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‘Light & Shadow’ proves extremely popular with visitors

Publication Date:


Focusing on different aspects of light allowed bringing experts from several Schools and Colleges together, involving faculty, researcher, students and staff from across Science, Engineering & Architecture and Agriculture & Food Science. Popular short talks given by UCD academics offered a captivated public insight into topics ranging from optics to health and biology.

An additional treat for visitors were tours of UCD facilities that generally are not open to the public. This included the ‘Program for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate’ (PEAC), where expert guides shared their knowledge and passion with a fascinated audience.

Short talks by UCD Science
Now available on YOUTUBE

To introduce the general public to scientific concepts can be a challenging task. At 'Light & Shadow', UCD Science's recent very popular event celebrating 2015 -International Year of Light, several of our academics did so successfully in front of captivated audiences.

Listening in the Dark: a Bat’s perspective: Discover how nature found amazing ways to adapt to darkness
Put yourself in the position of a bat, having to live and find food in eternal darkness. How do you cope without seeing? Discover the amazing ways bats developed to survive and thrive in such challenging environments. Is there something we humans could learn from them?
Emma Teeling | Associate Professor, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

Using Vision to Find New Drugs for Blindness: Discover how researcher use astonishing systems in search for new drugs to treat blindness
Vision is an exquisite sense that helps us appreciate our surrounding and is the reason why loss of this sense has a profound impact. Blindness can result from abrupt loss of vision in childhood or gradually in adulthood; it can be due to inherited or environmental factors. Come and hear about the astonishing systems researcher use to find new drugs that prevent blindness.
Breandan Kennedy | Senior Lecturer, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science

Imaging Molecules with Light: How to see and control nature’s building blocks?
Understanding and controlling the fundamental components of all materials, including living systems, begins with seeing them. This talk will outline how scientists such as those, who won the Nobel Prize this year, were able to see such tiny objects as molecules and the advantages we can get from doing so.
James Rice | Lecturer, UCD School of Physics

Light Sources for Electronics: How can we keep making computers smaller & faster?
Casting shadows on silicon wafers is a crucial step in making computer chips. As we aim to shrink the size of these shadows we come up against problems caused by the nature of light itself. Find out what we can do to continue the journey to ever smaller transistors?
Padraig Dunne | Associate Professor, UCD School of Physics

Harvesting Solar Energy: Is perfection really always the best solution?
Solar energy offers consumers huge potential, is renewable, environmentally friendly and after initial investment, very cost effective. Modern concepts using nanotechnology aim to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Come and find out what truly inhibits solar cells to be the major source of energy in the world.
Dominic Zerulla | Senior Lecturer, UCD School of Physics

Light from the Edge of Time: When did the first stars in the universe form and how can we observe them?
By employing fast robotic telescope technology and observing the light from massive explosions called gamma-ray bursts, we have the capability to observe the very first stars in the universe. Nuclear processes in these stars led to the formation of the chemical elements that make up matter (us included!).
Lorraine Hanlon | Associate Professor, UCD School of Physics

The Dark Net: Hiding in the shadows
Most people will have heard about the Dark Net in crime dramas on TV. But how real is it, and what is the Dark Net to begin with? This short talk introduces you to the World Wide Web, the Internet but also to its dark side.
Mark Scanlon | Lecturer, UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics

Therapeutic Light: Are we destroying ourselves and our environment with the wrong sort of light?
Light does so much more than just let us see. Light regulates our life on the cellular level. Changing the lights could not only impact on climate change, it can help save lives, create wealth and could improve everyone's performance health and happiness.
John Sheridan | Associate Professor, School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering

Light, Vision and Health: Can naturally lighting indoor spaces make for better health & well-being?
We spend about 90% or more of our lives indoors and so the homes, schools and work places we design and build are critical to our health and well-being. Find out how the role of architecture and the careful consideration of light and space is of paramount importance in delivering healthy spaces.
Paul Kenny | Lecturer, UCD School of Architecture

Light & Shadow short video of event
Light & Shadow events programme (programme pdf)


Evelyn Cusack | Deputy Head of Forecasting, Met Éireann and RTE Weather Presenter
Light(s), Camera, Action, ….
This talk takes us through time from the daily weather forecast back to the early atmospheres on Earth over 4 billion years ago. Evelyn shows the interdisciplinary nature of meteorology incorporating all the sciences of Biology, Botany, Geology, Chemistry and Physics as well as Mathematics and shows how studies of past climates help predict possible future climates.