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Dr. Finch's Final Lecturephysoc

On 2nd April 2014 Dr Eric Finch (School of Physics) gave his last undergraduate course lecture. The photograph shows him on this occasion with the Senior Freshman class at the end of their Nuclear Physics course. His university teaching career spanned 45 years; after leaving Oxford he spent three years at Durham University in a post-doctoral position before coming to Trinity in 1972. As well as laboratory and tutorial classes his lecture courses in recent years have included Waves, Light and Sound to Junior Freshman non-physicists and, for physicists, Nuclear Physics to Senior Freshmen and Junior Sophisters and Semiconductor Devices to Senior Sophisters.

In 2007, Eric received a Provost's Teaching Award in recognition for his 'outstanding contribution in the pursuit of teaching excellence'. Armed with demonstrations, anecdotes, a tuning fork, and historical oversight, his lectures proved popular with undergraduate students. Indeed, his 'dancing Doppler' demonstration appeared on YouTube in 2006 with over five thousand views to-date.

The 2013/14 Senior Freshman class (as seen in the photograph) gave Dr. Finch a fitting send off following his last lecture with cards, cakes, a standing ovation and well wishes from them underlining their appreciation for his teaching skills.

School of Physics Commonsphysoc

Commons is Trinity College Dublin's formal evening meal. In recent weeks, more than 200 students from the School of Physics have joined their lecturers for Commons. The photo below shows some of the 2013/14 Senior Freshman class. In keeping with a long-held tradition, Senior Freshman students were invited after Commons to the Lord Edward pub by Profs. Cross and Finch.

Juno supports Physics students representing Trinity at Women in Physics Conference, Belfast and Beata Szydlowska wins poster prize.physoc

Juno supports Physics students representing Trinity at Women in Physics Conference, Belfast and Beata Szydlowska wins poster prize. From left to right: Harriet Walsh, Beata Szydlowska, Katarzyna Siewierska, Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Anne Marie Delaney and Seoid NiLaoire.

Thomas Young - the last man who new everything.physoc

Prof. Eric Finch spoke to the Physoc on the life and work of the polymath Thomas Young (Thursday, March 6th 2014). With topics ranging from the wave-nature of light, the strength of materials, the workings of the human eye, to the tuning of pianos, Young's legacy lays strong claim to the title 'last man who knew everything'.

Prof Finch (wearing the yellow tie in the photograph) mixed scientific achievement with references to Young, the man. With over 60 under- and post-graduate students present, Prof. Finch's lectures remain as popular as ever'

Trinity Physicists Launch Citizen Science Project to Let Everyone See the Sun


From time-to-time, the Sun throws out huge solar storms in the direction of planet Earth. When these storms hit our planet, they can cause spectacular displays of the Northern Lights, but sometimes the effects can be more serious – knocking out power grids, interrupting GPS and radio communications and damaging satellites.

Now, a team of scientists from Trinity College Dublin and Zooniverse have developed a website that enables members of the public to take part in an exciting and ambitious quest to understand sunspots and how they produce solar storms.

“Even the most advanced computer software is not been able to accurately work out how explosive a particular sunspots is, which is why we need your help”, according to Prof. Peter Gallagher of Trinity. But you’d be right to ask, why can't scientists do the classifications themselves? The answer is that there is just far too much data!

“Sunspotter volunteers will be the ones to thank for putting in the hard work and improving our ability to classify sunspots and predict solar storms” says Trinity’s Dr. Paul Higgins, lead scientist for the project. has been developed by Zooniverse, home of the largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.

The organization grew from the original Galaxy Zoo project and now hosts dozens of projects that allow members of the public – “citizen scientists” – to participate in real research. As of February 2014, the Zooniverse community consisted of more than 1 million volunteers. “The website gives members of the public the power to contribute to cutting-edge scientific research and help scientists to better understand explosions on the Sun and how they effect us here on Earth”, according to Dr. Higgins. Why not see sunspots for yourself by visiting

An image of a huge sunspot group many times the size of Earth. Credit: Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) in the Canary Islands. See image here.

