Science Review 2012 – Top 100 science stories: Nos 85-81

28 Nov 2012

SFI-funded scientists to head to Silicon Valley

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 coming month to the top 100 most popular science and innovation stories of 2012. Our countdown continues below.

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest

85 – Scientists to study inflammatory diseases using the Amazon

An international research project involving scientists from Europe and Brazil has been granted €3m under the EU FP7 programme to pioneer research into inflammatory disorders. The scientists will be studying tropical plants in the Amazon Rainforest, with the ultimate aim of progressing the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis.

Certain plants in Amazonia are known for their inflammatory properties, so Brazilian scientists with knowledge of herbal remedies used by Amazonian natives will be working with the EU scientists. And the ultimate aim is to take the research findings back to the lab, carry out clinical trials and improve the treatment of such disorders as Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Martín Serrano

84 – DERI researchers create free Volvo Ocean Race app for Galway City

Researchers at the Irish web science institute Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) created a free app for visitors to Galway during the Volvo Ocean Race Festival.

Galway City hosted the final leg of the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race from 30 June to 8 July. Researchers at DERI, which is based at NUI Galway, developed the app to allow users to view a full festival programme, as well as provide visitor information about Galway City.

Science for kids

83 – UCC lecture on teaching computer science to kids

University College Cork’s Prof Barry O’Sullivan delivered an interactive lecture on teaching the principles of computer science to primary school children. The lecture was free and open to everyone, especially children interested in learning more about the computer science area and its scope.

It was a timely lecture, given that Dublin had recently officially launched as European City of Science.

Nitrogen dioxide over Europe

82 – ESA’s Envisat satellite stops sending data to Earth

The European Space Agency (ESA) declared a spacecraft emergency as it tried to establish why its Envisat satellite suddenly stopped sending data to Earth after 10 years of service.

Envisat was launched on 1 March 2002. Since then, it orbited the Earth more than 50,000 times to deliver thousands of images and data for the study of planet Earth.


81 – SFI-funded scientists to head to Silicon Valley

Two Irish researchers from DCU and TCD won an opportunity to head to Silicon Valley and meet with business and scientific research pioneers. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded the trip, which was hosted by the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG).

The two researchers were Dr Paul Leonard, a research fellow and lead investigator at the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at Dublin City University, and Dr Kevin Koidl, a Trinity College Dublin-based post-doctoral researcher in the Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL).