Kerry Science Festival 2020: Health & Wellbeing

“Curiosity is science.”

Those were the words of Dr. Niamh Shaw launching Kerry Science Festival 2020, which was launched on November 3rd. And Niamh should know: An engineer, scientist, writer, performer and one-time Listowel resident, Niamh is on a mission to get to the moon. She has two degrees in engineering and a PhD in science, and she is passionate about sparking people’s curiosity by exploring where STEM, art and communications intersect.

During the webinar to launch this year’s Kerry Science Festival, Niamh spoke about the importance of holding onto curiosity and figuring out your passion. Clearly, Niamh’s passion is space—specifically getting to stand on the moon as a “science communicator, artist and writer and as the least likely candidate to be an astronaut.” She recalled her experiences on a simulated Mars mission in a facility in the middle of the Utah desert, which sparked a new respect for sustainability and an appreciation for sparing scarce resources.

Health & Wellbeing

Even if your mission and passion lie a bit closer to home, there is plenty in this year’s Kerry Science Festival to engage your curiosity, entertain, and educate. The theme of this year’s festival is Health & Wellbeing, a particularly relevant topic in light of the local and global devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Human health and wellbeing rely on complex interactions involving human activity that affect the quality of our lives and the environment on which we depend.

Professor Joseph Walsh, Head of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at IT Tralee, highlighted some of the key events in this year’s calendar:

100 Travellers 1000 Miles

Walking for Health Session & Q&A. Register here for this webinar on Thursday 12th November from 7pm to 8 pm.

Primary School Robot Challenge/Marathon Launch

This promises to be an exciting adventure for primary schools to build their own robot and compete with other primary schools, with the winner emerging next June. Register here to find out more.

The Future of Education through AR & VR Enhancements

Hosted by the Agricultural Centre of Excellence on the ITT’s North Campus on November 27, The Future of Education through AR and VR Enhancements is a short interactive film about the ways VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) can be blended with modern artificial and learning algorithms to deliver and improve all levels of education. Mobile AR systems using Machine Vision deliver relevant information to the user when requested, while VR is used to immerse educators and learners so that they can deliver and consume content in a safe and structured environment.

The Vision

The Kerry Science Festival is driven by a vision to share with the world how STEM supports society in ways that may not be apparent. Events in the festival seek to explore how:

  • STEM works across most fields of human endeavour.
  • STEM find solutions to all kinds of problems in so many ingenious ways.
  • The arts play an important part in human health and wellbeing (the “A” in STEAM).
  • Natural and social scientists and engineers are working on to improve our health and wellbeing and protect our environments.

An IT Tralee initiative, the Kerry Science Festival would not be possible without the active participation of enterprises, organisations, associations, and communities across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths in Kerry.

To find out more about the events, check out the Kerry Science Festival website and the Facebook page.