Science Review 2012 – Top 100 science stories: Nos 65-61

4 Dec 2012

The holy grail - Irish scientists invent technology to keep the fizz in beer

We continue our countdown of Ireland’s top science and innovation stories of 2012. It was the year Dublin became the European City of Science and major scientific breakthroughs occurred in every field.

During four days in July, international scientists, policy-makers and business leaders, as well as the general public, converged on the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin, the highlight in a year full of science and innovation events, such as Science Week, Nanoweek, and Engineers Week.

Most notable during 2012, however, is the impact young people in Ireland have been making in innovation. James Whelton’s CoderDojo movement has gone international, student Paddy Mulcahy won the Irish leg of the 2012 James Dyson award, Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle, this year’s overall winners at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, also scooped another top award at the EUCYS, and teenager Joanne O’Riordan, who has no limbs, gave a speech to global leaders at a United Nations conference for Girls in ICT Day on how technology has changed her life.

To celebrate a year that also included great research, discoveries and partnerships, has dedicated this month to the top 100 most popular science and innovation stories of 2012. Our countdown continues below.

Lars Bak

65 – Google’s new software language Dart aims to speed up the web

Google is on a mission to speed up the web. The internet search giant has been focusing on a new Javascript language called Dart to speed up the apps within web browsers, software engineer Lars Bak told

If you study the charts, the constant crisscrossing of Google’s Chrome browser versus Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to be the world’s most-used browser harkens back to the vapour trails that must have been commonplace from dogfights in the skies over wartime Europe.

James Whelton

64 – CoderDojo is going international, says teenage entrepreneur (video)

Teenage coder and entrepreneur James Whelton talks about the impact of CoderDojo amongst Irish schoolkids. The coding movement has spawned a massive following and a big waiting list.

At GIG 2012, programmer Whelton revealed how the movement is going global, with events happening in London, mainland Europe and then San Francisco and New York.

Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle

63 – Dublin students Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly win Young Scientist competition

Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle scooped the top accolade at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for 2012 in Dublin. The students at Synge Street CBS in Dublin won the ultimate award for their project which looked at planetary motion and how satellites can stay on the right flight path when in space.

Interestingly, the project branched out from the work of the Irish mathematician Diarmuid Ó Mathuná, who solved the problem in 2008. His results are published in his book Integrable Systems in Celestial Mechanics, which looked at the Kepler (two-body) problem and the Euler (two-fixed centre) problem.


62 – NASA reveals the tiniest solar system found to date

NASA’s Kepler’s scientists have been on a bit of a roll. Having detected what could be a future new planetary abode for humans (Kepler-22b) in early December 2011, the Kepler team then stumbled upon what the space agency is calling the smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun, otherwise known as exoplanets.

The discovery came from a team led by astronomers at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Nanoscience at work

61 – The holy grail – Irish scientists invent technology to keep the fizz in beer

Multinational brewing company SABMiller is to invest in a project at Trinity College Dublin’s CRANN that will see nanoscience used to develop a new material to prolong the shelf life of beer in plastic bottles.

The project, led by Prof Jonathan Coleman and his team at CRANN, have used nanoscience to create a new material that when added to plastic bottles makes them extremely impervious.

As a result, oxygen cannot enter and neither can carbon dioxide escape – as a result preserving the taste and fizz.