Category Archives: SFI

Smart Data Zone Report – November 2018

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The Smart Data Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland and involved five scientists:

  • Sheila Castilho, the winner of the zone, is a postdoctoral researcher, teaching computers how to translate
  • Piyush Arora is also a postdoctoral researcher, trying to make learning and searching through the internet more convenient and easy
  • Natalia Resende is looking at translation systems such as Google translate and analysis data to discover ways in which they can be improved
  • Gary Munnelly teaches computers how to read books and other text-based resources to help historians study the past
  • Dimitar Shterionov is a postdoctoral researcher at ADAPT Centre working on machine translation between different languages

Students in this zone showed a general interest in the zone’s theme, asking questions about data but also discussing more widely computers, languages and coding. Nearly a third of the questions put to scientists in ASK concerned careers and education.

Posted on January 14, 2019 modamy in 2018, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

New Materials Zone Report – November 2018

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The New Materials Zone was a themed zone supported by Science Foundation Ireland and involved six scientists:

  • Triona Kennedy works for Stryker, a 3D-printing factory making hips, knees and parts of the spine
  • Simone Iadanza designs and build small structures that trap or reflect light so they can work as small lasers
  • Kieran Joyce is making new materials that can be used in spinal surgery for people with lower back pain
  • Julia Savioli is a computational chemist who uses simulations to understand the behaviour and chemistry of different materials
  • The zone winner, Hugh Manning, researches nanomaterials, particularly nanowires to conduct electricity for display screens and touch screens
  • Emily Growney Kalaf is a biomedical engineer working on nanowires that an act like neurons to understand neurogenic and neuropathic pain

Students in this zone were particularly interested in finding out what it was like being a scientist, and over 40% of the questions in ASK were on careers and/or education topics. Hugh, the zone winner, was very active in the live chats, with his chat lines making up nearly half of all those sent by the scientists over the activity.

Posted on January 14, 2019 modamy in 2018, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Environmental Care Zone Report – November 2018

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The Environmental Care Zone was a themed zone for primary schools, supported by Science Foundation Ireland.

  • William McCarthy is a PhD student researching how contamination gets into food and how we can stop that from happening
  • Roberto Ferrari studies how honeybees communicate with each other
  • Karen O’Neill works with freshwater pearl mussels aiming to understand the quality of the rivers they live in
  • Jasmine Headlam, this zone’s winner, studies jellyfish venom and uses computers to identify the different components
  • Chinna Devarapu builds circuits for light to find bugs in water

This was the busiest zone in November’s I’m a Scientist Ireland, with over 2,000 questions sent to the scientists in ASK. More students joined the Environmental Care Zone evening live chat than any other zone, across all I’m a Scientist zones this November.

Posted on January 14, 2019 modamy in 2018, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Energy Zone Report – November 2017

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The Energy Zone was a themed Zone funded by Science Foundation Ireland, with five scientists for students to meet. Yang is a PhD student studying combustion chemistry, Stephen is working with materials that can convert solar energy into fuel and Shane is researching ways to store more renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels. Karla is a postdoctoral researcher trying to find ways to produce energy from organic wastes and biomass and Emma, who was the winner in the Energy Zone, uses computer simulations to find out what Ireland’s energy system will look like in the future.

The Zone was largely on topic, with students asking about ways to save energy at home, as well as interest in different energy sources and the scientists’ own research areas. This was the quietest Zone in November’s I’m a Scientist event, with a lower than average number of questions from students in ASK, and a lower than average number of students logging in.

Posted on December 15, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Fluorine Zone Report – November 2017

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The Fluorine Zone was a general science zone, funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Sarah, the winner of this Zone, is a PhD student who is finding ways to generate energy from amino acids, Kieran is a PhD student working on ways to personalise our experience using different digital technologies and Kathryn is a Marine Botanist studying seaweeds such as kelp. Joanne is a microbiologist working with barnacle DNA and Chris is a computational scientist looking at climate change.

As this was a general zone, conversations were varied, and students were interested in the scientists’ individual research areas, as well as making the most of the opportunity to ask about a variety of different science topics. The scientists were all good at explaining their work in a way that students could understand and relate to, as well as answering lots of questions outside of their research areas.

Posted on December 15, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Smart Data Zone Report – November 2016

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The Smart Data Zone is a themed zone funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Mike works for a plant science journal where he uses data to work out how to get new audiences, Julio works with data to understand how materials work and to design new materials and Jaine looks at big data to uncover patterns which tell us why some patients react well to treatment and others don’t. Dave, the winner of this zone, creates real-time data visualisations to help deliver HIV care in rural South Africa and Annette looks at data from devices used in a hospital to see what could be changed or improved. .
This was one of the busier zones of the event, with a higher than average number of questions asked by students and the highest number of comments. Almost 90% of comments from students were from students at S N Naomh Colmain. Annette and Jaine were the most active scientists, making up almost 75% of activity between them.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Light Zone Report – November 2016

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This was a themed zone specifically for primary schools, funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Stephen was the winner in this zone, and is a PhD student who uses lasers to create explosions, and then studies the light given off to find out which atoms it’s made. Saoirse is an Optometrist researching short-sightedness so that fewer children will need to wear glasses and Pramod is trying to understand what super-fast lasers do on a very small scale. Moises is a PhD student studying electrons and protons and Dervil makes holograms which can be used for things like gas detection and solar power.
This was one of the busier zones in the event, with the highest amount of questions asked by students. There was also an above average amount of active students in the zone – 90% of students who had logged in engaged with the site. Stephen was extremely active during the event making up almost half of all activity from scientists.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Drug Synthesis Zone Report – November 2015

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The Drug Synthesis Zone was funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for schools in Ireland and, of the scientists, Sinead, Mark, Florence and Neil were members of the Society. It was a themed zone where the scientists had a link to the processes of producing and synthesising pharmaceuticals, for example researching catalyses to improve drug synthesis, leading a team that analyses drugs during their production, or lecturing in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Discussion in the Zone was overall broader than the theme of synthesis, and questions from students covered many areas relating to drugs. Most of the scientists engaged well with students, especially when asked about complex issues. The final two, Florence and Sinead, accounted for two-thirds of lines of live chat and answers in ASK between them.

Posted on December 16, 2015 modantony in 2015, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Food Science Zone Report – November 2015

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The Food Science Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for schools in Ireland, and Andrew, Emma and John were members of the Society. Ruth and Dilip work at Teagasc, the agriculture and food authority, John and Emma are researchers at the Institute of Food and Health and Andrew is studying the vitamins and fatty acids in milk for his PhD.

It was a busy zone where many questions focused on the theme of food research, and the scientists were engaging in live chats. Emma, the zone winner, was particularly active in live chats, contributing nearly half of the total chat by scientists.

Posted on December 16, 2015 modantony in 2015, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Nanoscience Zone Report – November 2015

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The Nanoscience Zone was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme and involved five scientists whose research involved science done at the nanoscale. For example, Anil researches tiny transistors and Micki is using nanotechnology to develop new tests for infectious diseases.

Discussion in live chats was busy, especially in the many where 3 or 4 scientists attended. Overall, the zone was quiet in ASK, and most questions from students asked generally about working as a scientist, rather than the theme of nanoscience. In ASK there was a very even spread of answers from the scientists, while in the live chats Anil and Claire contributed the majority.

Posted on December 16, 2015 modantony in 2015, SFI, Zone Reports | Leave a comment