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Science Program announced for Euroscience Open Forum 2012 in Dublin

The science program for Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF 2012) was officially launched today at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver.

ESOF 2012 will take place in Dublin this year from 11th to 15th July. ESOF 2012, the largest general science meeting in Europe, will be held in the heart of the Irish capital, in the new Convention Centre Dublin.

ESOF is an interdisciplinary, pan-European meeting, held under the auspices of Euroscience, which aims to showcase the latest advances in science and technology, promote a dialogue on the role of science and technology in society and public policy and to stimulate and provoke public interest, excitement and debate about science and technology.

ESOF 2012 Science Programme

The Leading advocate for ESOF 2012 and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government, Professor Patrick Cunningham, officially launched the science programme today and spoke of the honour in Dublin hosting this prestigious event following an open competition in 2008. Prof. Cunningham in launching the programme gave an update on ESOF 2012 developments.

'Dublin is shaping up to be the best and brightest ESOF to date. Across the four days there will be over 120 science, careers and science-to-business sessions, with 400 plus speakers, including 23 keynotes speakers and five Nobel Laureate's, an interactive exhibition and busy marketplace and of course a lively social programme.

'Highlights include the keynote lecture by Jules Hoffmann, 2011 Joint Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, at the ESOF 2012 Opening Ceremony on 11th July, interview with James Watson, Policy Day on 13th July with the keynote address by Mire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Director General of CERN, Rolf-Dieter Heurer's address and also a lecture by Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency.'

Key ESOF 2012 Programme Committee member, Dr. Albert H. Teich, former director of science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), spoke about the quality of the science sessions for the event in Dublin, 'Sessions at the Dublin ESOF are of a very high calibre and the process undertaken to choose these sessions was rigorous. The Committee received over 400 proposals, a record for any ESOF. It was a tough process to choose the best among so many good proposals.'

The final science programme launched today includes current and relevant topics across a spectrum of disciplines. Highlights include sessions on exoplanets, planetary robots, building better athletes (timely as ESOF 2012 is just before the 2012 London Olympics), water-challenges for a changing world, science and innovation in the Islamic World, urban sustainability and the young academy movement. There is an interesting session entitled 'Science without Borders' that features speakers such as Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, Dominique Ristori, John Beddington and Alan Leshner.

Other notable sessions include a symposium on the debate on Publishing and Open Access featuring Philip Campbell. The ESOF 2012 programme has sessions on 'Volcanic eruptions and the global fallout', 'The hunt for the Higgs at the LHC', 'Particle of Physics and the explosion of interest' and 'Responses to radical climate change'. The argument on 'aging in Europe, abyss or opportunity' and 'What will power Europe's future' also feature on the ESOF programme.

The event, which is held biannually in a European city, will bring together over 5,000 scientists, business leaders, government officials and international science and related media to discuss the best of European science and to address all of the major global challenges, including Energy, Climate Change, Food and Health.

ESOF 2012 has several distinct streams including the aforementioned science-to-business and careers programme sessions and at the core of the Dublin event is a strong science programme. Another integral programme stream is the 'Science and the City' element. According to David Fahy, ESOF 2012 Director, this programme 'celebrates where creativity and great science meet and will provide scientific interchange opportunities between ESOF 2012 delegates and the general public.

Science in the City

'This Science in the City Festival will include a range of events that will excite the public and ESOF Delegates about science and technology, will tap into peoples' curiosity by engaging them at various levels. 'The innovative science themed programme which will take place throughout Dublin will consist of over 70 events over the ten days that bridge the ESOF meeting from the 6th to the 15th of July. Events include photographic and art exhibitions, several theatre pieces, film, tours, trails and treasure hunts, street performances, science buskers, large-scale interactive installations, experiments, science carnivals, public talks, debates, workshops and even a fashion show,' David concluded.

What is Life?

On Thursday, 12th July one of the landmark events of 20th Century science will be celebrated and reinterpreted for the 21st Century as part of the Science in the City programme of ESOF2012.

In February, 1943 one of the most distinguished scientists of the 20th Century, Erwin Schrdinger, delivered a seminal lecture, entitled 'What is Life?', under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, in Trinity College, Dublin. The lecture presented far-sighted ideas on how hereditary information could be encoded in a chemical structure (aperiodic crystal) in living cells. Schrdinger's book (1944) of the same title is considered to be a scientific classic. The book was cited by Crick and Watson as one of the inspirations which ultimately led them to unravel the structure of DNA in 1953, a breakthrough which won them the Nobel prize.

Such was the significance of the lecture at the time, that the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), amon de Valera, attended the lecture and an account of it featured in the 5th April 1943, issue of Time magazine.

Recent advances in genetics and synthetic biology mean that it is now timely to reconsider the fundamental question posed by Schrdinger 70 years ago. Dr. J. Craig Venter (ESOF 2012 Keynote speaker), one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s and a pioneer of synthetic biology, is uniquely qualified to revisit Schrdinger's question. He will do so in a lecture entitled 'What is Life in the 21st Century?' on the evening of Thursday, 12th July in Dublin.

This unique event will connect an important episode in Ireland's scientific heritage with the frontier of contemporary research.

Dublin A City of Science in 2012

To celebrate the honour of hosting, ESOF 2012, one of the most prestigious international science events, Dublin was officially designated a City of Science for 2012. A programme of science-related events and activities will run throughout the year across the island of Ireland. The events and activities will deliver science messages through the arts and culture. One such example is St. Patrick Festival. The 2012 St. Patrick's Festival Parade in Dublin will have a scientific theme to mark Dublin as a City of Science in 2012. For further information on this year-long programme please visit

Ireland's recovery

The Irish economy has stabilised. GDP grew by 0.7% in the first three quarters of 2011. Ireland has successfully responded to the financial crisis. Economic growth has recommenced, export performance is buoyant, and necessary steps have been taken to correct the public finances. Irish exports are enjoying unprecedented growth.

Ireland is open for business - Ireland's enterprise economy is well-placed for further growth and development and its technology and services companies have a lot to offer business partners across the world.

The Irish Government is strongly supporting the Euroscience Open Forum coming to Dublin this summer. Following ten years commitment to science, Ireland's reputation is on the up and according to Director of Enterprise and International Affairs at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Dr Ruth Freeman,'Irish Science has been on an upward trajectory for the past decade. In terms of international rankings for research quality, Ireland has climbed from 36th globally in 2003 to a top-20 position consistently since 2008. SFI, the Irish Government's science agency, currently facilitates over 1,700 international collaborations spanning 58 countries, and SFI funded researchers collaborate with over 500 companies, exemplifying our connectivity.'

Early Bird registration

Early bird registration is open until 28th March, standard fees apply close of early bird discounts. To register please visit

Visit for full details on ESOF 2012 Science Programme.

Contact: Breda O'Brien
Euroscience Open Forum 2012

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