QUIZ TIME!Science Week is looming over the horizon again 11th-17th November. Same time last year one of the spritely and enthusiastic engineers at The Institute owned the opportunity, secured a small grant from Science Foundation Ireland SFI, and convened a committee to make something happen. One idea that surfaced was to rent-a-geodesic-dome and fill it with posters illustrating famous and inspiring Irish scientists. This was like a pub quiz to me or mud-wallow to a pig. In addition to my assigned brief-bio [Jocelyn Bell Burnell] I did two extra posters which hadn't made the list [Denis Burkitt] and [Maude Delap] . . . because I could. Not everyone else had 5 years of Blobs to data-mine for such tasks.
Spritely the Engineer made quite a lot of noise about the metrics of the process. He created a pre-Questionnaire soliciting Joe Public for the gaps in their engagement with science; and a post-Questionnaire asking how The Institute's events had impacted on their status quo ante. After some months he announced that the level of feedback was the highest in the country. A large part of this was because he hectored and begged and bullied us all into a) responding b) getting our cousinage to respond c) responding again with a different name etc. Whatever about gaming the system, the upshot was that, a couple of months ago, SFI gave us even more money for SciWeek2018. As ever, the money came with strings: we had to be yet more inclusive especially wrt to women-in-science; and, on the icons and inspiration front, we had to look beyond Ireland to Europe.
When I got back to my desk after the "scoping and ideation meeting" [no kidding: that's how some people call others to arms], I started to think about which European scientists, living or dead, would be a) interesting for Jane Public to hear about and b) would give additional ooomph to a youngster-in-science. My first ideation-and-scope was to list all the lads who had given their names to units of scientific measurement:
I couldn't find anything for X although we could fake it with Katherine Lonsdale and X-ray or Dorothy Hodgkin and X-ray. And I know Y is a fudge because I have a Y person Thomas Young but not a Y thing. The answer is Young's modulus: a measure of a material's stiffness.
|A is for area||I is for islets||Q is for quadrant|
|B is for bundle||J is for joint||R is for reflex|
|C is for cat||K is for knot||S is for score|
|D is for disease||L is for lymphoma||T is for tube|
|E is for effect||M is for mimicry||U is for unit|
|F is for fibres||N is for number||V is for virus|
|G is for gland||O is for oval||W is for wheel|
|H is for hammers||P is for principle||Z is for zone|
Thomas Addison [__]; Virginia Apgar [__]; Amadeo Avogadro [__]; Yvonne Barr [__]; Paul Broca [__]; Giovanni Cassini [__]; Henry Clutton [__]; William Cowper [__]; John Davis [__]; Loránd Eötvös [__]; Gabriele Falloppio [__]; George Ferris [__]; Wilhelm His [__]; Thomas Hodgkin [__]; Paul Langerhans [__]; Gérard Marchand [__]; Robert Mertens [__]; Ernst Moro [__]; Vilfredo Pareto [__]; Karl Prusik [__]; Jan Purkinje [__]; Pythagoras Pythagoras [__]; Erwin Schrödinger [__]; Theodor Svedberg