Research and Teaching Showcase
The UCD Science Showcase is a collection of interviews with researchers from the UCD College of Science by Dr Claire O'Connell and covers the areas of health, the environment and education.
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Knots are useful: they keep shoes on our feet, they anchor tents in blustery weather and they stop ships from slipping away to sea. For scientists, knots also pose particularly beautiful and interesting challenges. At UCD, mathematicians have made a breakthrough in understanding relationships between particular types of knots and other mathematical objects.
Oysters are a delicacy in demand, but farming them is not without its stresses. ‘Invading’ species can take hold at oyster farms, where they grow rapidly. Conversely, some types of farmed oyster can themselves ‘escape’ and cause problems in the wild. Dr Tasman Crowe and his group at UCD School of Biology and Environmental Sciences are taking an ecological-eye view of these issues in oyster farming, with the aim of protecting oysters from the environment and of protecting the environment from oysters.
Have you ever watched as a flock of birds flies overhead? The individuals seem to self-organise as they collectively soar, swoop and suddenly change direction. Similarly, groups of fish and insects seem to work as a dynamic whole. Could there be parallels with how humans think as a collective? Dr Vladimir Lobaskin from UCD School of Physics has been looking at the parallels between how individual animals or particles interact in nature, and how opinions and behaviours spread through human societies.