Darwin200 Belfast Meeting

Location: W5 Science Centre Belfast

Audience: Public

Date: 20 September 2008 11.30 - 17.00

Contact: egill@wit.ie

A very successful meeting was held at W5 Belfasat with many groups and individuals who are interested in becoming involved in Darwin year.


11:30   Coffee at W5

12:00   Nature Space - Science Plans for the Ulster Museum             

           Geraldine Macartney, Sciences Education Officer, Ulster Museum

Geraldine outlined the plans for the  science galleries in particular the NatureSpace in the eagerly awaited refurbishment of the  Ulster Museum

12:30   We are the Science Park             

            Robyn Fraser, Northern Ireland Science Park

Robyn gave an outline of the work of Northern Ireland Science Park and their efforts to encourage science into business. Robyn also described historic Titanic Quarter in which NISP is situated.

13:00   Lunch - courtesy of Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP)

14:00   Darwin and Ireland              

            Miguel DeArce, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin

Miguel a geneticist fascinated by Darwin has been researching the reactions to Darwinism in Ireland and Darwin correspondence relating to Ireland. He introduced a gallery of characters involved with Darwin and Darwinism in Victorian Ireland including John Tyndall who was President of the BA when it met in Belfast in 1874 and who sought confrontation on the subject. Less well known actors were James Torbitt a Belfast potato merchant who corresponded with Darwin on the blight free potato, William King who taught geology at QUB in the 1850's and described neanerthal bones and Jerimiah Murphy PP the Cork priest who wrote 17 theological papers attacking evolution. Also in this informative and entertaining lecture we met Henry Hennessy, JB Jukes,  William Harvey (TCD) and Samuel Haughton. 

 14:40  Darwin200 in Ireland              

            Eoin Gill, iSCAN Chairman and CALMAST, Waterford Institute of Technology

In this session Eoin Gill introduced ideas for events. A discussion about event organisation and cooperation was most fruitful.

15:00   Discussion - Darwin200 activities in Northern Ireland

We stayed with the same era but in this case it was the industrial and social heritage of Belfast and its shipyards with a walking tour of the Titanic dry dock, expertly guided by Sally Montgomery and the impressive Pump House with Robyn Fraser.

16:00   Tour of Pump House


Darwin200 is a programme of celebrations in 2009 to mark the bi-centennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.