Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tribute to World Famous Author Michel Déon at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 26 April, 2017: Adjunct Professor and honorary graduate of NUI Galway, the late Michel Déon was remembered this week at the University as the Chair of French will be named in his honour. The event took place as part of a day of tribute to the French author jointly organised by NUI Galway, Cúirt International Festival of Literature and the French Embassy, in the presence of French Ambassador to Ireland, M. Jean-Pierre Thébault, and of one of Michel Déon’s fellow members of the Académie Française, M. Frédéric Vitoux. Speaking of Michel Déon, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “We remember with pride and affection the long friendship between NUI Galway and Michel Déon. Over many years, through his association with the discipline of French as Adjunct Professor, he showed generous support for our students and for our James Hardiman Library. His sharing of his vast collection of books with the University Library is a gesture which will be noted as one of great philanthropy by generations of scholars to come.  NUI Galway was proud to honour the literary achievements of Michel Déon on the occasion of his conferring with an honorary degree some decades ago. In conferring that honour the NUI was pleased to celebrate Michel’s remarkable talent as a French writer and ‘académicien’; his enduring bond with Ireland and his important role in sharing the Irish artistic imagination with the world.” Born in Paris in 1919, Déon spent over forty years in Tynagh Co Galway with his wife and family. He was one of the most respected writers of his time, a chronological span of some 70 years of writing from his first novel Adieux à Sheila (1944) to his last work – it comprises a total of more than 50 books and hundreds of editions. His works have been translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Hindi, Japanese, Polish, and, in recent years increasingly into English. As part of the day of tribute M. Pierre Joannon, Irish Honorary Consul for the South of France, will perform the launch of Horseman, pass by!, Clíona Ní Ríordáin’s translation of Michel Déon’s Cavalier, passe ton chemin!, published by Lilliput Press (2017). Déon’s books have won major literary prizes including the Prix Interallié in 1970 for Les Poneys sauvages (The Wild Ponies), the Académie Française Grand Prix in 1970 for his novel Un taxi mauve (The Purple Taxi), set in Ireland, and filmed in 1977 with such famous names as Philippe Noiret, Charlotte Rampling, Peter Ustinov and Fred Astaire. He held the high rank of Commandeur of the Légion d’honneur, the order created by Napoleon to honour the highest achievements in civic and cultural life. In 1978 he was elected as one of the 40 members of the Académie Française, the greatest distinction a writer can receive in France. Best known for his novels and essays he also wrote children’s stories, plays, memoirs and travel accounts. Associated with many great names, he collaborated with Coco Chanel and Salvador Dalí. He was also acquainted with some of Ireland’s finest writers, Seamus Heaney and John McGahern among others. Similarly, as a writer and reader, Déon saw it as an important part of his role to encourage students by making literature accessible to them. Over many years, through his association with the discipline of French as Adjunct Professor in the National University of Ireland Galway, he showed generous support for students there, and shared his vast collection of books (7,000) with the University Library in a gesture of great philanthropy and friendship. Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of Arts at NUI Galway, said: “We are proud to honour the memory of Michel Déon and celebrate his longstanding friendship with the discipline of French and the wider University. This is a fitting tribute to an author who loved communicating his enthusiasm for literature to our students at NUI Galway. In his long association with this university, Déon was equally generous in his support of the Hardiman Library, to which he donated many of his books. This event was originally envisaged as a tribute to celebrate his birthday but his memory will live on here at NUI Galway, as it is our intention that the Chair of French will be known in the future as the Michel Déon Chair of French.” Professor Jane Conroy of NUI Galway commented: “Michel Déon was seen as a ‘rebel’ in the world of French literature, and he never stopped questioning that world and thinking about how France and Europe were changing. We think of him as living between France and Ireland but actually he was at home in several cultures, Greece, Portugal, Italy…. and he knew several languages. He was able to translate Saul Bellow and Alarcón for example. He was loyal to France, but I think of him as a great European. It’s no accident that Les Poneys sauvages, one of his finest novels, takes us across several countries, including Ireland. I see him as being preoccupied with the future of European society and values. Certainly his experience during World War 2 deepened his awareness of the fragility of our civilisation. His novels explore these questions in very personal ways.”  -Ends-

