February 5, 2023
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The magic of science: First ever Kilkenny Science Festival unveils dazzling array of exciting events

Reptiles, an online scavenger hunt, a transition year science quiz and many more fun and educational events will take place from Saturday at the first ever Kilkenny Science Festival.  

The jam-packed schedule of events will take place over seven days from Saturday as part of National Science Week, funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Kilkenny is hosting one of 14 regional science festivals which are taking place across the country.

Due to the public health emergency all of this year’s events will take place online.
It kicks off with the Kilkenny Science Festival Family Fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Scavenger Hunt, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

Kilkenny Science Festival coordinator Dr Sheila Donegan said: “This is the perfect opportunity for all of the family to work together to take on other families in a hysterical science-themed scavenger hunt.

Family members will be required to work as a team, submitting photo and video evidence of how they completed their tasks, in order to be in with a chance to be crowned The Champion of Champions.

“The Kilkenny STEM scavenger hunt has been developed by South African based Steve Sherman. He has set up a series of fun, crazy and challenging tasks for your family to complete. The more tasks you complete and the more creative you are in the way you complete them, the more points you will earn. This activity is appropriate for all ages.”

A Family Funday takes place on Sunday, bringing science directly into every home with a series of creative, fun and experimental science workshops.

Participants are invited to join the National Reptile Zoo as they take you on an in-depth guided tour. You can also learn about the science of zip-lining with the Castlecomer Discovery Park and how to make the best bubbles and experience the wonderful world of slime!

Dr Donegan adds: “For many years, we have been running events in Kilkenny for Science Week. There has always been such a demand for events that this year we are delighted to have received funding for a special Kilkenny Science Festival.

“With the Covid pandemic, we have seen that science is now more important than ever.  With that in mind, we have designed a festival with events for everyone to get involved in. There is something for everyone.”

Waterford Institute of Technology President Professor Willie Donnelly (WIT) said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Kilkenny Council, to deliver this new science festival. Our STEM Engagement Centre, Calmast have developed an exciting programme, and Calmast continues to prove that science is fun and can be enjoyed by the whole family.  So leave the Covid-19 lockdown behind by engaging in one or many of the fantastic events and workshops.”

A special all-female STEM event will be held on Tuesday November 10, in partnership with local companies. The talk will showcase the huge range of opportunities available to girls in STEM and will feature women who work throughout the industry. The event will be facilitated by award-winning science communicator Dr Niamh Shaw.

Kilkenny library will deliver flower bulbs to cocooning older people, with expert tips on how to look after the plants developed by WIT horticulture lecturer Yvonne Grace, Waterford Institute of Technology.

Students can also learn how science helps to build sporting champions. WIT’s Bruce Wardop and Aubrey Storey will discuss the Science of Elite Sport and show how science has helped the Kilkenny hurling team and cycling hero Sam Bennett to improve their performance.

For more information about and to view the full comprehensive programme of events, log on to: http://www.stemkilkenny.ie.

PHOTO: Dr Ken Farquhar, with his show ‘It’s all done with mirrors’


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