NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture

NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

NASA researcher and NUI Galway graduate Dr Jacqueline Keane will deliver a public lecture on the origins of the Earth's water. The lecture, hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy in conjunction with the Galway Astronomy Club, will take place at 8pm on Monday, 23 August, in the Dillon Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Dr Keane will present an overview of the University of Hawai'i NASA Astrobiology Institute studies which range from the interstellar medium to the interior of planet Earth, all designed to explain 'the origin, history, and distribution of water and its relation to life in the Universe'. She will also show pictures of many of the telescopes on Mauna Kea Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai i. The University of Hawai i investigates the astrophysical, cosmochemical, geological, and biological processes that link the history and distribution of life in the universe to that of water. NUI Galway Bachelor of Science and Masters of Astronomy graduate, Dr Jacqueline Keane is an Assistant Astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy and the University of Hawai i NASA Astrobiology Institute. Dr Keane, originally from Oranmore, Co. Galway, has previously worked with the European Space Agency Infrared Space Telescope studying the formation of water ice and organic molecules on interstellar dust grains in cold molecular clouds. Upon receiving her Ph.D., Dr Keane was the recipient of a research fellowship from the National Research Council that took her to spaces sciences division at NASA-AMES in California where she worked with the NASA infrared space-based telescope, Spitzer, for over three years. She is an expert in infrared space and ground-based observing and is the lead researcher for the UHNAI ground-based comet observing campaigns using an array of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the world's premier observation site. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is please to welcome Dr Jacqueline Keane back to Galway for a short visit. Since leaving NUI Galway ten years ago she has worked with some the most advanced astronomical instrumentation at ESA and NASA. Her talk will look at the origin of the Earth's water and what are the chances of finding life on other planets". For further details on the lecture andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students Sweep JCI Awards for Ireland's Outstanding Young People

NUI Galway Students Sweep JCI Awards for Ireland's Outstanding Young People-image

Friday, 13 August 2010

Three of the seven recipients of the Ireland's Outstanding Young People Award, coordinated by Junior Chamber International (JCI) are NUI Galway students. JCI, the world s largest leadership and personal development organisation for young people, recently held their annual 'Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year' Awards ceremony in Limerick where seven young Irish nominees were recognised for outstanding personal achievements. National nominees are eligible to go forward to the JCI World Outstanding Young Person of the Year to be held in Osaka, Japan in November. The winners included NUI Galway's Melanie Hennessy from Ennis, Co. Clare, a 20 year-old Medical student who helped set up a school in Nepal. Melanie also established her own University society, Draíocht, to generate funds to build an orphanage for the children of Nepal where she is currently working on improving the lives of these children. Mary Collins, a second-year Arts student from Claremorris, Co. Mayo, spearheaded the successful establishment and ongoing success of the St Patrick's Scout Group Venture section in Galway and also engineered and co-ordinated two outstanding fundraising and house building projects in Zambia and Honduras, raising €230,000. 18 year-old Sean Kearns, a second-year Nursing student from Tuam, Co. Galway, has been involved in a variety of voluntary experiences at NUI Galway. Sean established a University society, 'Best Buddies', a friendship programme that pairs college students in fun, enriching one to one friendships with students who have an intellectual disability; he was the organiser of "Ban the R Word" Campaign at NUI Galway. Speaking at the Awards ceremony President of JCI Ireland, Mark Kelly, said: "The Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award ceremony was an amazing night. It is a great opportunity for us to recognise so many great young people out there that are doing astonishing work accomplishing greatness and the awards help in highlighting these remarkable achievements. The JCI Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award recognises these young people and JCI encourages them and others to seek excellence and serve others". Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, Lorraine Tansey, said, "There is a tremendous voluntary ethos at NUI Galway and we are proud of the achievements of Melanie, Sean and Mary." For more information on the Outstanding Young Persons of the Year awards or any JCI events, visit the JCI Ireland website www.jci-ireland.org. -Ends-

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Children's Open Day at Zoology Museum in NUI Galway

Children's Open Day at Zoology Museum in NUI Galway-image

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum at NUI Galway will host an open day for children aged between 7 and 12 years to celebrate 'Wild Child Day' of National Heritage Week on 21 August from 10.30am-12.00pm. Since it officially opened in September 2009, the museum has been home to many fine exhibits from glass models of marine invertebrates to a stuffed capybara, the favourite food of the anaconda. Visitors can wander around the Museum exploring the different exhibits, be drawn in by the beady eyes, scaly crocodiles, the skull of a minke whale, or the tooth of an elephant that is much bigger than you would expect. There is also an extensive collection of glass models of marine life from the renowned Blaschka collection, dating from the 1880's. In addition to the exhibits in glass cases, there will be some live specimens of scorpions, tarantulas, spiders, centipedes and snakes on display for children to see. Currently, a project is underway to label all the exhibits to increase information and interaction with visitors. Many of the specimens are routinely used for teaching purposes with second and third year zoology students. During the open day there will be a member of staff on hand to explain exhibits to children. Eoin Mac Loughlin, Senior Technical Officer in Zoology, NUI Galway, says: "Our Zoology Museum is a great asset to Galway, the nearest thing to it is the National History Museum in Dublin. It is interesting to young and old alike. It offers inspiration for Art students and a place to explore for children. Looking at the stuffed animals and glass models, children become captivated and learn to engage with their natural environment and wildlife, which is what National Heritage Week is all about". The Zoology and Marine Biology museum at NUI Galway has in its possession four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that have just recently been restored and put on display in the museum. They include a grison, an Azara's fox, a Patagonian cavy and a guira cuckoo originally given by Darwin to the Zoological Society of London in 1837. National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council, the statutory body charged with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland's national heritage. National heritage includes monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks, and inland waterways. For further information on the open day contact the Galway Civic Trust 091-564946. For more information on National Heritage Week visit http://www.heritageweek.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Involved in European Radiation Research

NUI Galway Involved in European Radiation Research-image

Thursday, 12 August 2010

NUI Galway is one of the partners in a new European multi-million euro research project, investigating methods of screening radiation exposure. The project known as BOOSTER (Bio Dosimetric Tools for Triage and Responders) is an EU initiative to increase the security of citizens in the event of the malevolent use of radiation which focuses on speeding up the triaging process, which is the prioritisation of victims for treatment immediately following exposure to radiation. The €3.5 million project will have a duration of three years, (2010-2013). The new tools for screening radiation will be developed and integrated into a toolkit for the first responders in EU member states to use. The authorities responsible for responding to emergency situations vary. The task may fall to fire services, civil defence or occasionally the military. To determine the amount of radiation to which a person has been exposed, standard practice involves taking blood or another bodily fluid, looking at it under a microscope and documenting changes in chromosomes. This process typically takes up to three days to yield results and is very labour intensive. Since 2004, researchers in Biochemistry at NUI Galway have been working to reduce the period of time it takes to determine the amount of radiation to which a person is exposed. This work will now feed into phase one of the project. By counting the centrosomes, which are sub-cellular structures that control how cells divide and which multiply after irradiation, it is hoped that it will be possible to reduce the waiting time for results to less than one day. Dr Ciaran Morrison, a senior lecturer in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, who is leading the project at NUI Galway, explains: "There is urgency in triaging people exposed to radiation because it is necessary to quickly identify those who need no further intervention, those who will require close follow up, and those who will require hospitalisation. Serious exposure to large amounts of radiation can cause death in a short space of time, so rapid triaging is critical". Automation of the process to reduce labour intensity is another facet of the project, endeavouring to prepare the system for semi-industrial quantities of people, to cope with the event of a large-scale civilian disaster such as a nuclear power plant explosion. A more efficient process would also have applications for employees working in an environment where regular exposure to radiation is likely and civilian surveillance necessary. Dr Ciaran Morrison added: "It is exciting to see that the basic cell biology research we have done at NUI Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board, can have a wide range of unanticipated applications in the real world". Ends

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First Year Student Hotline Launched at NUI Galway

