Splitting the Atom: Marking 70 years since Ernest Walton was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics

Ernest Walton (1903-1995) graduated in maths and physics from Trinity College Dublin in 1926 and after a year’s work as a postgraduate, travelled to Cambridge to study in the Cavendish Laboratory under Ernest Rutherford. Working with John Cockcroft (1897-1967), he successfully split the nucleus of an atom in April 1932. They were subsequently jointly awarded the Nobel Prize on 10 December 1951 for ‘their pioneering work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles’.

Walton returned to Trinity College in 1934 where he became Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. He was well known for his personal integrity, his compelling lectures and his commitment to the improvement of the standards of science education in Ireland.

He is commemorated on campus with a blue plaque on the Physics Building and the nearby sculpture Apples and Atoms by the artist Eilís O’ Connell RHA. In 1993 he presented his Nobel medal and citation to the Library of Trinity College Dublin along with his personal and scientific papers. The medal and citation are on display in the Long Room of the Old Library to mark the anniversary of the award of the Nobel prize.

Estelle Gittins

‘Like the culverted waters of the Farset and the Poddle, queerness flows through us by way of subterranean channels…’

Human experience and rivers both tend to meander, and shapes people and cities. Our guest authors introduce an artistic project in which the comparison of archival and contemporary maps of city rivers echoes marginalised human experience.

For our contribution to this year’s Student Forum III project at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, my co-creator Ben Malcolmson and I interpreted the Forum’s central theme of access and accessibility by unearthing the rivers of queerness we trace through our respective cities of Dublin and Belfast. As an environmental historian, I was interested in consulting archival maps of our cities and of Ireland as a whole, using GIS software to visually compare them with one another and virtually embed our GPS-captured contemporary movements in the cartographic history of these places. This process had previously yielded interesting findings for me when comparing historical maps of my hometown, and applying it to a more artistic project proved just as rewarding.

Continue reading “‘Like the culverted waters of the Farset and the Poddle, queerness flows through us by way of subterranean channels…’”

New Exhibition: “On Speaking Terms: Eight centuries of communication disabilities”

Text by Dr Caroline Jagoe & Dr Deborah Thorpe

Florence Fenwick Miller, An atlas of anatomy, London, 1879. Gall.TT.32.9

Communication is at the heart of who we are as human beings and communication disorders reflect the diversity of our humanity. As the Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies in Trinity College Dublin celebrates 50 years of educating speech and language therapists in Ireland, this exhibition in the Long Room provides a glimpse into eight centuries of communication disabilities. Continue reading “New Exhibition: “On Speaking Terms: Eight centuries of communication disabilities””

Launch of new exhibition ‘Drawing your Attention: Four Centuries of Political Caricature’

William Elmes’ John Bull Reading the Extraordinary Red Book, London: Thomas Tegg, [1816]. OLS CARI ROB 999
A new exhibition featuring four centuries of political cartoons opens today in the Library of Trinity College Dublin and runs throughout June and July 2019. Drawing your attention: Four Centuries of Political Caricature includes the Library’s own collections, with originals from its extensive 18th- and 19th-century collection gifted by Nicholas Robinson, alumnus, writer, lawyer and former cartoonist. The contemporary works in the exhibition are on loan from freelance artist Martyn Turner who is best associated with The Irish Times. Continue reading “Launch of new exhibition ‘Drawing your Attention: Four Centuries of Political Caricature’”

Ireland in Late Georgian Caricatures

William Elmes, Irish Bogtrotters (published by Thomas Tegg, 1812). OLS CARI ROB 0132.

Our wonderful exhibition Ireland and the English Lake Poets continues for just one more week in the Long Room of the Old Library (final day to visit is Tuesday 4 June 2019). In this blog post, curator Dr Brandon Yen explores Ireland’s role in late Georgian Britain’s political cartoons, two of which are featured in the exhibition. Continue reading “Ireland in Late Georgian Caricatures”