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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
- Martin Luther King Jr.


7.15am Sunrise Spin

Light up your day the healthy way with an early morning spin class. An aerobic fitness and muscular endurance workout to awaken the senses in readiness for the day ahead.

Venue: Sports Centre
This free event is open to the public, bookings taken at the Sports Centre reception desk or 01- 8961812

Trinity Week Academic Symposium

9.45am – 5pm “Making Light Work.”


The poet Alexander Pope composed the epitaph for Newton’s grave “Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, Let Newton be! And all was light”, while Goethe said beautifully that “Colours are the deeds and sufferings of light”.

Humankind has always had a deep fascination with light, our eyes beholding illuminated manuscripts exploring paths to enlightenment, a child enchanted by dust particles dancing in sun beams, the vibrant intensity of the bright green photosynthetic hues of leaves budding forth in the spring, the sparkling wonders of the night sky, to information technology and the secret light hidden within the optic cables on which our civilization depends for global communication.

In this Trinity Week academic symposium, we have a fine range of speakers who will be exploring how science is “Making Light Work” from many perspectives: physical, chemical and biological.  May you be enlightened!

Professor Clive Williams Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science TCD

Running Order:




Welcome from Professor Linda Hogan F.T.C.D., Vice-Provost of Trinity College Dublin.



Professor. Rachel Evans School of Chemistry TCD
“Chemistry to light up our world”

  • Sunlight is the most abundant source of energy we have at our disposal. However, to harness its full potential, we must first learn how to capture, transfer and store solar energy effectively. We will explore the pivotal role of photochemistry and the design of molecules and materials to develop new solar cells for electric power generation and man-made leaves to produce solar fuels.


  • Rachel obtained her PhD in Photochemistry in 2007 at Swansea University, UK and was subsequently a FCT research fellow at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. She joined TCD in 2011 as the Ussher Assistant Professor in Device Fabrication. Rachel is the principal co-editor of the book Applied Photochemistry (Wiley, 2013) and her research focuses the development of light-harvesting and light-emitting materials for solar energy conversion and optical sensing.

10.30 - 11.00

Professor John Donegan School of Physics TCD
“Light in tele-communications: Fibre optic cables”

  • Light is the great carrier of information. Every day, billions of e-mail messages, web pages and data in general traverse the globe carried in optical fiber. A short review of this technology will be provided showing how we modulate light and in that way transfer data from one place to another.


  • John Donegan is Professor of Physics in Trinity College Dublin. His research deals with the interaction of light with matter. Among his present projects, he is researching new types of high speed semiconductor lasers for optical communications.

11.00 - 11.30 Tea / Coffee in the Fitzgerald Library


11.30 - 12.00

Professor Brian Espey School of Physics TCD
“Light Pollution”

  • Light at night is a pervasive aspect of modern life. While lighting is generally viewed in positive terms, we should question the economic, environmental, and health costs of excessive outdoor light. I will review these impacts and show that an increasing amount of the country is visible from space.


  • Brian Espey is an astrophysicist in the School of Physics, TCD and manages the Monck Observatory. He was educated at TCD and Cambridge, and worked with a Space Shuttle mission and the HST before returning to TCD in 2001. He is a member of the EU COST Action "Loss of Night Network".

12.00 - 12.30

Dr. Gavin McManus School of Biochemistry & Immunology TCD
“Laser Light and Microscopy”

  • Fluorescent imaging is colour coding of life to see what's going on. Using the many tools that have been developed in the last 30 years along with some imagination many interesting questions in science are being answered and we get a few nice pictures along the way


  • Dr. McManus has a PhD from Trinity in Biochemistry . After a post doc he worked for 4 years in Opsona Therapeutics as the protein specialist doing protein purification and modifications. He took over the microscopy unit in the School of Biochemistry 5 years ago and has been developing it into a core imaging facility for Trinity College Dublin.

12.30 - 14.30 Buffet Lunch in the Fitzgerald Library.


14.30 - 15.30

Dr. Charlotte Marcinko National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
"Lighting up the Oceans: Understanding bioluminescence in marine plankton"



  • Dr Marcinko is a multidisciplinary researcher within the Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems group at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Her enthusiasm for oceanography began after studying physics at Lancaster University and completing a Masters degree in oceanography at the University of Southampton. Dr Marcinko's research encompasses many aspects of ocean biogeochemistry including quantitative analysis of biophysical processes in the upper ocean using a range of observational and modelling methods. She has a specific interest in exploring and understanding ocean bioluminescence, particularly the emissions of light from marine phytoplankton.  

