Dylan O’Neill recaps this year’s UCD TEDx event.
The annual TEDxUCD conference took place today in the UCD Dramsoc Theatre, and saw a multitude of speakers consisting of staff and alumni of UCD. With this year’s theme being Inspiration, a wide range of topics were discussed at this sold-out event. Caroline Fothergill, a master’s student of marketing in the UCD Smurfit Business School oversaw this year’s event as MC.
Eimear Cahalin, co-founder of the Irish company Vivid Edge, spoke about “How Ego is the Enemy of Eco.” In her talk, she highlighted the need for a more energy efficient way of thinking, stating “let’s make sure we are part of the part that’s above average and let’s each take an action…to make the world a better place”.
Dr. Amber Cushing, Assistant Professor of digital curation and digital cultural heritage in the UCD School of Information and Communication Studies also spoke at the event. She emphasised the “great equaliser” of libraries, museums and archives and the necessity for public funding, in her talk on “Listening to Respond: Justifying Public Support for Cultural Heritage in a Personalised World.”
Colin Keogh, a PhD student in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, showed in his speech, “Innovation for All,” that innovation is best seen in the potential of groups that have an immediate need for solving problems.
Dr. Mark Rowe, from the Waterford Health Park, looked at the key concept of lifestyle as medicine and the catastrophic consequences of side effects with “The Pill for Every Ill.” Describing the overuse of pills as the “sticking plaster solution” in modern medicine, Rowe addresses the root causes in “The Doctor of the Future: Prescribing Lifestyle as a Medicine.”
Artist in Residence Siobhan McDonald spoke on the topic, “Arts and Changes in Nature.” In her talk, McDonald recounted her early childhood memories and how they have influenced her work with the Franklin Expedition in 1845 to the North-West passage in the Arctic.
Next to speak was Stephen Cluskey talking on the title “An Accessible World is an Inclusive World.” Cluskey spoke about who accessibility affects, why businesses should embrace good accessibility, and what we can do to help accessibility overall. Cluskey recalled how a camping accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, and how he grew when he faced these challenges.
Dr. Bahareh Heravi, founder and current director of the new Data Journalism CPD programme in UCD, asked, “How is Data Journalism Changing the Newsroom?” With “2.5 million terabytes of data… generated everyday,” this data provides more accessible sources for journalists to create more stories of public interest. Heravi described, with the example of the panama papers, how journalists now process this data for the public.
Dominic O’Connor, a PhD student from the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy, and Sport Science spoke about, “How Can Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) Help Accelerate Cancer Rehabilitation?” Focusing on the side-effects of cancer treatment, O’Connor described how his research in NMES assists patients in reaching a functionally independent threshold whilst making use of more traditional protocols.
John Francis Leader, a Consultant Psychologist and Cognitive Scientist from the School of Computer Science, delivered a talk on the topic of “Therapy of Tomorrow.” Leader argued that “therapy’s job is to be a type of physiotherapy for the mind to help us practically work… which will include talking about it, but it will also include getting up and working with this.” He stressed how equilibration between the physical and the imaginary is the goal therapeutically.
From the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, lecturer Dr. Monica Gorman delivered a speech on “Adventure and Change and the Key to Well Lived Lives,” discussing her love of adventure. Growing up in a “typical rural conservative home,” Gorman asked what her responsibility was in inspiring a spirit of adventure in students, describing her experience in Eritrea and Tanzania. Her take home message was “while we might stand on the shoulders of giants, we build our foundations on the rubble of mistakes” and to choose the road less taken.
President of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland Prof. Mary Horgan took to the stage for “HIV: The Virus that Made Me a Better Doctor.” Horgan opened with describing the stigma surrounding the HIV cases in Ireland in the 1980s. However, with the discovery of celebrity cases of HIV came activism, and the treatment and care of patients with HIV was jump-started. Viewing the healthcare position surrounding HIV/AIDS patients inspired Horgan to pursue a career in infectious diseases, “it was the people with the virus that made me a better doctor.”
Finally, Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo, of the School of Physics, introduced the topic “A Cosmic Gold Rush.” His talk looked at the discovery of pulsars in 1967 which are tiny, dense neutron stars. By putting radio and optical wave lengths together, scientists were able to detect these pulsars. 1967 was also the year that gamma ray bursts were discovered. Martin-Carrillo discussed the many hypothesis that scientists had at the time, due to these discoveries in the Crab Nebula which he considered the “cosmic gold rush.”
All the talks featured at the event today, can be found at the UCD website http://www.ucd.ie/innovation/newsevents/tedxucd/.