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Earthquake Donegal, 2nd August 2017, M1.5

On the 2nd August at 05:46 UTC (06:46 local time) an earthquake of magnitude 1.5 occurred in Donegal (NE of Milford on the Fanad Peninsula). Location 55.11N, 7.59W, see figure below.

There are reports of this event having been felt in the area around Milford. Events of this nature are not uncommon in this region. The largest event recorded in this area was a magnitude 2.2 which occurred near Clonmany on 21st November 1994.

The event was recorded at stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) and the BGS, see seismic traces below.

School Of Cosmic Physics – Statutory Public Lectures


The 2012 Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Cosmic Physics will take place in Trinity College Dublin on Monday 17 September at 6:00pm.

The lecture entitled “Global Science for the Benefit of Security and Humankind” will be given by H.E. Mr Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

It will be held in the MacNeil Lecture Theatre, Hamilton Building, TCD. Admission is free.

Lecture Poster (pdf)



Statutory Public Lecture 2011

The 2011 Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Cosmic Physics will take place in Room B004, University College Dublin, on Tuesday July 5th at 6:30pm.
The Lecture entitled “The Dark Side of the Universe” will be given by Prof. Malcolm Longair, Emeritus Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. The Dark Side of the Universe Black holes, dark matter and dark energy are among the most important ingredients of our Universe, but don’t emit light and are therefore invisible. Former Royal Astronomer for Scotland, Malcolm Longair will describe why we’re confident that all three exist, and discuss their importance for fundamental physics. The talk will be profusely illustrated with recent results from a wide range of Earth-based and space telescopes, simulations and movies.


Statutory Public Lecture 2010

The 2010 Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Cosmic Physics, will take place in the Swift Theatre, Trinity College Dublin on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 at 6:15p.m.
The Swift Theatre is located in the Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin.
No Parking / All are Welcome / Admission is Free

The lecture entitled “The Gathering Storm: Mitigating the effects of Earthquakes, Tsunamis and other Global Natural Hazards using Geoscience” will be given by Dr Walter Mooney, United States Geological Survey

Statutory Public Lecture 2009

Professor Simon D.M. White      “All From Nothing: The Structure of Our Universe”,  Monday 12th October, 2009, in the Lecture Theatre C005 (Health Sciences Building), University College Dublin,

Telescopes are time-machines. They allow us to see into the distant past. Our deepest images show the Universe not as it is today, but as it was just 400,000 years after the Big Bang. At that time there were no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no people, no familiar elements other than hydrogen and helium. The cosmos contained nothing but weak sound waves in a near-uniform fog. Supercomputers can compress thirteen billion years of cosmic evolution into a few months of calculation to show how these sound waves developed into the rich structure we see around us today. A study of their harmonic content gives clues to their origin. They appear to be an echo of quantum zero-point fluctuations occurring a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Thus our entire world may be a consequence of the nature of this early vacuum. In a very real sense, everything may have come from nothing.

Statutory Public Lecture 2008

Professor Naomi Oreskes   “The Denial of Global Warming” Wednesday 3rd September 2008, in the Davis Theatre, Trinity College Dublin.

Polls show that nearly one-third of Americans still believe there is “no solid” scientific evidence of global warming, or that if it is occurring it can be attributed to natural variability. Even among those who accept the reality of warming, nearly half think that scientists are still debating the point. This lecture explores the reasons for the widespread misunderstanding of the scientific consensus, including the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about climate science.


Prof. John Mather  “Finding our Origins with the James Webb Space Telescope”   The JWST project scientist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006, delivered the School’s statutory public lecture on 14th June 2007 in the Clinton auditorium, UCD.

Prof. Sierd Cloetingh: The Changing Earth we live on: The need for a European Strategy.
Dr H. Olthof: Huygens and Titan: from discovery to encounter.
Prof. Denis O’Sullivan: Space Travel and other Journeys: The Solar and Galactic Hazards.
A. Fabian: The Search for Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxies.
M.A. Khan: Rift Valleys – Do they fall, or are they pushed?
Prof. Tom Ray: Making Stars and Planets.
R. Giacconi: Astronomy in the VLT Era.
J. Jackson: Exploring the Earth.
D. Lemke: Exploring the Cold Universe: First Results from Europe’s Infrared Space Observatory.
G. K. Miley: Towards the Big Bang with the Most Distant Radio Galaxies.
P. M.  Shannon: Offshore Sedimentary Basins in the North Atlantic.
Prof.  Luke O’C. Drury: Gamma Ray Astronomy.
Prof.  M. W. Feast: The Centres of Galaxies.
Dr. P.W. Readman: The Centres of Galaxies.
Dr. Thierry Monmerle: High Energy Phenomena associated with Young Stellar Objects.
Prof. P. A. Wayman: The La Palma Observatory.
Prof T. Murphy: Why Measure Gravity.


