March 14th 2019 was a great day in the world of superheroes.
First, BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode I took place at TU Delft with the theme for the first episode being impenetrable materials. Jalila Essaïdi of BioArt Laboratories, and Max Wouters, Leyi Hsu, and Jeannet Liang of TU Delft spoke about their exploration of spider silk for impenetrable materials and for healthcare. Over the last two days I have recorded some great podcast interviews with the speakers. You'll be able to listen to this podcast very soon!
The second great thing about March 14th 2019 was that the second trailer for Avengers: Endgame was released online. Avengers: Endgame is out in April 2019 and I for one cannot wait to see the film. As with all superhero trailers, I like to analyse the films and try to anticipate what we might see in the film. As a special bonus podcast episode of BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science, I've put together my ideas on what the trailer might reveal for the upcoming film.
You can listen to the trailer on BW Science right now.
I hope you enjoy the podcast!
Later this week, I'll be hosting the first of four interactive talks at the Aula Auditorium on the TU Delft campus. The talk series is entitled "BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science" and it combines two things that I've very passionate about - superheroes and science!
In conjunction with the talk series I've also just started my first podcast and the first episodes are online now. The first podcast acts as an introduction to "BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science" while the second podcast is a preview of what to expect at the first talk event, which takes place on March 14th from 19.30 - 21.00 at TU Delft.
Have a listen if you get a chance and let me know what you think. You can listen here on this website or by clicking here and listening on Castos, the hosting site. Stay tuned for details on how to get the podcast on iTunes too.
More episodes to come over the coming weeks!
Exciting superhero-themed news!
I'm delighted to announce that in collaboration with Studium Generale (SG) Delft, I am arranging a brand new series of talks at TU Delft entitled BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science.
BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science consists of four events that will take place at the Aula Auditorium on the TU Delft campus. The talk series combines binge-watch culture, the superhero genre, and current scientific research that is taking place at TU Delft and other research institutes around the Netherlands. Each talk series will focus on a particular superhero or superheroes that have appeared in Netflix series and consider how their powers might come to be and how these powers could benefit society.
For these talks, I'm going to be the MC and can't wait for you see our exciting program! And for the first event in the series I'll get a chance to talk a little bit more about my work on impenetrable materials.
Further details on BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science are available at the SG Delft website.
And stay tuned for further announcements on the podcast series that will accompany BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science!
It's been a while since I blogged due to a very busy travel schedule over the last few months as well as a lot of work-related tasks that needed to get done.
Perhaps the best way to reboot the blog for 2019 is highlight an upcoming talk that I'll be giving in Amsterdam as part of the Imagine Film Festival. Yes, on Sunday April 14th 2019, I'll be speaking at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam. With so many superhero films due out over the coming weeks and months, it's an exciting time to be a superhero fan, in particular one who dreams about having superpowers. For the Imagine Film Festival I'll be covering many superpowers, superheroes, and a whole lot more.
You can check out my interview about my talk right here. Hope to see you in Amsterdam at the Imagine Film Festival.
After a heatwave that never seemed like it would or want to end, autumn is on the way with falling leaves and torrential showers forecast. Well that's what I'm expecting in the Netherlands in any case. The impending arrival of autumn also signals a busy few months ahead with events in the Netherlands, China, the UK, and Ireland on the horizon. Travelling the world with my superhero message.
First up is the Opening of the Academic Year (OAY) at TU Delft on Monday September 3rd. Each year, the OAY is a significant event in TU Delft's calendar as the latest batch of undergraduate students are saluted as they set forth on the next stage of their education adventure. The theme for this year's OAY is superheroes with the event entitled "Unchain Your Inner Superhero". For the event I'll be the keynote speaker during which I'll talk about the Secrets of Superhero Science and the lessons that the new students can learn from superheroes. Thereafter, two TU Delft researchers will speak about their research and why it is so important for the superheroes and a possible superpower future. At the end of the event there'll be a superhero-themed quiz with the audience answering the questions. Stay tuned for a blog on the event next week.
I've also got some very exciting news in relation to another scientific publication on superheroes. Stay tuned for the announcement over the coming weeks. And of course my open access journal "Superhero Science and Technology" will be publishing some more exciting superhero-themed papers in the autumn.
Lots of super-events and super-output ahead.
At this very moment in time, I am sitting in my hotel in Seattle about to set out and explore the city. I arrived here yesterday afternoon after a two-day roadtrip from San Francisco via the beautiful coast of the state of Oregon. In the middle of my roadtrip the latest trailer for Avengers: Infinity War was released to much fanfare and appraisal. While some contend that too much has been revealed in the trailer, most people have been invigorated with enthusiasm for the upcoming film release.
Avengers: Infinity War will pit the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Ant-Man (I hope) against the mad titan Thanos, who is hellbent on acquiring the Infinity stones so that he may "balance the universe". To balance the universe he intends to wipe out half of all the inhabitants of the universe, which means half of planet Earth.
The trailer reveals a lot, including the last stand of the Avengers in Wakanda. In addition there is a nod towards potential deaths in the trailer, with Iron Man and Captain America both in one-on-one combat with Thanos near the end of the trailer.
However, both Ant-Man and Hawkeye are notably missing from the trailer. I have feeling that this is intentional. If not, then they play no major part in the film, which is a shame considering they are two great characters.
