TCD Physicist Elected President of the Royal Irish Academy

Posted on: 18 March 2011

Professor Luke Drury, Andrews Professor of Astronomy at the School of Mathematics at Trinity College has been elected 54th President of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).  The Royal Irish Academy is the principal learned society in Ireland for the sciences, humanities and social sciences.  Founded in 1785, the RIA aims to encourage the promotion and investigation of the humanities and the sciences as well as encourage discussion and debate between scholars of diverse backgrounds and interests.

Speaking about the RIA’s role in restoring Ireland’s international reputation Professor Drury said: “If we can foster in Ireland a civic society interested in the serious analysis of ideas, one where rational debate is used as a tool to discover truth, and where intellectual abilities are valued on a par with material possessions, then we will automatically have a smart economy and a society we can take pride in.”

Born in Dublin in 1953, Luke Drury studied experimental physics and pure mathematics at Trinity College Dublin before undertaking a PhD in astrophysics at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, England.  He subsequently worked at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik at Heidelberg, Germany before returning to Dublin in 1986 to head up the Astrophysics section of the School of Cosmic Physics in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.  He is currently Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin.  He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1995.

The RIA presidency rotates between a representative of the sciences and of the humanities on a three-yearly basis.  The president is elected by members of the RIA at the annual general meeting.  Professor Drury succeeds historian Professor Nicholas Canny.