Schrodinger at 75 Conference

Schrodinger at 75 Conference

Some biology students from 5th and 6th year attended talks at the Schrodinger at 75 Conference in September.  This conference celebrated the 75th anniversary of Schrodinger’s “What is Life?” talk, given in Trinity in 1943.  The theme of the conference was the future of biology.   Scroll down to read reviews written by two of the Students. 

 

The first talk we attended was given by Ada Yonath, an Israeli Nobel Prize winner.  It was titled, “The Future of Structural Biology”.  Yonath was the first person to discover the 3D structure of a ribosome.  A ribosome is a tiny organelle found in every cell which creates protein.  She explained how data and amino acids are brought into a ribosome, and how they come together to form protein.  In her presentation, she showed 3D representations of this.  She discussed how antibiotics work, by sticking to the ribosomes of a bacteria in places which prevent protein synthesis.  At many points she discussed the “pink future” of science, because now that women are scientists, they are the future.  Yonath has revolutionised the scientific world’s knowledge of protein synthesis.

Brigid Etchingham-Coll 5G


The second lecture we attended during the Schrodinger at 75, was Beth Shapiro, an American evolutionary biologist who integrates molecular phylogenetics with advanced computational biostatistics to reconstruct the influences on population dynamics in a wide variety of organisms.  She started the talk by telling us about her book, How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, the title itself if pretty self explanatory.  She then spoke about the three ways to revive a species, from either endangerment or extinction. 
First, there is traditional conservation efforts, such as protected habitats, poaching bans etc., then more genetic based conservation methods, such as bringing genetic diversity to an enclosed population through the introduction of members from a different, more diverse population.  However, this can’t always work as some species are the last populations and therefore have no other surviving relatives to widen their gene pool.  This is the problem with the black footed ferrets of North America, along with the plague.  To prevent the complete loss of these species their genetic material is preserved in frozen zoos, for optimal preservation.  This is where the last way of revival come into play, De-Extinction, reviving an extinct species by way of a surrogate or possibly in the future, on its own, meaning theoretically we could possibly revive mammoths and other great animals of the past.  But there are problems with this too, as she explained.  If we were to revive a species where would it live?  How would our city landscape affect it? How would it affect current species?  She left us with these questions to ponder as she finished her talk.  Overall it was an incredibly interesting and engaging talk from a fascinating speaker.    

Claire Gregg 5T 

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day

On Tuesday 9th October, five students from Ms Kerr’s science class visited an AIB branch in Leopardstown to take part in a STEM workshop. This workshop was in honour of Ada Lovelace, a 19th century English mathematician, considered to be the world’s first computer programmer. The primary objective of the workshop was to encourage and promote girls to pursue more technological and mathematical career paths.

The organisers at AIB started the day by providing us with breakfast after which we were divided into tables to sit at and began with the first activity – a cyber security talk. Five workers from the cyber security team gave us an introduction into their backgrounds and what their daily work involved. They explained encryption to us and led us through their dehacking procedures. Following this, we were given the opportunity to encrypt a message ourselves. The workers had a selection of spot prizes on show and throughout the workshop they would pull names out of an electronic hat to win certain prizes.

After a short break we went straight into the second activity of the day – beading in binary. Binary is a numeric system that only uses two digits, 0 and 1. Computers store their information in binary. We were given beads and plastic wire to create a necklace with our name written in binary on it. After this we were assigned a challenge: we were given 50 sheets of paper per table and were instructed to build as high a structure with these as possible. Following this we had lunch in their staff canteen.

One of the aims of the workshop was to show that having a career in computer science doesn’t mean you have to sit behind a computer all day. They organised to have around 10 of their female colleagues to come to the hall and we were to ask them questions on what they do in their career. We were given a list of facts that corresponded with one of the workers and we had to figure out which one was which. Examples including an artist, a doctor, construction worker and numerous backgrounds in foreign countries such as Australia.

We were then give a microbit workshop, presented by an extremely interesting and enthusiastic man, qualities in which I feel are such key elements to making a talk exciting and interactive for us students. He talked about the perception people have about computer science, thinking it merely involves a man hunched over a computer in a dark basement. He showed us the methods of basic coding and gave us various actions we were to instruct the computer to carry out, such as to roll a dice or show words and numbers. I found this area of the workshop the most interesting of all. We had done previous coding in school in first year but the coding we were shown was a lot more intricate and advanced. Overall I think the workshop helped inspire us TY students into the world of computer science and I feel we know a lot more about what computer science involves after attending the workshop.

Anna Capra 4T

Transition Year Uisce PE Adventure Trip

Transition Year Uisce PE Adventure Trip

We had a great start to the school year, 4M and 4T went to Coláiste Uisce while 4G and 4B went to Achill Adventure Centre.  We were very much looking forward to this trip as it would be the first time we all went away for an overnight trip with the school and a chance for us to bond with our new classes.  We went to Coláiste Uisce which is an Irish college located in the Gaeltacht not far from Bellmullet.  It is unique as it provides watersports and water-based activities for its students.

                We arrived to school early on Monday morning the 27th of September with heavy bags and excited looks on our faces.  We were ushered into the assembly hall where we all chatted excitedly and some of us tried to wake up properly.  Then we all piled onto the bus and set off for a four hour long journey to Mayo.   We arrived at Coláiste Uisce at around  3 O’clock, had lunch and got stuck into activities. 

Over the three days we did pier jumping, windsurfing, bodyboarding and raft building on the water and our land activities consisted of archery, rock climbing, orienteering, go- kart building, céilís and group challenges.  A lot of these were new activities we had never done and they were a great experience.  There wasn't a second we weren't busy!

The Centre was very organised and the staff were extremely helpful and nice.  The food we were served was very enjoyable and seconds were always available which was very much appreciated.  We always devoured the hot meals after being in the cold Irish water.  During our trip to Uisce we bonded with people in our new classes that we wouldn't have bonded with had we been in an ordinary classroom setting.  We bonded through team building activities, sitting together for meals and being roommates with new people.  All in all, we really enjoyed our time in Uisce!

We would like to thank Ms. Maverley (Year Head), Ms. O’Reilly, and Ms. Beatty and who took time out to go to Uisce and have fun with us.  We would also like to thank Ms. Crinion who made the whole experience possible.

Claire Connolly 4M

TY Adventure Trip to Achill

TY Adventure Trip to Achill

This year started off with a bang - an adventure trip to Achill Island, Co. Mayo. This was a brilliant opportunity to get to know our new classmates a little better.
On arrival, we were divided into four groups and launched into our first activity. Activities included; surfing, canoeing, hillwalking, climbing and archery. Those doing water sports were provided with top of the range gear including wetsuits, buoyancy aids and rash vests.
Surfing was everyone’s favorite activity. The instructors were very experienced and professional and provided one on one assistance in the water as well as a crash course before we began. Everybody enjoyed the challenge! We all got a kick out of the activities, despite any reluctance, due to the enthusiasm of the instructors.
Many thanks to Ms. Keegan, Ms. J O Reilly and of course to Ms. Crinion for organizing the entire trip, keeping us all on track and ensuring we all had a fantastic time. This was a brilliant opportunity to get to know our new classmates a little better.

Emma Goddard 4G