Science and Technology in Action (STA) annually produce a set of industry led lessons, designed to support the teaching of science and related subjects in second level schools.
Bacteria have existed on Earth for a few thousand million years and have evolved the ability to exploit most food sources. Synthetic polymers have been around for less than a hundred years. Nonetheless, in that relatively short time, some strains of bacteria have evolved the ability to use particular plastics as a food source to a limited extent.
Skills are abilities that are developed by experience and practice. The term ‘skill set’ refers to the combination of skills needed to do a particular job well. The following skills are generally considered to be essential today: literacy, numeracy, relevant ICT, interpersonal skills, the ability to work as part of a team and dependability.
The Visual Display is one of the three main elements of a BTYSTE project, the others being the Project Diary and the Report Book. The Visual Display is a vital part of the project presentation. It should be designed to offer an attractive summary of the project illustrating the project’s rationale, the question being investigated and the main findings.
The early telecommunications systems were digital, that is, the signals typically consisted of short or long pulses with gaps in between. Generally, only two levels were used: ‘on’ and ‘off’; in other words, they were binary systems. The most enduring and useful of those early systems was Morse code which continued in commercial use from about 1850 to about 1990.
Pumped hydroelectric energy storage is a proven technology which today accounts for about 99% of global energy storage. It combines high power with large capacity. At present there is only one such facility in Ireland. The overall efficiency of pumped hydroelectric energy storage is around 75%.
Ireland produces over one million tonnes of food waste every year. About one third of this comes from households, with each producing an average of 700 kg per year or about 2 kg per day. It is estimated that this costs somewhere between €400 and €1000 per household annually. Other waste comes from commercial activities such as production, processing and service (retail, restaurants etc.).
From food and drink we get all the nutrients required to sustain life. However, consuming food can also expose us to certain hazards. The labels on packaged foods can alert people to the risk posed by certain foods (e.g. food allergens). However, for this to be effective the lists of ingredients and other information must be accurate.
Measles infection can lead to long term deafness or intellectual disability and is sometimes fatal. Vaccines can protect people against many diseases including measles, mumps, pertusiss (whooping cough), meningococcal disease, cervical cancer, influenza and polio.
The term ‘circular bioeconomy’ refers to an economy that is largely independent of fossil fuels and in which waste materials are reused or recycled to extract the maximum benefit from them while eliminating the disposal of resources in nonrenewable ways. This is the only way in which human beings can survive in the long term on this planet.
In the production of chemical substances, especially pharmaceuticals, it is important to ensure that the products are pure and uncontaminated. Separation techniques are the methods used to remove one substance from a mixture containing any number of other substances, for harvesting or identification.
Sustainable development aims to provide an acceptable standard of living for existing generations without damaging the prospects for future generations, that is, without exhausting our natural resources or damaging the environment. Geospatial data, combined with accurate location maps, provides the critical tool for planning the actions necessary to accomplish these objectives.
In Parentis-en-Born (France) a tomato growing company produces 7,500 tonnes of vine tomatoes per annum. The greenhouses are indirectly heated by hot water from the nearby Vermilion oil/gas facility. Without this heat source the greenhouses would have to be heated by combustion of oil or gas which would add to the cost of production. The whole operation supports 250 local jobs.
Marine litter causes serious economic damage. The estimated cost across the EU for coastal and beach cleaning was almost €630 million per year, while the cost to the fishing industry is almost €60 million. Marine litter may be one of the fastest growing threats to the health of the world’s oceans.
This lesson looks at applications of implantable pulse generators (IPGs) in the relief of chronic pain and treatment of tremors. Such ‘neuromodulation’ involves changing or modulating nerve activity through electrical or chemical stimulation in specific areas.
For many of today’s professional scientists and entrepreneurs, participation in the competition was the starting point. For example, two brothers from County Limerick, who won the top award in 2010, went on to found the famous online payment company called Stripe, currently valued at over €9 billion.
It is sometimes difficult to choose the most economical mobile offer. There are many variables such as number of phone minutes, number of texts, data allowance, roaming etc. This is where the ComReg Price Compare online calculator and Android app really help.
The discovery of natural gas fields offshore Ireland has enabled the transition from fuel sources such as peat, coal and wood to natural gas, which is a low-carbon fuel. Continued offshore exploration for natural gas can help secure Ireland’s energy supply and help meet our current and future energy needs.
In order to help plan and operate the future transmission system, EirGrid have developed four different ‘future possibilities’ or scenarios to help plan the system with future uncertainties. These scenarios are summarised in this lesson.
The environment in which we live can influence our health and wellbeing, both positively and negatively. “We benefit much more from clean air, pure water, good food and exercise and strong communities than we do from hospitals, medicines and clinics.”
In order to meet future energy needs in a sustainable way we must lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions, and embrace the transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. The transition to a low-carbon future must ensure security of supply and competitiveness.
Why do people reject evidence? When people have their minds made up in advance they reject real evidence in favour of a belief, even when that belief is shown to be without foundation. People sometimes fail to distinguish between coincidence and causation.
