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News Archive - 2013

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 first year Nanoscience-PCAM student and Ciara Maguire

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.

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.

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.

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

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, See

11 OCT 2013

Shortl for Research Laboratory of the Year:

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

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

Pitch Tar Drop Experiment Trinity College Dublin

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:

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.

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 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.

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.

MAY 2013

Science Spin: Fractal Ireland

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.

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

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:

  • NEW SCIENTIST: Exploring oscillation proves a moving experience

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.

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:

  • CRANN selected for research on 'Miracle Material' graphene

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

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.