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Top award for former North Clare-based scientist

A well-known scientist who spent the past year working with a North Clare project recently won a coveted British award for her ability to communicate scientific research to a non-specialist audience.

Maria McNamara, with Grace Kelly and other Tierneeven National School pupils in her role with the Burren Connect Project, has just won a prestigious award from the British Scientist Association. Photograph by John KellyDr Maria McNamara, who worked with the Burren Connect Project from August 2008 to August 2009, won the Charles Lyell Award Lecture for her work in communicating geology to non-specialist audience. This highly respected award is given by the British Scientist Association.
As a result of this honour Maria presented an award lecture, ‘What rots? How dead animals decompose and its importance for decoding the history of life’ during The British Science Festival, which took place at the University of Surrey, Guildford and across Surrey from September 5 to 10.
Maria led the audience through the processes involved in exceptional fossil preservation and how this can illuminate the ecology and physiology of ancient animals.
The award lectures are coveted prizes for talented communicators with an interesting story to tell about their research. Maria is one of five early-stage scientists and engineers who demonstrated exceptional skills in communicating to non-specialist audiences to give these prestigious lectures.
“The British Science Association Award Lectures seek to reward outstanding communicators who can bring their subjects to life with passion and enthusiasm whilst also tackling the social implications of their research,” said Roland Jackson, chief executive of the British Science Association.
During her time at the Burren Connect Project Maria made significant contributions towards interpreting Burren geology and towards developing educational and information materials for the public. Her work can be downloaded from the Burren Connect website www.burrenconnect.ie. Maria is set to embark on a research and teaching project in Yale University in the US under the IRCSET Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Geology and Geophysics programme.


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