research institute. 

Writer's Room

A mountain of words have described our recent economic woes. The other major talking point of Ireland's miserable last few years has been the awful weather. This unprecedented period of snow, ice and floods is described by geographer Kieran Hickey, and put into a historical context, in Deluge Ireland's Weather Disasters, 2009-2010. 

Seizures in Newborns; Preventing Obesity; Mapmaker's Biography [DCFM: 52]
January 06, 2011 03:32 PM PST
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IMAGE: Newborn babies can experience undetected seizures, which can lead to serious consequences later in life. A team at UCC is developing technology to better ensure earlier detection and medical intervention. [Credit: Science Foundation Ireland]

Science Books: Interview with Richard Kirwan, former director of the Ordnance Survey about his book 'If Maps Could Speak'. 

The Question Is?: Can scientists develop pro-biotic products that can prevent obesity and even colon cancer? We ask Catherine Stanton, a probiotic researcher based at Teagasc. 

What's it All About?: Undetected brain seizures in newborns can cause serious problems later in life. New technology, being developed in Cork can help earlier detection and intervention, leading to better outcomes for the children later in life. We discuss the technology, with Geraldine Boylan, a researcher at the Neonatal Research Unit at UCC, who is part of the technology development team. 

To contact the show email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie 

For more about the presenter, Seán Duke, click here

Ireland's Maths Problem; Wireless Medical Devices; A Smartphone Defibrillator [DCFM:51]
December 17, 2010 07:04 AM PST
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Ireland's Maths Problem; Shape-shifting implants; Mobile defibrillator

IMAGE: A smartphone, such as this iphone, could be converted into a mobile defibrillator, according to Belvedere College science students [Credit: Gizmodo]

What's it all about?

Electroactive Polymers, or EAPs, are materials that change shape in response to electricity. These have potential for use as futuristic medical devices, for use, for example, in people with cardiovascular disease. Frank Stam of the Tyndall National Institute tells us more. 

The question is? 

The latest OECD report on maths standards shows Ireland has slipped into the bottom half of the league table when it comes to maths standards among developed nations. We ask Dr Sara McMurry, a retired physicist from TCD, and the author of a new book called 'Mathematics as a language' where she thinks we are going wrong. 

Inventive minds

We talk this week to two Belvedere College students, Owen Killian and Lucas Grange, that will be exhibiting their idea for a smartphone defibrillator at the upcoming BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 

To contact the show with comments, suggestions or suggests, email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie

To SUBSCRIBE to receive a podcast of the show each week, simply email the word 'SUBSCRIBE' to sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie

Thanks for listening Sean Duke, Presenter & Producer, Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM.

Quantum Computers; Wave Energy off Ireland; Innovation Academy [DCFM: 50]
November 26, 2010 08:25 AM PST
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Quantum Computers, Wave Energy off Ireland, Innovation Academy 

IMAGE: The wave energy that resides off the coastline of Ireland could provide 40 per cent of our electricity needs, experts state. [credit: www.ecofriend.org/] 

What's it all about?

Experts state that a quantum computer, based on manipulation of atoms, could make today's computers look like a child's abacus. But, how do they work, and when can all expect to be using them? We ask Michael McGettrick, School of Mathematics at NUI Galway to explain. 

The question is?

It is estimated that wave power could provide up to 40 per cent of Ireland's electricity needs, reducing energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions hugely in the process. The potential is there to lead the world in wave energy, but how likely is it to happen? We ask Tony Lewis of the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre at UCC. 

Inventive minds

Where will Ireland get enough highly-educated entrepreneurs to drive the 'knowledge economy'? Well one place might be as graduates of the UCD-TCD Innovation Academy for PhDs launched last week. We discuss the initiative with Academy co-Director, Suzi Jarvis of UCD. 

To contact the show with comments, suggestions or suggests, email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie

To SUBSCRIBE to receive a podcast of the show each week, simply email the word 'SUBSCRIBE' to sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie 

Thanks for listening

Sean Duke, Presenter & Producer, Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM. 

Ethical Animal Testing, Geographic Information Systems, Stem Cells & Arthritis [DCFM: 49]
November 22, 2010 03:35 AM PST
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Rabbits and other animals are still used in scientific and medical testing. A Dublin company has been set up to provide alternatives. [Credit: arkofnoah.com] 


What's it all about? Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used by firms to run their companies better and more efficiently. But, what's it all about? We ask Mark Foley of the Dublin Institute of Technology. 

The question is. This week we ask Dr Mary Murphy, of the REMEDI research institute at NUIG, can stem cells be used to 'cure' arthritis? 

Inventive Minds. We speak to Cormac Murphy, UCD scientist who is in the process of setting up a company called Dublin Ethical Testing to help companies to reduce their reliance on animal testing. 

