All 2007

Seminar on International Development Issues at NUI Galway

Friday, 27 April 2007

A senior academic from the Madras Institute of Development Studies in India will deliver a public seminar addressing international development issues on Wednesday, 2 May at 5pm. Professor Ananta Kumar Giri's presentation will be called 'Reflections and Mobilisations: Development as Global Responsibility' and will take place in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre at NUI Galway. Professor Giri will draw on his theoretical knowledge and practical experience of international development. He has carried out fieldwork on global justice movements such as Attac in Europe which fights for the implementation of Tobin tax. Professor Giri has also extensively researched Habitat for Humanity, a project where people from materially affluent countries build houses with families in low-income countries. According to Professor Giri, "When we talk of development we are primarily wedded to the world of development interventions. In this world, international donor agencies play a determinant role, sometimes in "partnership" with states and local groups. However, there is unease with such an interventionist conceptualisation and realisation of development which leads its critics to label it as a new form of imperial domination". Professor Giri s recent work on global responsibility has seen him call for a greater merging of the disciplines of philosophy and anthropology. His interest in practical spirituality has also brought him face to face with the challenge of inter-religious dialogue or lack thereof, and he has been studying the recent upsurge of Hindu-Christian conflicts in India in a comparative global perspective. Dr. Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of the Centre for Learning and Excellence at NUI Galway and leader of the University's Community Knowledge Initiative comments, "In NUI Galway, there has been a considerable amount of research work which focuses on aspects of civil society, social needs and community development. We are delighted to have Professor Giri here to share his research and knowledge in this area." The event is being jointly hosted by NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and Development Education and Research Network (DERN). To reserve a place please contact Mary Bernard at 091 493823 or by e-mail ENDS

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International Seminar to Commemorate John McGahern

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Leitrim Co. Council, in partnership with National University of Ireland Galway, have announced that an International Seminar will be inaugurated in Co. Leitrim during 26 to 29 July, 2007, to commemorate the work and literary achievements of John McGahern. The Seminar will provide the launching pad for a major International Summer School on one of Ireland's best known and respected modern writers, which will commence in Leitrim during summer 2008. John McGahern, who spent his early years in South Leitrim and North Roscommon, lived most of his working life near Fenagh in Leitrim where he combined his literary commitments with an enduring love of farming and rural life. Since his death in March 2006, much has been written and remembered about his literary achievements. Most recently, he was posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by his colleagues and peers at the Irish Books Awards, 2007. Speaking at the announcement, Sinéad Guckian, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, spoke of meeting him when Leitrim County Council commissioned a portrait of the writer in 2002: "John was a world class writer, witty and good humoured. I was fortunate to have met him and I know that he was held in the highest esteem by the members of our Council as well as by all the people of Leitrim. I am delighted with the plans to celebrate his work". Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire welcomed the project and particularly the involvement of NUI Galway; "The aim of this project is to bring people closer to the work of John McGahern. The decision of NUI Galway to commit to this partnership with Leitrim County Council enables us to continue the dialogue between the place in which John McGahern lived and the university with which he shared his life's work." John McGahern had a long association with University College Galway, now National University of Ireland, Galway. For over thirty years he contributed to courses at the University, including, up to 2005, a major annual workshop at the University's International Summer School. He directed the National Writers' Workshop in Galway in 1979 and 1989. His extensive archive is now held at the James Hardiman Library of NUI Galway. Speaking at the announcement of the International Seminar, the President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, said "NUI Galway is very pleased to be associated with this important literary project in Co. Leitrim which recognises and honours one of Ireland's finest writers". Contributors to the International Seminar will include eminent writers, critics and academics as well as local writers. The keynote address - John McGahern: The Novel and the Story - will be delivered by Prof. Declan Kiberd, University College Dublin. Other speakers will include Dr. James White and Dr. Eamon Maher. The seminar will be coordinated by Dr. John Kenny, Department of English, NUI Galway. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern's own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture. ENDS

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Public lecture to discuss An Energy Policy for Ireland

