Ignite Dublin: keeping the curiosity flame alive


8 Mar 2010

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Designing cities that children can live in, discovering Ireland on a 13-year long ramble and looking at the symmetry in particle physics. All of these topics and more are up for discussion at Ignite Dublin, an event that mixes science, technology, business, arts and culture in one heady evening.

This Thursday, 11 March, will be the third Ignite Dublin event; this is part of a wider global community of entrepreneurs, technologists, professionals and seekers of knowledge who gather together to talk about ideas and creativity under the banner of the famous O’Reilly Media company that specialises in technology books but has also spawned the annual Web 2.0 Summit as well as the Emerging Technology Conference.

The premise of Ignite is to give each speaker five minutes maximum on stage to communicate their idea, allowing them only 20 slides to sum it all up, thus encouraging the rapid flow of concise ideas that give the event its unique feel.

“For me, the keyword for Ignite is ‘between’:  it is on from six to nine, between the working day and the night’s pleasures and Ignite is both a workshop and a social evening,” explains Ignite Dublin organiser and Trinity College Dublin lecturer in mathematics and mathematical neuroscience Conor Houghton.

“Ignite isn’t about one topic or another; it attempts to allow interaction between different ideas. The format can mix science with arts, business with disinterested inquiry, one person’s half-assed notion with another’s life’s work, technology with the timeless: the great thing is the range of talks and presentations that can fit into a single Ignite.”

Confidence is key

Houghton thinks the key word for the ‘Ideas Island’ is confidence.

“Confidence for individuals means pursuing ambition: for scientists, this means working on difficult problems, for artists it means attempting new, groundbreaking work and for business people, it means taking risks.

“For government, confidence means having faith that supporting an ideas ecosystem will mean new jobs, new businesses, new ways of understanding the world: it means having confidence that the key criterion for ideas is their depth and originality.

“We hope that Ignite is a small part of the ideas ecosystem, making a small contribution to the dissemination and development of ideas and expertise and showing confidence that people have interesting things to say and that other people are interested in hearing them: a confidence that, I think, has been completely justified by the last two Ignites.”

Ignite Dublin #3 is being held on 11 March in the Science Gallery in Dublin. Tickets are €10 (€5 with student concession).

The lineup is as follows:

·      Mark Conguista – interface design

·      Peter Lynch – meteorologist who walked around Ireland

·      Ian Robertson – TCD neuroscientist

·      George Higgs – musician/artist

·      Hedda Dick – children and cities

·      Jools Gilson – Ellis – dancer

·      Ellen Dudley – meetforeal.com

·      Brian Dolan – mathematical particle physicist

·      Moschops  - DJ

·      Brian O’Connell – juggler

·      Steve Gotz – enterprise evangelist

·      Kate Dempsey – poet

·      Mark Coughlan – journalist: thestory.ie

·      Padraig McKeon – Your Country Your Call

·      Tom O’Rahilly – leprechaun museum

·      Aoife McLysaght – geneticist, talking about the Simon Singh libel case

·      Will St Leger – artist/activist

By Marie Boran

Photo: Ignite Dublin is an event on 11 March that blends science, technology, business, arts and culture