Encouraging Generation Z To Code, A Zeminar Account

Article by Aoife Kearins.

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the chance to speak at Zeminar.

Zeminar is a youth summit aiming to inspire and encourage generation Z which was held in the RDS, Dublin. The event was held over 3 days, with many high profile speakers such as Bressie and Lyn Ruane, with Maria Walsh as MC. I was speaking on Thursday morning, the last day of the event. I would have loved to have attended the other two days, but unfortunately, the Leaving Cert meant that I couldn’t miss three full days of school. I was following the event on social media on Tuesday & Wednesday and saw what great reception it was getting, and the buzz that had built up around it.

I was giving a talk entitled “Hello, world!” that was aiming to encourage young people to get involved with coding. In my presentation, I talked about the advantages of coding, the opportunities it presents and my own personal experience of all the doors coding can open. I tried to quash some stereotypes surrounding coding and what a coder should be, and also aimed to put across the point that you’re never too old to start learning how to code. I showed the impact of code in the world we live in today and pointed the audience towards some resources to help them learn how to program.

I was so nervous beforehand, as this was the first proper talk I’d given, and I was the very first speaker of the day. Despite the friendly organisers and copious amounts of tea backstage, I was still terrified. However, once I got out on stage and started talking it was absolutely fine, and I was so so happy with how it went.

The rest of the day was fantastic too. The whole concept and execution of the event was incredible, and I really enjoyed chatting to people at different stands all over the RDS, from universities to charities to youth groups. Listening to the other amazing speakers was phenomenal too, as well as getting to chat to them all backstage during the day too.

Zeminar was an amazing experience, and I expect to see it gain more and more momentum in the future. It was a privilege to both attend and speak at the event. I would really encourage any young person to attend Zeminar next year, if they get the chance, and to check out the videos of the speakers from this year’s event once they’re posted online in the next couple of weeks.


Phi, The Golden Ratio

Maths has a bad reputation as a school subject. Probably the most common complaint uttered in a maths class is that “I’m never going to use any of this!” Almost everyone understands the vitality of basic arithmetic (addition, multiplication, etc..) but draw a line when confronted with algebra, trigonometry and calculus.

However, many people don’t realise that there is a number that appears everywhere in our daily lives. This number is present when you look at a portrait or a flower, listen to a song, even in DNA and astronomy!

And that number is PHI.

PHI (pronounced fie {like pie}) is the number , which is approximately 1.618, and is also known as the “Golden Ratio”. Phi is not pi (3.1416, the number plaguing students as they calculate the area of a circle), but a completely separate irrational number.

Phi can be derived through the Fibonacci series, a numerical series where each number is the sum of the two numbers prior to it (excluding the first two numbers in the series.)- 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55….

This ratio is supposed to be the most aesthetically pleasing for a rectangular shape- i.e. if one side of a rectangle is 1 unit, the other should be 1.618. This ratio was used in the Pantheon in Greece due to these aesthetically pleasing properties. The Renaissance artists called it the Divine Proportion and used it for beauty and balance in designing their artwork. The ratio is also found in the Notre Dame in Paris.

Even music has a basis in the Fibonacci series, as there are 13 notes in the span of any note through its octave. A scale is composed of 8 notes, of which the 5th and 3rd notes create the basic foundation of all chords.

The dimensions of the Earth and Moon are in Phi relationship, forming a Triangle based on 1.618. Many flowers have petals that total a number in the Fibonacci series: Lilies have 3 petals, buttercups and roses have 5, marigolds have 13 and daisies have 55 or 89.

The DNA molecule measures 34 angstroms long by 21 angstroms wide for each full cycle of its double helix spiral. These numbers, 34 and 21, are numbers in the Fibonacci series, and their ratio 1.6190476 closely approximates Phi, 1.6180339.

This number, phi, and its relative, the Fibonacci series, provide the very building blocks of the environment around us. No one knows why this mysterious number appears so frequently, but it is an example of how numbers form the foundation of the world we live in.

Article by Aoife Kearins

New Irish Music: The Clockworks – ‘Girls Like You’ Review

The Clockworks are an up-and-coming Irish indie band based in Galway. Their debut single Girls Like You was released on July 2nd, and it is definitely a song that cannot be missed.

Irish music has dominated the charts worldwide over the past few years- from Hosier to Walking On Cars, Kodaline to The Academic. Despite the plethora of Irish acts that have achieved international recognition, there are always new up-and- coming Irish bands with truly remarkable music to offer. The Clockworks are a prime example of this.

An EP is due to be released soon, so currently we have only one song from this band: Girls Like You. Luckily for them- and us!- this song is extremely catchy and well-crafted, with a unique twist that’s always promising for a band so early in their career.

The song is indie-rock, almost The Smiths meet Neutral Milk Hotel meet She & Him. Maybe.

London born James McGregor’s vocals are impeccable, with a raw touch that adds to the song and works really well with the powerful guitar chords and hard-hitting lyrics. The lyrics are sarcastic, cynical, anecdotal, almost tongue-in- cheek; in the best possible way.

The real beauty of the song, however, is in its subtleties, the melodious line hidden underneath the loud guitars after the chorus, the impeccable cymbal work by drummer Damian Greaney. The guitar solo at around 2:20 by Sean Connelly is amazing and the song is guaranteed to have you nodding along by the end of it. The final verse finishes the song in an unexpected way that really shows that The Clockworks are bringing something a bit different to the music table.

This is the first song from The Clockworks but it has a lot of promise and definitely looks like a good indicator that there are big things ahead for this Galway group. Hop on the bandwagon now, and check them out on some of the smaller shows they’re playing this summer before you have to queue up for their sold out shows.

The Clockworks play Whelan’s Summer Ones To Watch this week. You can keep up to date with them on twitter or on Facebook.

You can listen to Girls Like You on Spotify, iTunes and Soundcloud.



Article by Aoife Kearins.

Introducing Aoife

To help our blog run smoothly we put a call out for young writers whom are interested in either STEM and or music, Aoife is one of them. Aoife will be writing about upcoming pop-punk artists and general STEM topics. Needless to say we are very excited to read her articles.

So who is Aoife? We’ve asked our new authors to answers a few questions to introduce themselves.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Aoife, and I love maths, music and untranslatable words. I run my own music website Mixtape ’94, and spend lots of time working to prevent drowsy driving road accidents with my technology project Eye Opener. I am also a competitive tea drinker.

What is your favourite STEM subject?

Maths is definitely my favourite STEM subject. I absolutely adore the beauty and abstract nature of pure maths, and also love the numerous applications maths has in all of the other STEM areas, especially technology.

Why do you think the gender gap in STEM needs to close?

I am a big believer in the importance of STEM as a tool to make things happen. If girls aren’t equipped with the necessary STEM skills, so many of the incredible ideas and projects they have will never come to fruition and the world will miss out on them.

Do you have a role model? If so whom?

Sophie Germain, the French mathematician and physicist, is such a role model for me as she didn’t allow any of the limitations she faced prevent her from achieving her goals. All of the girls I met at Outbox Incubator never fail to inspire me with their drive, passion and determination also.

What do you work as / study?

I’m a secondary school student, currently about to enter my last year of school. I also run Mixtape ’94 and Eye-Opener, and work on far too many other projects as well.

Can you describe yourself in 6 words? 

Ambitious, diligent, creative, caffeinated, loyal, pluviophile (rain-lover).   (when I asked my sister my help with this question she suggested “very, very, very, very, very sarcastic.”)
If you’d like to join the Echoing STEM blogging team please email echoingstem@gmail.com