That’s not to say that we don’t have our moments – we certainly don’t always see eye to eye, and there are lots of discussions about boundaries etc, but it’s good for a parent to recognise your kids are separate individuals with different likes and desires and plans!
My worklife is a whole other world. I’m Professor of Palaeontology at UCC and am based in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in Distillery Fields, just off Cork’s North Mall.
I run two big laboratories where we prepare and analyse fossils and other materials, and I run a big research group with six PhD students, two postdoctoral researchers and two research support officers.
I also run a new national public engagement programme, called, that aims to increase Irish people’s awareness of our remarkable fossils.
Yes, but not every weekend. Some weekends I might have to check out sites for a student fieldtrip, or I work in the lab preparing fossils for analysis; the prep work can take up to 10 days or more so, once you start on a batch of samples, you have no choice but to work over the weekend, but it’s usually just for a few hours each day.
A few times a year we go to particle accelerator facilities called synchrotrons (where electrons are spun around inside a huge doughtnut-shaped ring up to 1 km across and at one-third the speed of light). The electrons don’t stop at weekends and you have to take the slot you’re given, so if it’s across a weekend, tough luck, you just have to work through!
The theme of the contest is Irish Fossils ALIVE. We are inviting young artists to create a unique art piece inspired by the rich fossil heritage on the island of Ireland and have prepared a list of some of the most famous Irish fossils on our website for inspiration.
Entrants do not need any prior knowledge of fossils to enter, they can simply let their imaginations run wild!
Prizes will be awarded in four age categories: U8; 9-12; 13-15, and 16-18. The overall winner of the contest will win a once-in-a-lifetime experience of a day out fossil hunting with palaeontologists from UCC with lots of other fossil-themed prizes to be won.
The top selected entries will be invited to display their art pieces at a public exhibition at the Glucksman art gallery in Cork in June 2022. Further details on how to enter can be found on our Fossil Art page see www.ucc.ie/en/fossil-heritage/fossilart/