The Institute of Physics at ESOF

6 July 2012

Black holes, exoplanets and physics street busking all form part of the Institute of Physics’ involvement with the European Science Open Forum, ESOF 2012, the fifth pan-European meeting dedicated to scientific research and innovation.

Physics busking to children

In Dublin, between 11–15 July 2012, scientists and the general public, among others, will be provided with a platform to exchange views and discuss the challenges and consequences of global scientific developments. ESOF promotes and fosters contact between associations, professional societies and industry, and assists policymakers in consulting scientists on issues affecting society.

The Institute of Physics, along with its partner, the Royal Astronomical Society is running two sessions at ESOF 2012 –

Exoplanets: the search for planets beyond our solar system
Thursday July 12, 2012 8:00 - 9:30 in the Liffey B

In the past two decades, astronomers have developed new techniques and instruments what are providing growing observational evidence that our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is rich with planetary systems. 

The study of other planetary systems gives us a prime opportunity to determine if our solar system is unique. 

This session will introduce the various methods of exoplanet detection and the technology being used and currently developed with a focus on the efforts of Europe’s leading scientific nations.  

Different methods allow us not only to infer an exoplanet’s existence, but its atmospheric composition, pressure and temperature. The question of what we can learn from exoplanet systems will be explored, with talks focusing on planetary system formation and the search for biological markers.

Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell speaking at ESOF
Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell speaking at ESOF

Don Pollacco, Queen’s University Belfast

Giovanna Tinetti, University College London

Heike Rauer, German Aerospace Centre

Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell: Visiting Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford

What’s so captivating about black holes?
Saturday July 14, 2012 16:00 – 17.30, Wicklow Meeting Room 2

Black holes are regions of space where gravitational forces are so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. Black holes have captured the imagination of the public like no other astrophysical entity and been readily absorbed into science fiction. However, despite endless conjecture, they still remain mysterious objects. So what do we really know about black holes? What have we actually observed? This session will uncover the current research in both experimental and theoretical physics, and how, together, they can build a picture of the modern black hole, and help us to gain a better understanding of the Universe.

Andrea Merloni: Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany

Elizabeth Winstanley: University of Sheffield, UK

Luke Drury: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Ireland

Thomas Mohaupt: University of Liverpool, UK

Busking Physics
Grafton Street,
Convention Centre,
More venues to be announced

July 7 and 14 at 11.00-14.00. This is a Free event.

Busking, an established activity on Grafton Street Dublin, brings culture to the streets of Dublin. A team of Irish Science teachers and pre-service science teachers will be present on Grafton Street on July 7, to share physics with the passing public as part of ESOF Dublin City of Science 2012. This will be repeated on July 14 at the Convention Centre where visiting scientists will be attending ESOF and also at ‘Pop Up’ venues.

These events are coordinated by Paul Nugent at Science on Stage Ireland, the Institute of Physics (IOP) in Ireland and CASTeL. Interaction is essential and  members of the public will have the opportunity to partake in demonstrations of Archimedes Law of Forces shown with a tug of war, Bernoulli’s Law for Fluid Flow with a giant windbags, Faraday’s Law of Induction shown with a simple motor, vortex blower, musical straws, windmills and rockets and much more.

The event is free and the passing public are invited to interact with science concepts using simple everyday items.

For more information contact Paul Nugent or

You can watch the RTE television news footage of the Physics Busking here.

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