Science Review 2012 – Top 100 science stories: Nos 80-76

29 Nov 2012

Science teacher, former Rose of Tralee and PhD student Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and students Jillian Murphy (left) St Andrews College, Booterstown, Co Dublin; and Juanita O'Kane from Belfast Royal Academy,Co Antrim

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.

Deep Space Atomic Clock

80 – NASA pioneers new atomic clock for deep space exploration

NASA is pioneering a new deep space atomic clock so future spacecrafts will be able to calculate their own timing and navigation data in real-time.

The space agency is calling the technology a Deep Space Atomic Clock, or DSAC, to revolutionise the way it carries out deep-space navigation.

Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton

79 – Campaign to name new Dublin City bridge after Nobel physicist Ernest Walton

What better way to celebrate Dublin’s 2012 tenure as European City of Science than to name the new Marlborough Street bridge in the capital city after Ernest Walton, the Irish physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 along with John Cockcroft.

The duo became the first scientists to artificially split the atom back in 1932 as a result of their atom-smashing experiments.

Higgs Boson

78 – Higgs boson: has the ‘God particle’ been found? Live webcast from CERN

Scientists from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, revealed they may have finally found the long sought-after Higgs boson particle.

At CERN they have been revealing if they are closer to solving the riddle that has been puzzling the particle physics community for decades and which could revolutionise the scientific field, paving the way for a new physics, as well as our understanding of how the universe was formed.

Anita Maguire, Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy and Prof Peter O'Keeffe

77 – Tyndall scientist wins ICT Invention of the Year at UCC

Prof Peter Kennedy of Tyndall National Institute has gleaned the top innovation accolade at University College Cork (UCC)’s Invention of the Year awards. Meanwhile, the Life Sciences Invention of the Year award went to Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy and David Cronin of the Bioelectromagnetics Group in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at UCC.

The two scientists have invented a gastroenteral feeding tube placement kit for surgeons.

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin

76 – Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin talks science education (video)

TV personality and science teacher Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin awarded post-primary school students for winning the all-Ireland story-writing competition, Tell The Future, part of the pan-European environmental initiative ‘Future of Rural Energy in Europe’.

Ní Shúilleabháin was also an ambassador to Dublin City of Science 2012 and gave us a video interview about how students could participate in Ireland’s celebration of science this year.