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News Archive - 2012

10 DEC 2012

Physics Supports Juno


In November the School of Physics became a Juno Supporter. Project Juno was established by the Institute of Physics in 2007. Juno aims to develop an equitable working culture in which students and staff, men and women, can all achieve their full potential.

Research shows that increasing the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and promoting gender equality is vital for building research capacity and strengthening the competitiveness of European research. A greater involvement by women in STEM research will add a different perspective, increasing diversity, leading to enhanced creativity and ultimately greater innovation.

Juno encourages schools of physics to address the under-representation of women at all levels in university physics and encourages better practice for both women and men. The School of Physics wants all its students to find it attractive to stay in science. Juno is complementary to other initiatives in college such as Trinity's Centre for Women in Science & Engineering Research (WiSER), and the EU Framework Project, INTEGER. For further information you can contact Prof. Louise Bradley or follow the links below.

Structural change in research institutions: Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation. (European Commission Report)

29 NOV 2012

Physics business brings in €7bn to Irish economy

A new report from the Institute of Physics (IOP) shows that physics-based businesses contribute more than €7bn annually to the Irish economy and directly employ over 86,000.

Across Ireland, physics, and physics-trained people, underpin a wide range of, businesses from medical technologies to ICT, space industry, web services and even some areas of high-finance. The analysis, by Deloitte, in the report describes the impact of these sectors, which are critically-dependent on the supply of new physics research and physics-trained people.

More details can be found in the following IOP article:


27 NOV 2012

Paul Higgins, of the TCD Astrophysics Research Group, wins "I'm a Scientist, Get me Out of Here!"

Paul Higgins

"I'm a Scientist, Get me out of Here!" is an X Factor-style competition between scientists where students get to interact with them and pick the winners.

Students challenge the scientists over intense, fast-paced online live CHATs. They then ASK the scientists all the questions they want to, and VOTE for their favourite scientist.

Congratulations to Paul Higgins, of the TCD Astrophysics Research Group, who was the winner of the "Space Zone" category. Paul receives a prize of €500 to communicate his work with the public.

More details of the competition and Paul's work can be found here:

23 NOV 2012

Professor Valeria Nicolosi receiving the 2012 RDS/Intel Prize Lecture for Nanoscience

On the 20th of November, Professor Valeria Nicolosi was awarded the RDS Medal in recognition of her contribution to the field of Nanoscience (images courtesy of the RDS)

Valeria Nicolosi RDS1

22 NOV 2012

Prof Stefano Sanvito is awarded starter grant from European Research Council

Prof Sanvito

Prof Stefano Sanvito, deputy director of the Crann Nanotech Research Centre and director of the Computational Spintronics group at TCD, was one of four scientists to receive the ERC starter grant.

Prof Sanvito is researching the use of organic chemicals as an alternative to silicon in electronics. "There are a lot of applications where silicon is not good, for example in flexible applications" Prof Sanvito says. Prof Sanvito models materials to understand their characteristics and these can then be made at Crann. He wants to use organics because they are cheaper to make, formed at much lower temperatures. They also come in such variety and are more readily recycled.

More details can be found in the following Irish Times article:

19 NOV 2012

Prof Michael Coey named SFI 'researcher of the year'

Professor Michael Coey, who specialises in the areas of spin electronics and magnetism, received the researcher of the year accolade from the Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, TD, at SFI's science summit in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

More details can be found in the following Silicon Republic article:

Mike Coey

15 NOV 2012

Congratulations to Professor Valeria Nicolosi who has been awarded the 2012 RDS/Intel Prize Lecture for Nanoscience

Professor Valeria Nicolosi, ERC Research Professor at the School of Physics and the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and Principal Investigator at CRANN, TCD has been awarded the 2012 RDS / Intel Prize Lecture for Nanoscience in recognition of her contribution to the field of Nanoscience. The Award recognises her world leading research as well as her strong commitment to communicating her research to a diverse audience.

