Visitors to Trinity College Dublin (TCD)’s front square this weekend will be treated to dynamic displays of Soapbox Science from Ireland’s most prominent female scientists in an event to showcase their research and challenge the public view of women in science.
Soapbox Science Ireland is a free event taking place on Saturday, 26 April, from 12-3pm. Speakers span a range of scientific fields, including ecology, genetics, chemistry, psychiatry, nanoscience, medicine, and veterinary medicine.
Speakers will have 15 minutes on the day to catch the eye and open the minds of their audience and attendees should be prepared to see and interact with mummified bats, Count Dracula, misbehaving brains and a model of a certain farmyard animal.
Antibiotic resistance, bird flu and how genes work are just some of the topics that will be explored by speakers, such as TCD’s Prof Aoife McLysaght, co-founder of Trino Therapeutics Dr Helen Sheridan, Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of the nanoscience institute CRANN, and director of the Centre for Irish Bat Research Prof Emma Teeling.
Soapbox Science events were first piloted in London three years ago, borrowing the format of Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner, a historical arena for public debate. This year is the first time the event has made its way to other cities, such as Dublin, Bristol and Swansea.
Dr Natalie Cooper, assistant professor in zoology at TCD and co-ordinator of the Dublin event, is confident that all who attend will leave with different ideas about science and scientists. “Soapbox Science isn’t about old white-haired men in a stuffy laboratory; it’s about fun, enthusiastic, inspirational women – and the occasional mummified bat. I can’t wait!”
Soapbox Science events aim to help eliminate gender inequality in science by raising the profile of female scientists and their research. The Dublin event is held in collaboration with TCD’s Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER) and the Trinity Equality Fund.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland. You can nominate inspiring women in the fields of STEM via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter to @siliconrepublic.