First Year Student Hotline Launched at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A new dedicated First Year Student Hotline has been launched by NUI Galway and will be open for calls from Wednesday (11 August) at 9am. The initiative, the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. The hotline will be open to the students, their parents and their advisers and will run until 24 September, 2010. A team of specially-trained staff and students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and Saturday 21 and 28 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate Results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 11 and 12 September and it will remain in service for 2 weeks after lectures begin on September 13, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A new designated website for first years will also be created and updated on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Dr Martina Ní Chuláin, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway says: "We understand that this is such a difficult but yet exciting time for students entering University and we hope that this new initiative will provide a mechanism for quickly addressing any queries or concerns that students or their parents have. We at NUI Galway are committed to making the transition into University as easy as possible for our students and their families we look forward to taking to your calls". Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091-493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. -Ends-

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Connect with Social Networking Gurus from Facebook and Google at NUI Galway

Connect with Social Networking Gurus from Facebook and Google at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Social media experts and social networking enthusiasts will descend on NUI Galway from 26-27 August for BlogTalk, an event to discuss current online trends and future developments in social media. BlogTalk will be held on the NUI Galway campus over two days, and will consist of keynote talks, discussion panels, and plenty of networking opportunities for those attending. The invited keynote talks will be given by Stowe Boyd, an authority on social tools and originator of the term 'advisory capital'; Dan Gillmor, a noted Silicon Valley journalist, author of We the Media, and director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship; and Don Thibeau, director of OpenID, an easy and safe log-in system for websites used by Yahoo, Google and many others. Other notable speakers include Blaine Cook, former lead developer with Twitter and now with BT; Charles Dowd, manager for Facebook's Platform Operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Ade Oshineye, developer advocate with the Google Social Web team. Some of the topics to be discussed will include: the need for a new kind of media literacy in our increasingly networked age; how businesses and third parties can benefit from the Facebook Platform by integrating Facebook with their own services; ensuring that citizens can trust that their identity and data is being protected by government websites; and new research data from NUI Galway illustrating how Twitter has gone beyond early adopters and trend followers to become a mature service with a constant growth rate. Irish social media gurus will also give talks, including Darragh Doyle, communications manager with boards.ie; Fergus Hurley, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup Clixtr; and Ted Vickey, former executive director at the White House Athletic Center and a frequent speaker on LinkedIn. Galway native Hurley will talk about his experiences in setting up a consumer Internet startup in Silicon Valley, raising money from venture capitalists and what he's learnt from the journey. Ted Vickey will help attendees learn how to get maximum impact for their CV using the LinkedIn business networking site. The evolution of open spaces for collaborative creative activities will also be covered, using the Galway-based 091 Labs as an example. Conference chair John Breslin of NUI Galway, says: "This is a great opportunity to learn from the experts on social networks and to imagine about what is coming down the road in terms of social media. Also, the schedule has been arranged so that there will be plenty of time to meet the speakers and other like-minded people". Early bird registration is open at www.blogtalk.net until Wednesday, 18 August, and costs €149 for two days (€99 for students and unemployed). There is also a special hotel rate of €89 available for the nights of the 25 and 26 August with The House Hotel; just quote BlogTalk when booking. The event is being sponsored by socialmedia.net, a campus startup company blogging about the future of social media, and the NUI Galway Millennium Fund. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Special Maths Exam Offers Leaving Cert Students Second Chance

NUI Galway Special Maths Exam Offers Leaving Cert Students Second Chance-image

Monday, 9 August 2010

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue a career in Engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 25 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering Degree courses at NUI Galway but have not met the obligatory maths requirement. This year, NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from Thursday, 19 August to Tuesday, 24 August. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in Higher Level Mathematics. Those who took Lower Level Maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round 2. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says: "The nature of engineering programmes is that they are focused on the development of analytical and problem solving skills, and thus require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. Our Special Entrance Maths Examination provides these students with a second opportunity to demonstrate that they have reached the necessary standard in Maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in Engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents". Demand for Engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and the College of Engineering has expanded its degree programs to meet this rising demand. Engineering is at the heart of the emerging 'Smart Economy' and NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of Industry and the Smart Economy. New courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector have continued to meet this growing demand. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline. There is also demand for Engineering Innovation, which aims to create a new type of electronic engineer with skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. Applications for the Special Maths Examination will be accepted at the Admissions Office reception desk up to 9am the morning of exam. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/specialmaths.html for further detail. -ends-

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Liverpool Football Club Visit NUI Galway

Liverpool Football Club Visit NUI Galway-image

Monday, 9 August 2010

Michael D Higgins, Galway United President; Steven Irwin, Reserve Team Captain, Liverpool FC; Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President; Rhys Meynell, Galway United; and John McMahon, Reserve Team Head Coach, Liverpool FC at the NUI Galway reception for Liverpool FC who used the University training facilities ahead of the Liverpool XI versus Galway United match at Terryland.

