Named after the famous west coast break, at 16 Easkey Britton became the first Irish person to surf the ‘hell-wave’ Teahupoo in Tahiti, and has since become Ireland’s 5-time National Champion, and was a Billabong XXL Global big-wave finalist. While finishing her Ph.D. in Marine Science, Easkey became the first woman to surf in Iran. She is currently filming a documentary on her “Waves of Freedom” project, teaching women in the province of Baluchistan, Iran to surf. By bringing her pioneering approach to one of the most isolated and poorest regions in Iran, she is exploring how surfing and creative expression can empower women everywhere.
Cathal Garvey is the creator of the blog Indie Biotech, his personal endeavour to provide tools, materials and learning resources for biotechnology to individuals worldwide. Worldwide, the DIYbio movement is taking hold and generating renewed interest in community biotech. Cathal provides affordable, Open-Source-DNA development platforms, kits and strains for beginners to learn the engineering of bacteria easily, and perhaps later to facilitate engineering of plants and simple bugs such as Sea Monkeys. He hopes to change the face of biotech, and perhaps change some lives for the better in the process.
Robin Ince began as a stand up at age 22 and was runner up in So You Think You’re Funny after a few gigs. He now co-presents a Radio 4 science show with Professor Brian Cox, tours solo shows about rational thinking, science and things that have made him creatively produce live shows such as Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, The Book Club and Uncaged Monkeys. His first book, Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club is available and most of his second one resides in his mind. He also co-wrote a feature film called Razzle Dazzle which opened the New York Children’s Film festival and did okay in Turkey.
Working in the advertising and entertainment sector, Dave Smith has always had an affinity with cultural activity. Eight years ago he set up Kings of Concrete festival, a project that instilled a desire to get a permanent space beyond the festival – an old disused warehouse on Hanover Quay. Mabos was born with the intent to develop a multi-purpose space that continually flips and evolves. This venture into the unknown sparked Dave’s fascination with urban planning, development and progression and his drive to discover how we can work within and around these constraints to help make Dublin a more engaging, entertaining and inspiring place to live.
Fiona Newell is a Professor of Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, where her research focuses on the processes of human perception. Fiona leads the Multisensory Cognition Group at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. The main goal of their research is to understand the brain and behavioural processes involved in the multisensory perception of objects, faces, bodies and scenes. Recently, this research has broadened into investigations of how aesthetics are perceived and how principles of ‘neuroaesthetics’ can be applied in design. Fiona has published over 60 papers in many of the leading journals in psychology and neuroscience.
Lisa Domican is a Wicklow based mother of two autistic children. She set up the company Grace App Communication, and developed a simple picture communication app in collaboration with a successful games developer that allows non verbal people with Autism and other disabilities to communicate effectively. In interacting with people with autism, Lisa advocates in ‘the 3 As’: Awareness, Acceptance and making Allowances. She hopes through using these steps people can help reduce the challenges that make having living with autism in a world designed for “normal” people so stressful.
Seán Love is Executive Director of Fighting Words Creative Writing Centre, which he co-founded with author Roddy Doyle. Located in the shadow of Croke Park in Dublin’s north inner city, Fighting Words provides free tutoring and mentoring in creative writing to students of all ages, and has hosted more than 40,000 children and young adults since opening in January 2009. Seán believes that creative writing is an essential part of every child’s education and feels Fighting Words helps students of all ages explore their love of writing. Inspired by Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia project in the US, it has itself inspired several similar centres around Europe.
Fergus McAuliffe is an environmental scientist at University College Cork. He is passionate about environmental sustainability through constructed wetlands and learning new techniques from nature, as well as science communication. Fergus won the first Fame Lab Ireland, a competition hosted by the British Council at Science Gallery earlier this year. He went on to compete against 20 countries and win the international title at the Cheltenham Science Festival. As a scientist, Fergus works at the interface of the man-made world and the natural world, and investigates ways of using plants to sustainably protect our environment from harmful wastes.
Constantin Gurdgiev is a lecturer in Finance with Trinity College, Dublin, former editor of Business and Finance Magazine, and a regular contributor to Tonight With Vincent Browne on TV3. Constantin feels that global economy is shifting toward more human capital-intensive growth, driven by changing nature of entrepreneurship, creativity, and altering the relationship between risk taking, risk management and returns to labour. In this age of what he calls Human Capital, existent systems of political power distribution, taxation and public services will undergo a revolutionary transformation, presenting a major challenge to the advanced economies and their social democracies.
Niamh O’Mahony is Applications Engineering Team Leader at Shimmer in Dublin, where she has worked at providing tools to make sensed signals easier to interpret. Niamh’s work on biosensors is bringing about changes in access to information for health professionals and patients alike. She believes in the importance of bringing science to the masses and cultivating curiosity in all minds, young and old. She has been involved in numerous schemes to encourage school-leavers to consider a career in engineering and has recently worked with Science Gallery to teach the general public about the physiological signs and effects of risk-taking.
Shane O’Mara is Professor of Experimental Brain Research at the School of Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, and the Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. Shane’s research centres on examining how the brain makes memories. He explores what life would be like without memory, our enduring personal record of our hopes, experiences, desires, wishes, needs, loves and hatreds. He is particularly interested in how memories are encoded by neurons in the brain, and how this encoding is affected by psychiatric or other conditions. Shane is also interested in public policy applications and counterfactual interpretations of neuroscience, and has published over 100 papers in these areas.
Kevin Thornton is Chef Proprietor of Michelin starred Thornton’s Restaurant on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green. Widely regarded as Ireland’s best chef, he has been a food writer for many publications including The Sunday Business Post and The Gloss magazine, has worked with RTÉ on various culinary shows, and has co-presented the Foodtalk radio series on Newstalk. Kevin’s passion to bring excellence to the plate has made him Ireland’s first ever chef to have received 2 Michelin stars. His contemporary cooking is informed by the distinctive flavours of local produce and is inspired by his keen appreciation for nature.