Annual Hamilton Walk – 16th October 2017

The Annual Hamilton Walk, in association with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Maynooth University, will take place during Maths Week Ireland on Monday 16th October starting from Dunsink Observatory. Advance Booking is essential for this event. More information including booking details can be found here.

dunsink_houseThe walk commemorates Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s famous creation of a strange new number system, called Quaternions, on the banks of the Royal Canal in Dublin on October 16, 1843. Quaternions now play a fundamental role in computer games and animation, special effects in movies, space navigation, physics, engineering and many other areas. The walk will retrace Hamilton’s steps from Dunsink Observatory to Broom Bridge in Cabra where he had his Eureka moment.

Hamilton performed a piece of mathematical graffiti by scratching his quaternion formulas on the canal bridge. In an act of mathematical vandalism, Hamilton opened up a whole new mathematical landscape where mathematicians could now feel free to conceive new algebraic number systems that were not shackled by the rules of ordinary numbers in arithmetic. Hamilton freed algebra from arithmetic and he was called the Liberator of Algebra.

Photo of MIRI Group Meeting – September 2017

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is due for launch in 2018 and DIAS convened the team working on one of its major instruments MIRI in Dublin (13th to 15th September) to finalize their plans for using the biggest telescope ever put into space. DIAS helped build some of JWST’s hardware and is now developing software to analyze its data.

2017-09-19, 4pm, Catherine Dougados (Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG), ALMA studies of the disk-jet-outflow connection


DIAS Scholar wins 2017 Earnshaw Medal

Congratulations to Anton Feeney-Johansson on being awarded the Earnshaw medal for best undergraduate physics thesis in Ireland for 2017.

Anton carried out his undergraduate project at the school of Cosmic Physics in DIAS and was mentored by Irish Research Council scholar Dr. Eamon O’Gorman. Anton’s work focused on measuring the temperature of the atmosphere of the famous red supergiant, Antares. To do this he used data from the Very Large Array in New Mexico, which is one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world. Anton is due to start his PhD in radio astrophysics at DIAS in September 2017 and we’re looking forward to have him on board.

The Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico

Dunsink Observatory – Culture Night 2017

Dunsink Observatory is joining in the celebrations of Culture Night on Friday 22nd September 2017.

Address : Dunsink Lane,     Castleknock,  D15 (location)
Phone   : 087- 6294966

The Observatory will be open from 7:00pm to 11:00pm and during the evening, visitors will be able to view the historic observatory building, which were once the home of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, world renowned mathematician and scientist.

Visitors will also be able to see the historic Grubb telescope and hear the remarkable story of the Dublin company that became one of the greatest telescope makers in the World. Weather permitting, there will be various smaller telescopes on display for star-gazing.

There will be two talks given by astronomers from DIAS, and  advance booking is essential  for these talks.

The talks  are not suitable for children under 12.

Time: 7:30 pm
Title: Winds On Earth, The Sun, And Other Stars


Time: 9:30 pm
Title: Imaging Stars And Searching For Exoplanets At Radio Wavelengths
Speaker: Dr Eamonn O’Gorman


2017-09-20, 3pm, John Regan (Dublin City University), Formation and Growth of the first Black Holes


2017-08-14, 3pm, Alexandra Kozyreva (Tel Aviv University), Diversity of pair-instability supernovae


28th August 2017 : Workshop on Cherenkov Telescope Array – Ireland

Workshop to discuss participation in the Cherenkov Telescope Array project in Ireland.

Funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme

Venue: DIAS, 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4

Date: Monday August 28, 2017, 10am – 5pm (approx.)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) ( is a multinational, worldwide project to build a new generation ground-based gamma-ray instrument with an order of magnitude improvement in the sensitivity compared to the current instruments and extension of the accessible energy range to above 100 TeV. There are two sites for CTA, one on La Palma in the Canary Islands, the other in Chile close to the ESO VLT and ELT telescopes.

This workshop will continue the discussion started during the January meeting in Armagh which  focussed on opportunities for scientists across the island of Ireland to engage in the CTA. During that meeting it was decided to establish a CTA-Ireland association. The objectives of this association are to promote participation by Ireland in the CTA Consortium at all levels, scientific, industrial and political, and to engage in public outreach activities in support of CTA. Irish scientists from 6 institutes have already signed an agreement to become members of the CTA-Ireland association.