Media Contacts:

Prof. Peter T. Gallagher
Associate Professor of Physics
School of Physics
Trinity College Dublin
Telephone: +353 87 656 8975

Dr. Paul Higgins
Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow Lockheed-Martin Advanced Technology Center Palo Alto, California USA
Telephone: +1 510 621 8758

Dr. Robert Simpson
Zooniverse Team Member
Oxford Astrophysics
Denys Wilkinson Building
Keble Road, Oxford,
Telephone: +44 (0)7929 508961

Shane Bergin on Newstalk

TCD Physics Postdoctoral Researchers Forum

Trinity College Dublin’s Physics Department has just been awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics in recognition of its best practice for taking action to address gender inequities across its student and staff body.

Juno Chair, Eithne McCabe, commented that the School recognised the vital role that TCD Physics postdoctoral researchers can play in advancing Juno. Gathering data from all seven Irish University Physics departments she showed that TCD Physics employs nearly half of Ireland’s University Physics postdocs. Therefore any changes in the working culture of Physics postdocs will affect a significant percentage of postdocs nationally. Eithne’s qualitative survey data from Physics postdocs illustrated the need for better communication and integration within the School and she identified the initiation of a postdoc forum and its integration into the School structure as one of the key Juno action plans for the School.

Shane Bergin has extensive experience with postdoc issues and chaired a very successful first postdoc forum meeting on January 30. He will be supported in this role by Evie Doherty. The forum will meet again one month from now. Agenda items/issues should be addressed to or

CERN campaign launch was a smashing success

MinisterStudents from the physics and maths societies in Trinity College Dublin launched a campaign on Thursday 30th January for Ireland to become a member of CERN. The launch consisted of a series of rapid-fire, Ignite-style talks, given by a diverse range of campaign supporters, including Sean Kelly MEP, Prof. Ronan McNulty of UCD (a CERN collaborator) and an industry representative (Diarmaid Mac Muthuna of Agtel). The campaign hopes to convince people of the many benefits of CERN membership to Ireland - such as the long-term economic gain as well as opportunities in science and engineering for Irish citizens.

The students launched the campaign website ( ) with sections for teachers and children to learn more about CERN and also offers some of the main ideas behind the campaign. The campaign team hope to now work with other societies from universities across Ireland to hold outreach events and public talks about CERN. Minister Sean Sherlock responded to the launch saying he will review the benefits of CERN membership. RTE and the Irish Times both covered the launch. Article
Irish Times Article
RTE Article

School of Physics Awarded Juno Practitioner Status

Trinity College Dublin’s Physics Department has been awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for taking action to address gender inequities across its student and staff body. Juno

Seeking to redress the long-standing issue of there being too few women at the highest levels of physics academia in Ireland and the UK, Trinity’s physics department joined Project Juno to demonstrate its commitment and has now been recognised for its best practice.

Professor in Physics at Trinity, Eithne McCabe, said: "Trinity College Dublin School of Physics has made the increased participation of women in physics a key priority and is delighted to be awarded Juno Practitioner status. We recognise how improving the numbers, retention rate, profile and culture for female physicists will impact positively on the Irish economy as a whole and we feel we have an important role to play in this.”

To achieve the new status, Trinity’s School of Physics has demonstrated progression against a range of Juno principles set up to improve the working culture by, for example, introducing more flexible working arrangements, offering provision for childcare, or allowing for a more transparent organisational structure.

Link to full article.

Wome in Physics



Dart of Physics


The overarching aim of the project was to start a city-wide conversation on physics and Dubliners responded. 12 simple physics statements were placed in advertisement spaces on Dublin’s DART train over an 8 week period.

You can view photos of the adverts and the full report here

DARTofPhysics was an initiative of Prof. Shane Bergin (School of Physics), Prof. Colette Murphy & Aoibhinn ní Shúilleabháin (both School of Education). Funding came from Science Foundation Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, IQ Content, Intel Ireland, JC Decaux, Metro Herald, Language, & Institute of Physics.

