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Science in Society Public Lecture Series


This fascinating weekly lecture series is delivered by world-leading UCC STEM academics and is open to the public.

The lectures will outline the nature of science, the type of knowledge discovered by science and the types of question that science cannot answer. They will look at the role of science in modern society, in the modern developed economy, and the broad ethical issues raised by scientific and technological advances. The interface between science and religion, and science and the environment will also be examined, along with some of the ways in which science can be misused.


Lectures are free to attend and all are welcome. Registration is now closed. The series will recommence in January 2025.


Lecture Details 2024

All lectures in 2024 were held in Boole 2, Boole Basement, Main Campus, UCC

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6.00pm - 7.00pm

Note: schedule may be subject to change.  For queries, contact Prof Alan Kelly:




Tuesday 16 January

How science works

Prof Alan Kelly

Thursday 18 January

The ethics of science communication

Prof Alan Kelly

Tuesday 23 January

No lecture


Thursday 25 January

What has science discovered about the natural physical world (part 1)?

Prof Paul Callanan

Tuesday 30 January

What has science discovered about the natural physical world (part 2)?

Prof Paul Callanan

Thursday 1 February

Circular economy, energy and the environment

Prof Jerry Murphy

Tuesday 6 February

When science goes wrong; Eugenics and the Nazis, weapons of mass destruction and environmental pollution

Dr Michael Whelan

Thursday 8 February

The Human Microbiome – Part 1

Dr Pauline Scanlan

Tuesday 13 February

Food processing: a problem or a solution?

Prof Alan Kelly

Thursday 15 February

No lecture


Tuesday 20 February

Darwinian evolution I

Dr Tom Reed

Thursday 22 February

Darwinian evolution II

Dr Tom Reed

Tuesday 27 February

Science and the environment

Dr Michelle McKeown

Thursday 29 February

The ethics of artificial intelligence

Prof Barry O’Sullivan

Tuesday 5 March

Plant based foods: sustainable and nutritious?

Dr Aylin Sahin

Thursday 7 March

Career adventures with some of the world’s most dangerous animals and pathogens: An African-centred personal perspective

Prof Ger Killeen

Tuesday 12 March

Mathematics and society

Dr Tom Carroll

Thursday 14 March

The Human Microbiome – Part 2

Dr Pauline Scanlan

Tuesday 19 March

Can the food we eat really make us smarter?

Dr Elaine McCarthy

Thursday 21 March

Could Jurassic Park really happen?

Prof Maria McNamara

Tuesday 9 April

Some milestones in Ireland’s scientific heritage

Dr Declan Kennedy

Thursday 11 April

Obesity: the everyday pandemic

Dr Majella O’Keeffe

Tuesday 16 April

Evolution of parent-offspring conflict

Dr Tom Moore

Thursday 18 April

Advances in Genetic Engineering

Prof Tommie McCarthy 


Lectures are free to attend and all are welcome. 


College of Science, Engineering and Food Science

Coláiste na hEolaíochta, na hInnealtóireachta agus na hEolaíochta Bia

Block E, Level 3, Food Science Building, UCC, Cork, T12 YN60.