Professor Luciano Rezzolla delivers inaugural lecture as honorary Andrews Professor in Astronomy (1783)

Posted on: 26 February 2020

Professor Luciano Rezzolla this week delivered his inaugural lecture as the honorary holder of the Andrews Professorship in Astronomy at Trinity – the post held by many notable mathematicians and scientists including Sir William Rowan Hamilton.

Professor Rezzolla’s main research topic is the physics of compact objects, such as black holes and neutron stars, which he investigates by means of numerical simulations performed on supercomputers. Together with his collaborators, he has developed some of the most sophisticated codes in numerical relativity.

Sinéad Ryan,Professor of Theoretical High Energy Physics at Trinity, said:

“The School of Mathematics is delighted to welcome Luciano to Trinity. He is a renowned theoretical physicist and his research interests in general relativity, relativistic hydrodynamics and numerical simulation overlap with and complement the research strengths in our School as well as in other Irish institutions.”

“Luciano will also contribute to our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching giving our students a fantastic opportunity to interact with a leading international scientist during his time as the Honorary Andrews Professor.”

Among the many prestigious awards conferred to Professor Rezziano are the Karl Schwarzschild Prize (2017), the Frankfurt Physics Prize (2019), the Golden Seal of the University of Bari (2019), the NSF Diamond Achievement Prize (2019, shared with the EHTC), the 2020 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics (2019, shared with the EHTC), and the Einstein Medal (2020, shared with the EHTC).

The history of the Andrews Professorship in Astronomy dates back to 1774 when Dr Francis Andrews – then-Provost of Trinity – passed away, bequeathing the money needed to build an observatory  (Dunsink) and pay the salary of a professor and assistants.

From 1792 until 1921, the Andrews Professor also carried the title of Royal Astronomer of Ireland,which was established by the Letters Patent of King George III. According to the Statutes of the College, the Andrews Professor was required to “make regular observations of the heavenly bodies … and of the sun, moon and planets.”

The Andrews Professorship and Dunsink Observatory were abandoned by Trinity in 1921, but the Observatory was taken over by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in 1947. The Andrews Professorship was re-established by Trinity as an honorary position in 1984.

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | | +353 1 896 4685