Monday, 23 April 2007

A public lecture addressing the topic An Energy Policy for Ireland by Prof. John Simmie is to be given in the Roundstone Community Hall, County Galway, on Friday, 27 April at 7pm. Professor Simmie will try to square the demands of our economy and our commitments to the Kyoto Agreement. The lecture is organised as part of the Unfolding Ideas series in association with NUI Galway. Professor Simmie, a regular contributor to programmes such as the Last Word with Matt Cooper, the Six One News, Eamonn Dunphy and Pat Kenny Live, has also contributed to the print media on climate change, incineration and the Corrib gas line. He holds controversial views on global warming and climate change insofar as it applies to Ireland. Professor Simmie is Director Emeritus of the Combustion Chemistry Centre in NUI Galway, the only such research body in this country, and one of the very few of its type in the world. NUI Galway is also a centre of Bio-Energy Research. Unfolding Ideas is a Colloquium Series launched by NUI Galway to provide a forum for scholars, educators and artists to engage in a series of public talks, group discussion and workshops. The programme is organised by the Faculty of Arts and Galway University Foundation. ENDS

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NUI Galway astronomers make important pulsar discovery

Monday, 23 April 2007

Researchers at the Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway have made an important discovery regarding brown dwarfs which has revealed that these "failed stars" can possess powerful magnetic fields and emit lighthouse beams of radio waves thousands of times brighter than any detected from the Sun. The team of Gregg Hallinan, Stephen Bourke and Caoilfhionn Lane; scientists based at the Armagh Observatory; and US researchers in New Mexico and Arizona, has discovered that the brown dwarfs are behaving like pulsars, one of the most exotic types of object in our Universe. "Brown dwarfs tend to be seen as a bit boring – the cinders of the galaxy. Our research shows that these objects can be fascinating and dynamic systems, and may be the key to unlocking this long-standing mystery of how pulsars produce radio emissions," said Mr Hallinan who presented his findings at a recent meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in Preston, UK. Since the discovery of pulsars 40 years ago, astronomers have been trying to understand how the rotating neutron stars produce their flashing radio signals. Although there have been many attempts to describe how they produce the extremely bright radio emissions, the vast magnetic field strengths of pulsars and the relativistic speeds involved make it extremely difficult to model. The researchers have found that brown dwarfs are now the second class of stellar object observed to produce this kind of powerful, amplified (coherent) radio signal at a persistent level. The emissions from the brown dwarfs appear to be very similar to those observed from pulsars, but the whole system is on a much slower and smaller scale, so it is much easier to decipher exactly what is going on. Importantly, the mechanisms for producing the radio emissions in brown dwarfs are well understood, as they are almost identical to the processes that produce radio emissions from planets. Dr Aaron Golden, lecturer at the Department of Information Technology, who supervised the group said: "The observations that yielded this discovery involved the use of some of the world s finest astronomical facilities, but it was sheer hard work and focussed, inspired analysis that have put astronomical research at NUI Galway on a global stage. "I think it is particularly important to stress that such world class research being lead by astronomers at NUI, Galway is a testament to the quality and ability of our postgraduate students on campus, and a vindication of the University s recent decision to approve the setting up of the Centre for Astronomy." Mr Hallinan added; "It looks like brown dwarfs are the missing step between the radio emissions we see generated at Jupiter and those we observe from pulsars". The group is now planning a large survey of all the known brown dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood to find out how many are radio sources and how many of those are pulsing. If a large fraction of brown dwarfs are found to pulse, it could prove a key method of detection for these elusive objects. ENDS

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Medieval Research Scholarship unveiled at NUI Galway

Monday, 23 April 2007

The inaugural recipient of a travel grant supported by the Louis & Nellie Sieg and Frank G. & Gertrude Dunlap Scholarship Fund, USA, to assist research in Medieval Studies has been announced by NUI Galway. Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President for Research, NUI Galway, presented Rory Sherlock, a Ph.D student in Archaeology, with his award of €1,200 which will enable him to attend the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, next month. Mr Sherlock will present his paper on 'Past and Present Approaches to the Study of Tower Houses in Ireland' at the Kalamazoo Congress, which attracts over 3,000 scholars worldwide with an interest in Medieval Studies. Mr Sherlock will be accompanied to the Kalamazoo Congress by Dr Kieran O'Conor, Department of Archaeology, NUI Galway, who will address a panel devoted to 'New Research on Castles in Britain and Ireland'; and Dr Kimberly A LoPrete, Department of History, NUI Galway, who will speak on a panel she organised on 'New Documentary Communities in the Twelfth Century'. The scholarship fund has been established with an endowment donated by a Michigan-based charitable organisation, the LoPrete Family Foundation, which supports educational activities in the Arts and Humanities among other ventures. Recipients of the award are selected annually by a panel of academics convened by the Director of the MA in Medieval Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín. For further information on the scholarship, see . Further details on this year's International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo can be found at: ENDS

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