Monoclonal antibodies are artificially produced antibodies designed to target and bind to specific antigens. They are use to treat specific conditions such as: arthritis, asthma, B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, dermatitis, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and many more.
The OSi/CSO open data collaboration illustrates the application of a modern concept known as linked data. By linking population statistics and geospatial data, colour coded maps can be generated ‘on the fly’ to show the results of almost any desired search.
Energy is a defining feature of modern life. Whether as individuals, communities or economies we depend on convenient, reliable and affordable energy. With growing world population and economic development, more energy is required but we must fi nd more sustainable ways of producing it.
Many new and emerging technologies will revolutionise farming in Ireland. These include the use of advanced sensors for data collection, further development of precision agriculture, expanded use of robotics and automation and greater use of biotechnology and bioengineering in farming.
This lesson discusses the process involved in submitting entries to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The requirement to carry out careful and detailed planning which will inform the mandatory one-page proposal is stressed. The critical importance of the one-page proposal is central to the lesson.
The term ‘sustainability’ relates to the need to ensure that we do not deprive future generations of essential energy resources by using them up or by damaging the environment in an irreversible manner. The obvious way of ensuring sustainability is the use of renewable resources.
HPV vaccine safety has been monitored for more than ten years and is continually reviewed by many international bodies including: the European Medicines Agency; the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety of the World Health Organization; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.
Aquaculture, the husbandry of animals and plants in aquatic environments, is also an important industry. Ireland has an abundance of aquatic environments suitable for aquaculture ranging from its extensive and varied coastline, to its abundant inland waterways.
The quality of life of patients with long term or chronic conditions is generally much greater if they can stay in their own home. They maintain contact more easily with family and friends and have a greater degree of freedom. With the benefit of RPM (remote patient monitoring) it is possible to quickly advise the patient or family members on what action to take if a problem arises.
Today SRDs or ‘short range (radio) devices’ are in common use. These devices use low power RF (radio frequency) in specified RF bands. They are not likely to cause harmful interference to other networks or to essential public services and so no licence is required for their use.
Metallic conductors, such as copper and aluminium, carry the electric current to our homes and places of work. However, some energy is lost along the way as heat because even the best conductors have some electrical resistance. These losses have been reduced from about 13% in 1960 to about 7.5% in 2016. Can we reduce these losses even further?
Over a relatively short period of time the Information Technology (IT) industry has emerged as a significant influence on a changing workplace. This lesson discusses some of the features of this change such as mobility, remote working and technologies driving these. The concepts ‘Bring You Own Device’ and ‘Activity Based Working’ are also explained.
Today we face potential shortages of food, water, fuel, timber and critical materials. Historical events have been driven by drought, famine and climate events, and continue to be. Our current wasteful use of the limited available resources cannot be sustained.
The innate immune system is always ready to fight infection while the adaptive (or ‘specific’) immune system is activated when the innate system fails to stop infection. Inflammatory disease can be caused by an autoimmune response in which the body’s immune system attacks normal healthy tissue mistaking it for a pathogen.
Maps are used for decision making in many areas of activity such as flood control, mineral exploration, housing and education. Layered mapping allows the user to place different geo-spatial data sets onto a map in layers. The lesson describes the GeoHive – a web platform that facilitates this process and instructs the student on its use.
In multiple sclerosis the myelin sheath surrounding neurons is attacked by the body’s defence systems resulting in the slowing down of the signal or even its blockage. Even if a signal is just slowed down it will cause responses to go out of synch and become ineffective.
The Earth’s climate has always been changing. However, scientists have now concluded that there is a 95% probability that the global warming of the last 50 years is due to man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs). This is because the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect has been enhanced by these emissions.
With over 50.000 visitors, the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, showcases some 550 student projects. This lesson provides first-hand accounts from three previous prize winners – two groups and one individual – who describe the unique, fascinating, and often life-changing, experience in their own words.
The maximum sustainable yield from a fishery occurs when the rate of reproduction of the fish is at a maximum. This occurs at half the carrying capacity of the fishery. A fish stock can be compared to an investment fund. If interest is withdrawn from it faster than it accumulates then the fund declines. Several fish stocks in the sea areas around Ireland are overfished.
Kidney stones can often be shattered using a non-invasive procedure called shock wave lithotripsy. The shattered pieces are then eliminated naturally from the body. High energy sound waves are focussed on the stone for about an hour at the rate of about 1 pulse per second.
Radio signals, like light, are electromagnetic. They do not require a medium and they travel at about 300 million metres per second. The frequency of radio signals ranges from about 100 kHz to beyond 1000 MHz. The corresponding wavelengths range from 3000 metres to 0.3 metres.
Volts, amperes and watts are related as follows: watts = volts × amperes. This lesson explains the meaning of these units and why they are related in this way. It also highlights how the unit of electric charge (the coulomb) relates to volts and amperes.
The topic of this lesson is the ‘Internet of Things’(IoT), also known as the ‘Internet of Everything’. The lesson describes the purpose of the IoT and the characteristics required by ‘things’ in order to operate effectively in that environment. The innovative EMC test platform is also described.
