C’mere, it’s time to immerse yourself in Science Week 2023

This year’s event is exploring what it means to be human in the face of climate change and dramatic advances in AI

Science Week is just around the corner so it’s high time to plan your events, from building a terrarium to finding out about the science of sport or learning about cancer research through art.

This year, Science Week is focusing on what it means to be human in a world of change, according to Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, which supports the national initiative.

“2023 felt for many of us like the year that the impacts of climate change came very close to home, and that AI became integrated into our daily lives in a tangible way. We also saw amazing advances in science that have the potential to transform our lives for the better,” says Freeman.

“This year’s theme for Science Week is Human? exploring what it means to be human in the face of these changes, and how the decisions we make today will impact humans of the future.”


Midlands momentum

Numerous festivals and events will take place around Ireland as part of Science Week, including the Midlands Science Festival, which will feature talks, workshops, astronomy nights and even a cold-water swim.

“This year in the midlands we are exploring what it means to be human with a range of public events, everything from rugby to reptiles, from music to menopause and from astronomy to art,” says Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science.

Science Week is a great chance to engage with the science that is all around us in our everyday lives and to allow our curiosity and indeed creativity to flourish

—  Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science

Events across the midlands include activities as Gaeilge for young children, engaging active age groups to explore the science of movement, and a talk from palaeontologist Steve Brusatte about his new book, The Rise and Reign of the Mammals.

“Science Week is a great chance to engage with the science that is all around us in our everyday lives and to allow our curiosity and indeed creativity to flourish,” says Gorman, who last year won the SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication Award.

“I would encourage everyone to engage with science this November and beyond and to appreciate that science is for everyone and science is for life.”

During Science Week, artist Vincent Devine will display and discuss The Vitruvian, both in the midlands (Tullamore) and beyond (Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin). The striking painting depicts advances in cancer research and Devine worked with researchers at the UCD Conway Institute and patient partners to co-develop the artwork. The exhibitions at both sites will feature additional works stemming from this core painting.

Fun in Dublin

If you find yourself in Dublin during Science Week, C’mere Til I Tell Ye has plenty on offer to capture your attention. The festival puts the focus on fun and inspirational quizzes, acts and workshops and events include a session on how to build your own terrarium, a moon-gazing evening and understanding the chemistry of brewing and distilling.

C’mere is about having a bit of craic and maybe not even noticing that you are also learning new skills and perspectives,” says festival co-ordinator Phil Smyth from Simply Science. “So if you have even a passing interest in a topic, or you just want a fun evening, then c’mere, we have something to share.”

Know your genomics

If you are curious about genomics and how it relates to health and our day-to-day lives, then The Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI) might have just the thing for you.

IPPOSI is running a series of tailored workshops during Science Week, one for GAA members on genomics and sports, one for men aged over 60 on genomics and racehorses, and one for special needs assistants on genomics and rare disease.

“Genomics will become an increasing part of both science and everyday life in Ireland in the coming years,” says Dr Derick Mitchell, CEO of IPPOSI. “We want to use ‘conversation starters’ such as horse genetics, athletic performance and rare diseases to reach certain audiences. You don’t have to have a science or medical background or know anything about genomics to join the workshops. We want you to come with an open mind and lots of questions.”

Science Week 2023 takes place from November 12th to 19th. The full programme is at scienceweek.ie

Claire O'Connell

Claire O'Connell

Claire O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times who writes about health, science and innovation