Supergirl, the Flash, and Gene Doping (with iGEM 2018)

Supergirl, the Flash, and Gene Doping (with iGEM 2018)
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On April 25th 2019, BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode III took place at the Aula Auditorium at TU Delft. The focus was on super-speed, Supergirl, and the Flash

In this second post-podcast for Episode III, you’ll hear from Monique de Leeuw and Venda Mangkusaputra who were both part of the 2018 iGEM team at TU Delft.  In conversation with host Barry Fitzgerald, Monique and Venda discuss their involvement in the iGEM team at TU Delft, gene doping, and binge-watching the Flash in preparation for their talk at BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science.

You can also watch BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode III from April 25th 2019 online, including the talk from Monique and Venda, at the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XQ4yXdocxo.

BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science is organised by Studium Generale Delft (Twitter: @sgtudelft) and BW Science. It is hosted by superhero scientist and TU Delft researcher Barry Fitzgerald (Twitter: @BWScienceNow).

Supergirl, the Flash, and Aerodynamic drag (with Alexander Spoelstra)

Supergirl, the Flash, and Aerodynamic drag (with Alexander Spoelstra)
BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Scien...

 
 
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On April 25th 2019, BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode III took place at the Aula Auditorium at TU Delft. The focus was on super-speed, Supergirl, and the Flash

In this first post-podcast for Episode III, you’ll hear from Alexander Spoelstra, a PhD student in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft.  In conversation with host Barry Fitzgerald, Alexander discusses his study of aerodynamical drag encountered by cyclists, his current work, and how he uses his research when he competes in triathlon events.

You can also watch BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode III from April 25th 2019 online, including Alexander’s talk, at the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XQ4yXdocxo.

BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science is organised by Studium Generale Delft (Twitter: @sgtudelft) and BW Science. It is hosted by superhero scientist and TU Delft researcher Barry Fitzgerald (Twitter: @BWScienceNow).

Preview of Next Live Event: Episode III – Super-speed

Preview of Next Live Event: Episode III – Super-speed
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A preview of BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science Episode II, which takes place at the Aula Auditorium on the TU Delft campus on Thursday April 25th 2019 from 19.30 – 21.00.

The focus of Episode III is super-speed and the main characters to be discussed during the event are Supergirl and The Flash.

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).

Post Podcast Episode I – Bulletproof Materials

Post Podcast Episode I – Bulletproof Materials
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On March 14th 2019, BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science kicked off at TU Delft with Episode I where the focus was on impenetrable or bulletproof materials. Superheroes such as Luke Cage, Colossus, Superman, and Wonder Woman all have access to impenetrable materials but could we make such materials in the real world?

In this podcast, you’ll hear more from those who spoke on this topic in Episode I. You’ll hear from Jalila Essaïdi of BioArt Laboratories Eindhoven and her incredible work with spider silk and bulletproof skin. You’ll also hear about the work of three TU Delft students – Leyi Hsu, Jeannet Liang, and Max Wouters – who worked on a responsible innovation project with regards to the use of spider-silk inspired materials in future healthcare.

BingeWatch Academy: Superhero Science is organised by Studium Generale Delft (Twitter: @sgdelft) and BW Science. It is hosted by superhero scientist and TU Delft researcher Barry Fitzgerald (Twitter: @BWScienceNow).

Superhero Scientist to speak at the Imagine Film Festival

Superhero Scientist Imagine Film Festival

Superhero Scientist Barry Fitzgerald at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam, April 2019

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.

Think super!

BWF

Avengers Infinity War is Coming

Barry Fitzgerald Avengers Infinity War Secrets of Superhero Science

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.

BWF

A Superhero Year Ahead: Starting with Black Panther

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

BWF

Ireland Amazes for Science Week

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.

Think super.

BWF

In the midst of my talk at the Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney. I don’t I’ve ever seen a bigger version of that picture before! (November 14th 2017)

Superheroes and a boxing ring on Chapel Lane

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.

BWF

Article on BBC Science Focus about Iron Man and Non-Spherical Particles

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.

BWF