Seeing Beyond the Visible with’Virtual Palaeontology’

IGA Lecture – in Person and by Zoom

By Dr Chris Mays (University College Cork)

21 February @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM GMT

Refreshments for those attending in person from 6:30pm!

By Zoom and in-person in Museum 4, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin.

TO REGISTER please Click Here or send an e-mail to


Putting fossils in a ‘nuclear oven’ may not sound like a good idea, but high-energy radiation from a nuclear reactor can provide a unique, non-destructive approach to examine fossils, inside and out. Such non-destructive methods are being increasingly sought after by fossil researchers to avoid making potentially regretful mistakes when preparing and examining these irreplaceable relics from our past.
In this talk, Dr Chris Mays will discuss the applications of various high-energy imaging techniques to ‘virtually extract’ and ‘virtually dissect’ fossils, even those still embedded deep within their host sedimentary rocks. Chris will demonstrate these new tools in the palaeontologist’s toolkit with a series of case studies from his specific research on fossil plants and mass extinctions.


Dr Chris Mays

Dr Chris Mays is Lecturer in Palaeontology at University College Cork (UCC), and Principal Investigator at UCC’s Environmental Research Institute. Chris completed his Ph.D. in 2012 at Monash University (Melbourne), after which he commenced a joint Lecturer/Postdoctoral Researcher role at Monash until 2017. During this time, he led several expeditions to the remote Chatham Islands in the south Pacific Ocean to study the south polar forest ecosystems of the mid-Cretaceous. His second postdoctoral position was at the Swedish Museum of Natural History (Stockholm), where his research on mass extinction taught him how to kill almost all life on Earth. Chris joined UCC in February 2022; in 2023, Chris and his new team of students and
colleagues in the growing Palaeontology Research Group were awarded UCC’s Research Team of the Year Award. Chris is Associate Editor of Alcheringa, the leading journal of palaeontology in Australasia. In 2020 he co-authored his first popular science book, and he is a regular contributor to popular science journals, including Scientific American.

Date and Time: Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 19:00 pm via Zoom and in-person in Museum 4, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin.

TO REGISTER please Click Here or send an e-mail to

A Zoom link will be sent on the day to those who have registered.

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