Robert Boyle Summer School, Lismore Co. Waterford, 23rd – 26th June 2016

The Robert Boyle Summer School 2016 (an event aimed at all interested in exploring different aspects of culture) will explore Science and Irish Identity. See details of the programme here on Book tickets via Eventbrite.


Ireland’s literary and musical achievements are well acknowledged home and abroad and celebrated in many successful and long established summer schools. The Robert Boyle Summer School was established to explore the place of science in our heritage and culture and the 2016 School will address the theme “Science and Irish Identity”. This theme will resonate with the commemorations of the 1916 Rising and the Battle of the Somme and the school will take place in between these events from 23-26 June. The theme presents the opportunity to explore different Irish Identities not in terms of conflict but in their involvement in and attitudes towards science.

From the press release:

TCD Professor Jane Ohlmeyer will be talking about how the Boyle family, and others that came to the Munster region as settlers in the 17th century, saw themselves. The influence of science on Irish history and the influence of Irish history on science will be traced by US historian Dr David Attis. The Earl of Rosse, whose ancestor built the biggest telescope in the world at Birr Castle, will talk about his family’s contribution to world science from Ireland.

Prof Jim Malone will tell the story of the remarkable Rev Samuel Haughton mathematician, geologist and medic who developed equations for the humane hanging of criminals. The place of science in Irish culture from the late 20th century will be examined by journalist and academic Dr Brian Trench and Prof. Mark Ferguson Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Science Advisor to the Government will relate the current place of science in Ireland and the government’s plans for where science should be.

Meanwhile Lismore-born Dr Florence McCarthy will talk about the identification of a new drug candidate for the treatment of leukaemia derived from a natural source, the bloodhorn tree. On Sunday, Professor Luke Gibbons will talk about the period from Celtic Revival into the Free Sate while Dr Bill Eaton will bring it back 350 years arguing that Boyle’s “On Forms and Qualities” published in 1666 was one of the most important works in the history of philosophy.

Illustrating that science isn’t “apart” from other areas of culture, Professor Iggy McGovern will preside over a reading of his sonnets in commemoration of another of Ireland’s great scientists, William Rowan Hamilton. Eoin Gill, Sheila Donegan and Paul Nugent will be recreating some of Boyle’s fascinating experiments from 350 years ago.

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