15.30 - 16.00

Professor Michael Williams School of Natural Sciences TCD

"The All-Seeing Plant: Light Perception Systems in the Plant Kingdom."

  • Plants possess a variety of systems that utilise the blue and red wavelengths of the visual spectra to harvest energy, 'visualise' their surroundings and perceive 'time'. The physiology and evolution of these processes will be presented in relation to how plants interact with their environment.


  • Mike Williams is a lecturer in Botany whose work specialises in the measurement and modelling of greenhouse gases from agricultural systems. Previous research has included chloroplast symbioses in marine molluscs, cell specialisation in higher plants and carbohydrate metabolism in algae. He is also a published author and illustrator of comedy fiction.

16.00 - 16.30 Tea / Coffee


16.30 - 17.00

Professor Aoife McLysaght School of Genetics & Microbiology TCD
“Evolution of the eye and colour vision.”

  • Many different eyes exist in nature: from the compound eye of insects, to the camera eye of vertebrates. In this talk we will see how by comparing the genes involved in eye development and vision we can gain a better understanding for the origins of the eye and the evolution of colour vision.


  • Aoife McLysaght's research group focusses comparison of DNA sequences from many different animals in order to understand evolutionary processes and events. They made the first discovery of novel human genes and also have shown a link between patterns of evolution of genes and their potential involvement in disease.

17.00 Closing Remarks

Venue: Schrödinger Theatre
This free event is open to the public, no booking required Health Class: “Feel as light as a feather.”

A moving meditation class using Buddhist Bows to calm the mind, activate the meridian system and improve posture.

Venue: Sports Centre
This free event is open to the public, no booking required

6pm Dean of Students Roll of Honour Ceremony

In Trinity College we are extremely proud of the extracurricular activities undertaken by students which ensures a vibrant campus and offers students diverse opportunities for learning, social development and personal growth. The Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour serves to celebrate and recognise student volunteering in clubs, societies, publications and the wider community.

Venue: Printing House (by invitation only)

7.30pm Keynote Speaker

Professor Robert Eason Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK.

“Photonics: Tripping the Light Fantastic”

Professor Eason looks at the progress that has occurred in laser technology in the past 50 years, and will describe some of the extremes that are now considered commonplace in the laser community; lasers the size of several football pitches, hair-thin lasers that are used to weld battleships and lasers that emit pulses that are only a few femtoseconds (one million billionth of a second) long. He will briefly consider what these lasers are used for today, and suggest where laser technology will be taking us in the next 50 years.


Robert Eason is the Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, and a Professor of Optoelectronics in the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton. He received a B.Sc degree in Applied Physics in 1975 from University College London, and a D.Phil in Physics from the University of York in 1982. He has been working in the area of lasers, laser-produced plasmas, laser-materials interactions, ultra-short pulse laser techniques, non-linear optics and laser-assisted thin film growth for more than 30 years, and runs three research groups in pulsed laser deposition, laser-induced forward transfer and femtosecond laser-materials processing. He publishes widely, with more than 300 publications to date, and has supervised 34 PhD students to successful completion. He has been the principal investigator on 20 EPSRC grants to date and has secured more than £4M of research funding as PI, and £20M as Co-I.

Venue: Schrödinger Theatre, School of Physics.
This free event is open to the public, no booking required

Library Events:

8.30pm – 10pm, Library Illuminations 

Images from the Library’s collections will illuminate the East Wall of the 1937 Reading Room, Exterior Wall of the Nassau Street Entrance and the Front Wall of the Berkeley Library.

Harry Clarke Studio stained glass window

Harry Clarke's stained glass work is one of the glories of 20th century Irish cultural achievement.

Venue: Long Room Hub

8.30pm - 10pm ‘The lamps have gone out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’

The centenary of the War will be acknowledged by the Library Archives lighting the east face of the 1937 Reading Room with the names and portraits of the Trinity College staff and students who fell.

Venue: East Wall, 1937 Reading Room

8am - 10pm ‘…and there was light’

This exhibition will highlight the range of material with a theme of light, in the care of the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections.

Venue: Exhibition Case, Berkeley Library Foyer, 8am – 10pm
These free events are open to the public, no booking required


9pm Disco Lights Spin

Darkness has descended, it’s disco time! This high energy spin class with disco lights will get the blood flowing, lift the spirits and boost the energy levels. You’ll be gasping for more.

Venue: Sports Centre
This free event is open to the public, bookings taken at the Sports Centre reception desk or 01- 8961812

Last updated 13 April 2015