Internationally regarded as a leading expert in the field of processing of low-dimensional nanostructures and electron microscopy, Professor Nicolosi researches novel materials such as graphene and other one-atom materials whose properties make them super strong, lightweight and electrically conductive and form the basis for new technologies amongst which novel energy storage devices

On the 20th of November, Professor Nicolosi will explore the “nano-flatlands” of ultra-thin materials, which are just a single atom in public lecture in the RDS Concert Hall, where she will be awarded an RDS medal in recognition of her achievement

09 NOV 2012

Congratulations to Dr Shane Bergin who has won the Top Prize in Designs for Learning 2012

Dr Shane Bergin, a Physics Lecturer has won a €5000 prize to fund a project that aims to educate morning communters about Physics and Science.

More details can be found in the following The Journal article:

08 NOV 2012

Professer Jonathan Coleman awarded the Kroll Medal

Jonathan Coleman was presented with the Kroll Medal of the Institute of Materials at the Annual Special Awards and Publication Dinner on Wednesday 31st October 2012 in London:


01 NOV 2012

Senior Freshman Group Study Projects in Physics

The SF Physics Poster session 2012-2013 took place last Friday. Four prizes were awarded for Best Content, Best Presentation, Best Content Runner Up and Best Presentation Runner Up. Prize winners are listed below:

  • Test Best content - €50 Read's voucher and biography of E.T.S. Walton by Professor V.J. McBrierty (for each student)
    Eamon Conway, Darragh McGrath, Eamonn O'Shea, Manya Sahni
    T - Low Reynolds number flow (Prof. Matthias Möbius)
  • Best presentation - €50 Read's voucher and biography of E.T.S. Walton by Professor V.J. McBrierty (for each student)
    Jeffrey McHugh, Jun Rong Li, Fintan O'Sullivan
    O - The perfect way to boil an egg (Prof. Shane Bergin)
  • Runners-up for content - Biography of E.T.S. Walton by Professor V.J. McBrierty (for each student)
    Rebecca Mason, Carlin McGinty, Aoife Plunkett, Stephen White
    Z - Photolithography in semiconductor device fabrication (Prof. Hongzhou Zhang)
  • Runners-up for presentation - Biography of E.T.S. Walton by Professor V.J. McBrierty (for each student)
    Frank Chambers, Megan Guthrie, Mark McGrath, Thomas Power
    G - New states of matter (Prof. Paul Eastham)
Edward Hutchinson Synge

15 OCT 2012

An appreciation: Cyril Francis George Delaney

Cyril Francis George Delaney, Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin and former professor of experimental physics, who died recently aged 87, was a outstandingly talented and inspirational scientist and a highly regarded lecturer to many generations of students ...
Eric Finch

More details can be found in the following Irish Times article:

11 OCT 2012

Prof Mike Coey lectures at Max-Plank Institute for Chemical Physics

Edward Hutchinson Synge

Last week, Prof Mike Coey was invited to give a series of lectures on 'Magnetism and Magnetic Materials' at Max-Plank Institute for Chemical Physics, Dresden.

The lectures were based on Prof Mike Coey's advanced textbook titled 'Magnetism and Magnetic Materials'. Attendees at the talks included a large group of graduate students and researchers.

26 SEP 2012

Frontiers of Physics 2012 at Trinity College Dublin

This year Trinity played host to the successful Frontiers of Physics 2012 conference. The conference, organised by the Institute of Physics in Ireland, aims to establish links with secondary schools all over the country and to present the latest developments in physics and physics teaching.

More details on the conference can be found in WIT lecturer Cormac O'Rafferty's blog "Antimatter":

Frontiers of Physics 2012 at Trinity College Dublin

This year Trinity played host to the successful Frontiers of Physics 2012 conference. Cormac O'Rafferty, lecturer at WIT, writes about the conference in his blog "Antimatter" ... READ MORE

26 SEP 2012

26 SEP 2012

Congratulations to Trinity JF Theoretical Physics' student, Eric Doyle

Eric Doyle, JF Theoretical Physics' student, was one of two students who have been awarded a European young scientist prize for their mathematical project that could be of value to Nasa.

Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle from Synge Street CBS, Dublin, were announced as winners of the first prize in physics at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Bratislava, Slovakia, yesterday.

More details can be found in the following Irish Times article:

24 SEP 2012

Congratulations to Valeria Nicolosi & Stefano Sanvito who have been granted ERC funding

Prof Stefano Sanvito will be using his ERC funds to help guide people who want to make devices from organic materials. Prof Valeria Nicolosi is working on ultra-thin materials that are just a single atom thick.

More details can be found in the following Irish Times article:

17 SEP 2012

Valeria Nicolosi has been awarded the 2012 RDS/Intel Prize Lecture for Nanoscience

Valeria Nicolosi received the award in recognition of her world-leading research in nanoscience and her strong commitment to communicating her research to a diverse audience.

More details can be found in the following Irish Times article:

14 SEP 2012

Congratulations to Stefano Sanvito who received a research fund of up to €2m

Stefano Sanvito is one of four Irish scientists who have been granted research funds of up to €2m to develop their ideas and build up research teams. Their projects focus on urban neighbourhoods, genes in evolution, quantitative electron and spin transport theory and comparative genomics.

More details can be found in the following articles:

06 SEP 2012

Irish Times Article: Why stacking oranges bears fruit for modern communication

THAT’S MATHS AN INTERNATIONAL workshop on packing problems took place in Trinity College Dublin earlier this week. Packing problems are concerned with storing objects as densely as possible in a container. Usually the goods and the container are of fixed shape and size.....READ MORE

24 AUG 2012

Manuela Lunz receives Daniel Bradley Prize 2010

Manuela Lunz

Today Manuela Lunz received the Daniel Bradley Prize 2010 for her exceptional thesis. James Lunney, Head of the School of Physics, presented the award in the Fitzgerald Building at Trinity College Dublin.

23 AUG 2012

Irish Times Letter: An Irish slice of EU science funding

Sir, - Ireland's poor success rate in winning grants from the European Research Council (Business+Technology, August 16th) comes as no surprise to many of us in the Irish scientific community, given recent warnings from a number of international funding agencies. What is of particular concern is that new Government policy, which is driving Science Foundation Ireland's adoption of Forfás's research prioritisation themes, may compound Ireland's underperformance in Europe's flagship science funding scheme.

At the recent Euroscience Open Forum held in Dublin in July, numerous Nobel prizewinners, the head of the European Research Council (ERC), and the European Research Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, all emphasised the importance of maintaining investment in frontier research. Indeed, the commissioner highlighted the crucial importance of investment in fundamental scientific research to maintain the EU's economic competitiveness.

At the same time, Helga Nowotny, head of the European Research Council, warned that redirection of funds to commercially-focused research rather than basic research threatens scientific excellence in Ireland, and expressed fears that both young and experienced researchers will abandon the country as a result. Prof Nowotny highlighted that there is a direct correlation between the percentage of GDP spent on research and success at the European Research Council. If Ireland fails to fund basic research, ERC funding will be cut off from Irish scientists, which would be a major failure on the part of the Government.

We therefore call on the Government and SFI to continue to invest broadly in fundamental research and not to restrict their support to narrow prioritised themes. Without this investment, it will be difficult for Ireland to secure a higher proportion of the €80 billion to be spent on research in the next EU Framework programme. This is an opportunity that Ireland cannot afford to miss. - Yours, etc,

