Nov 13, 2011

Robert Boyle Science Festival

The Heritage Town of Lismore Co. Waterford plays host to the Robert Boyle
Science Festival from the 18th – 20th November 2011. Robert Boyle (1627 –
1691) was born in Lismore Castle and was perhaps the most influential scientist
of his day and the most respected of the founding members of the Royal Society
of London.

2011 represents the 350th anniversary of the publication of Robert Boyle's
famous scientific paper entitled, "The Skeptical 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, Co. Waterford.

It is intended that this will be the first in an annual series of 'Robert Boyle Science
Festivals', no equivalent exists in Ireland currently. Educational activities of
the type that the Robert Boyle Science Festival will provide, that is connecting
schoolchildren to high level scientific policy makers and world renowned
scientists are exactly the type of national functions that will make science user
friendly both to adults and schoolchildren. The main objective of the festival is
therefore to promote science to a varied audience; children, students, academics
and the general public.

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 (Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs) in the UK, Professor Bob Watson, and will provide a political perspective
relevant to human activities on air pollution, climate change and agriculture. Bob
is former chief scientist at the World Bank and prior to this he was White House
Associate Director for Environment Policy for the Clinton Administration.

The second lecture, by Professor Richard Wayne, renowned atmospheric

scientist 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?

Armagh Planetarium will present their spectacular 'Stardome Portable
Planetarium' on Friday evening. Educational events specifically for schools
include the 'Robert Boyle Show' by Eoin Gill WIT, the Armagh Planetarium
and 'The Bubble Show' by The London Science Museum. Free events
on Sunday will be mounted by Dr Declan Kennedy (UCC), Calmast WIT
and Lifetime Lab suitable for both children and adults including lectures,
demonstrations and "hands-on" experiences.

The celebration ends with a spectacular Firework Display 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. For further
information please see For bookings please contact Eleanor
on 058 54975 or email