School of Physics solar group in Nature Physics

Research from the School of Physics solar group has been featured on the front page of the leading international journal, Nature Physics. The researchers used a combination of measurements from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and radio data from the Nançay Radioheliograph and the Rosse Observatory in Birr to detail the mechanism that connects coronal mass ejections from the Sun and the acceleration of particles to relativistic speeds.

News & Views.

Apples and Atoms



A sculpture celebrating the life and work of Ernest T.S. Walton, Nobel Laureate for Physics, and former student and professor in Physics at Trinity College Dublin, was opened to the public by Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, today (November 15th) at a special ceremony at Trinity. The sculpture titled ‘Apples and Atoms’ was designed by artist, Eilís O’Connell, RHA.

Ernest T. S. Walton studied at Trinity where he was a scholar and won many College prizes, including a gold medal in experimental science. He graduated with joint honours in mathematics and physics in 1926 and obtained his master’s degree in 1927 after which he went to Cambridge to do a PhD. It was in Cambridge that the momentous collaboration between Walton and his fellow physicist, John Cockcroft, later began. They exploited linear acceleration methods to induce nuclear disintegration by artificial means, as observed by Ernest Walton, on April 14th, 1932. It was the first time that Einstein’s E=mc2 was verified directly in a nuclear reaction.

His and Cockcroft’s success, using artificially accelerated particles for experimenting on the atom, meant the research into the nature and structure of the atom was no longer restricted by having to rely on natural sources of radiation. In 1934, Walton returned to Trinity College, and was the Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy from 1946 until his retirement in 1974.


Right:ETS Walton, Trinity physics graduate and former Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Experimental Philosophy (1946-1974) and Ireland’s only Nobel Laureate in Physics (1951).

Walton Family

Left:Four of the children of ETS Walton, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1951 pictured outside the School of Physics beside the sculpture celebrating their father’s life and work (l to r. Dr. Alan Walton, Jean Clarke, Marian Woods, Prof. Philip Walton).

The sculpture by Eilis O’Connell is a stack of mirror polished spheres, increasing in size as they rise upward which appear to defy gravity. It is located beside the Fitzgerald Building, home to the School of Physics. Reflected in the stack of spheres are specially planted native Irish apple trees that refer to the private man and his keen interest for growing fruit trees. “The sculpture pays homage to Walton’s most important characteristics – his intellectual rigour and hands-on ability to physically build the particle accelerator and his nurturing ability as teacher and father. A man is not defined solely by his academic achievements but also by the memories he leaves behind in others,” explained sculptor, Eilís O’Connell.

Ernest T.S. Walton generously presented his papers to the College Library in 1993; his family subsequently donated his Nobel medal. A small exhibition, which includes the medal, is currently on display in the Long Room, to mark the formal launch of the sculpture.

More details can be found here.

Intel Award

Intel Irelands 2013 Women in Technology Scholars

This week Intel Ireland unveiled the 2013 Women in Technology scholars at a special awards ceremony held at Intel’s Leixlip campus. Five female students who have just began studying Science or Engineering courses were selected as the recipients of the scholarships which are now in their second year. Alison Hennessy, a Junior Fresh NPCAM student was a recipient along with Junior Fresh Physics student Ciara Maguire.

The scholarship program offers a monetary grant valued at €2,000 per annum as well as opportunities for work placements at the Intel Leixlip campus. Each scholar is also assigned a mentor who is an Intel Leixlip employee to assist and provide advice on managing their academic career

Alison Hennessy

Alison Hennessy (Left) first year Nanoscience-PCAM student and Ciara Maguire (Right) first year Science student who takes Physics receiving their scholarship from Intel Ireland’s Fab 24 Factory Manager, Ann-Marie Holmes.

Maths Physics Open Day (MPOD) 2013

MPOD 2013

Registration for MPOD 2013 is now closed as the event is fully subscribed.

