Science from Home: Meet the Irish doctor who’s teaching science virtually in the midlands

If you’re looking for an excellent resource on keeping your kids up to date with their science work or just want to brush up on some epic science yourself, then Dr Dan Nickström’s your man.

Dan is a physicist who currently works as a part-time lecturer in the department of experimental physics at Maynooth University. It’s there that he teaches students about lasers (yes, you read that right) and semiconductors as well as in practical labs.

No better man to be teaching science to young ones, Dan’s PhD research focussed in on biomedical physics and the developing medical devices using magnetism and centrifugal forces. And aside from all of that he also works for Midlands Science where he creates interactive workshops for school kids and the general audience.

Social distancing means that now Dan must deliver all his lectures and examinations online and though it’s a big change for everyone, he tells me that it’s going well so far.

This led to this new and exciting science series being created online that incorporates everyday objects you may find in your home into the online classes.

‘I teamed up with the very talented Slawek Bracki and we created these videos,’ says Dan who tells me that it takes them two long days to get everything filmed.

‘I first need to come up with an interesting topic and figure out if there’s a valuable learning outcome that can be achieved in a simple and fun way,’ he says.

‘I then run the idea past Slawek and see if he has ideas of how to shoot it or to make it more exciting, put together a quick script and Slawek builds the sets, chooses his shots and gets the lighting right. Once the filming is done, the whole work of editing is still in front of us.’

Slawek handles all of the editing side of things and gives Dan rough versions that he can look at. And, after a few iterations, they send out the final product.

‘I suppose the goal of the series is to give people a new angle on the science all around them and in particular to encourage people to think like a physicist,’ Dan explains.

‘Physicists want to explore the world around them using logic, observation and curiosity to figure out all sorts of mysteries. And so many people have the skills necessary to be a physicist if they just knew it!’

You check out Midlands Science here and follow Dan’s YouTube account here.

Looking for more ways to entertain the kids? Check out how you can your young ones can get their very own Ukulele licence online here.

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I'm a freelance content creator and a journalist who has a strong desire to do as much as possible in the time I've got left on this planet. I got a taste for storytelling when I interned in Storyful many moons ago and since then have worked for places like WorldIrish (now Irish Central), Her.ie and Lonely Planet. I am constantly curious.

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