Written By You

When I Met Mary Robinson – Written By You

Me and my mum went to hear this lady talk, her name is Mary Robinson, Mary was the President of Ireland, but she was not just any kind of President of Ireland,she was the first woman President of Ireland. She got a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009. And was the first President of Ireland to visit  the Queen.


Growing up 

Mary grew up in a small town in Ireland, her mum and dad where doctors and  her gran died when she was about 10 years old… When Mary was 17 she went to a finishing school in Paris while deciding if she wanted to become a nun…   In that finishing school  she was the only non-French speaking student there.


little light 

Mary Robinson famously put a light in her kitchen window to guide the people that have left Ireland to live a country abroad back home.


my question

If you had a chance of asking Mary Robinson a question in front of 600 people, would you do it? I would, and I did. Here’s what I said and what Mary replied:





Afterwards Mary signed a copy of her book for me


Science, Nature and Tech

A Trip to Mars!

Imagine being able to catch a flight to Mars as easily as we travel to another country – that was the idea behind the Trip To Mars session I attended at the Cheltenham Science Festival. It was conducted by Dr Suze Kundu and Dr Simon Foster and presented as a pre-flight safety briefing, with both of them dressed as pilots! There were a lot of humorous moments and sci-fi references but also some great science.

Suze and Simon suggested that in the future, flights to Mars could be far quicker than they are now, and explored how some of the bigger problems could be overcome. For example, the Sun’s magnetic field deflects a significant proportion of the cosmic radiation that could be harmful to humans on Earth; as spaceships travel further away from the Earth and Sun they will have less protection because the magnetic field weakens. To combat this it’s possible that spaceships will contain or be covered with large and powerful magnets, to produce the same deflective effect. This would have the added advantage of also deflecting radiation from solar flares.

Spaceships journeying to Mars would travel at such speed that even tiny fragments of rock and dust could be damaging to the hull. To combat this, and also the heat generated when the spaceship passes through an atmosphere, Suze and Simon discussed the possibility of spaceships being coated in aerogel. This amazing material is a solid formed from silicone dioxide but is 98% air; this means that it is extremely light but also strong. Its melting point is 1,200°C (equivalent to asbestos) and it is a wonderful insulator. Because it consists of large pockets of air between thin layers of silicone dioxide, any dust or rock fragments that hit it would be slowed and stopped before they could penetrate the aerogel completely.

Suze and Simon also discussed the possibilities and problems with cryostasis. Theoretically this is when a person’s body is cooled to temperatures so low that they enter hibernation, ideal for long journeys through space. Unfortunately our technology isn’t advanced enough to do this at the moment; any attempt would result in the cells rupturing and the person dying. But in the future it will be possible, perhaps after the person’s DNA has been altered slightly so that they can produce antifreeze proteins like some species of wasps and turtles.


Science, Nature and Tech

Science News For Kids – Water Found on Mars

Until 3 billion years ago, Mars was a wet planet much like Earth. It had land, an extensive atmosphere and an ocean that covered two thirds of the northern hemisphere as well as smaller bodies of water. But significant climate change caused the water and atmosphere to boil away, leaving Mars a dry and arid planet. Or so we thought… then came the news from Nasa – Water found on Mars! 


Home, Health & Style, Written By You

My Various Monster Pets

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were growing up? If you did (or perhaps still do), you are not alone. Previously thought to be unusual, it is now known to be quite common.

Kait is 15 years old. Her childhood was shared with Various Monster Pets. 



I can honestly say that when I was little, I had a very creative mind. I would make up stories for my Barbie dolls and cat toys. Later I would explain the plot to my mother and then retell my grandmother everything. But my favourite imagination memories were my Various Monster Pets.


Home, Health & Style

Have you ever wondered…about your teeth?

Have you ever had a tooth pulled out by a dentist? If you did, you may have noticed something odd. The roots were probably still attached to the tooth, unlike when a tooth falls out normally. What happens to the root of a tooth, how do teeth grow and why is it important that you take care of them? Samantha Gouldson investigates!