Astronomy and Astrophysics




School Statements

School of Cosmic Physics Statements

Vision Statement

A premier-destination academic school, training scholars and conducting and leading advanced research within Ireland, Europe and globally in its areas of expertise.

Mission Statement

The School of Cosmic Physics promotes the use of Physics in increasing our knowledge and understanding of the world around us by:

  • being a leading international centre for studies of the Earth and the Universe;
  • providing a focus within Ireland for these areas of research;
  • facilitating Irish involvement in relevant international programmes;
  • providing specialised advanced training;
  • and by publishing and publicising advances in Cosmic Physics

Strategy Statement

During the second half of the first decade of the 21st century, the school will endeavour to be Excellent, Aligned, and Linked.

Excellent: in the science that we do and the training that we undertake,

Aligned: with Irish, EU and International initiatives, and

Linked: to Irish, EU and International partners.

Welcome to the School of Cosmic Physics, a Constituent school of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The School was established in 1947 (Statutory Rules and Orders, 1947, no 77), and consists of two sections which are each led by a Senior Professor appointed by the President on the advice of Government:

The primary duty of the school is “the theoretical, observational and experimental investigation of the problems of cosmic physics, including astronomy and astrophysics, cosmic rays, plasma physics, geophysics, meteorology and oceanography”. The School is funded through an annual grant to the Institute from the Department of Education and has in recent years attracted substantial external funding from The European Union, Science Foundation Ireland, The Higher Education Authority and other sources.

The School provides research facilities for postdoctoral fellows as well as advanced postgraduate training and it awards a number of scholarships annually. The School is under the control of a Governing Board appointed by the President on the advice of Government.

In addition to its primary statutory obligation to conduct research ‘at the frontiers of knowledge’, the School is active in a number areas that directly impinge on the public. For example the expanded public open night program at Dunsink Observatory. The Geophysics Section has played a pioneering role in exploring the strategic and economic potential of the continental shelf off the coast of Ireland, and the Astronomy & Astrophysics has played a leading role in an EU programme to measure the cosmic ray radiation hazard for commercial aircraft flights.

The School’s research programme is defined by its rolling science strategy:

The work of the school is documented in detail in the annual reports:

Annual Report: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

At its meeting on 27th September 2006 the Governing Board of the School adopted the European Charter for Researchers.


Astronomy and Astrophysics




School of Cosmic Physics – Governing Board

School of Cosmic Physics – Governing Board for the Quinquennial Period, ending 31 March 2015


  • Professor Gerard Wrixon,
    B.E., M.S., Ph.D Former President UCC

Appointed Members

  • Dr Eucharia Meehan
    Director, Irish Research Council
  • Professor Alan Watson
    School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds
  • Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
    Visiting Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
  • Mr Koen Verbruggen
    Director, Geological Survey of Ireland
  • Professor Laura Maraschi
    National Institute of Astrophysics, L’Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera

Senior Professors (ex-officio)

  • Luke O’C Drury, B.A., Ph.D.


Astronomy and Astrophysics




School of Cosmic Physics – About Us

Director: Professor Luke Drury

The School of Cosmic Physics was established in 1947 (Statutory Rules and Orders, 1947, no 77) as the third constituent school of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Its purpose is to use the ideas and methods of Physics to understand the world around us, from the interior of the Earth to the edges of the observable universe, in effect using the cosmos as a natural laboratory to observe phenomena on time, length and energy scales which are way beyond what is possible in conventional laboratories. The name “Cosmic Physics”, although not a widely used term, is thus highly appropriate. The School originally worked in the areas of classical optical astronomy, cosmic ray physics (which at that time was largely experimental particle physics) and geophysics (which then included meteorology). Over the years the cosmic ray section drifted away from particle physics (which became dominated by experiments at large accelerators such as CERN) and moved into astroparticle physics and high-energy astrophysics to eventually merge with the Astronomy section as a broadly based Astronomy and Astrophysics group incorporating a Centre for Astroparticle Physics and Astrophysics (CAPPA). At the same time the Geophysics section dropped the meteorological work and broadened the range of geophysical techniques used to study the Earth from mainly local gravitational field studies to modern active and passive seismology, magnetotelluric studies, and space-based studies of the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields.  The Section operates the Irish National Seismic Network and is also the National Data Centre (NDC) for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

In addition to its primary statutory obligation to explore the universe “at the frontiers of knowledge” and to train students in these areas at postgraduate level, the School also has an active outreach programme seeking to communicate the excitement of its work to the public and in particular to schoolchildren. It runs the long-standing series of open nights at Dunsink Observatory , the very successful Seismology in Schools Programme (Seismeolaíocht sa Scoil) and other outreach events such as the statutory public lecture series. It regularly participates in science week and the BT Young Scientist exhibition, and in association with the RDS and the GSI sponsored the Robert Mallet Exhibition.