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RBSS Programme 2017

The 6th Robert Boyle Summer School

will take place from 22-25th June 2017

at Lismore Co Waterford and Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel Youghal

and address the theme "What is science for?"

All school events including all talks, School Dinner Friday night, Garden Party Saturday night with buffet and entertainment and walking tour of Youghal Sunday and coach transfer (Sat) are a special price to ensure inclusion. €100.

Students please contact us for special deals

All talks (9 events) : €50

Daily pass All Talks: €30

Talks: €10 each

Dinner Friday Sir Walter Raleigh 4* Hotel €28

Garden Party Saturday Lismore Castle €25

Walking Tour of Youghal Sunday €5


Owing to the closure of the Lismore House Hotel we have had to partially relocate to Youghal Co. Cork. Youghal is just downstream of Lismore at the estuary of the Blackwater and less than 30 minutes drive by car. It was also a base of the Boyle family so it is very apt. Robert's father Richard Boyle "the Great Earl of Corke" is interred in St Mary's Collegiate Church in a grand tomb and there are many buildings remaining from the Boyle's stewardship. You may choose to base in Lismore or Youghal.

Find accommodation in Lismore here

Find accommodation in Youghal here

Book here for 6th Robert Boyle Summer School on Eventbrite


Thursday 22 June

Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel Youghal

Evening Lecture 7 pm

Science, Alchemy, Prayer, Evolution & Mystery: Science and its Borders

Jim Malone is Robert Boyle Professor (Emeritus) of Medical Physics, Trinity College. He worked halftime with the IAEA (Vienna) for several years and continues as a consultant with the agency and WHO. He was Dean of the School of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences at Trinity College Dublin; Chairman of the Geneva based International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) committee for global standards for medical imaging equipment. He has wide interests in the humanities, and directed two Merriman Summer Schools.

Friday 23 June

Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel

10 am

The Politics and Ethics of Science in Practice: Twenty-First Century Challenges

Gaston Meskens is a theoretical physicist and ethicist with deep experience related to sustainable development, energy, climate change and radioactive waste management. He works part-time with the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry of the University of Ghent and as a writer, lecturer and mediator of dialogue with the Science and Technology Studies group of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN. His research focusses on human rights perspectives, intellectual capacity building and global sustainable development governance. He is a practicing artist.


11:15 am:

The many ways in which "truth" in science can be corrupted

Richard Smith was the editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group from 1991 to 2004. He's served on the board of the Public Library of Science and the UK Research Integrity Office. These days he's the chair of icddr,b [formerly International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh] and of the patient organisation Patients Know Best.


2:00 pm

Clearing the air: case studies of smog, smoke and science

Luke Clancy is Director General, Tobacco-Free Research Institute Ireland (TFRI) and a Consultant Respiratory Physician with international accomplishments on air pollution, smoking and health, and on respiratory diseases particularly asthma, cancer and tuberculosis. Over 40 years he directed and co-ordinated related research. His initial Irish based work on increased mortality at St James’s Hospital associated with Dublin smog, led to the ban on bituminous coal and was an important contribution to the world air pollution literature. He led ASH Ireland (Action on Smoking and Health) in achieving Smokefree legislation in Ireland. His current focus is on the prevention of smoking related diseases through research.


3:15 pm

Sense about Science

Síle Lane oversees Sense about Science’s campaigns and responsive work. Our campaigns include the libel reform campaign which led to the Defamation Act 2013, the Ask for Evidence campaign which encourages everyone to ask for evidence for every claim they see and the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency. Síle organised the Big Libel Gig at the Palace Theatre in 2010, appears regularly in the media in the Guardian and on the Today programme, chairs debates with leading scientists and commentators, gives evidence to parliament and spends a lot of time helping researchers, regulators, policy makers, companies and NGOs to talk about science and evidence openly, humanly and without stigma and intimidation.



8 pm Dinner at Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, Youghal


Saturday 24 June

Lismore Heritage Centre

10 am

Robert Boyle on the application of science

Michael Hunter is emeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. His research is in the history of science in seventeenth-century England, particularly the work of Robert Boyle. Michael was a natural first choice for the very first Robert Boyle Summer School (2012) “having done more for Boyle studies than anyone before him (or, one might almost say, than all previous Boyle scholars put together”* Michael’s has written extensively on Boyle, his latest work being Aspects of the Life and Thought of Robert Boyle (1627-91). *Sir Noel Malcolm, 'Of Air and Alchemy',Times Literary Supplement, 22 August 2002


11:15 am

The Parsons family scientific contribution towards a better world

Alicia Clements is an engineer and the daughter of the Earl of Rosse of Birr Castle and will talk about the scientific work of succeeding generations of the Parsons family. Birr Castle was the centre of major astronomical research in the 19th Century. The third Earl built the world’s largest telescope the “Leviathan” that first revealed a spiral nebula. His wife was a pioneer of photography. Charles Parsons, younger son of the 3rd Earl invented the steam turbine which powered the great transatlantic liners and is still used today in electrical generation. It is the ancestor of the jet engine. Birr Castle is today home to the restored Leviathan telescope, the Historical Science Museum and the Irish LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) telescope which means Birr is again a centre for important scientific research.


2:00 pm

From Quarks to Climate Change: the evolution of science in the 20th century

Cormac O’Raifeartaigh lectures in physics at Waterford Institute of Technology. An experimental physicist by training, his research interests include the study of the history and philosophy of 20th century science. A former Research Fellow at the Science, Technology and Society Program of Harvard University, he is a Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Visiting Associate Professor at University College Dublin. He is best known for several original historical findings concerning the cosmology of Albert Einstein.


3:15 pm

Hedge School

History Ireland Hedge School with Tommy Graham. Tommy is editor of History Ireland and will chair a panel discussion with the day’s speakers.


Evening reception

5:30 - 8:30 pm

Social Evening at Lismore Castle Gardens with wine reception, buffet and entertainment


Sunday Morning


Walking tour of Youghal with Kieran Groeger paying particular emphasis on the works of Richard Boyle. Including the Collegiate Gardens and the Boyle Tomb in St Mary's Collegiate Church.

Kieran Groeger is a retired teacher, likes to cycle and loves history. He is member of two cycling clubs - Youghal ( in Ireland) and also the Amicale Cycliste Canetoise (in France). He is a member of Youghal Celebrates History, a voluntary group formed to celebrate the history of the town and surrounding areas. He is a volunteer genealogist in his town Youghal, co. Cork, Ireland. He has also written the Youghal Heritage Trail, an interactive iBook available through iTunes. He enjoys giving talks on local history, plays bridge, is a Rotarian and is often found walking his Airedale terrier, Riley, on the beach at Youghal. He is a graduate of UCC ( B.A., M.Ed.) the University of Hull (Ph.D.)

Booking on Eventbrite





we are currently discussing other sponsorship arrangements. If you would like to support the school please email



The Robert Boyle Foundation