Genes that make dogs a man’s best friend discovered

  “Studies have confirmed that dogs, like preverbal infants, are aware of the intentional dimension of communication, an interspecies social skill that not even apes possess.”   Have you ever felt as though your dog is trying to talk to you? Not in the literal sense of course (although sometimes I swear my dog actually […]

Microbes on Mars

  “Mars however presents a challenge that requires novel ideas and technologies, ideas which will come from disciplines not normally associated with space travel.”     It seems inevitable that humans will venture to Mars in the near future; SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently announced plans for manned missions to Mars as early as 2022. […]

Mysteries of physics: vacuum zero-point energy

Physics of an Empty Box   Imagine we took a box, removed all matter from it, cooled it to the lowest temperature possible to remove all heat and sealed it perfectly. It appears that we imagined a boring empty box with absolutely nothing in it, but this is not true. Quantum mechanics predicts that in […]

Farmers, wildlife, freak-outs and facts

Wildlife conservation in Ireland has had a number of success stories to celebrate in recent years. Birds of prey such as the white-tailed sea eagle are breeding down in Killarney National Park after being reintroduced. This past week it was reported that another reintroduced bird of prey, the red kite, has successfully bred in Fingal […]

Surgical pioneer set for the first human head transplant

Three years ago, Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero announced that he could perform a human head transplant in a two-part procedure called HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the fusion of the spinal cord). Many have dismissed Canavero’s plans, with one bioethicist going so far as to label him a “Looney Tune,” but there are still […]

Citizen science: The dawn of amateur scientific discovery

Most of us are introduced to science at school as a rigid set of principles, equations and facts – laws that describe the world. Most of us don’t experience the process by which we construct these laws when studying science. As the astronomer Carl Sagan said, “Science is more than a body of knowledge. It […]

The giant panda’s disappearance from the endangered species list

The giant panda has become something of a success story after the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded its threat level from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’. This is largely due to the monumental efforts made by the Chinese government to preserve this icon of Chinese wildlife.   Intensive captive breeding programmes and efforts to […]

Laughter in the Lab: the indisputable importance of humour in scientific discourse

  If you tickle us, do we not laugh? Science is a serious business. It requires serious people to write serious grant applications, to convince serious funding agencies to support serious research projects. Furthermore, the results of these projects are published in serious peer-reviewed journals, which are read by other serious people, who plan and […]

Saving our biosphere – why we need conservation

     The Giant Panda was removed from the IUCN’s endangered list at the beginning of this month and is now listed as vulnerable. But what’s the point? Does it matter if the Giant Panda goes extinct? Or the Siberian Tiger or the Eastern Gorilla (now critically endangered) or the Polar Bear or any other […]

The Great Auk: from Extinct to Extant?

  Cabinet 20 in the Trinity College Zoological Museum is not crammed with specimens, instead it contains only one, the Great Auk. This specimen, collected off Waterford in 1834, represents the last recorded sighting of this species in Ireland. It wasn’t long after this that the species became extinct when the last known individuals were […]

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Jenny Corcoran
Harriet Bruce
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Maha Sultan
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Constance Millar
Nicole O'Sullivan
Chloe Aitken

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Joe McCallion
Tobi Irein
Niall Maher