Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald, Dr.

Scientist, Author, YouTuber, and Skilled Communicator known as “The Superhero Scientist”

Seeking inspiration for our technological and societal future from popular culture. Always think super!

Biography

Popular culture has played a pivotal role in the life of Dr. Barry Fitzgerald. It was a 6-year-old boy that he saw his first superhero in action (Christopher Reeve’s Superman), and a couple of years later, he witnessed the time travelling antics of Doc. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Both life moments instilled a sense of wonder in the young Limerick native, a sense of wonder that led him down the path of science.

Barry is a physicist by training, but he is also an author, speaker, moderator, speaker trainer, YouTuber, podcaster, and enthusiastic communicator. He is passionate about communicating on and sharing in a clear manner scientific and engineering concepts to diverse audiences. Barry regularly turns to exemplars from popular fiction to explain difficult scientific concepts, while at the same time fostering a tangible link with his audiences.

An expert on the science of superheroes, Barry has self-published three books on the topic – Secrets of Superhero Science (2016), Secret Science of Santa Claus (2016), and How to Build an Iron Man Suit (2019).

In addition, he has published more than a dozen scientific papers on the topic of superhero science in a number of journals, as well as a host of research papers on polymers, renewable energy, and fluid dynamics.  He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Open Access journal Superhero Science + Technology.

As a researcher, Barry’s scientific interests lie in the fields of computational physics, responsible innovation, science education, and the aforementioned superhero science. He has a PhD in Computation Physics from the University of Limerick, and extensive experience as a researcher at a number of universities in the Netherlands. In the past, he has spoken at companies such as GECAS, DEMCON, Nedap Healthcare, Janssen, and Equinor, as well as at TEDx Berlin in 2019. Annually, he speaks at festivals and schools as part of Science Week, Engineers Week, and Tech Week.

Barry has seen the 2012 film The Avengers nearly 80 times and his superpower will always remain a closely guarded secret.

Videos

Topics

Secrets of Superhero Science

Superheroes are capable of extraordinary feats, thanks to their all-important superpowers. But how close are we to realising such superpowers in the real world?

Get ready to be taken on an extraordinary journey by Barry – research scientist and superhero enthusiast – through the latest advancements in science and engineering, the advancements that could lead to the emergence of real superpowers in society.

You’ll hear about genetic engineering, advanced materials, and futuristic biomedical devices, and more besides. You’ll find out which superpowers we might see first in society, and imperatively, you’ll learn about the need to think ethically before deploying superpower technologies in science?

Are you ready to unlock the Secrets of Superhero Science?

The Evolution of the Superhero Team

Despite possessing incredible abilities, when it comes to the greatest challenges, superheroes don’t go it alone. Frequently, these superpowered individuals join forces to defeat their greatest foes and overcome insurmountable odds.

But such team-ups are not seamless, and these super-teammates require time to adjust to each other’s methods and ways. For instance, the Avengers team – made up of Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor to name but a few – got off to an inauspicious start before they eventually found their feet. Such indecision is to be expected upon the  of formation of any new multidisciplinary team.

Using his experience as a research scientist and science communicator on diverse teams in different organisations, Barry delves into the evolution of the superhero team, and how tentative beginnings can lead to superhero worthy outcomes.

Secret Science of Santa Claus

On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus sets out on a round-the-world trip like no other. Over the course of one evening, the jolly gift-bringer circumnavigates the world to deliver presents to millions of expectant children.

But how does the Arctic Circle’s most famous resident achieve such a remarkable logistical feat? In this talk, Barry introduces the advanced scientific and engineering concepts that Santa Claus uses to achieve what seems to many of us to be impossible. You’ll discover the secrets of his ingenious transport system, marvel at the key to his stamina and longevity, and embrace the technologies he uses to plot a safe course around the planet on Christmas Eve.

Santa’s resilience and persistence are more than admirable – they are essential, and on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus demonstrates that he really is a superhero beyond compare.

Inspiring Scientific Innovation with Science Fiction

Science fiction stories in literature and on film present imagined presents and futures. Inherent to many of these narratives is the portrayal of technologies that don’t exist in our everyday world. Nonetheless, their depiction can act as a powerful paradigm to inspire innovation and stimulate the development of ideas.

In this talk, Barry – a scientist and science fiction fan – will present some of the future scenarios depicted in science fiction, outline how some of these depictions have already inspired innovation in real world, and provide suggestions on how you can use science fiction to instigate new approaches to the creative process in science and engineering.

Testimonials

“As a keynote speaker, Barry Fitzgerald was our superhero at the LaFutura 2018 global event in Shanghai.” Nils Müller, CEO TRENDONE, Germany

“Barry’s talks on superhero science are hugely entertaining and inspiring. His enthusiasm is there for all to see!” Jelke te Loeke, Advisor in Marketing/Communication, Nedap Healthcare, the Netherlands

“Barry has an enthusiasm that brings science to life with the right balance of education, engagement, and fun, and his communications skills are exemplary!” Jackie Gorman, CEO Midlands Science, Ireland

“Barry was the ideal moderator for our festive event. His own keynote on the Science of Superheroes had the audience on the edge of their seats, and he was just as entertaining when presenting the rest of the programme.” Agaath Diemel, TU Delft, the Netherlands

“Barry is a super-inspiring and enthusiastic speaker, which is quite likely his superpower.” Bernie Quilligan, University of Limerick, Ireland

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