This lesson outlines the structure and operation of septic tanks. It describes primary, secondary and tertiary treatment processes. Septic tanks are so unobtrusive that they are easily forgotten and this can lead to major problems. All septic tanks must now be registered with the local authority. The EPA supervises the inspection of the tanks by the local authority.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges — three layers of tissue that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The classical symptoms of meningitis are fever, vomiting, drowsiness, feeling confused and irritable, stiff neck and photophobia. The final two symptoms are often absent in small children.
When carrying out project or maintenance works on the railways it is important to conduct ecological surveys beforehand in order to plan correctly and assign appropriate mitigation measures. Quantitative, qualitative or semi quantitative surveys set a baseline indicator of biodiversity in specific localised areas.
This lesson deals with the topic of coding and discusses some of the principles involved. An example of the ‘object oriented’ concept is presented and the object-oriented spatial database Prime2, Ireland’s National Spatial Platform, is described. The OSi project with CoderDojo and Minecraft is outlined.
Health and safety in the workplace is the topic of this lesson. Having underlined the critical importance of workplace incidents to economic and social wellbeing, the ‘Siemens Zero Harm’ policy is described. This highly effective strategy is the legacy of Werner von Siemens, founder of the famous global engineering company.
In the past thirty years only two new classes of antibiotics have appeared and so the problem of antibiotic resistance is becoming more serious. The World Health Organisation has classified it as a ‘serious threat that has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country’.
Although blind, Mark competed in ultra-endurance races across the globe and rowing in the Commonwealth Games. In 2010, a tragic a fall left him paralysed. This lesson outlines his story and describes his current exploration of the application of scientific knowledge to the treatment of spinal cord injury.
Soils can now be classified using the World Reference Base (WRB) for soil resources. It draws on ideas from the USDA, Russian and other systems. This system recognises 32 basic reference soil groups. Globally, the WRB system can be used as a benchmark.
This lesson describes how the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition promotes scientific inquiry. It emphasises the importance of developing your curiosity about the world around us and outlines how to take part in the exhibition.
This lesson explores the evolution of the electric car, the science and technology behind it and the reasons why it is becoming more important to modern life. Key components are the electric motor and the battery, and there is ongoing research to make them more efficient. An A3 poster on ecars is also included.
With an estimated 80% of species in EU waters being overfished it is essential that our fisheries work in a sustainable manner to ensure that our marine resources are kept in good health for future generations. In order to do this a detailed understanding of marine ecology is required.
Medical devices that are implanted in the body generally come into contact with a variety of tissues and their interaction with each tissue type must be taken into account so that there is maximum benefit with minimal adverse reaction. This lesson considers some of the issues associated with biocompatibility.
Air traffic control, weather forecasting and navigation are among the most important applications of radar. The lesson outlines the basic principles of radar systems. ComReg regulates the allocation of the hundreds of RF bands that are used for TV and radio, mobile phones, radar, meteorology and satellite communications.
Ethical behaviour in business, no less than in everyday life, is often taken for granted but the consequences of unethical activity are so grave, as evidenced by the financial crash, that it is vital to set up compliance programmes that promote and support ethical behaviour at all levels of business.
Agriculture’s most significant contributions to global greenhouse gases are due to methane (8.6%) and nitrous oxide (5.5%). In fact agriculture is the most significant source of these gases. While agriculture itself contributes relatively little to CO2 levels, changes in land use make a much greater contribution (12%).
The term ‘3rd platform’ refers to the revolution in information and communications technology brought about by modern mobile telecommunications in conjunction with online applications and ‘cloud’ based storage.
Electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength is less than about 300 nm is called ionising radiation because it can knock electrons off some atoms and molecules causing ions to form, or to be more precise, ion pairs. Ionising radiation can damage bio-molecules such as DNA, causing cells to malfunction or die.
Pertussis is a serious and very contagious bacterial disease that can last for up to three months. Children are most commonly affected. It can be prevented by a course of vaccination. Outbreaks recur when the percentage of people vaccinated falls.
Interferon inhibits cell proliferation and so has anti-cancer properties. In order to make it DNA coding for interferon is introduced into E. coli bacteria which multiply and produce commercial quantities of interferon. The cells are regularly harvested and the interferon extracted. Genetic modification of the bacteria is necessary as otherwise they would destroy the interferon, a protein foreign to them.
Severe flooding events in recent years have highlighted the importance of maps that show the likely extent of flooding for a given rise in water level. OSi generates maps from a database that is constantly being updated with data from total stations, GPS receivers, lidar, 3D scanners etc.
The term ‘carbon capture’ refers to processes in which CO2 is captured at source with a view to storing it permanently, typically underground. Anthropogenic CO2 comes mainly from fuel combustion and so research in this area has focused on capturing CO2 before, during or after the main combustion process.
Wind power has been the most rapidly growing form of energy in Ireland over the past ten years; installed capacity has risen from about 600 MW (in 2004) to 2190 MW (in 2014). Wind power is generally greatest in Ireland during winter when the demand is highest − in contrast to solar power.
Apart from helping digestion, gut bacteria benefit us in many other ways. They aid the development of some immune system cell types and they reduce the risk of allergies. They are affected by what we eat and our level of activity. Gut bacteria benefit us in so many ways that our health depends on them.