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Monday, 24 April 2017

 The lecture will be delivered by Professor Wendy Bracewell from University College London NUI Galway will host a public lecture entitled ‘Travellers, travellees, and travelling texts: Eastern Europe and the Republic of Letters’. The lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Wendy Bracewell of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, will take place on Thursday, 4May at 6.30pm in the Dillon Lecture Theatre, Arts Science Building. While many eastern European countries now form part of the EU and many Eastern Europeans now live in Galway, not so long ago, Eastern Europe was seen as very far removed from Western Europe. The notion of a deep cultural and political division between eastern and Western Europe goes back to the eighteenth century. Professor Bracewell shows that eastern Europeans themselves vigorously rejected the idea that they were in any way different or inferior to western Europeans. She suggests that the depictions of Eastern Europe and the reactions to them can teach us much about what the notions of ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ Europe mean.   A renowned historian of travel, Professor Bracewell makes a virtue of finding the humour in history. She published an anthology, Where to Go in Europe, which featured amusing accounts of European travellers grappling with foreign toilet facilities. Professor Bracewell also traced the fantastic trope of women throwing their long, pendulous breasts over their shoulders to feed their children in travel accounts from Tasmania to Croatia. Her book on banditry in the sixteenth-century Adriatic has been recommended to modern-day travellers by the Rough Guide to Croatia. The lecture marks the beginning of a conference entitled ‘Journeys’, to be held at the University’s Moore Institute from 4-6 May. The conference is organised by NUI Galway’s Dr Róisín Healy on behalf of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies. Dr Healy said: “The University is especially pleased to host the conference this year.  The centenary of the Russian Revolution, sparked by that most famous of journeys, Lenin’s train journey from Switzerland to the Finland Station in Petrograd.”  For further information please visit or email for registration details. -Ends-

Monday, 24 April 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme, in collaboration with Kitchen Chemistry, is now taking bookings for its three Summer Science Camps. The camps take place from the 3–7 July, 10–14 July with the third taking place on the 17–21 July. The camp is open to all young scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old. Participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.  The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives: Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Michel Dugon, the host of the RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering live local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats, and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. Each camp will also include a session with Kitchen Chemistry, from NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, who run fun, hands-on experiments that bring chemistry to life! The primary goal of these NUI Galway science outreach programmes is to inspire interest in science in the general public and to impact positively on science education. All three programmes run activities designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. They have engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland and are very active during the Galway Science and Technology Festival. Since 2014, Bio-EXPLORERS have run successful Summer and Easter science camps, in addition to the very popular ‘Scientist for a Day’ one-day workshops during mid-terms, run in conjunction with Kitchen Chemistry. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximize the learning environment. This year’s summer camps will run over five days from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. The cost is €160 per child, €145 for additional siblings for this exciting course packed with fun and exciting activities. Visit for details on the camp and links to register on Eventbrite. Once registered, post the completed registration form (download on Eventbrite page) with payment within five working days to Bio-EXPLORERS, Dr Martina Wernecke, Biochemistry, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. For any queries email -Ends-      

Friday, 21 April 2017

NUI Galway hosts innovative session for arts and humanities graduates on ‘Taking the next step post-PhD/Masters: Career development beyond academia’ NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host an innovative career development event on Friday 28 April. Entitled ‘Taking the next step post-PHD/Masters: Career development beyond academia’, it will introduce NUI Galway arts and humanities students to major employers in financial services, consulting, and the research and technology sectors. Masters and PhD graduates in the arts and humanities have increasingly begun to seek employment outside academia when they complete their degrees. These new pathways pose considerable challenges as students adapt their skills and explain what they can contribute to the commercial industry. The career development session will feature speakers in industry describing the contributions that arts and humanities can make to the commercial world. Students in turn will have a chance to network and describe their research and how it could contribute to innovation in industry. Speakers on the day include Ann Roddy, Vice President at Fidelity Investments, Gavin Duffy, Managing Director of technology company RealSim, Medb Corcoran of consulting powerhouse Accenture, and Daniel Quinn, interaction designer at Cisco. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This groundbreaking event expresses the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies’ commitment to innovation, creativity, and opportunity. We want to break down barriers for students so that they can build new careers.” NUI Galway students participating in the event include PhD candidate Eavan Ó Dochartaigh, whose work investigates how the arctic was illustrated in the nineteenth century. She will show how her research relates to industry and the challenge of presenting information in graphic form for public audiences, which has wide application to businesses and marketing. PhD candidate Edward Kearns uses computational analysis to study non-linear narratives in modernist and electronic literature, and is looking at how his research ties into the technology sector and the need for large scale data analysis that studies language use. The event is free and open to the public and will take place on Friday 28 April in the Moore Institute seminar room (G010) in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. For more information on the Event see: For more information about the Moore Institute visit: -Ends-

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-