Future Events Programme
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Apr

29

10:30

Notre Dame de Paris. Triumph and Disaster

Professor Roger Stalley, Emeritus Fellow, Trinity College Dublin

  • 📅Thursday, April 29, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)

The fire that broke out at Notre Dame two years ago was a horrifying spectacle, the world watching on TV as flames spread relentlessly along the building. Commentators spoke of complete destruction, finding it hard to believe that such a great monument was so vulnerable. In fact the disaster was not as catastrophic as it looked. When the fire was finally extinguished, the cathedral was fundamentally intact, the vast array of medieval sculpture unharmed, so too the stained glass that filled the giant windows. While some regarded this as little short of a miracle, the survival of the cathedral was a triumph for Gothic design, a direct result of the structural system adopted by the medieval builders.

Fire was an ever-present fear in the middle ages and many great churches suffered a fate similar to that at Notre Dame. This talk will explain how the Gothic masons confronted the problem and will explore the unusual architecture of Notre Dame, a hybrid scheme that resulted from a series of modifications to the original design. The talk will also illustrate the damage caused by the fire and outline the decisions that have been made in organizing the restoration.

Roger Stalley is a a fellow emeritus of Trinity College, Dublin, where he was Professor of the History of Art between 1990 and 2010. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was elected a member of Academia Europaea in the year 2000. His research interests lie in the field of medieval art and architecture. He has published over a hundred articles along with eight books, including the Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland (YUP 1987), (awarded the Hitchcock medallion by the Society of Architectural Historians), and Early Medieval Architecture (OUP, 1999). He is currently completing a book on early medieval sculpture in Ireland.


May

05

10:30

The role of the oceans in Earth's climate: natural cycles and anthropogenic change

Professor Peter Croot

  • 📅Wednesday, May 5, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30

This talk is part of the Climate Action Sub-Group's Programme but all members of The Bray Heads are welcome to attend

Most people when asked to describe the ocean likely start with waves on a beach or headland as this was their first introduction to the ocean and is the critical interface between land and sea. The ocean, however, covers 70 percent of the planet’s surface and most of this is beyond the sight of land. For this reason, perhaps, much of what the ocean provides for us, what scientists term ecosystem services, are also often overlooked in our daily lives. In this context, recent studies have shown that the ocean has absorbed around 9 percent of the excess heat due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations. The oceans are currently acting to offset atmospheric warming due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), as it takes more energy to warm water by 1°C than air and the oceans also transport this extra heat into the interior of the ocean where it no longer interacts with the atmosphere. The ocean also plays a role in moderating CO2 concentrations in the air, as seawater absorbs CO2 from the air, and it is estimated that the ocean has absorbed 30 percent of fossil fuel emissions. In his talk Professor Croot will present an introduction to the UN Decade for Ocean Sustainability, which started this year, as well as discussing the role of the Oceans in Climate with a particular emphasis on the implications for Ireland.

Professor Peter Croot of NUI Galway is a marine biogeochemist whose research focuses on understanding the role of biogeochemical and physical processes on the concentration and distribution of trace elements and chemical species in the ocean. His work combines different strands of ocean observations (in situ and satellite, physical and biological), with laboratory studies to elucidate the kinetics and mechanisms underpinning the transformation of chemical species in the ocean from the surface to the deep. Dr Croot has extensive at sea experience in the oxygen minimum zones of the Tropical Atlantic and Pacific and in the iron limited Southern Ocean. In April 2017 he was the Chief Scientist for the GO-SHIP repeat hydrography survey along the A02 line in the North Atlantic, this marked the first time that an Irish research vessel had undertaken an international hydrographic survey.


May

13

10:30

Visions and Strategies for Regional Planning in Ireland.

Jim Walsh, Emeritus Professor of Geography at Maynooth University

  • 📅Thursday, May 13, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)

Jim Walsh is an Emeritus Professor of Geography at Maynooth University where he is also a member of the Maynooth Institute for Social Sciences (MUSSI). His research interests are in rural and regional development, demographic change and spatial planning. He has published extensively on these topics. In addition to his research he has extensive experience in leadership and project management in higher education as Vice-President of Maynooth University for twelve years, and in providing strategic advice on a wide range of policies over many years to government departments and other agencies that include the National Economic and Social Council; Dept of Environment on the National Spatial Strategy and the National Planning Framework; Dept. of Agriculture on the White Paper for Rural Development; and in more recent years the Dept of Community and Rural Affairs through membership of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas.


May

27

11:00

'The Devil's Chaplain': The Life and Times of Charles Darwin

Dr Peter Boyle, Fellow Emeritus, TCD

  • 📅Thursday, May 27, 2021
  • 🕥11:00 - 12:00
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)

When he left school at the age of sixteen in 1825 , Charles Darwin said about himself that "I was considered by all my masters and by my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect". And yet when he died in 1882 his name was a household word. Today Darwin is arguably the most written about and most widely discussed scientist of all time. It could also be said that no other scientist in history was to cause such a dramatic change in how ordinary people understood themselves and their place in the world. This talk will review the life, times, and career of this extraordinary man

Dr Peter Boyle is a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity. He was brought up in County Sligo in the house in which the famous Cambridge mathematician, Sir Gabriel Stokes (of 'Stoke's Law' fame) was born. He was educated in The King's Hospital School in Dublin and then in Trinity College, where he was elected a Scholar and then took a moderatorship in chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. He joined the academic staff of Trinity and was elected a Fellow of the College in 1972. He remained working in Trinity until his retirement, with periods abroad working in USA and Germany. In 2015 he published a new book on the Provosts of Trinity College.


Jun

10

10:30

The Middle East: An Introduction to its Lands, People, History and Complexities

Former Ambassador, Isolde Moylan

  • 📅Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)

Anytime that the Middle East features in the news media, the story almost always relates either to wars, uprisings, tyranny, terrorism, religious extremism or threats to the west, or to the vast oil-wealth of some of its countries and people. Having spent nearly eight years living, working and travelling in the region, retired Ambassador, Isolde Moylan, has witnessed and chronicled many of these conflicts and problems first hand but, in this talk, she will be delving in behind the news headlines, the terrible press which the region attracts, and the stereotypes which abound about it, to reveal a more multi-dimensional picture of these fascinating lands, peoples and cultures and the main historical, economic and external factors which impact so heavily on it.

Isolde, who is a founding member and former Team Leader of our Bray Heads U3A Group, was an Irish diplomat for over 40 years, focusing mainly on political and international development issues. In addition to posts abroad in Washington DC, at the UN in New York, in Rome, Brussels; and Boston as Consul General, she served as Ambassador to Tanzania (1996-2000); as Ireland’s first resident Representative to the Palestinian Authority (2000-2002); Asia Political Director (2005-2010); and as Ambassador to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Sudan and the Arab League, based in Cairo (2010-2015). In retirement since mid-2015, she speaks and writes on the Middle East; she is a Board member of the Friends of Bethlehem University; a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation; an Archives Reviewer for the Department of Foreign Affairs; and a member of Bray Choral Society.


Jun

24

10:30

TBC: COVID-19 Update

TBC: Professor Luke O'Neill, TCD

  • 📅Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)

Following his lively and informative talk to our Group in November 2020 and his offer to return to provide us with an update at a later stage, we are hoping that he will be able to do so on this date or around this time.


Jun

25

00:00

25 JUNE - 1 SEPTEMBER: SUMMER BREAK

  • 📅Friday, June 25, 2021
  • 🕥00:00 - 00:00


Sep

02

10:30

FIRST AUTUMN MEETING - DETAILS TBC

  • 📅Thursday, September 2, 2021
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Zoom Online(map)





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