• 640px-Jonathan_G_Meath_portrays_Santa_Claus
    19 Dec 2014 • Perspectives

    Christmas wish list

    For our last post before the Christmas break we decided to collect people’s scientific Christmas wish lists from the department. We got a diversity of answers ranging from the realistic to the fantastical. Thomas Guillerme wants a super computer “that runs everything instantly, like if you have to run a loooooooong MCMC, it spits out the results instantly.” Natalie Cooper says “I’d like an automatic marking machine that could grade coursework and exams for me while I eat mince pies and drink tea. Failing that I’d like some friendly elves who would grade them for me while I [&hellip

  • einstein
    15 Dec 2014 • Perspectives

    Literacy Levels

    Scientists and science communicators often make the point that the public are scientifically illiterate and that this needs to change. But why? The line goes that as we live in an age of science so everyone should be comfortable reading, writing and talking about science such is its pervasiveness in 21st century society. Robert Hazen argues for the importance of literacy saying, “A scientifically illiterate person is effectively cut off from an immensely enriching part of life, just as surely as a person who cannot read” (1). However scientific literacy is not something that is easily defined. [&hellip

  • 1280px-Douglas_Fairbanks_at_third_Liberty_Loan_rally_HD-SN-99-02174
    12 Dec 2014 • Perspectives

    Vox populi – when science and the public engage

    Scientists are now being held to greater accountability by a variety of communities (both public and private), and the idea that scientists should be trusted to work in the interest of the public good, by virtue of their profession, is no longer accepted. So we now have a situation where government leaders and policy makers worldwide are finding ways to effectively communicating science and technology issues to the public and to include citizens in science and technology decision-making processes. This is a process termed upstream public engagement. Successful dialogue should prevent the given scientific issue from becoming [&hellip

  • 1024px-Hollywood_Sign
    8 Dec 2014 • Perspectives

    When Worlds Collide – Science Vs Hollywood

    Film directors often call on scientific experts to lend some legitimacy to their production. A recent, notable example was that of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne advising Christopher Nolan on the realism of the physics in Interstellar. I think directors ask for the counsel of scientists in cases where they seek to make a film with at least one foot in reality rather than an outright fantasy.  In Jurassic Park, a more biologically relevant movie, director Stephen Spielberg had noted-palaeontologist Jack Horner instruct the production team of the latest findings in dinosaur biology. The book and film [&hellip

  • Mr.rudeface
    5 Dec 2014 • Perspectives

    Public service announcement: How not to email a professor

    Quite regularly you get emails that annoy you… often they are flippant emails, and sometimes from students. Harmless or probably naïve that they are, they do get up some peoples’ noses. But every once in a while you get one that really gets your goat. Several months after some media coverage of a research paper from my group (as it happens one of my favourite papers I’ve been involved with of all time) I got a real gem of an email. “Woah!!! Who the F*%K is this guy and why is a CEO of an internet security [&hellip

  • A marked Sinai Hairstreak
    1 Dec 2014 • Perspectives • 4 Comments

    The Sinai Hairstreak: rarer than the Giant Panda and the Snow Leopard

    In 2010 I graduated from the Department of Zoology in Trinity College Dublin. I spent the next year travelling and completing any wildlife related internship or voluntary position I could get my hands on. I soon faced a dilemma; should I follow in the footsteps of my friends in academia and find a PhD or should I keep searching for a conservation job? I really didn’t know if academia was for me but I knew it would be a great advantage if I wanted to make any kind of an impact in the conservation world. I didn’t [&hellip

  • jungle pic
    28 Nov 2014 • Perspectives

    I’m on a field course- get me out of here!

    So, it’s that time of year again; as the cold, damp, dark, weather sets in we look to warmer climes for escape and entertainment. So; Take 26 people, from all walks of life, throw them together in a tropical paradise to camp with bugs, beasts and cold-water showers for 10 days and watch the dynamics and lessons unfold…. Ok so we’re not exactly celebrities, we didn’t skydive into the savanna, or have Ant and Dec provide a narration to our every move, or eat blended kangaroo testicles (though incidentally on the same trip last year I did [&hellip

  • flooded_forest
    26 Nov 2014 • News • 1 Comment

    Still Life Results

    We have finally decided on the winner of the Still Life photography competition. The theme was ‘Changing Seasons’ and first place goes to the ‘flooded forest’ which is our featured image today. As the entries were anonymous we don’t know who submitted the image so please make yourself known and gather up the plaudits you so richly deserve. Update: Our winner has come forward (see the comments). Congratulations to Aoibheann Gaughran of the TCD zoology department! Author: EcoEvo

  • 1024px-School_of_big_eye_scad
    24 Nov 2014 • Perspectives

    The Allure of Couzins: Self-organising collective groups

    Every now and then you stumble on a paper that changes everything for you. Typically something of a personal zeitgeist moment, it opens your eyes to a whole new world of potential and can spin your own research out in new directions, or encourage a complete re-orientation of your goals. In this new series, we are going to profile some of our favourite papers and maybe share the inspiration a little wider. I don’t get out from behind my computer much, but when I do, my favourite engagement with real animals is to watch swirling flocks of [&hellip

  • Internal-Affairs
    21 Nov 2014 • Perspectives

    Internal Affairs

    So for various reasons, one of which was being unsure of whether a PhD was for me, I found myself asking to work as an Intern with the good people in the Zoology Department at TCD. To give you a bit of background, I am a Zoology graduate with an MSc in Marine Biology, so not just some random bloke who happens to like animals and fancied chancing his arm. Anyway, I approached Dr. Ian Donohue whose research group interested me and thus began a 9 month Internship as a Research Assistant. With a little trepidation and [&hellip