There were no mobile phone subscribers in 1982. Today, some thirty years later, while 18% of the world’s 7 billion population do not have electricity and 20% cannot read or write, nearly 85% have mobile phones. This extraordinary situation illustrates our fascination with the mobile.
Robotic machines first appeared in the manufacturing industry in the 1950s. Since then, there has been significant scientific and technical advances in robotic design and functioning. This lesson looks at this historical evolution and describes the fundamental physics and mechanics involved.
Cervical cancer is responsible for the deaths of some 250,000 women each year and most are a consequence of HPV infection. This lesson outlines the range of papilloma viruses and describes how vaccines can provide a very high degree of protection.
Some 100,000 people in Ireland are known to be suffering with arthritis and many more are claimed to be undiagnosed. This lesson looks at the impact of arthritis on skeletal joints. The various types of the disease are described — osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis.
Food quality is important for both human health and Irish export sales. Genomic analysis of cattle, as carried out by the ICBF, allows scientists to design specific breeding regimes and to predict the quality of beef and milk. This lesson deals with human nutrition, cattle breeds in Ireland, the impact of genomic science and genomic profiling.
This lesson discusses the difference between ‘data’ and ‘information’ and describes how an analogue entity is digitised. The function of the microprocessor is discussed along with the meaning of terms such as machine language’. This leads to the topic of computer programming.
The use of X-rays in any situation carries some risk and accordingly such use is carefully monitored by the RPII. This lesson describes the nature of X-rays and their position in the electromagnetic spectrum. The production of X-rays for medical application is discussed.
Many industries are founded on chemistry and this lesson describes how chemistry underpins many processes. The concept of the chemical formula is examined and the terms ‘chemical formula’ and ‘structural formula’ are differentiated.
Maps have played a critical role in the evolution of human society. This lesson from OSI discusses the history of mapping and outlines the various techniques utilised. The mathematics of triangulation is explained and the great Irish survey of the mid 19th century is described.
This lesson deals with some of the technologies behind the Wi-Fi phenomenon. Various types of network are defined, the various devices in a wireless LAN are described and the term ‘hotspot’ is discussed. Some radio fundamentals are reviewed.
Sustainability is a critical concern for social, economic and environmental reasons. The lesson focuses on the processes involved in the production of cement. It describes the measures taken by CRH to control energy use and atmospheric emissions such as dust and greenhouse gases.
This lesson describes the function some of the main components of the national power grid. The conductivity of materials constituting a multi-core power cable is described. The lesson then describes how these cables are supported on the steel pylons and discussed the function of insulators.
Irish wind patterns generally ensure that the quality of the air we breathe is good. Nevertheless, modern urbanisation and industrialisation can have negative effects on it. This lesson identifies sources of pollution and the effect that pollutants have on the environment.
The world of pharmaceuticals was changed forever when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. The TEVA lesson describes the background to this discovery and the subsequent impact of the antibiotic. Penicillin chemistry is discussed and its effect on inhibiting the development of pathogenic bacteria is described.
This lesson deals with the function and operational components of the human eye. It describes the structure of the eye and outlines how images are formed. The function of rod and cone cells, spectral range and the formation of colour vision are described.
Genzyme are constructing the modern high-tech production line to fill the familiar glass vials that contain pharmaceuticals. This is a tightly controlled industrial process involving the removal of pyrogens, freeze drying. These processes are described and the chemistry behind them is examined.
This lesson outlines the adverse effects and cost of noise. The EU Directive on Environmental Noise (Directive 2002/49/EC) set out a common approach across the EU to reduce the harmful effects of environmental noise.
This lesson examines some of the elements that contribute to the revolution in intelligent technology — such as software, firmware, robotics, microcode, miniaturisation, microprocessors — and indicates some exciting developments that are underway.
In this lesson we look at the radio spectrum and the communication services that depend on it. We also discuss the role of ComReg in managing the use of the spectrum and the need for such management. An extra Poster Sheet on ComReg is included in the folder.
Accurate mapping was never so important or so possible as it is today. This lesson outlines the elements of cartography, mapping instruments, surveying, projection, grid reference system, the geoid, map scales and map products.
This lesson describes the various kinds of radiation associated with radioactivity and outlines what we can do to minimise our exposure to ionising radiation.
In today’s world the ordinary person enjoys a standard of living that medieval kings could not have dreamt of. This lesson deals with the process of Research and Development (R&D) which provides the products that make this possible.
In the case of a house, the building envelope consists of a floor, foundations, walls and a roof; openings are usually provided in the walls for doors, windows and air vents. In this lesson we will look at the materials used to construct the main elements of the building envelope.
Space chemistry is a relatively recent area of specialisation compared to astrophysics. Atoms and molecules are not very abundant in space and their average temperature is very low. Molecular collisions that result in chemical change are rare but, given enough time, complex molecules can form.
This lesson outlines how electricity is produced and distributed. The electricity is distributed nationally at high voltage (200, 000 volts) and locally at 10,000 volts and eventually at 230 volts. An extra Poster Sheet on Eirgrid is included in the folder.
