The Summer School is a celebration of the life, works and legacy of Robert Boyle, the “Father of Modern Chemistry” and native of Lismore. Starting with an introduction to Boyle, his work and times and continuing over four days with talks, walks and discussion, the school is a place where scientists and non-scientists can meet and discuss ideas relating to our modern world.
Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691) was one of the most important figures in the development of modern science. His importance in promoting “the new experimental philosophy” has been highlighted in previous schools. After valid scientific method the other key part of the progress of science is communication of results and ideas. Boyle communicated his ideas by letters and books. In 1665 the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was established and Boyle became a prolific contributor. The Phil Trans is still published by the Royal Society and is the oldest scientific journal in the world. Scientific journals have evolved over the years into the modern peer-reviewed journal. While this has been a major driving force in modern science there is growing disquiet about problems with the process. It is fitting therefore at the 350th anniversary of the founding of the oldest scientific journal, given Boyle’s important role in the early journal and considering the problems now emerging in the system that the 2015 Robert Boyle Summer School would address the subject of scientific communication past, present and future.
We are delighted to announce a great line up of speakers including
Thursday 25th June
Events introducing Robert Boyle
The Boyle Show with Eoin Gill, WIT
Eoin Gill performs a costumed recreation of Boyle's most famous experiments demonstrating hisfundamental discoveries in physics and chemistry. In addition to telling the story of Boyle's life this presentation also shows the transition from the old world view inherited from Aristotle to a recognisably modern scientific approach.
Evening Lecture 7pm
Novel Science Writing with Prof Jim Malone
Jim Malone is Robert Boyle Professor (Emeritus) of Medical Physics at Trinity College
Dublin and Director of the Robert Boyle Foundation. He is a Consultant with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna since 2006, a regular contributor to the European School of Medical Physics in Geneva, and was Dean of the School of Medicine/Faculty of Health Sciences at Trinity College. He has broad interests in the humanities and directed two Merriman Summer Schools. He has been reading Boyle’s work in its original format for over 25 years.
Friday 26th June (at Lismore heritage Centre)
Robert Boyle, Philosophical Transactions and Scientific Communication.
Prof Michael Hunter (Birkbeck College)
Michael Hunter was a natural first choice for the very first Robert Boyle Summer School (2012) “having done more for Boyle studies than anyone before him (or, one might almost say, than all previous Boyle scholars put together)*”. We are delighted to welcome Michael back to Lismore to talk about Boyle’s scientific communication. Michael’s latest work on Boyle Aspects of the Life and Thought of Robert Boyle (1627-91) is to be published shortly.
Michael is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. His research is in the history of science in seventeenth-century England, particularly the work of Robert Boyle.
*Sir Noel Malcolm, 'Of Air and Alchemy',Times Literary Supplement, 22 August 2002
Dr Michelle DiMeo (Chemical Heritage Foundation USA)
Michelle is aninterdisciplinary historian whose research focuses on early modern science and medicine,particularly women in medicine and household remedy collections. She is currently Curator of Digital Collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF). Michelle has previously spoken at the 1st Boyle Summer School on Lady Ranelagh (1615-1691) who was Robert Boyle’ s older sister. While Lady Ranelagh had a life-long influence on her younger brother, DiMeo has shown that Katherine Boyle herself was considered an authority on diverse scientific subjects. This year she will explore the extent of Ranelagh’s own scientific communication. She is currently working on an intellectual biography of Lady Ranelagh.
Dr Aileen Fyfe (St Andrews)
Dr Aileen Fyfe is a reader in history at the University of St Andrews. She is leading the major 4-year project on the history of the Phil Trans: 'Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: the social, cultural and economic history of a learned journal, 1665-2015'. Aileen’s main teaching and research focus is upon British cultural history in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with particular emphases on science and technology, religion, and the history of publishing and communication.
Aileen is a former treasurer of the British Society for History of Science and chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s History of Science Committee.
Saturday 27th June (at Lismore Heritage Centre)
Prof Dorothy Bishop (Oxford)
Dorthy Bishop is Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford. Her main research is on understanding language problems in children in particular why some children have problems in language development while having normal development in other cognitive areas. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Western Australia. She is very passionate about public engagement of science. She is an extensive blogger and contributor to many debates on science communication in the media. See Dorothy's blog here.
Prof Sir John Pethica (University of Dublin)
Sir John Pethica is Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, and Chief Scientific Advisor at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington.
His work is in nano-mechanics, thin films, surface physics and microscopy. He was previously Professor of Materials Science at the University of Oxford, and has also worked in industry in the USA and Switzerland. In 2001 he moved to Dublin as Research Professor, and was the founding director of the CRANN Nanotechnology centre with the Naughton Institute and the Science Gallery. Awards received include the Rosenhain Medal of the IOM3 (1997), the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society (2001) and the Holweck Medal from the French Physical Society (2002).
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999 and became the Society's Physical Secretary and Vice President in 2009.
Saturday Evening Dinner with poetry by Iggy McGovern
7:30 pm Lismore House Hotel
Iggy McGovern is a poet and retired academic; he is a Fellow Emeritus in the School of Physics at TrinityCollege Dublin and has published two collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, The King of Suburbia (2005) and Safe House (2010). He edited the anthology 2012: Twenty Irish Poets Respond to Science in Twelve Lines, published by Dedalus Press in association with Quaternia Press, and co-edited (with Jean-Patrick Connerade) Science Meets Poetry 3, published by Euroscience. His most recent book, A Mystic Dream of 4, a sonnet sequence based on the life of William Rowan Hamilton, 19th century Irish Mathematician & Poet, is published by Quaternia Press (2013). See Iggy's website here.
In addition -
BBQ Lismore Castle Stableyard Friday 7 pm
Seisiún Ceol Friday Night Festival Club at Rosie's West End Bar 'til late
Unveiling of Plaque to Lady Ranelagh at Lismore Castle
Tour of the Castle Gardens
& other events