The prospects for further major finds of oil and gas in the Irish offshore are good [Credit: Providence Resources]
News that a commercially viable oil field has been found off the southwest coast of Ireland made headlines at home and abroad at the end of July and begged the question; how much oil and gas can be exploited in the large Irish offshore?
The potential of the Ballyroe field ( see image on the right) licensed to Providence Resources had been known about for years, but what was significant about the recent news was that the company said the find was far larger than had been previously thought.
The difficult, deep waters off the Irish coast are not the easiest places to search for oil, but with oil prices surging, and a lack of major new finds worldwide, it seems that Ireland’s oil and gas ‘ship’ might finally have come in.
Unlike in times past, exploration companies have the technology and the motivation to exploit Irish hydrocarbon reserves. So, what might they find? We asked Dr Andrew Wheeler, Head of Geology at University College Cork.
LISTEN: Interview with Dr Andrew Wheeler
Broadcast on 09.08.2012 on Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM
Ireland has one of the highest incidence of asthma in the world, and the problem shows no signs of going away. So, why is it that asthma is increasing everywhere in the developed world, and Ireland in particular?
Meanwhile, in less developed countries, such as many African nations, asthma is rarely seen.
Professor Padraic Fallon, based at the Institute for Molecular Medicine at TCD, a renowned asthma researcher. Prof Fallon said that he has been focused on identifying the factors that make African children resistant to asthma.
First broadcast on Ireland AM
Experts estimate that 2,500 Irish people per year die as a result of being obese. Shockingly, 24 per cent of Irish adults are now obese, while 20 per cent of 5 to 12 year olds are either obese or overweight.
Despite this huge and growing threat to public health problem, there is only one clinic in Ireland specialising in the treatment of obesity and related problems.
This clinic is at Loughlinstown Hospital in Dublin, and the consultant in charge is Professor Donal O’Shea.
Broadcast 02.06.2009 on Ireland AM
Free will. It goes to the core of being human, and defines what distinguishes us from the animals. It even underpins the basis for many religions. For example, freely choosing to follow Jesus, some believe, is the only path to heaven.
New findings from brain scans indicate that free will may be an illusion, as these scans clearly show that decisions are made in our brains, before we are even consciously aware of them.
To find out more:
LISTEN: Is free will an illusion?
Broadcast on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan, 22.03.2012
Natalie Brennan, 3rd year science student at NUI Maynooth, and winner of the 2012 Whittaker Award with biology lecturer at NUIM, and a judge on the night, Dr David Fitzpatrick.
The incidence of asthma, eczema and other allergies is rising in the developed world, with Ireland right at the top of the list in terms of the ratio of people affected.
Why is this happening?
We discuss this with Natalie Brennan, a 3rd year, science student,w ho recently won the 34th annual NUI Maynooth Whitakker Award for her talk on an allergic condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.
Natalie’s eight-year old son is affected by the condition.
LISTEN: Interview with Natalie Brennan
Broadcast on Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM on 15.03.2012
Ireland is dangerously dependent on imports of natural gas. Bringing home-grown gas ashore and retrieving onshore reserves under western and northwestern counties can end this reliance and transform Ireland into a natural gas exporter.
For more, read ‘Think Tank’ article published in The Sunday Times, below, on 11.03.2012
Is the Irish taxpayer getting a bad deal from its massive investment since the late 1990s in increasing the links between universities and industry? (credit: TCD)
Since the late 1990s Ireland has invested billions of taxpayers’ euros in supporting science and technology.
The rationale for this has been to encourage more innovation in the economy here, and to move Ireland up the ‘value chain’ towards higher skilled, and better paid jobs.
However, evidence is mounting that the Irish taxpayer is not getting value for its enormous investment in science. The return in terms of jobs, and economic growth has been poor.
Dr Declan Jordan, an economist based at University College Cork, argues that Ireland’s ‘science push’ policy has failed.
Listen: Interview with UCC economist Declan Jordan
First broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM on 1.03.2012
South African philosopher, Professor David Benatar argues that it is immoral and selfish to bring children into the world (credit: newbornbabyzone.com)
It is the most natural thing in the world for many of us. Find a partner we love, and bring a child, or children into the world. But, is this drive, or need to bring children into the world immoral and selfish?
Well, Professor David Benatar a philosopher, based in Cape Town University, argues that it is, and has backed up that view with well articulated philosophical arguments in his book, Better to Have Never Been, The Harm of Coming into Existence.
The views of Benatar were the subject of debate at a recent lecture in the 2012 UCC public lecture series when Dr Tom Moore, a reproductive biologist at UCC, outlined the reasons why he believes that Benatar deserves to be taken seriously.
Listen: Interview with Dr Tom Moore
Broadcast on Dublin City FM on 19.01.2012