Sterilisation is the name given to the process that eliminates or kills all forms of micro-organisms and their spores. This is, in practice, difficult to achieve. This lesson explains why the methods used depend on the material being sterilised and on the type of organisms present.
In this lesson we look at the radio spectrum and the communication services that depend on it. We also discuss the role of ComReg in managing the use of the spectrum and the need for such management. An extra Poster Sheet on ComReg is included in the folder.
This lesson describes the modern drug discovery process. It begins with understanding the underlying cause of disease and then identifying drug candidates that target specific cellular pathways involved in the disease process.
This lesson explains what is meant by genomics and outlines how genomic data is used to improve the quality of livestock.
This lesson looks at some aspects of hydrocarbon exploration. It describes how hydrocarbons take the form of oil and gas, the conditions under which they become trapped in subsurface formations, and the use of reflection seismology and other technological developments in their discovery.
This lesson outlines the range of surgical cutting tools and the processes and materials used in making them. Tools that are used more than once must be easily sterilisable.
As a fuel, biomethane is an attractive option; it is renewable and so reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. It has a similar composition to natural gas and there is already a natural gas distribution network in place.
This lesson describes how the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition promotes scientific inquiry. An extra Poster Sheet on BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is included in the folder.
Several factors determine the viability of connecting a new town to the natural gas network. The most significant of these are: the expected demand or load, the cost of the pipeline extension, transmission and distribution costs, local authority charges and revenue from authorised shippers.
The Nitrates Directive requires EU Member States to identify surface freshwaters and groundwaters, which exceed or could exceed a concentration of 50 mg of nitrate per litre, and also to identify surface waters, which are eutrophic or could become eutrophic, that is, enriched so much that they become polluted.
Defibrillators have been in use for about sixty years. The earlier machines were comparatively large and not really portable. Emergency portable defibrillators (also called AEDs or automatic external defibrillators) are today available in many public buildings, schools, clubs etc.
This lesson is an introduction to chemical bonding. Bonding is described in terms of sharing or transfer of electrons so that, usually, each atoms ends up with eight electrons in its outer electron energy level. This is referred to as ‘the octet rule’.
Ireland is a member of the European Space Agency and, as such, has been involved in many major space projects. Most of us are familiar with the International Space Station which is the largest of the some 3,000 operating satellites currently in orbit. This lesson traces the revolutionary ideas of early scientists such as Galileo and describes how Newton’s Laws are used to calculate orbits.
In order to protect against terrorism and cyber crime, financial and other forms of transaction must be protected. In addition personal identities must be established accurately. This need has given rise to a new and vital Irish industry, the Information Security Industry. This lesson looks at the encryption of data and discusses the technology of biometrics which uses unique features such as iris patterns and fingerprints to check and verify a person’s identity.
Water is a vital resource and, as such, must be protected from the damage inflicted by human activities which can seriously affect its quality. This lesson looks at the various sources of pollution and the process of eutrophication. The requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) are described.
This lesson discusses vitamin D and its function in maintaining human health. Its sources are discussed and its various vitamers are identified. The impact of a deficiency and the conditions resulting from deficiency, such as rickets, are discussed. RDAs are also explained. The functions of parathyroid hormone, the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism, the effect of chronic dialysis on calcium and parathyroid hormone levels and the use of Doxercalciferol as a control are also discussed.
Influenza (the flu) is a viral disease which mainly affects the epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract. As a major cause of mortality it receives worldwide attention. This lesson deals with the virus and the steps that are taken by health authority when an outbreak occurs.
Easy access to information is the life blood of today’s organisations. The quantity of information held on databases is increasing at a phenomenal rate on a daily basis. This lesson deals with the concept of the database. It describes the origins and function of databases and identifies various types of database, including spatial databases as used by OSI.
The immune system is critical to our ability to resist disease. This lesson deals with the topic of vaccines. It relates how vaccines are evolving and describes different types of vaccine. Some first and second generation vaccines are identified. The lesson describes how third generation vaccines are still at an experimental stage.
Biofuels offer an attractive alternative to traditional fossil fuels. This is important as the number of cars on the road will triple by the year 2050. This lesson describes the production of ethanol from sugar cane and its use in flexible-fuel vehicles. It discusses some other ways of conserving fuel usage as promoted by the Shell Smarter Mobility programme.
These days, damaged joints are frequently replaced with artificial parts in a surgical procedure known as arthroplasty. When this is done the space between the artificial parts and the bone this is filled with bone cement. This lesson describes how this cement is the result of a polymerisation process which produces polymethyl-meth-acrylate (PMMA) from the monomer methyl-meth-acrylate (MMA).
The human race has never known total food security and threats exist which could seriously damage our ability to produce sufficient food in the future. These threats include the explosive growth in the world’s population and the depreciation of our environment that can produce conditions that are inhospitable to food production from land and sea.
We all know what pain is but we may not entirely appreciate its function. This lesson deals with the topic of pain and describes the role of nervous system in signalling pain to the brain. Different types of neuron and their functions are described, as is the biochemical mode by which pain signals are conducted.
