Igniting Curiosity, Shaping Futures
At the NCSC, our goal is to spark a lifelong journey of discovery. We aim to captivate young minds and old with the limitless wonders of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. We seek to ignite a passion for these subjects, guiding our visitors towards the endless possibilities of a life working in STEAM.
NCSC is dedicated to positioning Ireland as a global frontrunner in STEAM education, nurturing creativity and positive engagement for a thriving natural world.
Location & Building
The NCSC is awaiting final planning permission to bring life to the North Wing of Earlsfort Terrace in the centre of Dublin.
We will share this historic former university building with the National Concert Hall. The provision by the state of this landmark building together with the undertaking by the Office of Public Works, to refurbish the North Wing and build the Planetarium underscores the commitment by the State to this project.
Some 150 years ago, the Great International Exhibition of 1865 was located on the same site and had as it its objectives ‘…. to supply a want which long existed in this City, that is, of a structure where the Citizens might enjoy rational recreation combined with the elevating influence of the Arts.’ (Page 5 of the Official Catalogue, International Exhibition Arts and Manufactures, Dublin 1865).
The NCSC site will comprise the renovated North Wing with a new extension built at the back incorporating a state-of-the-art Planetarium. In addition, rhyming with history, a tunnel will link this main building with the old UCD Engineering Laboratory which will also be fully renovated to house temporary and travelling exhibitions.
The overall footprint of the NCSC will be ca. 9,500 square metres (100,000 sq. ft), with 2,500 square metres (27,000 sq. ft) of permanent exhibition space and 500 square metres (5,300 sq ft) of temporary exhibition space.
Learn and Explore
NCSC champions 'learning by doing.’ Our interactive exhibits, each a testament to different scientific principles, will be designed to engage and educate. Globally, interactive science centres are key tools for educators, complementing science curricula with practical, hands-on experiences.
Our engagement strategy extends beyond the building's walls, emphasising national education programmes that will encompass both formal and informal learning. These initiatives will bridge schools and industries, benefiting urban and rural communities across Ireland.
NCSC will serve as a national beacon of interactive learning, featuring an extensive outreach program. Our exhibitions, both physical and digital, will tour nationally, supported by a dynamic online presence through our website and app.
Our exhibits will focus on the six major transformations outlined in the U.N Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Food Biosphere & Water
Decarbonization & Energy
Consumption & Production
Human Capacity & Demography.
These transformations represent the urgent shifts needed to forge a fairer, more sustainable world.
We are a voluntary board of passionate members of the public who have worked for over 20 years to bring this idea to life. The board has had many different iterations over the years, with many people helping us on our way. Currently the board is made up of the following voluntary members:
Paul Duffy, NED – Chairman
Ali Hewson, Businesswoman and Activist
Professor Luke O ’Neill, Chair of Biochemistry, TCD
Melinda Byrns-O’Brien, Attorney, former CEO, Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment
Frank Doonan, Management Consultant
Michael M. Collins, Senior Counsel and Adjunct Full Professor, UCD
Cathy Moore, Communications Strategist
Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, Director of MaREI and Professor of Energy Engineering at UCC
Helen Ryan, Director Hakata Holdings and Enterprise Ireland
Jonathan Westrup, Partner with Board Excellence and Associate Professor at Warwick Business School.
Chair of the Exhibits Advisory Committee: Prof. Áine Hyland, Emeritus Professor of Education and former Vice-President of UCC
Project Project Director: Anne-Louise Kelly
The NCSC is a registered charity with a Board of Trustees drawn from the public, private and academic sector backgrounds. Under its Agreement (2013) with Government, one seat on the Board is reserved for a representative of Government Departments. The Board also encourages the Government to discuss with it the establishment of the NSCS as an integral part of the State infrastructure once it has opened.
How the NCSC Aligns with Government Policy
According to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Further and Higher Education and Research, Innovation and Science's July 2023 report, ‘The Future of STEM in Irish Education’:
"The National Children’s Science Centre, in gestation for many years, should be opened as a matter of urgent national priority. It will send out a message that Ireland is very serious about science education for Primary and Post Primary students.”
“The National Children’s Science Centre should receive the full support of Government with a view to an early launch in Q4 2023.”
The Story Behind our Pulsar Logo
Our graphic inspiration is the Pulsar Map from the Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft. Astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake designed the map, working with fellow astronomer Carl Sagan and artist and writer Linda Salzman Sagan.
Here is a picture of the Golden record, courtesy of NASA. The starburst-like diagram that you can see on the bottom left hand corner is called a pulsar map. It shows the location of our sun relative to known pulsars.
Pulsars are the rapidly spinning remains of dying stars—the leftover cores of supernova explosions. They are only about 12 to 15 miles in diameter, but most contain more than twice the mass of our sun.
Their rapid spin and intense magnetic fields cause the pulsars to emit very specific wavelengths of light, which flash like the beam from a lighthouse every time they pass across our field of view.
Each pulsar has its own signature pulse rate, making them easy to identify, and ideal as reference points on a map. Frank Drake used 14 pulsars to create a map with our sun at the centre. Each pulsar is connected to the sun by a solid line. The length of the line represents the pulses approximate relative distance from the sun.
Pulsars were discovered by one of Ireland's greatest scientists. Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell from Lurgan discovered pulsars in 1967 while she was a postgraduate student at Cambridge University.
The image connects us to humanity's farthest journey, a piece of our curiosity travelling since 1977 and still teaching us. Our graphic is dynamic and messy, giving a sense of explosion, a spark of curiosity, of excitement, discovery.