Dave Grennan Receives NIAAS Award PDF Print E-mail
As you know, at the NIAAS launch party on Monday 5th January, we presented Dave McDonald with a gift, on behalf of the society, for being the first person in Ireland to discover an asteroid in 150 years. Unfortunately Dave Grennan was not able to make the night, which was a pity as we were hoping to present him with a gift for his great discovery as well. But Dave McDonald was kind enough to accept it on his behalf. On the night Dave said that he would try to think of a way to present him with it, rather than just handing it over! Little did we know what he had planned!

The official IYA2009 Ireland Launch was held in Dublin at the RDS and coincided with the BT Young Scientists Festival.

Its highlights included:
* European Southern Observatory (ESO) exhibition in the Astronomy zone in collaboration with Armagh Observatory and NUI Gallway staff
* "From Earth to the Universe" outdoor exhibition around the RDS (no entrance to RDS required to view)
* Faulkes Universe Challenge launch and registration for schools
* New 3D Astronomy show "The Universe, Yours to Discover" in the RDS Concert Hall. This will be the premiere of these 3D animations and sequences globally!
* New Digital Stardome shows with Blackrock Castle Observatory staff in collaboration with Armagh Planetarium. NOTE: This is a totally different experience from the traditional analogue portable planetarium shows that readers may have already attended. The 360 Degree digital experience is truly spectacular!
* Many fantastic projects on show by our finest young scientists and engineers across Ireland
* Interactive displays and workshops throughout the event
* Meet the IYA2009-Ireland secretariat: Prof. Michael Redfern, Robert Hill, Miruna Popescu will be there in person to answer your questions and enthuse you to a lot of fun astronomy-related activities to follow in the year to come!

The presentation of an NIAAS award to Dave Grennan in the RDS Arena, in front of over 1500 people!

I’ll let Dave McDonald Explain:


"When the folks at the NIAAS asked me to give the beautiful crystal keepsake to Dave, I really wanted to make some kind of occasion out of it. Initially, I thought of the Galway AstroFest was ideal. But then Dave Grennan said he was going to be coming down to the RDS Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Needless to say, the thought of doing the presentation there was a fantastic opportunity. After clearing it with Discover Science and Engineering and the floor manager, it was all set.

As it happens, we only had one full-house the day before - other shows were only maybe 50 to 75% full. But Saturday at 3pm, the arena was jammers with 1500 or so punters.

The moment came and look on Dave's face was priceless. I kinda felt a little bad in really springing it upon him but he did great and deserved the warm applause form the crowd.

As you can see, Eamonn got some great shots.

Of course, I got the new name out there too!

All the best

(a flu-ridden) Dave"



Thanks go to Dave McDonald for this extremely well planned presentation.
When we told Dave Grennan about the award prior to him receiving it, he sent us this email:

"I am delighted that the discovery of 2008 US3 has been recognised by such a prestigious society as the NIAAS. I very much enjoyed my visit in 2007 and look forward to visiting again soon to thank you personally for this very kind honour. As we all know, Astronomy is one of the few areas where the professionals and amateurs work side by side. It is my hope that discoveries like 2008 US3 will help in a small way to attract people into our wonderful hobby. There are great plans for 2009 including possibly more asteroidal discoveries, maybe even an NEO this time. Other planned work this year involves exoplanet hunting and more supernova searching. Certainly the amateur science side of this hobby can be very fulfilling, but it also involves many hard hours of work for often little result. It is to that end that such a recognition will keep me warm on those cold nights of fruitless searching in the hope that some more useful discoveries can be made.

I wish the NIAAS nothing but the very best in it's new form and hope that it will continue to grow from strength to strength. I regret not being able to attend on person on Monday night and hope everyone involved has an absolutely splendid evening."

Like I said above, he sent this email prior to receiving his award, lets hope he still feels this way!

Pictures: Eamonn Keyes