Modern economies produce increasing amounts of waste. In this lesson, categories of waste and their impact on the environment are discussed. There is particular focus on landfill, the most common waste disposal solution in Ireland, and the steps being taken to reduce this reliance.
Many micro generation resources e.g. solar, wind and hydro, are free and sustainable. This lesson describes significant micro generation technologies. It describes how Bord Gáis Networks is exploring using such technologies in combined heat and power systems in order to maximise efficiency and reduce the environmental impact.”
This lesson deals with the cardiac cycle and the importance of its electrical system to the operation of the heart. The problems that arise are examined and the role of modern medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators in treating these problems is described.
Modern medicine relies heavily on the use of medical devices. This lesson describes how an innovative bioabsorbable wound closure device is used in medical procedures such as an angioplasty. The cardiovascular system and some of its medical problems are described.
There is widespread concern about the long-term sustainability of industrial activities that affect the environment. This lesson describes how a major global building materials company fulfils its corporate social responsibility as it works to reduce or ameliorate the environmental impact of its operations.
This lesson discusses the function of the thyroid gland and of the hormones it produces. The different kinds of thyroid cancer are summarised as are the main treatment options. Conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are discussed and the relationship between the pituitary and the thyroid is also outlined.
Measles is a highly contagious infection. This lesson describes the structure of viruses and the parasitic nature of their functioning. The symptoms of measles and some of the complications that can accompany the disease are described. The role of vaccination in controlling the disease is highlighted.
The lesson examines the factors that determine energy use in computers and the steps that can be taken to minimise energy loss and extend battery life. Maximising the energy efficiency of computers entails reducing energy loss in each of the parts - power supply, processor, memory, screen etc.
This lesson describes how the Internet has facilitated the evolution of innovative IT services such as cloud computing. The concept of shared resources is discussed and its principal advantages and some of its potential problems are outlined.
This lesson deals with developments in cell culture and its applications. The basics of cell division are summarised and the process by which cells divide a limited number of times is outlined. The lesson also explains what is meant by stem cells, embryonic stem cells, cell lines and cell banking.
Oil and gas sources are often extremely hard to access. In this lesson some technological solutions to this problem are described. These include the Snake Well, the use of sensors, fibre optics, innovative pipeline seals and the use of fish proteins to prevent freezing.
This lesson describes the joint types in the human skeleton. It looks at the functioning of two major synovial joints - the hip and the knee. The modern technology that allows the components of these joints to be replaced with artificial prosthetic implants is discussed.
This lesson explores the potential of crops as sources of sustainable fuels. It analyses the energy efficiency of plants and outlines the methods used to recover plant energy, including combustion, gasification, fermentation and digestion. Additional costs such as planting, fertilisation and harvesting are also considered.
The human respiratory system and the function of the lungs in gaseous exchange with the blood is described in this lesson. Respiratory problems that impede proper functioning of the system are discussed. Some remedies are described including the use of inhalants to relieve lung congestion.
The Gas Laws describe how the volume, temperature and pressure of a mass of gas are related. The design and safe operation of the natural gas network involves the practical application of these laws.
The lives of many people with heart disease have been improved dramatically without major surgery placing drug-eluting stents into coronary arteries that have become partially blocked.
This lesson describes how domestic energy requirements can be greatly reduced by making better use of solar heating, by using high quality insulation and by exploiting the thermal capacity of internal structures.
The intensification of agriculture has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of plant and animal varieties being cultivated. Work is not in progress to ensure that varieties do not become extinct.
The iconic Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin illustrates many aspects of science and engineering. This lesson describes different bridge designs and analyses the power required to rotate such a structure.
Any technology whose use is less environmentally harmful than alternatives is called an environmental technology; they are designed to minimise, and if possible repair, damage to the environment.
A major problem associated with organ replacement is the body’s own reaction to the foreign tissue. The risk of rejection can be greatly reduced by matching donors and recipients prior to transplantation.
Functional food is any fresh or processed food claimed to have a health promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients. An EU framework governing such claims is being sought.
Mumps is a very contagious disease; it can be spread by contact or by coughing/sneezing. Recent epidemics are directly attributable inadequate uptake of vaccination. Vaccination protects the individual and the wider community.
The light-focusing structures in the eye are the cornea and the lens. This lesson describes how some eye defects can be corrected by using spectacles or contact lenses.
In the last decade the mobile phone has evolved to become a true multimedia device: phone, calculator, diary, camera, music player, mobile internet computer, radio, television, GNSS receiver, etc.
A portable navigation device initially calculates its position to the nearest 300 m. It then uses a number of different methods to refine the calculation, account of atmospheric and other errors.
Fossil fuels are still available but will eventually run out. For many reasons alternative energy sources will be required to meet the future needs of a larger and more developed global population.
In Ireland about one in nine women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. There are now many effective ways of treating it especially if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
This lesson discusses the safety procedures that a new drug or treatment must pass before it may be sold to the public. The importance of double-blind testing is emphasised.
Engineers and scientists work close together in many fields. This lesson reviews the different types of engineering and how they contribute to the scientific world.
This lesson examines how natural gas is distributed around Ireland. Topics treated include energy value, flow measurement, land reinstatement and safety rules.