Please note that the Trinity College Open Day will take place on Saturday 7th December 2013. It will be possible to meet staff and students from the Schools of Mathematics and Physics and to tour laboratories in the School of Physics then. For more information click here.

The Maths and Physics Open Day takes place on 10:30 until 15:00, Saturday 9th November, 2013. The day features lectures and tours along with a chance to meet staff and students from both the School of Physics and the School of Mathematics. Registration opens at 10:30 am and talks begin at 11:00 am.

The morning programme will cover degree courses in Physics, Physics & Astrophysics, Nanoscience, Mathematics, Theoretical Physics and Maths and another subject and will end with a Question and Answer session. The afternoon programme will include talks on current topics in Maths and Physics and there will be an opportunity to visit undergraduate teaching laboratories in the School of Physics.

A light sandwich lunch will be served.

Enter Trinity College via the entrance next to the Science Gallery, off Pearse Street.

For more information please see here for a timetable of MPOD 2013

11 OCT 2013

Dart of Physics

‘DARTofPhysics’ – an educational outreach project led by the School of Physics and the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin.

Dart of Physics

‘DARTofPhysics’ will run a series of 12 advertisement cards on the DART and in DART stations over the next eight weeks. These DART cards include physics statements and puzzles which will engage commuters and start a city-wide conversation around physics.

Catchy physics one-liners like “Everyone on the DART is attracted to you….. gravitationally” or “Why does the metal pole on the DART feel colder than the seat”, will zap the curiosity of commuters driving them to the website ‘’ to find out more.

Trinity physicist Professor Shane Bergin believes that “people see physics as ugly, but necessary, and not for them.” Working with colleagues from the School of Education, Professor Colette Murphy and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, and Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield of the nanoscience institute CRANN, they created DARTofPhysics to change the public perception of physics. Simple “wow statements” that capture the beauty of physics will become part of the backdrop for Dublin commuters over the next eight weeks, sparking conversation and zapping curiosity.

David Franks, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann said: “DART & Iarnród Éireann are delighted to be involved in this thought provoking campaign which will entertain our customers on their commute. We would like to wish DARTofPhysics every success with this unique initiative.”

The website,, will act as a hub for this project. As the eight-week DARTofPhysics campaign is rolled out, a series of blogs will be released linked to various physics topics covered and profiling physics careers. These blogs have been written for DARTofPhysics by leading scientists and science enthusiasts around the globe. The website will also expand on the physics topics mentioned in the DART ads, and be an excellent source for teachers to cover exciting topics in class. Associate Professor of Education at Trinity, Colette Murphy, added: “DartofPhysics is physics for Ireland. I'm really excited about all the amazing science lessons that will come from it.”

As well as benefiting from funding from the Schools of Physics and Education at Trinity, which are jointly leading the initiative, Science Foundation Ireland, Intel Ireland, the Metro Herald, IQ-Content, Language and Irish Rail have all provided financial and/or in-kind contributions to ensure the project is a success. DARTofPhysics is a fantastic vehicle to bring the beauty of physics to an entire city, confronting commuters with beautiful physics, appealing to their natural curiosity to resolve the leading physics ads, and sparking a city-wide conversation about physics. ‘DARTofPhysics will connect the Joe on the DART to the Josephine in the lab’ says Prof. Bergin

For more information:

For more information, Dart Of Physics

11 OCT 2013

Trinity Researchers Tune in to the Radio Sun

Solar radio burst associated with a coronal mass ejection observed by radio antennas on NASA's STEREO spacecraft, and at the Nancay Decametric Array in France and TCD's Rosse Observatory in Birr Castle, Ireland.


New research by scientists at Trinity College Dublin, University College London, and the University of Hawai’i, published online in Nature Physics, has shown for the first time a direct link between solar storms, shock waves and solar radio bursts.

