UCD Science Summer School 3 June 2015
Posted 27 July 2017
160 fifth year secondary school students from 113 secondary schools across Ireland took part in the UCD Science Summer School programme on 3 June 2015. Each student got the chance to experience a day in the life of UCD Science by completing two workshops in state-of-the-art laboratories and active learning environements in the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science. Workshops were available in Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Geology.
Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Science Workshop
The UCD School of Biology and Environmental Biology showcased the subjects of Environmental Biology, Zoology, Plant Biology and Cell and Molecular Biology through a series of demonstrations and practicals.
In the Biomedical & Biomolecular Science portion of the workshop, students performed a series of experiments that examined the science behind our bodies in health and disease. This involved the identification of microorganisms which cause disease, measuring blood glucose and protein levels, analysing DNA molecules, looking at programmed cell death and some fun experiments involving the sensory neurous system.
Dr Tadhg Ó Cróinín from the UCD School of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science explaining how to identify bacteria that cause disease.
The practical provided by the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology demonstrated to the students the concepts and principle behind the Grätzel solar cell, also known as a DSSC (dye sensitised solar cell).
Students used the latest TiO2 technology to build their own solar cell units and then measured the amount of energy captured. Students with the best performing cell in the morning and afternoon sessions were awarded a prize by Dr Andrew Phillips.
Dr Andrew Philips explains the the Grätzel solar cell to the students at the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology practical.
In the UCD School of Physics, students celebrated the fact that 2015 is the International Year of Light by building their own spectroscope out of household items. They used their spectroscopes to analyze various laboratory light sources and ultimately went on to analyze the light from the sun and discover what elements must be present in the suns atmosphere. A sample of the activities carried out can be seen below.
Dr Patrick Orr from the UCD School of Geological Sciences conducted the Geology Workshop. Participants in the Geology Workshop learned plate tectonics in the first half of the workshop. Participants were able to investigate how researchers reconstruct the position within the crust at which earthquakes occur and about the important role plate tectonics plays in various other Earth processes, including regional climate change and the flux of sediments from continents to the oceans, will be highlighted.
In the second part of the workshop participants got an overview of the geological history of Ireland. The students took part in a group exercise using geological maps of Ireland to reconstruct how environments changed over this interval.
In the last section of the workshop, students had a short talk from a recent Geology graduate about his studies in UCD and his career in Geology to date.
Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and Dr Anthony Cronin from the UCD School of Mathematical Sciences delivered the Maths workshop. The workshops involved students completing strategy-based games, unfamiliar problems and puzzles which are external to the post-primary Mathematics curriculum.
The workshops helped students engage in critical thinking and inquiry based approaches as an introduction to a broad variety of Mathematical topics and demonstrate the application of Mathematics in a wide variety of industries.
The UCD Science Summer School was organised by the Science Student Recruitment Commitee and UCD Student Recruitment.