Nonetheless, Avengers: Infinity War is sure to be a big hit when it is released next month. The posters and the billboards are making their appearances in the US already and the excitement over the film is climbing towards fever pitch.
I plan to write further on Infinity War over the coming weeks, so stayed tuned for further thoughts and blog posts.
It's been a while since I added to post to the site. Sorry for the delay, it's been a hectic start to 2018.
This year will see a number of superhero films released starting with next week's Black Panther film. I've got my ticket, have you?
Already this year I've spoken at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and opened Saxion's International Project Week in Enschede. The combined audience number from the two events was more 1,200 people, which is incredible.
Next up I'm off to the US to speak about superheroes (and my current research at TU Delft) at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in LA in March. And after that I'm really looking forward to speaking at the Mountain to Sea Book Festival in Dublin on March 23rd and March 25th.
Finally this year has started out incredibly in terms of my academic and superhero research. I had a paper published with regards to Hawkeye from the Avengers in Advances in Physiology Education. You can check out the paper here. I'll write more about this article soon.
And yes. Thanos is coming. More soon
This morning I was up bright and early. Just before 7 am. Due to my incredibly busy schedule it was the only time that I could grab a quick run. As I ran around Waterford City with the sunrise approaching, the reflected of light of Venus was obvious just above the cloudless horizon, reminding the early morning commuters and runners/walkers that it still existed.
As I ran out of People's Park I reflected on the past week. A week of 29 talks and more than 1,750 km driven on the roads of Ireland. It's been a superhero-powered rollercoaster. Ranging from talks in Limerick to speaking on the stage at the Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan where Christy Moore will perform over the coming days, it has been a memorable adventure. Superheroes and superpowers have been the centre of attention but the real superheroes and superstars have been the audiences - they make it all worth while.
For example, this morning I gave superhero talks in Dungarvan Co. Waterford. My first talk was to a an-girl 5th class group (10 and 11 years old) from a primary school. Their positivity and interest in science and superheroes was fantastic and hopefully some of the students will consider a career in STEM subjects in the future. One or two of the students were exceptional with some of them coming up with very creative ways of creating superpowers and even managing superpowers in the future. There may be no need for the Sokovia Accords from Captain America: Civil War in the real world thanks to the ideas of these students.
The superhero talks continue over the coming days. Tomorrow I'm in Edgeworthstown to speak at the Midlands Science Festival and next week I'm back in Dublin for more talks. My adventure finishes next week with a talk in Co. Clare.
It's so refreshing to meet so many people that are passionate about science, superheroes and the STEM subjects. Fingers crossed that some will be inspired to follow a science or engineering career after seeing some of the workshops this week.
At this very moment I'm sitting in a hotel bar in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan awaiting the arrival of my sustenance for the evening. The last two days have been for the majority spent on the road, listening to my specially prepared Spotify Science Week playlist. And yes there are some superhero musical scores in there in case you're wondering.
Yesterday started out with two talks at the University of Limerick (UL) at the Bernal building. The talks focussed on Iron Man and superheroes in general respectively. In total more than 450 attended the talks. It was fantastic to spread the word on superheroes, superpowers, science and STEM to such a large audience. The image at the top was taken at the start of the talk. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger picture of myself on a wall before.
After the talks at UL, I made my way across Limerick to speak at Thomond Community College. Finally, yesterday evening I gave an outreach talk in Roxboro in Limerick to an audience with Leaving Cert students and the general public. Once that talk finished I made my way up to Dublin in order to cut my today's journey to Monaghan in half.
Today was actually my first ever visit to Monaghan and I marked it by speaking at two all-girls schools in Carrickmacross and Monaghan Town. The students heard about advancements made by women researchers in the real world and the superhero films as well as the science behind the powers of some of the most powerful female superheroes in the films. For example, I promoted the great work of Jalila Essaidi BioArt Laboratories in Eindhoven, the amazing research of Associate Professor Ilja Voets and her team at TU Eindhoven. In addition I spoke about the development of the CRISPR/Cas system by Jennifer Doudna and her collaborators.
This evening I'll be giving a workshop at the Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney about the Secrets of Superhero Science. More super-science and superhero secrets to be revealed.
Until the next Science Week update, take care and always think super.
Yesterday my Science Week adventure got kick-started with a talk at the Ennis Community Centre with one of the most unique aspects of the talk being the venue.
First, it was a little cold in there but given that I was jumping around during the presentation I didn't really feel it. Second, there was a boxing ring right behind me, the gladiator arena used by Ennis Boxing Club when not hosting outreach talks about the prospects of a superpower-future. And finally all of this took place in an old chapel on of course - Chapel Lane. I've got to say it was a truly unique setting to give a talk about superheroes and superpowers.
There was a strong turnout for a bright but cold November Sunday afternoon for the talk. Plenty of curious minds and plenty of questions about having superpowers in the future. This year I've printed two postcards with red and green backs that I use during the workshops to do unofficial surveying. The highlights from the survey are that most people would like to have the eyesight of Hawkeye while not many are too keen on being cry-preserved in the future like the Winter Soldier. Probably deterred by the frosty ambience of the venue to be honest.
Onwards today to the University of Limerick and Thomond secondary school in Limerick before making the journey north for the Cavan-Monaghan Science Festival and further superhero presentations there tomorrow. The final presentation takes place just before kick-off of the Rep. of Ireland - Denmark World Cup playoff. I might need superpowers to see any part of it!
Think fast. Think super.