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Midlands Science Festival

Published: 29th August 2013

The Midlands Science Festival takes place the week of November 11th as part Science Week, a national initiative to promote greater interest in science and technology. This is the first Science Festival for the region and will include activities in Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath.

The Festival is being co-ordinated by local development agency Atlantic Corridor with funding from Discover Science & Engineering and through partner activities with CPL and Ericsson. The media partner for the Festival is Newstalk. A series of school and public events with national and international speakers will take place across the four counties, highlighting the importance of science and technology education.

One of the festival highlights will be street and school performances by the multi award-winning Maths Buskers from the UK. Maths Busking aims to show the public the surprising and fascinating side of mathematics through the medium of street performance. As the Maths Buskers put it themselves, they aim “to reach audiences that wouldn’t buy a maths book, wouldn’t watch a maths documentary, and wouldn’t choose to go to a maths lecture”.

As part of the festival, there are 10 free places on local maths busking training which takes place on November 12th and 13th in Athlone. The training is open to all those from Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath who wish to improve their maths communication skills and add some busking and stand up comedy skills into the mix. The training will be fun, interactive and will also include an opportunity to test out skills on an unsuspecting public in Athlone. The performances include tricks such as predicting birth dates of the audience using "magic maths cards" , correctly counting handshakes in a large room and tying up two volunteers in ropes and helping them to work out how to escape without touching. Jackie Gorman of Atlantic Corridor commented ; "The maths buskers are for everyone from really young people to really old, it's things everybody can have a go at. We have found in previous work with the Maths Buskers that people actually discover through the fun and performance that their maths ability is much better than they thought. I would like to also acknowledge the support of Youth Cafe in the Gateway Project in Athlone for this initiative.”

Those wishing to book a place on the maths busking training can contact Jackie Gorman on jgorman@atlanticcorridor.ie or 087 7605824 and more information on the Midlands Science Festival can be found on www.midlandssciencefestival.com. A series of workshops for schools in Westmeath will also take place on November 14th and for schools in Offaly on November 15th. Places for these school workshops can also be booked by contacting Jackie Gorman.

A public event with the Maths Buskers and TEDx speaker Professor Luke O’Neill of TCD will take place in Athlone on November 15th and places for this free event can be booked on https://midlandssciencefestivalnovember15.eventbrite.com/

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