This lesson outlines how cement is produced and looks at the natural materials used in the process. It also outlines how modern production methods minimise energy loss, reuse by-products and contribute positively to the environment.
What is biodiversity and why is it in the news? This lesson outlines the concept of biodiversity and summarises the steps that are being taken locally and globally to enhance biodiversity in rural and urban environments.
The development of enzymes that could break down cellulose has the potential to make alternative fuels economically attractive and simultaneously reduce organic waste.
This lesson examines the principles of conversion of wind energy to electrical energy and the factors that must be taken into account when connecting generator outputs to the national grid.
This lesson examines the over-use of fossil fuels and how this may enhance the the greenhouse effect. It also looks at the use of the earth’s non-renewable resources and considers how greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may be reduced.
Hurler syndrome, also known as MPS-I, is a genetic disease whose effects on an individual are varied and severe. It is caused by an error in the production of a single enzyme.
This lesson looks at the components of the human nervous system and brain. It takes a closer look at the neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s disease.
This lesson focuses on the key concepts and terminology associated with health and safety in the laboratory. Practical safety measures to reduce biological and chemical risks are detailed.
Vaccines trigger the body’s immune system to produce antibodies without causing any disease. Memory cells ‘remember’ how to respond and so, in the event of a later infection, the body can respond much more effectively to a particular infection.
The principles of digital electronics are summarised in this lesson. The approach is intended to encourage students to build some of the basic circuits in order to understand the operation of logic gates in IC format.
Regenerative braking systems save energy but are not suitable for all types of transport. They are most useful in urban transport systems which have frequent stops between relatively short trips.
Cardiovascular disease is a major killer. The most significant risk factors require personal decisions: regular exercise, moderate and healthy eating and refraining from smoking.
By using a combination of aerial photography, laser detection and ranging (LIDAR) and GPS virtual three dimensional landscapes can be generated. Terrain can be viewed from various angles and stereoscopic images can be produced.
General design principles may be applied to website design. The use of ‘wireframes’ expedites the generation of initial design concepts. The lesson also addresses dynamic content, hosting and maintenance.
In an energy-hungry world it is becoming ever more important to develop alternative energy sources to gradually replace fossil fuels where possible. At present less than 2% of global energy is derived from alternative energy sources.
This lesson outlines the life cycle of the potato blight organism, Phytophthora infestans, and outlines the various measures to control infection and improve crop resistance.
This lesson describes the manufacture of Portland cement, the most commonly used type of cement in Ireland and the principal ingredient of concrete and mortar.
Probiotics are specialised foods containing a live culture of ‘good bacteria’; the presence of these bacteria in our large intestine is very beneficial.
Excessive noise can interfere with normal communication, cause general annoyance, disturb sleep and impair hearing. It is recognised as a serious problem in cities where the sound level is typically between 60 and 70 dB(A).
The checks and procedures regulating the production, processing and distribution of food ensure that it is safer today than ever.
By recovering the heat from exhaust gases the overall efficiency of an oil or gas-fired generator can be increased.
A number of factors contribute to changes in the global climate. The effects of such change on temperature, weather and sea-levels are discussed in this lesson.
Skin tissue can now be cultured and used for the treatment of skin damage such as extensive burns.
Variations in local and regional geomagnetism can be mapped and used to locate hidden structures.
Returning the nutrients to the land, in a form that is not easily leached out, restores the fertility of the soil in an environmentally sustainable way.
Various methods are used to protect ships from corrosion. These include the use of barriers, such as paints, and electrochemical methods.
The common factor in allergies is the inflammatory response to substances that are not generally harmful.
Driving requires constant attention and anticipation of possible hazards. The ability to react quickly to unexpected events is an important factor in preventing road accidents.
A blend of bio-esters and diesel fuel is known as bio-diesel and at 5% concentration it can be used in conventional diesel engines without modification.
The kingdom of fungi includes organisms that are important both economically and ecologically. By breaking down dead organic material, such as plants and wood, they facilitate the recycling of nutrients in ecosystems.
This lesson describes six experiments that demonstrate the effects of temperature, concentration etc. on the action of catalase, an enzyme that decomposes hydrogen peroxide.
This lesson is about diet: the need for a balanced diet, the effects of having a poor diet, the part played by agriculture and how this has changed, the function of cereals and what the food pyramid is all about.
This lesson looks at the Internet and the meaning of broadband. The following concepts are explained: analogue and digital data, bandwidth, modem, router, internet protocol, ISP and URL.
The design and construction of the Spire involved many aspects of engineering, science and technology. This lesson describes how potentially destructive resonance is prevented by the installation of two tuned mass dampers within the Spire.
This lesson outlines the structure and function of the potential divider and shows how it can be modifi ed to act as an environmental sensing element. The operation of a wireless network of low-cost monitoring devices is described.
This lesson explains how recrystallisation is used to purify a substance, how to choose a suitable solvent, how the purity of a substance can be determined, what is meant by percentage yield and how crystallization is used in industry.
The lesson describes how the nervous system is formed, how signals are transmitted from cell to cell, the role of neurotransmitters and the effects and treatment of disorders of the nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease.
