Meet the three Young Scientific Talents! [fr]

Last January, we funded the participation of Fiona Freeman, Niamh Kavanagh and Padraig Flattery to the Week of International Young Scientists, organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Universcience in Paris. We met with them.

Fiona Freeman (FF) is a postdoctoral researcher in Trinity. Niamh Kavanagh (NK) is working in Tyndall National Institute in Cork as a PhD student. Padraig Flattery (PF) is a PhD student in Maynooth University.

What is your research domain and does it influence our lives?
FF: I work in tissue engineering, specifically bone tissue engineering. In 2019, one quarter of our population will actually have diseases like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis so my work research is basically to find a way to regenerate the bone tissue once these diseases have occurred.
NK: I am doing a PhD in physics, in the area of fibre-optic communications. My work looks at using new types of fibres that are hollow rather than solid which can hopefully carry more information so we can stay ahead of the demand of internet traffic.
PF: I work on climate change, I am looking at how climate change affects soils in Ireland and in general. Ireland has climate change targets to meet and my work will contribute to reaching them, by trying to calculate the amount of carbon in Irish soils, and modelling future changes.

Which object symbolizes the love of what you do?
FF: The Lego ®! As a kid, I was really obsessed with the fact that these small building blocks can make up something bigger, and stem cells are the building blocks of your body.
NK: This is my object [a polystyrene noodle with a thin plastic cable]. Optical fibres are really small, thinner than your hair, light travels when it is bouncing along. Light bounces along the fibre and that is how information moves along the internet.
PF: This is a 3D printed globe, to represent the fact we have already damaged a big part of our planet.

What do you enjoy the most about what you are doing?
FF: I love research because you are at the cutting edge of technologies so all this stuff that has not actually reached the public domain, you get to see it, what people are thinking.. All that ‘outside the box thinking’ is the best part in research for me.
NK: I like that it is a mix between theory and practical, so I can be studying a book and then go to the lab and try it out.
PF: I like the teaching aspect of it, so to actually teach something to people and see them interested in it.

And about the week you spent in Paris, could you tell us what it meant for you?

FF: I really enjoyed it because you got to see what other people were doing in fields that were not yours and in other parts of the world.
NK: Yes and it was nice to meet other enthusiastic young researchers. It was a really open atmosphere for discussing the challenges we face and share.
PF: Yes, I back all those points, it was just really great to meet people from all over the world.

Did you find anything different in the ways of communicating about science between France and Ireland?
FF: Not really, both are putting huge emphasis on trying to get the information out there and to give information about science to younger children and younger generations.
NK: I thought that the facilities they had and the equipment were just amazing.
PF: I agree, the facilities for younger kids are great.

What was your favourite moment?
FF: Obviously the food. But they had a museum opened just for us for one day. It was a great experience to be alone in the museum.
NK: The L’Oreal night was really great, it made me feel really hopeful for women in sciences in the future.
PF: Yeah the museum was great: we got to try everything.

How will you use this Week in your future career?
FF: We all made really good contacts
NK: Yes, there is a lot of opportunities for collaboration or just sharing ressources between different countries.
PF: This and the way they demonstrate some exhibits in the museums, very interesting.

Published on 03/01/2020

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