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Canadian Ambassador Presents Irish Language Scholarships

Canadian Ambassador Presents Irish Language Scholarships -image

Friday, 6 August 2010

Scholarships for six foreign students learning Irish in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway His Excellency Patrick G. Binns, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, has presented six scholarships to Canadian students attending an Irish language course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, An Cheathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht. These awards are made available to students registered in certain Canadian universities and offer an opportunity to participate this summer in approved Irish language courses in a Gaeltacht setting. The scholarships are provided by the Ireland Canada University Foundation. At present there are 64 foreign students learning Irish on a month-long course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. This course is of significant advantage to the Connemara economy with the students living and socialising locally. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge's Chief Executive, Peadar Mac an Iomaire said: "It is an honour to have the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland with us in An Cheathrú Rua on this the 33rd year of Irish language courses for foreign students at this centre. We are grateful for the support that the Irish government provides to enhance the links between NUI Galway and people in Canada and in universities all over the world who are eager to broaden their knowledge of the Irish language." Historical links between Ireland and Canada go right back to the sixteenth century. Irish people, mainly from the Southeast of the country, used to cross to Newfoundland in search of codfish. This emigration predated the well-recounted exodus during the Great Famine. It is appropriate that these links are today being enhanced and developed in the Irish language sector. At present, four million Canadians or 13% of the population of Canada claim Irish heritage. The Ireland Canada University Foundation provides exchange programmes between Irish and Canadian universities and these programmes are open to all academic disciplines. The Foundation was established in 1994 by Dr Craig Dobbin, Newfoundland and former Irish President, Dr Patrick Hillary. In 2004 the Foundation was given recognition in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin M.P., Prime Minister of Canada. -Ends-

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Recently Discovered Hurling Films Screened for First Time in Eighty Years

Recently Discovered Hurling Films Screened for First Time in Eighty Years-image

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Recently discovered short films by NUI Galway academic, Dr Seán Crosson, will be screened for the first time in over 80 years at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. The series of short films featuring hurling were made for American cinema audiences by the Hollywood majors Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount pictures between the 1930s and the 1950s and copies have recently been acquired by the Irish Film Archive. The series of short films will be screened by the Irish Film Institute, entitled Ireland's Athletic Assault and Battery"?: Hollywood and Hurling on Monday, 9 August, as part of the Festival. While researching Hollywood's treatment of the GAA, Dr Crosson, Director of the MA in Film Studies Programme at the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media, discovered the films in an archive at the University of Madison in Wisconsin. During the 1920s, '30s and '40s the GAA organised annual tours to the United States for the All-Ireland winners in both hurling and gaelic football to promote the games stateside. These visits inspired some American producers to consider hurling in particular as a subject for their work. While both Pathé and Fox Movietone newsreels covered several of the games, hurling would also appear in a number of short films released in cinemas in the 1930s including two segments of sports series narrated by seminal American broadcaster Ted Husing, Ted Husing's Sports Slants and Sports Thrills. These films were made by the Vitaphone Corporation for Warner Bros, in 1931 and 1932 respectively. The MGM produced Pete Smith Specialty Hurling (David Miller, 1936) film resulted in a deputation from the GAA visiting the Irish Film censor to demand that objectionable images be removed from the film. These films were joined in 1955 by the Oscar nominated Paramount Pictures short Three Kisses (Justin Herman, 1955), a film featuring the legendary Cork hurling team of the 1950s. Dr Crosson noted: "These films have important historical value, representing some of the very few examples of moving image footage of Gaelic games we have from this period, including the 1930 All-Ireland champions Tipperary on tour in the United States. However, they also provide a fascinating insight into an evolving Irish-American identity on screen in this crucial transitional period for this community in the United States". -Ends-

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