A preview of BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode II, which takes place at the Aula Auditorium on the TU Delft campus on Tuesday April 2nd 2019 from 19.30 – 21.00.
The focus of Episode II is genetic engineering and the main characters to be discussed during the event are Jessica Jones and the X-Men.
The podcast includes details of the speakers, the superheroes and superpower of interest, and some study suggestions in terms of Netflix superhero series.
BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science is organised by Studium Generale Delft and BW Science, and is hosted by superhero scientist and TU Delft researcher Barry Fitzgerald (Twitter: @BWScienceNow).
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!
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.
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.
Most of the time my fundamental research at TU Delft and my superhero work walk side by side with no obvious overlap between the two topics. However, earlier this year, one of the PhD students in our group published a very nice paper about drag forces experienced by non-spherical particles in fluid flows. In the paper, they found that the drag force experienced by a particle in the flow could be calculated for any orientation of the particle provided you know the drag force when the particle is parallel to the flow and perpendicular to the flow.
Now like many science papers it is very technical but with some very nice illustrations and diagrams. After I read the paper I got the idea to write a popular science article about the work and link it to the drag forces that Iron Man might experience. When Tony Stark is in the suit he sort of looks like a non-spherical particle in a way.
The article was published last week on BBC Science Focus Online magazine and can be read here. The article has even shared the front page for some time with an article about Stephen Hawking. You can see this in the image below with my article on the bottom right of the image.
Stay tuned as I’ve another article in the pipeline.
My adventures in the superhero world has thus far afforded me the opportunity to speak at events and locations that I could never have anticipated. From speaking at Dutch Comic Con to hosting a conference on Superhero Science at TU Delft, it really has one great experience after another.
Last weekend I added an arts festival to the list as I spoke on a panel as part of the Galway Arts International Festival. The panel entitled “The Power of Superheroes” and took place at the Bailey Allen Theatre on the NUI Galway campus. I shared the stage with some inspiring speakers and contributors as Jen Coppinger, Maura McHugh, Declan Shalvey and myself spoke for one hour about the superhero genre. Conversation ranged from the definition of a hero to the impact of ethics on the superhero genre. Although we only spoke for an hour I think we could have spoken for four or five hours. The conversation flowed and the superhero chatter was inspiring. An audience of almost 100 people listened attentively and contributed some great questions for open discussion.
In terms of my superhero adventure thus far this is right up there as one of the highlights and I hope to get the chance to speak once more in the future at the Galway International Arts Festival. For those who have yet to attend the festival please consider adding it to your future agendas. The line up this year was magnificent with music from all genres, art, performances and talks. Musicians such as Brian Wilson, Passenger and The Coronas performed over the course of the two weeks. The festival is a great advertisement for the city of Galway.
It’s just under 2 and half weeks from the Secrets of Superhero Science symposium at the International Festival of Technology, and I’ve got to say I’m pretty excited about it. The preparations are going well and I’ve spoken to all of the speakers over the last few weeks. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say and hopefully there’ll be a big crowd present on the day to hear about their amazing research and the link with superpower technologies.
In the lead up to the event I’m hoping that there’ll be some media coverage. Over the past weekend the first article about the conference was published in the NRC Weekend on the page “De Kleine Wetenschap”, a page of articles on science for younger readers. The article was written by Karel Berkhout. You can find the article below. However it’s in Dutch so my apologises to those without Dutch.
We’ve all googled ourselves. Don’t lie. Everyone has done it. Most of the time it’s just borne out of curiosity – a curiosity of how the digital world sees you. A curiosity about our digital fame.
Over the last few months I’ve not searched for myself. However I have searched for the book “Secrets of Superhero Science” to see how much the term and information on the book has spread around the world. Naturally most articles appear in English, given that the book is written in English. Every now and then I have come across announcements in Dutch promoting bookshop presentations in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Den Haag.
In April 2016 an excellent article written by Dick Ahlstrom about the “Secrets of Superhero Science” appeared in the Irish Times. The article received considerable media attention in Ireland at the time. It was even mentioned on an early morning radio show in Ireland in one of those “what’s in the papers segments”.
Yesterday I came across an online article that was published the day after Irish Times article that referenced both myself and the book in relation to technologies in the Iron Man suit. The most interesting thing about the article is that it’s in Spanish and published on a website with a Mexican url. Yes the “Secrets of Superhero Science” has made it to Mexico. According to the article I’m an “el experto” on superhero technologies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many thanks to Andrea Lopez for mentioning me in the article. You can check out the article (in Spanish) right here.
At the moment I’m relaxing in Ireland, on the west coast in Kilkee, Co. Clare, getting some time to unwind after a hectic few weeks and months. Just over two weeks ago I had one of those crazy weekends consisting of two gigs with Ten Tap Trouble, work spilling over into the weekend, falling ill with the summer cold that has taken out so many over the last few weeks and Ireland played France in the second round of EURO 2016.
In the midst of all of that, on Saturday June 25th I spoke with Jonathan McCrea on Newstalk’s Futureproof program about the Secrets of Superhero Science. The interview touched on my infatuation with the superhero film genre, superhero film history and of course super-science and the science that could possibly lead to superpowers in the future. I spoke about the X-Men and genetics, Iron Man and the technology behind the suit and Spider-Man and spiderwebs.
If you want to listen to the interview just click here to hear the podcast. You’ll have to scroll a bit into the podcast to find my segment.
This week on Thursday July 14th I’ll be at Hodges Figgis in Dublin. Hope to see you there. I’ll be starting my super-science lecture at 18.00.