Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Robert Boyle Science Festival

2011 represents the 350th anniversary of the publication of Robert Boyle’s famous scientific paper entitled, “The Sceptical Chymist”. This document set the scene for the establishment of the academic topic we now call the Chemical Sciences. 

2011 is also the year that has been designated the International Year of Chemistry (or more simply, IYC) and so it is appropriate that Robert Boyle’s enormous... contribution to the subject will be celebrated in a Science Festival to be hosted at his birthplace in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford. 

The Festival will take place between Thursday 17th November and Sunday 20th November 2011 to coincide with Science Week. Events will be mounted by Eoin Gill (WIT) and Dr Declan Kennedy (UCC) suitable for both children and adults including lectures, demonstrations and “hands-on” experiences. Talks by Professor Duncan Thorburn Burns (QUB) and Dr Allan Chapman (of Channel 4 TV fame) will emphasise material on Boyle himself and also his scientific partnership with the equally famous Robert Hooke. 

Due to the universal importance of Boyle’s law of gases, two further lectures will be devoted to Earth’s atmosphere. The first is to be presented by the Chief Scientific Officer to DEFRA in the UK, Professor Bob Watson, and will provide a political perspective relevant to human activities on air pollution, climate change and agriculture. The second, by Professor Richard Wayne from Oxford University, will attempt to put the evolution of our atmosphere in proper perspective with our neighbouring planets in the Solar System and answer the question: Why Life on Earth? 

The celebration ends with a spectacular Firework Display at the Castle to point at the essential “Air” that covers our planet and allows all forms of life to exist. The Robert Boyle Science Festival is organised by the Lismore Heritage Centre along with representatives from Lismore Castle, University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology and local chemical industry. It is sponsored currently by the RIA and UCC. 

You can keep up to date on the festival using their Facebook page.

See our earlier post on Robert Boyle and his science here.


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