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Norah Patten joins Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon

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Article by ERMurray © 27 June 2019.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

Irish Scientist-Astronaut Candidate Dr Norah Patten will be a Special Guest at Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon.

Born in Co. Mayo, and now based in Dublin, Dr Patten became fascinated by space and space travel after a visit to a NASA facility at age 11. She earned a PhD in aeronautical engineering at the University of Limerick in 2011 following internships at Boeing and Bell Labs. She has participated in several citizen science campaigns with Project PoSSUM including microgravity research flights, spacesuit testing and evaluation, hypoxia training and spacecraft egress. Project PoSSUM prepares their candidates to perform research on commercial space missions.

Dr Patten’s interest in space and education led her to organise the first Irish student experiment sent to the International Space Station in 2014. The experiment was designed by four teenagers from St Nessan’s Community College in Limerick, investigating the effects of microgravity on reinforced concrete. She currently works as a programme manager at the Irish Composites Centre.

Dr Patten has been a lecturer and project manager at the University of Limerick and has served on the faculty of the International Space University since 2012. In 2017 she founded Planet Zebunar, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education company focused on space stories. Her children’s book Shooting for the Stars is forthcoming from O’Brien Press in September. She won the 2018 PoSSUM Science Educator award. Dr Patten will be our first Special Guest and will attend the convention on Saturday and Monday.

“Worldcon is about keeping in touch with the factual as well as the fictional aspects of science,” Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said. “It’s wonderful that we are going to hear about cutting-edge developments in space research from a scientist of Norah’s calibre.”

Dr Patten can be found at SpaceNorah on Facebook and Twitter.

Panels, talks and presentations with scientists and engineers form a major programme track in a distinguished tradition at Worldcons. Dublin 2019 will be the 77th annual World Science Fiction Convention, the first to be held in Ireland and the eleventh in Europe.

Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon will take place in the Convention Centre Dublin from August 15 to August 19. More than 6600 people have already signed up as members, including more than 5200 attending members. More than 830 people will be attending Worldcon for the first time.

About Shooting for the Stars:

In 2017 Dr. Norah Patten, from Ballina in Co. Mayo, was one of 12 participants from around the world selected to take part in a unique scientist-astronaut training programme, Project Possum. She is now on course to become Ireland’s first astronaut!

Follow Norah as she brings you on a journey high above the earth and into space. You will learn about space travel, astronaut training and life without gravity. Norah will answer those all-important questions such as how long does it take to become an astronaut and where exactly astronauts go to the toilet?!

  • Did you know that our sun is a star, just like all the stars we see at night?
  • Did you know that, in space, the astronauts have to use special ropes to hold themselves down while running on the treadmill?

A fun and engaging book about space and becoming an astronaut but most importantly a book about following your dreams no matter how big!

Pre-order your copy online here.


Follow Elizabeth online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Elizabeth Rose Murray lives in West Cork where she writes, fishes, and grows her own vegetables. Her first book for young adults Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) was published June 2016. Her debut novel for children aged 10-12, The Book of Learning - Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (Mercier Press) was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children and the follow-up The Book of Shadows - Nine Lives Trilogy 2 was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. The final installment The Book of Revenge will be published in February 2018.

Elizabeth has poetry and short fiction published in journals across the UK and Ireland - including Ogham Stone, Southword, South Circular, Esc and 3am - and has been shortlisted in various competitions including TV3AM Short Story, Francis MacManus, and Aesthetica Creative Works. She has also performed in Ciudades Paralelas: Station - a live writing installation.

Hoping to encourage new writers, Elizabeth provides manuscript reports and online writing courses through Inkwell Writers and Big Smoke Writing Factory. She is a regular at literary festivals, and offers adult workshops on writing for children and young adults, as well as multiple events and workshops for children and teens.

You can connect with Elizabeth on Twitter @ERMurray, Facebook www.facebook.com/ERMurray.Author or her blog www.ermurray.com