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DIAS announces programme for Samhain agus Science festival 2023

Things that go bump in the night: bats, dark energy and worlds beyond our own at Samhain agus Science 2023

How can the unique biology of bats help us solve some of the greatest challenges that humans face today? What lurks on the planets beyond our solar system? These questions and more will be explored during this year’s Samhain agus Science festival, by expert researchers including Professor Emma Teeling, Head of Zoology at University College Dublin. Run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), the full festival line-up was announced today (23.10.23).

Now in its sixth year, Samhain agus Science brings together researchers from DIAS and around the world for a series of free in-person events that take inspiration from the Celtic festival of Samhain and look at the dark side of science.

Events taking place as part of this festival include:

  • ‘Sounds from the Deep’, Wednesday, 25th October at 10.30am, Galway City Museum: this interactive workshop will take place in Galway City Museum where visitors can listen to the sounds of the earth and learn about seismology – the study of earthquakes and the Earth’s structure – and more. The workshop is suitable for all ages and no booking is required.
  • ‘Bats: Myths, Magic and Mayhem’, Wednesday, 25th October at 7.00pm, DIAS Burlington Road: Professor Emma Teeling, Head of Zoology at University College Dublin and Founding Director of Bat1K, will explore the fascinating biology of bats and how they can help solve some of the greatest challenges that humans face today. Professor Teeling will take us on a journey through the myths, magic and mayhem surrounding these mysterious creatures.
  • ‘The Cult of the Dead in Medieval Ireland’, Thursday, 26th October at 7.00pm, DIAS Burlington Road: the period at the end of October and beginning of November sees many festivals such as Halloween and Day of the Dead. This talk, presented by Dr. Niamh Wycherley (Maynooth University), will explore the various festivals and how, in medieval Ireland, the dead were more than celebrated but played an active role in society.
  • ‘Darkness Falls, Cosmological Tension Rises. Old and New Mysteries of Dark Energy’, Wednesday, 1st November 2023 at 7pm, DIAS Burlington Road: presented by Dr. Yasaman Yazdi (DIAS), this talk will explore the nature and origin of dark energy and new mysteries that have emerged due to tensions between models of dark energy and the latest high precision cosmological observations. Guests will hear about ongoing research to understand these cosmological mysteries within the context of the ‘causal set theory’ approach to quantum gravity, which suggests that space and time are not smooth and continuous but rather composed of discrete, indivisible units.
  • ‘Galaxy of Horrors – Troubling tales from worlds beyond our own’, Monday, 6th November 2023 at 7pm, DIAS Burlington Road: this talk, presented by Dr. Johanna Vos (Trinity College Dublin), will explore the possibility of what lies beyond our solar system in the thousands of planets that are lurking beyond. While the optimists among us might hope for an Earth-twin that we could potentially visit, the reality is far more terrifying.

Commenting today (23.10.23), Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, said: “We’re delighted to announce the line-up for this year’s Samhain agus Science festival and to have such a diverse line-up of speakers. There is bound to be a topic that appeals to everyone, from bats and earthquakes to festivals celebrating the dead and what lies beyond our world.

“Public engagement events such as Samhain agus Science are a great opportunity for DIAS to bring our innovative research to a new audience in a creative and engaging way. DIAS researchers, and Irish research overall, has contributed significantly on an international stage over the last year and it’s important that we can showcase this to the general public. Collaboration with other research institutions is also a key element of our work and the evidence of this can be clearly seen in the diversity of this year’s festival programme.

“Our three Schools of research are represented on this year’s programme including Celtic Studies which will explore Medieval Ireland traditions, and Theoretical Physics and Cosmic Physics which will introduce the public to the dark and eerie side of science. We’re also delighted to welcome Professor Emma Teeling to the programme. Professor Teeling will introduce us to the fascinating world of bats, creatures the celts believed were spirits up to mischief!”

Registration for DIAS’s Samhain agus Science events is now live. All events are free to attend, but advance booking is required for the talks. To book, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/samhain-agus-science-2023-2590849