DUBLIN 10th October 2024
The Mary Mulvihill Association invites submissions to its 2024 student media competition on the theme of Intelligence. Entries are sought from students of all disciplines – undergraduate or postgraduate – studying at third-level institutions anywhere on the island of Ireland.
The topic may be addressed in scientific, environmental, imaginative or other terms. Entries are welcome in many – and mixed – media formats. As examples for guidance, written texts may be essays, memoirs or other narratives. Photos, infographics, comic strips or other visual forms may be used as illustration, or as the main content. Interviews may be presented in written, video or audio forms.
As a theme, intellignce offers myriad routes for exploration. Although generally linked to abilities to perform cognitive tasks efficiently, intelligence, as a concept, has always been both ideologically loaded and difficult to define. There are no universally agreed methods for objectively evaluating or
assessing intelligence—and the early efforts to do so are rooted in the pseudoscience of ‘scientific’ racism and the eugenics movement it engendered over a century ago. So-called standardized assessments of children are not universally accepted. Critics say they are narrowly defined to identify
a certain set of competencies, they ignore socioeconomic and cultural factors, and they fail to take into account variations in children’s development and neurodiversity.
Analyzing the biological basis of intelligence has long been a prominent topic in neuroscience research. Although considerable effort has been expended on the anatomy, physiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics of the brain, a comprehensive understanding of how its function is
linked to what is understood to constitute intelligence has so far proved elusive. Notwithstanding these uncertainties and difficulties, intelligence is, of course, a real and an important attribute of humans—and of other species. (So, too, is its opposite). Intelligence enables individuals to navigate the complexities of daily living, whether that involves a leopard hunting for food or a gifted child learning how to play a musical instrument, for example.
Notwithstanding these uncertainties and difficulties, intelligence is, of course, a real and an important
attribute of humans—and of other species. (So, too, is its opposite). Intelligence enables individuals to
navigate the complexities of daily living, whether that involves a leopard hunting for food or a gifted
child learning how to play a musical instrument, for example.
We encourage students thinking of entering this competition to approach the theme as almost endless; there are no prescriptions on how it might be approached.
The theme of the award changes every year, reflecting Mary Mulvihill’s broad interests in science and its interrelationships with other aspects of human culture and the natural world. That breadth also applies to how competition participants could address the theme.
This year’s theme was selected following a Twitter poll, which attracted over one thousand votes. Members of the public were invited to choose between four themes. One third of the respondents opted for Energy.
The award is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in an Irish higher education institution at the time of submission. In addition to the overall award of €2,000, the judges may, at their discretion, make an additional award of €500 for a highly commended entry.
For further information on the award, including guidance to entrants and past winners, see https://marymulvihillaward.ie. The deadline for submissions is Midnight Tuesday 2nd April 2024.
The Mary Mulvihill Award is a project of Remembering Mary, an initiative established by family and friends of the late Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015) to honour her memory and her work in science journalism, science communication and heritage and to promote her legacy. It administers and awards funds to commemorate her work and its significance.