The Sun gives light and heat that makes life possible on Earth. It can, however, have more sinister effects, sometimes unleashing huge eruptions of hot gas, called solar storms, which carry billions of tons of matter travelling at millions of kilometres an hour in Earth’s direction. These storms can be accompanied by solar radio bursts, which can cause damaging effects on many of the technologies that we rely on in our everyday lives.

“Radio bursts from solar storms can have adverse effects on both satellite and terrestrial communications. In fact, mobile phone networks can experience increased dropped-calls during periods of increased solar activity,” said Eoin Carley, Irish Research Council PhD student at the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin and first author on a recent paper on this topic in Nature Physics.

Despite decades of study, the link between solar storms and solar radio bursts has remained unclear. This led Professor Peter Gallagher,a solar physicist at Trinity’s School of Physics, to establish a radio observatory at Birr Castle in the midlands of Ireland to monitor solar radio bursts.

For more information:

For more information, See

11 OCT 2013

Shortlisted for Research Laboratory of the Year is:

Polymeric Materials and Nanocomposites Group, Dr. Ramesh Babu (PI) School of Physics and CRANN Institute, Trinity College Dublin


The Irish Laboratory Awards are pleased to inform Dr Babu that his research group has been shortlisted in the category of RESEARCH LABORATORY OF THE YEAR at the 2013 Irish Laboratory Awards.

Submissions this year were of a very high standard and reaching the shortlist is an achievement in itself. Dr. Catherine Dempsey was the judging co-ordinator. The prestigious trophies will be handed over at The Irish Laboratory Awards on Tuesday, December 3rd at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dublin-Burlington Road.

For more information:

For more information, please visit us here!

01 OCT 2013

Turning Technologies User Conference


The conference will be hosted by the School of Physics and School of Education.

Venue: Trinity College Dublin

Date: 4th November 2013. Register Now

Further details can be found below:

27 SEP 2013



For Discover Research Dublin on Friday, 27 September TCD scientists will project the Sun direct from the centre of our Solar System and onto the front of the iconic Fitzgerald Building.

Using the very latest available images from NASA, our astrophysics researchers will explain their important work and the long history of astrophysics research in Trinity College.

All are welcome from Sun Down (about 7.30pm) on 27 September in Trinity College Dublin to view the Sun @Night.

29 JUL 2013

Helium-ion microscopy of graphene: from edge definition to controllable modification

HIM Experiment

A paper on "Nanotechnology", published by Professor Hongzhou Zhangs' Ultramicroscopy Group, has been "publisher picked" by IOP Journals.

In the paper the group investigated both controllable modification and sub-nanometre metrology of nanomaterials using a helium-ion beam, with graphene used as an example. The researchers found that the sub-nanometre He+ probe facilitates controllable defect production with extremely high spatial resolution. They have also established the ion doses required to safely image graphene and clarified the effect of a sample support on the results.

More details can be found below:

18 JUL 2013

NATURE: World's Slowest-Moving Drop Caught on Camera at Last

Tar Drop

Begun in October 1944, the Tar Drop experiment, at Trinity College Dublin's School of Physics, is one of the world's oldest continuously running experiments.

This curiosity of an experiment demonstrates that tar, or pitch, is a material that flows - albeit it with an incredibly high viscosity. Whilst pitch has been dropping from the funnel since 1944, nobody has ever witnessed a drop fall - they happen it happens roughly only once in a decade!

In May of this year, with the latest drop about to fall, Prof. Shane Bergin broadcast the experiment via the web. On July 11th, the drop dripped. You can see a time lapse video of this here.

Tracking the evolution of the drop, Profs. Weaire & and Hutzler, and Mr. David Whyte calculated the viscosity of the pitch to be 2x107 Pa s - approximately 2 million times the viscosity of honey.

Timelapsed video of the Pitch-Tar Drop experiment:

Media Coverage

How long would you be willing to wait for a drop of the black stuff in Dublin?

After 69 years, one of the longest-running laboratory investigations in the world has finally captured the fall of a drop of tar pitch on camera for the first time.