This lesson explains why some things float and others sink, what buoyancy is all about, and how ships are made stable. Significant developments in the history of navigation are also outlined.
This lesson looks at a general manufacturing process and analytical testing of a pharmaceutical product. It outlines the key objectives in developing high quality pharmaceutical products and the importance of rigorous quality and stability testing.
This lesson is about various aspects of the nervous and the endocrine systems. It discusses hormones and the functions of various glands. Finally the two types ofdiabetes are described and how medications for these function.
This lesson describes the engineering and technology required to bring gas from offshore wells to an onshore reception depot. The electrical and hydraulic control systems are outlined.
This lesson introduces the concept of wireless communication and outlines how it is used in wireless networks. The lesson describes the stages involved in the development of a wireless product from concept to release into the marketplace.
This lesson is about biotechnology and how it is applied to produce new medicines and other healthcare products. Limitations and difficulties involved are discussed. Finally, there is a quick look at future applications of biotechnology.
This lesson looks at the need for clean water and describes the contaminants that can be present. It then describes the processes involved in the purifi cation of water and the tests that are carried out before the water is ready for public distribution.
This lesson deals with the kidney, what is does, how it functions and why it is essential for human life. The process of dialysis in the event of kidney failure is explained.
This lesson looks at the use of sound and echoes in scanning and measuring the seabed. It outlines how data are collected and used to produce 3-D images of the seabed in Ireland’s designated waters.
This lesson describes how petroleum was formed, what it consists of, how deposits of it are discovered and how is it extracted. Sound, ultrasound and seismic waves are used in locating and identifying geological structures that could trap oil or gas.
Some aspects of volumetric analysis are discussed in this lesson. The common methods of expressing concentration are explained and there are worked examples of how to calculate concentration.
This lesson explains what biotechnology is and describes its contribution to many everyday products and processes. Genetic modification is described, along with alternative methods of accomplishing similar results.
This lesson deals with the topic of human nutrition. It examines the body’s need for protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins and stresses the importance of fish as a source of valuable nutrients.
This lesson deals with the chemistry and production process of lime. It also describes some of the many uses to which lime is put in the building, agricultural, industrial and environmental sectors. An interesting topic is the production of magnesium oxide from seawater.
The subject of this lesson is the function of protein in human biology. It outlines the production process by which proteins, including therapeutic human proteins are made. Nutritional sources of protein are also covered.
The lesson describes the human circulatory system and the function of the blood in exchanging material with body cells. It deals with the concepts of solubility and bioavailability in the context of the transport of pharmaceutical substances. It also describes the proprietary NanoCrystal technology.
The distribution of electricity in domestic premises is the subject of this lesson. The different types of circuit and the function of protective devices are described. The important topic of safety is also covered.
The biology and function of DNA is the subject of this lesson. The concepts of genetic code and replication are examined. The use of base sequences in identification is also covered.
This lesson examines the treatment of domestic waste water. Sewage is defined and the different stages in its treatment process are described. The concepts of eutrophication and Biochemical Oxygen Demand are also covered.
This lesson examines the topical issue of water hardness. The chemistry of hard and soft water is described. The calculation of water hardness is explained and methods of removing hardness are described.
This lesson deals with the function of spectroscopy. It describes the electromagnetic spectrum and explains the relationship between wavelength and frequency. It also covers the concept of the photon and the spectrum of hydrogen. Some applications of spectroscopy are described.
The function of the Mass Spectrometer is covered in this lesson. The concept of the isotope is described and the physics of the instrument in separating isotopes is described. The process of testing is explained and some practical applications of spectrometry are described.
This lesson defines the meaning of a pathogen and examines the nature of viruses. It describes the reproductive process of viruses and the function of vaccination in protecting against them.
The human respiratory system is the subject of this lesson. The function of the lungs in inspiration and expiration is described. The concepts of breathing and respiration are contrasted. The mechanics of gas exchange with the blood are also described.
The topical issue of air pollution is the subject of this lesson. In particular, the ecological impact of fossil fuels is described. The issues of the greenhouse effect and global warming are also covered. The meaning of the Carbon Cycle is explained, as is the importance of vehicle maintenance.
The fractional distillation of crude oil to produce petrol and other fuels is described in this lesson. The concept of the Octane Number is defined. The effects of incomplete combustion and the function of additives to improve performance are also covered.
The capacitor is the subject of this lesson. Its function in electronic circuitry in instruments such as mobile phones is described. The formula relating charge, voltage and capacitance is described. The influence of physical dimensions is also explained. Series and parallel capacitors are also covered.
This lesson deals with the concept of ecology and the relationships between communities, ecosystems and biosphere. The meaning of habitat is defined. The food web, food chain and pyramid of numbers are also described.
This lesson deals with the phenomenon of the living organism. It distinguishes unicellular and multicellular organisms and defines the concept of the biological catalyst. It also covers the effects of vitamins on enzymes.
The human defence system is the subject of this lesson. The general and specific defence systems are covered. The attributes of the immune system are described. The response of the body to an antigen-antibody complex is also explained.