Beetles threaten to munch their way through North American forests

A troublesome beetle is munching its way through square miles of pine trees in North America, wreaking havoc in an area of forest 10 times larger than previous outbreaks. The current mountain pine beetle attack amounts to 150,000 square kilometres, well over twice the total surface area of the island of Ireland. Scientists believe they have […]

Fun Ear Facts for Kids

Our ears help us detect sound. Ears convert sound waves into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. While your ears pick up the sound, it is your brain that does the hard work of making sense of it all. There is much more to the ear than the part you can see on […]

Superheros or super beings: where is evolution taking us?

Birds do it, bees do it, but do we? Evolution through natural selection is alive and well and making changes in all the species on the planet, but where is it taking us? Scientists can actually watch the process in organisms such as viruses, bacteria or fruit flies.We know evolution is real because we can […]

Nano technology: how low can you go?

Forget the nano scale. DCU researchers developing free electron lasers measure the world on pico, femto and even atto scales The measurement “pico” has an onomatopoeic ring to it. It sounds small. It is small. Not as small as its numerical subordinates though – femto, atto, zepto and yocto. These scales might be insignificant physically […]

Owl research proves a real head-turner

If you’ve ever wondered how owls can do that impossible-looking move where they swivel their heads around, you are not alone. Owls can perform neck rotations of as much as 270 degrees, so a team at Johns Hopkins University in the US took a closer look at the flexible birdies to try and figure out […]

We’re a wet country, so why aren’t we more interested in our wetlands?

There has to be the occasional day at this time of year when Ireland, seen from space at the right angle to the sun, would glitter all over, like one of those Victorian diamond brooches people take to Antiques Roadshow. From ditches, dune slacks, reedy lakes, estuaries, sandy bays and flooded fields, our February dykes […]

Poor sleep could be linked to deteriorating memory

As we get older, it’s common to experience changes in sleep patterns. Meanwhile, in older age, a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex tends to shrink. Could these events be linked to poorer memory? Research in the US suggests that a disruption in “slow-wave” sleep in older adults is linked with less-effective processing […]

The trout study that could transform conservation

A study of brown trout shows there is more genetic variation among the fish than in human populations Martin O’Grady is probably the country’s foremost expert on brown trout. As senior research officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland, he has spent most of his working life travelling the country, monitoring fish stocks, assessing water quality and […]

Wild, windy and Ireland’s best refuge for hobbits

The landscape of Fermanagh, it occurred to me, would be Ireland’s best refuge for hobbits, if we had them. The heights of the county are frowning and wild, it’s true, and even quite scary at the windy clefts of Cuilcagh’s summit, or under the Cliffs of Magho. Great limestone caves and swallow holes speak of […]

Where otters dare, all is right with the natural world

ANOTHER LIFE: It’s an age since I saw an otter. On sorties to the strand, somewhat rarer now, I check a tuft of grass at the freshwater pool where a stream runs out to the channel. Green and lush from repeated doses of nitrogen, it bears the remains of the latest spraint, the otter’s dropping; a […]

Drilling for life in an Antarctic abyss

   The secrets hidden in one of the most remote environments on the planet are about to be revealed. Scientists working in Antarctica are set to drill down through more than three kilometres of ice to reach a fresh water lake that has not seen the light of day for up to half a million […]

Timely reminder of a mathematical genius

  That’s Maths: In two weeks, an international mathematical conference will be held at the Viceregal Lodge in New Delhi, once the nerve-centre of the British Raj. The conference marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the greatest mathematical geniuses to emerge from India. Ramanujan was born in 1887 into a […]

A Song For Lily Mae

Lily Mae Morrison has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma which effects 1 in 100,000 children in Ireland. She is 4 years old, she likes dinosaurs and dancing! To Date they have raised over 95,000 euro which is enough for the family not to have to worry about money during […]

The Gathering Ireland

Throughout 2013, Ireland will open its arms to hundreds of thousands of friends and family from all over the world, calling them home to gatherings in villages, towns and cities.  There will be clan gatherings, festivals, special sporting events, music and concerts taking place all across the country, all year longCommunities throughout Ireland will showcase […]

Cardboard bicycle ‘could change world’

Israeli inventor Izhar A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says. Izhar Gafni (50), is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with […]