- Richard Johnston, NATURE JOURNAL

NATURE article can be found here.

RTE have a covered the experiment which can be viewed on the RTE Player. The RTE news article can be found here: RTE News Article

CNET article can be found here: CNET News Article

Huffington Post article can be found here: Huffington Post Article

NBC Bay Area article can be found here: NBC Bay Area Article

Business Insider article can be found here: Business Insider

Science blog "Let's Talk about Science!" have written an article about the experience: Let's Talk about Science.

Daily Mail article can be found here: Daily Mail Article article can be found here: Article

The Register article can be found here: The Register Article

02 JUL 2013

Out of this World Success for the European Space Expo at Trinity College Dublin

Approximately 30,000 people visited the European Space Expo during its time at Trinity College Dublin from 4th to 9th June last, making it the most popular event of the 12 countries previously visited including London, Madrid, and Brussels.

Science Spin

Hosted by Trinity's School of Physics, visitors of all ages were given the opportunity to experience the wonders of space through interactive exhibits and learn how space science can benefit us all. As well as the team of dedicated mediators taking visitors on fun'-filled tours of the dome, a series of daily short Soap-Box Talks were given by talented scientists from all over Ireland on fascinating topics including 'What's happening on Mars today?', 'The Scale of The Universe' and 'Interstellar space flight and other wild adventures'.

Dedicated children's workshops were also held each day at the Space Expo dome including the 'Sun@One', which gave visitors the chance to remotely control a world famous telescope on the Canary Islands and take pictures of the sun, 'SkySketcher,' where children were able to make pastel sketches of the Sun using real scientific images taken from famous telescopes around the world, and 'Make your own Comet' with expert comet-making mediators helping the participants make models of what a real comet in space look like. Over 700 children in 26 school group visits took part in these workshops at the Space Expo Dome during its visit to Trinity.

The number of visitors to the Expo is a testament to the huge public interest that there is in Ireland in science and space in particular. Space science and astronomy capture people's imagination and are key to attracting students into careers in science and engineering.

The Space Expo also highlighted the important role that Irish researchers play in European Space Agency and the European Commission space activities. Ireland's involvement with the European Space Agency (ESA) enables Irish researchers to be at the cutting edge of modern space science and astrophysics.

- Professor Peter Gallagher (Solar Physicist at TCD & Organiser of Space Expo Event at Trinity College Dublin)

The European Space Expo was officially launched on 4th June by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock and words of welcome were also sent by Commander Chris Hadfield to the Space Expo during the launch. The European Space Expo is funded by the European Commission. The initiative also received local funding from Science Foundation Ireland.

21 MAY 2013

European Space Expo: 4 - 9 June, Trinity College Dublin

The European Space Expo is an exciting, interactive exhibition visiting Dublin in June 2013.

The spectacular Space Expo dome will be in Front Square, Trinity College, and open to the public from June 4th - 9th.

Some highlights from the Space Expo

Construction of the European Space Expo at Front Square, Trinity College Dublin

Full details can be found on the website

09 MAY 2013

Birr Radio Telescope Will Again Put Ireland at Centre of Research Univerise

An article published in the Tullamore Tribune discusses how plans to construct a cutting-edge radio telescope in Birr may see the town with the richest history in astronomical discovery in Ireland reclaim its crown as the epicentre of Irish celestial research in the future.

Full article can be read here: TULLAMORE TRIBUNE

MAY 2013

Science Spin: Fractal Ireland

Science Spin

Stefan Hutzler features in Science Spin's May issue explaining how to go about measuring the length of Ireland’s convoluted coastline.

Full article can be read here: Science Spin: May 2013

04 MAR 2013

Transition Year Physics Experience (TYPE) Week

We have just completed a another TYPE week. 24 Students from all over the country came together to learn more about careers in Physics, participate in experiments and attend lectures.

TYPE 2013

Here's what some of the Transition Year student thought about the School of Physics TYPE week...

