Friday, 14 July 2017

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has awarded the Mary Somerville Medal to Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of the School of Physics, for “stellar work as a speaker and writer on physics for a popular audience, and for having organised and hosted many innovative events bringing physics to the Irish public.” The prize is awarded annually to an early career researcher with exceptional contributions to public engagement with physics.   Dr. Fairfield is the director of Bright Club in Ireland, a research comedy variety night supported by Science Foundation Ireland with events in Galway, Dublin, Athlone, and Cork. She is also co-organizer of Soapbox Science Galway, an event bringing female scientists into public spaces to talk about their work. Dr. Fairfield gives regular public lectures, writes for Physics World and her own blog, and collaborates with artists and the community to demonstrate that physics is for everyone.   Information on the IOP  Mary Somerville Medal and a summary of Dr Jessamyn Fairfield's contributions (to public engagement with physics)  can be found at the following link: IOP Early Career Awards. All of the IOP award winners for 2017 are listed on their website. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

The VERITAS gamma-ray astronomy collaboration has launched a new citizen science project as part of Zooinverse, an online platform for collaborative ‌volunteer research. To get started visit the Moun Hunters website at Humans can still outperform computers at many image recognition tasks and we would appreciate your help. NUI Galway is a member of the VERITAS Collaboration which operates an array of array of gamma-ray telescopes in Arizona. The muons are found in images taken by these telescopes. Muon hunters is led by the University of Minnesota

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Royal Meteorological Society has announced that Professor Colin O’Dowd has been awarded the Mason Gold Medal 2015. Throughout Professor O'Dowd's career, he has provided international leadership in the field of atmospheric aerosol particles.  His work has focussed on making detailed and careful observations of particles, particularly in the marine atmosphere, and providing novel insight into the advancement of our knowledge of many key processes. The Mason Gold Medal is awarded to a Fellow of the Society for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the fundamental processes that determine the variability and predictability of weather and climate. The Medal is awarded biennially and will be presented at the High Impact Weather and Climate Conference at the University of Manchester on 6th – 8th July 2016, followed by a one-hour lecture on the 7th July by Professor Colin O’Dowd. Further information highlighting this notable achievement is available here. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Compact Imaging and NUI Galway presentations at US photonics conference highlight the dramatic size and cost reductions made possible by MRO™ OCT Technology Researchers and technologists from Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) and their research collaboration partner NUI Galway, who together are developing miniature optical sensors that noninvasively image and measure subsurface characteristics of human tissue, had featured roles at the recent annual SPIE/Photonics West Conference, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. SPIE/Photonics West is the world’s premier photonics and bio-photonics industry conference. The conference, which is attended by scientists and industry executives from more than three dozen countries, consists of plenary sessions, presentations and panels on the latest research and developments in optics, photonics and bio-photonics. Martin Leahy, professor of applied physics at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, and a key adviser to Compact Imaging, served as a conference chair and presented a significant paper on Compact Imaging’s innovative OCT technology, MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT), titled, ‘The How and Why of a $10 Optical Coherence Tomography System’. More information can be found here:

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Centre for Astronomy at the School of Physics in NUI Galway are the lead researchers and authors of a recent international study published in January 2016 in one of the world’s leading primary research journals in astronomy and astrophysics, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS ). A joint Irish-French-US set of observations have led to a better understanding of the unexpected flaring activity seen coming from the Crab supernova remnant. The project led by Irish astronomer Professor Andrew Shearer from the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, involved using the NUI Galway developed, Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP ) polarimeter on the 200” Palomar telescope in California. Their work for the first time tied together changes in the optical polarisation with apparent changes in the gamma-ray (high energy x-ray ) polarisation. A supernova remnant occurs when a star explodes and spews its innards out across the sky, creating an expanding wave of gas and dust known as a supernova remnant. Arguably, the most famous of these remnants is the Crab Nebula, which exploded in 1054. The Crab Nebula has been studied extensively over the last fifty years and recently found to be the source of gamma-ray and X-ray flares. Professor Andrew Shearer from the School of Physics at the Centre of Astronomy in NUI Galway, said: “Our studies show how Galway’s GASP polarimeter will be important for future observations of these high energy astronomical sources. After the recent Government announcement that Ireland will join the European Southern Observatory (ESO ) we hope to contribute to future world class telescope projects such as the European Extremely Large Telescope.” Further information is available here.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The 15th annual IOP Ireland Frontiers of Physics Teachers Conference was held at NUI Galway in September 2015. The event, which is supported by the Professional Development Service for Teachers, combines cutting edge physics with practical sessions. Many aspects of physics were highlighted by speakers from the School of Physics, NUI Galway including Dr Miriam Byrne, speaking on the quality of air in schools, Dr Mat Redman on our astrophysical origins and Dr Mark Foley on biomedical physics. Dr Veronica McAuley and Martin McHugh from the School of Education spoke on teaching and learning with videos and hooks. Complementing the highlights of physics research were practical sessions on bringing physics back to the classroom including workshops on exploring light with Sean O’Gorman, Eleanor Nolan on CERN and particle physics, Dr Rebekah D’Arcy on states of matters while the Science on Stage team had a series of demos and ideas which they had picked up at the recent Science on Stage event in London. The event closed with a session reviewing and discussing  the 2015 Leaving Certificate physics paper.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Eleven researchers based in Irish universities have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means the person’s research is listed in the top 1 per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists. Inclusion in this publication means the researcher is among those “who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognise as vital to the advancement of their science”.  NUI Galway had three academics on the list: Henry Curran (engineering), Colin O’Dowd (geosciences) and Donal O’Regan (mathematics). Professor Colin O'Dowd leads the Atmospheric & Environmental Physics research cluster at the School of Physics, NUI Galway. He has been responsible for developing the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station on the west coast of Ireland into one of the best equipped and scientifically important WMO Global Atmospheric Watch stations in the world.   

Archived School of Physics News items

Archived School of Physics News items can be found at the following URL: