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May 2012 – Royal Irish Academy honours DIAS Academics


Two of DIAS’s top academics were recently admitted as new Members of the Royal Irish Academy. Professor Felix Aharonian (Cosmic Physics) and Professor Denjoe O’Connor (Theoretical Physics) were among only 22 academics on the island of Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction.

Pictured from left to right – Professor Felix Aharonian, Professor Luke Drury and Professor Denjoe O’Connor.

Royal Irish Academy President, Professor Luke Drury, urged the government to make greater use of the resources available to it in the academic community, so that it can develop new and creative solutions and avoid the danger of ‘group think’:

‘At a time when trust in public institutions has been greatly undermined, we need reassurance that government is receiving good advice on what it should do and how it should do it. The State can, and should, turn to the academic community for expert advice, at far less cost than commissioning expensive consultants, and thereby support genuinely independent and occasionally critical voices.’

Felix Aharonian is Professor of High-Energy Astrophysics in the Astronomy and Astrophysics section of the School of Cosmic Physics. He is a world-leading expert in the phenomenology of high-energy, non-thermal astrophysics and astroparticle physics.  He is a recipient of the Rossi prize of the American Astronomical Association and a foreign member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, as well as being an external scientific member of the Max-Planck society.

Denjoe O’Connor is Senior Professor in the School of Theoretical Physics, where he leads a group of investigators focused on field theory and particle physics. He is internationally distinguished for his contributions to renormalization group theory and its applications to statistical field theory and his contributions to non-commutative field theory and matrix models.

For 227 years, membership of the Royal Irish Academy has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 466 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. Members of the Academy include: Seamus Heaney, Frances Ruane (ESRI), Mary Robinson, Patrick Cunningham (ESOF Dublin 2012), Maurice Manning (NUI Chancellor), Patrick Honohan (Central Bank), Mary Canning (HEA) and writer and cartographer Tim Robinson.