It was an excellent day, a fantastic introduction to Nanoscience. I learned about the advantages of studying physics and the importance of nanoscience now and in the future.

- Jake Johnston, Waterpark College, Waterford

Excellent day, learned a lot about physics and Trinity. Much appreciated!

- Hanah Cahill, St Louis Secondary School, Co. Monaghan

Great day, gave me a good idea of 3rd level physics and has encouraged me to continue with physics for 5th year. I now also have a greater knowledge of university and college life. Recommended!

- James Meaney, C.B.S Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

Friendly atmosphere, well-informed lectures - WORTHWHILE!!

- Finton O'Connor, St Peters College, Co. Wexford

See below for more information on applying to study Physics at Trinity College Dublin:

Take a look at the links below for information on Transition Year courses run by Trinity's CRANN and the Science Gallery.

13 FEB 2013



Last night, as part of The Science Gallery's SFI Speaker Series hosted by Niamh Shaw, OSCILLATOR curators Douglas Repetto and Stefan Hutzler took us through the vibratory world of oscillators and oscillations plus the ideas and phenomena that inspired Science Gallery's latest exhibition.

Claire O'Connell's article below, featured in New Scientist, discusses the Oscillator: Everything in motion exhibition:

08 FEB 2013

OSCILLATOR: Everything in Motion

Profs. Finch & Bergin entertained the public at the opening night of the Science Gallery's Oscillator. Prof Finch demonstrated modes of vibration using sand and a Chladni plate. His practiced bowing technique sent shrill notes around the Gallery as Chladni patterns appeared. Oscillator Oscillator

Next to him, Prof. Bergin was busy smashing wine glasses using sound - demonstrating resonance. Before smashing, the glass's mouth (with a little help from a strobe light) could be seen to wobble, or breathe, before its elastic limit was exceeded and the glass was smashed to pieces.

The School of Physics played an integral part in the design of Science Gallery's Oscillator - with Prof. Hutzler lending his expertise and enthusiasm.

28 JAN 2013

CRANN Secures Leading Role in 1 Billion euro Graphene Research Project


The European Commission has announced that CRANN, the Science Foundation Ireland funded nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, has secured a primary role in the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Graphene Flagship project. The EU Commission has committed €1 billion to the Graphene Flagship, the largest ever research project funded in the history of the European Union.

The aim of the Graphene Flagship is to realise the commercial potential of graphene, a 'wonder material' that is considered the future of manufacturing. 126 academics and industry groups from 17 countries will work on 15 work packages.

Full article can be found below:

24 JAN 2013

Cellix Highlighted As One Of 19 Innovative Companies As Ireland Holds The EU Presidency Of The Council Of European Research


Ireland holds the Presidency of the Council of European Research for the next 6 months. To mark the start of its term, Enterprise Ireland held a launch event at their offices where Cellix was highlighted as one 19 companies who have benefited from European Union funding to support R & D.

The successful event at Enterprise Ireland's offices was attended by over 40 European press journalists and Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment, Richard Bruton addressed the delegation.

24 JAN 2013

European Space Roadshow to visit Trinity in June 2013

Space Expo 2013

The European Space Expo will visit Dublin and Cork in June 2013. This is a spectacular travelling exhibit that shows how space and its applications provide benefits to Europe.

There will be lots of exciting activities surrounding the Space Expo visit, including space-related workshops for kids, an Irish space industry event, public talks, and lots more.

The Space Expo highlights the critical role of space and space-based technologies to Europe. In Ireland, there is an active space science and astronomy research community who have worked with the European Space Agency for many decades. What's more, there are now over 40 Irish companies working with ESA on everything from telecommunications, to materials, to remote sensing of our oceans.

The Expo will visit Trinity College Dublin on June 4-9. Entrance to the Expo will be free.

Check out a movie of the Space Expo on the road across Europe.

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 Valeria Nicolosi RDS2

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

Valeria Nicolosi

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:

Shane Bergin

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:

Last updated 4 April 2014 (Email).