Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Dr Edward McParland Elected Pro-Chancellors of the University

Posted on: 24 April 2013

Over the centuries the role of the Pro-Chancellor has been to act on behalf of the Chancellor during periods of absences from the University. Pro-Chancellors have all the powers and privileges of the Chancellor when acting in place of the Chancellor, such as when awarding degrees of the University of Dublin, but they also hold office in their own right. Appointment to the office of Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor is considered to be the highest accolade the University can bestow. In practice the office is reserved for the most distinguished graduates and academic members of staff who have made exceptional contributions to the College over the course of their career, or for illustrious members of the external community notable for their special contribution to society

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was born and brought up in Northern Ireland. She has a degree in Physics from Glasgow University followed by a PhD in Cambridge in Radio Astronomy. During her time in Cambridge, she was involved in the discovery of pulsars, opening up a new branch of astrophysics – work which was recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor.

Dame  Burnell Bell  made the most remarkable astronomical discovery in recent history; she had detected the first known pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star that sends out regular bursts of radio waves and other electromagnetic radiation. Pulsars are stars that are about the diameter of Dublin but which rotate about once a second. Some rotate many times faster. 

From that time she went on to work  in many branches of astronomy in  a number of capacities and has received many prestigious prizes and awards, including an Honorary DSc from the University of Dublin. She  was elected a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2005  and was the President of the Royal Astronomical Society (2002 – 2004).   In 2007 she was made a DBE and in 2012 the Royal Irish Academy made her an Honorary Fellow. From 2008-2011 she was the first female President of the Institute of Physics of the UK and Ireland. She is currently a Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

The public appreciation and understanding of science have always been important to her, and she is much sought after as a speaker and broadcaster. She hopes that her presence as a senior woman in science will encourage more women to consider a career in science.

Dr Edward McParland

Dr McParland joined Trinity College in 1973 as a Lecturer in the Department of the History of Art and was elected as a Fellow of Trinity College in 1984.

He was educated in Belvedere College and undertook an M.Sc in pure mathematics at UCD. Dr McParland entered Christ’s College Cambridge in 1965, where he read for the Fine Arts tripos and was elected to Fellowship of Jesus College Cambridge in 1971. He completed his PhD in 1975.

Academically, his work has been mainly in the history of Irish architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. His publications reflect this; in a variety of British and Irish journals and in his books. With Zwemmers, in 1985, he published a biography of James Gandon and, with Yale University Press in 2001, a history of public architecture in Ireland between 1680 and 1760. His present research extends beyond Ireland to consider a number of problems in Western architectural classicism.

Dr McParland’s academic activities have always been combined with an interest in archives and architectural conservation. With Nicholas K. Robinson he founded the Irish Architectural Archive in 1976. His work in architectural conservation has led him over the years to be a co-founder of the Irish Landmark Trust and a member of the committees of management of the Alfred Beit Foundation and of the Irish Georgian Foundation.

He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and an honorary member of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. Dr McParland is also a vice-president of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He retired as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London) in 2010.