What Graduate School in Theoretical Physics is Really Like

Posted in Research on December 30th, 2016 by steve

“I’m about to head off for a short New Year’s vacation in West Texas, but wanted to recommend a wonderful article that just appeared at Nautilus. It’s a memoir by Bob Henderson (who I met when he wrote about me, see here), appearing under the title What Does Any of This Have To Do with Physics? (although the title of the web-page, What Graduate School in Theoretical Physics is Really Like, is more descriptive) …” (more)

[Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, 29 December]


An Open Letter to the Times Higher World University Rankers

Posted in Research on October 6th, 2015 by steve

UK“Dear Rankers, Having perused your latest set of league tables along with the published methodology, a couple of things puzzle me. First, I note that you have made significant changes to your methodology for combining metrics this year. How, then can you justify making statements such as ‘US continues to lose its grip as institutions in Europe up their game’ …” (more)

[In the Dark, 5 October]

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US and European Scientists Sign Cooperation Pact

Posted in Research on May 8th, 2015 by steve

International“Laying the groundwork for what they said would be a new era of scientific cooperation, leaders of European and American particle physics initiatives signed an agreement at a White House ceremony on Thursday to share the spoils of their research in the coming decades …” (more)

[Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 7 May]

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A day out (and a solar eclipse) at Maynooth University

Posted in Research on March 22nd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“I had a most enjoyable day on Friday at the physics department of Maynooth University, or NUI Maynooth, to give it its proper title. I was there to attend an international masterclass in particle physics …” (more)

[Antimatter, 21 March]

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Trinity scientist honoured by European Commission for raising public awareness around importance of physics

Posted in Governance and administration on November 18th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin scientist Dr Shane Bergin has today been awarded the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) achievement award for his ‘contribution to communicating science in a fun and attractive way and mentoring the next generation in science’ …” (more)

[Grainne Rothery, Business and Leadership, 18 November]

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Case for Irish Membership of CERN

Posted in Research on June 13th, 2014 by steve

“CERN is the pre-eminent scientific laboratory in the world. Membership would underline Ireland’s commitment to science and deliver significant benefits to the nation …” (more, download)

[Institute of Physics in Ireland, 12 June]

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Juno initiative seeks to encourage women in university physics

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on April 11th, 2014 by steve

“Physics departments at three Irish universities are engaging with the Juno initiative, which looks to encourage women in physics …” (more)

[Claire O’Connell, Silicon Republic, 11 April]

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Open meeting re Irish membership of CERN

Posted in Research on February 28th, 2014 by steve

“The Institute of Physics in Ireland would like to invite members of the physics community to a meeting in the Royal Irish Academy to discuss a response to the recent announcement by Minister Sean Sherlock of a review of Ireland’s international engagement on research and innovation, with particular attention to the costs and benefits of joining CERN …” (more)

[Institute of Physics in Ireland, 28 February]

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Ireland ‘risks lagging behind’ by not having CERN membership

Posted in Research on January 20th, 2014 by steve

“An Irish MEP is hoping to meet with Government about Ireland becoming a member of CERN. Sean Kelly MEP said that the move could make Ireland a global hub for young scientists and leading innovators …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 20 January]

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Why physics students are optimists

Posted in Research on November 1st, 2013 by steve

“Physics students are taught to look to the future, so are naturally optimistic; economics students learn from mistakes of the past – no wonder their world is full of gloom …” (more)

[Theo Hobson, Guardian, 1 November]

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Giant experiments closed to Irish science

Posted in Research on October 31st, 2013 by steve

“Perhaps it is time to rethink Ireland’s participation in international scientific organisations. There was a lot of quiet satisfaction in the world of physics this month with the award of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics to theoretical physicists Peter Higgs and François Englert …” (more)

[Cormac O Raifeartaigh, Irish Times, 31 October]

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COSMO 2013 at Cambridge University

Posted in Research on September 2nd, 2013 by steve

“Today was the first day of the COSMO 2013 conference at Cambridge. Walking up the path to the hallowed Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), I was gripped by my usual fear that I might be met with a frosty reception at the door; ‘No experimentalists, please!’ …” (more)

[Antimatter, 2 September]

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Welcome rise in Leaving Certificate physics but it’s not enough

Posted in Teaching on August 15th, 2013 by steve

“A turn around for physics numbers but still a significant gender imbalance and almost a quarter of schools are still not offering physics at Leaving Cert level …” (more)

[IOPI, 14 August]

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Women In Physics: No Hiring Bias Against Female Faculty Seen In American Institute Of Physics Study

Posted in Governance and administration on July 24th, 2013 by steve

“… In a provocative new report from the American Institute of Physics (AIP), researchers argue that there’s no evidence to suggest that women are being excluded from physics departments. Rather, they say, rigorous statistical analysis suggests that the real reason female physics faculty are rare is simply that so few women are getting physics degrees …” (more)

[Macrina Cooper-White, Huffington Post, 23 July]

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Three Irish researchers secure €2m in EU R&D funding

Posted in Research on July 19th, 2013 by steve

“Three Irish researchers have been announced as recipients of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants and will share €2m between them to pursue their cutting-edge research in physical sciences and engineering …” (more)

[John Kennedy, Silicon Republic, 19 July]

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Trinity College experiment succeeds after 69 years

Posted in Research on July 18th, 2013 by steve

“After decades of waiting, physicists at Trinity College have for the first time captured a rare scientific event on camera. 70 years after the experiment was set up, the scientists have videoed pitch dripping from a funnel …” (more, video)

[RTÉ News, 17 July]

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NUI Galway’s School of Physics recognised for commitment to gender equality

Posted in Governance and administration on July 9th, 2013 by steve

“NUI Galway’s School of Physics has been recognised for its work in promoting equal opportunities in science. The Institute of Physics has become the first university in Ireland to be made a Practitioner under the Institute’s Juno Project …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 9 July]

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Labs, lectures and luring young people into science

Posted in Life on May 14th, 2013 by steve

“My Education Week: Cormac O Raifeartaigh, lecturer in physics at Waterford Institute of Technology. On Monday morning, I give a talk about our physics degree course to students from secondary schools in Waterford and Kilkenny …” (more)

[Irish Times, 14 May]

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A quantum conference at Castletown House

Posted in Research on May 6th, 2013 by steve

“… As well as the technical talks, the organisers hosted a public talk on the Higgs boson by Peter Higgs. Yes, the man himself! Peter’s visit to Ireland received quite bit of media attention and the talk didn’t disappoint …” (more)

[Antimatter, 6 May]

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Ireland loses a great physicist

Posted in Life on April 22nd, 2013 by steve

“Sad times for physics in Ireland this week with the news that Professor Alex Montwill, Ireland’s best-known particle physicist, has died. Alex was an outstanding particle physicist and the best teacher I ever had …” (more)

[Antimatter, 22 April]

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