Samhain agus Science: The DIAS festival not to miss this spooky season

26 Oct 2022

Dr Patrick Kavanagh and Dr Venus Keus, DIAS. Image: Marc O’Sullivan

From pagan astronomers to medieval fantasy, here’s what to expect at the DIAS Samhain agus Science Festival 2022.

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, also known as DIAS, is hosting a science festival with a Celtic Halloween twist this Samhain season.

Returning for its fifth year, the DIAS Samhain agus Science Festival begins tomorrow (27 October) and runs until 7 November.

Attendees can bump skeletons with DIAS scientists and international researchers at a series of free in-person and online events that take inspiration from the Celtic festival of Samhain.

“This year’s events come from across our three schools of research including Celtic studies, which will explore medieval Ireland traditions, and theoretical physics and cosmic physics, which will introduce the public to the dark and eerie side of science,” said Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO and registrar of DIAS.

The events will take place across a number of locations, including Mitchelstown Cave and DIAS’s own Dunsink Observatory. Five out of the six events will be in-person.

To whet your appetite for Samhain, there will be a talk on food and fantasy in medieval Ireland presented by Harvard professor Joseph Falaky Nagy.

There’s a talk exploring how energetic particles can affect life on other worlds with the very intriguing title of ‘Slimer or X-Men Mutants’.

Another event with a great title is ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (Matter)’, which is centred around, yes, you guessed it: dark matter.

A Zoom talk will ask the question ‘Are we living in the Anthropocene?’

Unfortunately, two of the events are already fully booked, such is Samhain agus Science’s popularity.

One of these is a deep dive into the topic of earthquakes taking place in Mitchelstown Caves, Co Tipperary. The other is a talk focused on space telescopes, and is delivered by DIAS researcher Dr Patrick Kavanagh.

For those who are anxious to hear more about space exploration but missed their chance to book Kavanagh’s talk this time around, fear not!

Kavanagh recently featured on the first episode of For Tech’s Sake, a podcast by Silicon Republic and the HeadStuff Network.

For more information on Samhain agus Science, visit the DIAS website. Booking in advance is recommended.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.