To contact the show, email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie

For more about the presenter, visit: http://www.seanduke.wordpress.com 

SPECIAL: What is Ireland's future in space? [DCFM: 48]
November 12, 2010 05:40 AM PST

Ireland's space future, Earth Monitoring, Arianne 5 

Broadcast on 11th November 2010 on 103.2 Dublin City FM 


Dublin City as viewed from space [Credit: NASA, JPL]

The general picture for the economy might be bleak, but that's certainly not the case for Ireland's space sector, with many companies winning valuable contracts, and hiring highly skilled workers. 

This week, in a half hour special in recognition of the science week theme 'Ireland's place in space' I spoke to Enterprise Ireland space programme managers, Tony McDonald and Barry Fennell.

In the second part of the show, I spoke to representatives of two companies based in Dublin, doing great things in space.

Charlotte Kelly of Techworks Marine, a company involved in predicting storm surges, algal blooms in the ocean, and the advance of deadly stinger ray fish, among other things. 

Derek Harris, of Ampac-ISP (Dublin), the local office of an international company that is building highly specialised engine parts for the European Space Agency's Arianne 5 rocket. 

To contact the show with views, or ideas for stories, please email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie

Thanks for listening

Seán Duke, Presenter & Producer, Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM

Ireland's Role in Space [WLR]
November 09, 2010 04:37 AM PST

Ireland in Space, Science Week 2010

Broadcast on Waterford Local Radio, on 8th November, on the Noctor 'till Seven Show.


Ireland has a long history in space, but in recent years the Irish space sector has started to take off, like the Ariane 5 rocket pictured here [Credit, ESA, artist's impression]

The theme for Ireland's National Science Week 2010, is 'Ireland's place in space'.  In that context, a discussion here with Ian Noctor on Irish people and companies making a mark in space.

Also, a round-up of some of the more interesting events happening around Waterford during Science Week.

Thanks for listening, Seán Duke.

Ireland's Atom-Splitter, Tracking TB, Detecting AMD [DCFM: 47]
November 07, 2010 01:44 AM PST

Ireland's atom-splitter; Tracking TB; Detecting AMD

Broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM on 4th November. 

----apologies for the poor sound quality on the Walton interview--

IMAGE: Ernest Walton, TCD physicist, the man who first split the atom in 1932 [Credit: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt]

The question is? Was Ernest Walton Ireland's great ever scientist? We put the question to his friend and colleague, Dr Eric Finch, who was the last man Walton hired in TCD before he retired. 

What's it all about?

Tracking the origins of bacterial disease, such as TB, will become far more accurate with the introduction of DNA-typing technology across Ireland. Mike Prentice, Prof of Medical Microbiology at UCC explains.

Inventive minds

We talk to Andrew O'Brien, physicist based at NUIG, about a new product that can identify age-related macular degeneration before it becomes a problem. This is a condition that affects 30 per cent of Irish people over 50, and can cause blindness.

For more on the Presenter, Sean Duke, visit: http://www.seanduke.wordpress.com

Contact Sean by email at: sean@sciencespin.com

Origins of Life; Cancer Vaccine; Making Bone in the Lab [DCFM: 46]
October 29, 2010 05:26 AM PDT

Origins of Life; Cancer Vaccine; Making Bone 

Broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM on 28th October 2010 


Scientists now believe that complex life forms, such as humans, and higher primates, are all ultimately descended from single-called bacteria like this prokaryote, that do not have a nucleus [credit: biology-innovation.co.uk] 

The question is:

How and when did complex life on Earth begin? James McInerney at NUI Maynooth believes he has the answer

What's it all about:

Mechano-biology. This emerging field applies engineering principles to biology, and can be used, for example, to work out how to make bone in the lab, according to Laoise McNamara at NUI Galway. 

Inventive minds:

A vaccine that can prevent cancer from recurring in people that have had a cancer tumour surgically removed, is being worked on at TCD. We get an update from lead researcher Kingston Mills.

For more on the Presenter, Sean Duke, visit: http://www.seanduke.wordpress.com 

Contact Sean by email at: sean@sciencespin.com

Why do animals, and humans, co-operate? [WLR]
October 29, 2010 03:39 AM PDT

IMAGE: You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. Why do humans and higher primates co-operate? Does this run counter to 'Survival of the Fittest' as outlined by Darwin? [Credit: softpedia]

The logic of Darwinism, on the surface at least, appears to imply  that living things will act selfishly to survive for as long as possible. 

But, how does this explain why humans, and many animals co-operate? For example, people sometimes give up their own life to save their children, friends, or even their country. Why? 

Broadcast on WLR FM's 'Noctor 'till Seven' Show on 25th October 2010 

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