Currently scientists from Dublin are involved into the scientific simulations needed to define best observational strategy. Scientists from Armagh are working on the provision of the maps of the distribution of molecular clouds for the CTA observatory, needed to interpret the data produced primarily by these telescopes. These efforts could be joined and expanded for full involvement in the CTA project. In particular, the expertise of Irish scientists could be important to address one of the main challenges with CTA – the acquisition and processing of the enormous volumes of data it will produce. CTA will handle up to one hundred telescopes, each producing data in parallel at rates ranging from a few megabytes to several gigabytes per second. Besides the raw data streams, the telescopes will also produce high volume control and engineering data streams. This requires the development of new data management techniques. Our joint efforts could contribute to several key packages to aid the CTA data effort.

Undoubtedly there are other opportunities. For instance, in the exploration of the time domain for high-energy astrophysics and the need for complementary observations at other wavelengths to detect and interpret sources.

The CTA will explore our Universe in depth at very high energies and investigate cosmic nonthermal processes. CTA will serve as an open observatory for a wide astrophysical community, and will be the principal instrument that will provide deep insight into the generation of the most energetic particles in nature.

The CTA Consortium consists of over 1200 members working in 200 institutes from 32 countries. CTA is included in the 2008 roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). It is one of the “Magnificent Seven” of the European strategy for astroparticle physics published by ASPERA, and highly ranked in the “strategic plan for European astronomy” of ASTRONET.

The aim of this workshop is to bring interested scientists together from across Ireland to discuss these opportunities and explore routes for collaboration and further engagement in the CTA. We will have representatives from CTA as well as the CTA-UK consortium present in the meeting to provide a broad perspective on the CTA project and its needs and challenges.


If interested in attending please email Masha Chernyakova ( at DCU. If interested in giving a presentation, for instance related to possible opportunities or relevant expertise that you might be able to contribute to CTA, please let her know.


2017-07-26, 4pm, Ray Jayawardhana (York University), Characterizing Exoplanets from the Ground and from Space


13th July – DIAS medal awarded to German scientist

L-r: Prof. Luke Drury (DIAS), Prof. Christian Spiering (DESY-Zeuthen)

Professor Christian Spiering was awarded the 2017 O’Ceallaigh medal at the opening of the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference in Busan, Korea, on Thursday 13th July.  The medal was  presented by Professor Luke Drury, Director of the School of Cosmic Physics at DIAS.

The O’Ceallaigh medal was established by DIAS and the estate of Cormac O’Ceallaigh to honour individuals who have made major contributions to what is now called Astroparticle physics.  The medalist is selected by the Astroparticle physics commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the O’Ceallaigh medal is regarded as the premier award in the field.

Cormac O’Ceallaigh was a distinguished Irish physicist who worked in the DIAS School of Cosmic Physics from 1953 to 1984. He did important early work on meson physics including their neutrino decay modes before turning in later life to questions of the composition of cosmic rays.

Professor Spiering, who was born in what was then East Germany, now works in DESY-Zeuthen near Berlin. Professor  Karl-Heinz Kampert, chair of the commission on Astroparticle Physics, noted that Professor Spiering had been selected “for his outstanding contributions to cosmic ray physics and to the newly emerging field of neutrino astronomy in particular”.  Presenting the medal Professor Drury remarked “It is particularly appropriate that we honour Christian Spiering today because some of O’Ceallaigh’s  early work was on neutrino physics”.

The Commission on Astroparticle Physics (C4), previously known as the Commission on Cosmic Rays, was established by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1947 to promote the exchange of information and views among the members of the international scientific community in the general field of Astroparticle Physics.

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) is a statutory corporation established in 1940 under the Institute for Advanced Studies Act of that year. It is a publicly-funded independent centre for research in basic disciplines. DIAS has three constituent schools: The School of Celtic Studies, The School of Theoretical Physics, The School of Cosmic Physics.

Further information about DIAS is available at

For more information on the medal see

For more information on Christian Spiering see