Prof PETER T GALLAGHER, School of Physics, TCD; Prof LUKE O'NEILL, ERC Advanced Grant Panel Chair for Immunology, Director, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, TCD; Prof PAUL CALLANAN, School of Physics, UCC; Prof DAVID McCONNELL, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, TCD; Dr EMMA TEELING, ERC Starting Investigator, School of Biology and Environment Science, UCD; Dr EAMONN CASHELL, Dean of Graduate Studies, CIT; Prof JAMES LUNNEY, Head of Physics, TCD; Prof JAMES McINERNEY, Department of Biology, NUIM; Prof RICHARD TIMONEY, School of Mathematics, TCD; Prof KEN WOLFE, ERC Advanced Investigator, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, TCD; Prof LORRAINE HANLON, School of Physics, UCD; Prof PATRICK DUFFY, Department of Geography, NUIM; Prof SINEAD RYAN, School of Mathematics, TCD; Prof WERNER NAHM, FRS, Director, School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS; Prof MIKE PEARDON, School of Mathematics, TCD; Dr MARY O'CONNELL, School of Biotechnology, DCU Prof GERALDINE BUTLER, Conway Institute of Biomolecular Biomedical Research, UCD, C/o Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2.

20 AUG 2012

Chip harvesting electricity may charge your mobile phone while you talk

Your mobile phone may soon be charging itself while you talk, powered up by a new kind of chip that can harvest electricity. It converts "waste" electromagnetic radiation directly into power and the technology will deliver a new kind of highly efficient solar cell.

"It is energy harvesting from electromagnetic waves," explains Prof Vojislav Krstic, of Trinity College's school of physics and principal investigator at Crann nanotechnology research centre.

He heads the nano and magnetoelectronics research centre there. "We are looking into advanced materials and their electronic properties," he says. Crann also happens to be a world leader in the production of nanotech structures, and his team can characterise their electrical properties, using funding from Science Foundation Ireland's Technology Innovation Development Award programme. He called one such structure a "forest". It is formed from pure nickel metal but instead of trees it sports antennas. And in keeping with its nanotech connections, these antennas are minute.

Just 1sq cm can hold 100 million of these antenna "trees", and these are the devices that deliver the power.

15 MAY 2012

Dermot Desmond Support for Irish Radio Telescope in Birr

Black Hole

Great news for the I-LOFAR team! Dermot Desmond has recently invested in the I-LOFAR project.

His support is an exciting development for the project, which requires approximately €1.2 million to install a LOFAR station in Birr, Co. Offaly and enable Ireland to join the €150 million International LOFAR Network of radio telescopes across northern Europe. The I-LOFAR project is led by Dr. Peter Gallagher of TCD Physics.

Credit: (c) J. McKean and M. Wise, ASTRON

16 MAR 2012

Edward Hutchinson Synge Symposium, 16 MAR 2012

Schrödinger Lecture Theatre, Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin 19 April 2012

Edward Hutchinson Synge

A symposium will be held on Thursday, 19th April 2012 to celebrate the extraordinary vision of E H Synge , familiarly known as Hutchie. He was the nephew of John Millington Synge, who wrote the Playboy of the Western World, and the older brother of John Lighton Synge, the outstanding mathematician and theoretical physicist. Hutchie’s highly original conceptions in physics were fifty years ahead of his time. While his brother did not appreciate Hutchie’s achievements at the time, in old age he wrote of him : “In the course of a varied academic career, I never had a colleague as interesting intellectually as Hutchie, for his mind ranged widely over art, literature, history, philosophy and science”.

We are holding the symposium to belatedly honour this singular man, who studied at Trinity before entering a life of seclusion from which he never re-emerged into Dublin society. His visionary insights into future technology lie in what we now call nanoscience, with the invention of the near-field optical microscope that allows imaging below the diffraction limit, in LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) where he outlines a scheme for studies of the atmosphere, and in astronomy where he invented a new type of telescope.

The symposium will take place in Trinity College Dublin during our annual Trinity Week celebrations. Speakers include Lukas Novotny from Rochester University and Alastair Glasse from Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. Talks will give both historical and technical perspectives. A simultaneous publication of his key papers is planned, together with a short biography.

To register for the event please visit: