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Thursday 18 May 2017 – Appointment of New Registrar at DIAS

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Eucharia Meehan to the position of Registrar following the retirement of Cecil Keaveney.

Dr Meehan has more than 20 years of leadership experience across a range of public and private research based organisations.

Prior to joining DIAS, Dr Meehan was the inaugural Director of the Irish Research Council, the latter being established in 2012 through the  merger of two former councils (the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology). Most recently in that role Eucharia spearheaded the national #LoveIrishResearch communication campaign and successfully instigated the new Irish Research Council Laureate Awards. The latter will fund internationally competitive frontier research across all disciplines.

Prior to her role at the Irish Research Council, Dr Meehan was Head of Research and Innovation (policy and investment) at the Higher Education Authority (HEA). This latter role encompassed Director of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) which invested €1.2bn  of public and private funds to develop strategic research infrastructure and capacity. She was also for a time Head of Capital Investment for the university sector.

Before joining the HEA in 2001, Dr Meehan was Head of Programme Management at Elan Biotechnology Research (EBR). In this role she had responsibility for sites and joint ventures in Ireland, Israel and the USA. Dr Meehan holds a PhD in Pharmacology (Neuropharmacology) from NUIG, in addition to a number of postgraduate management, accounting and finance qualifications from TCD and the ACCA.

Andrea Licciardi wins outstanding Student presentation at EGU 2017

During the Geodynamics division meeting at the 2017 EGU general assembly, that took place in Vienna on April 25, DIAS former PhD-student, Andrea Licciardi has been awarded with the Outstanding Student Presentation and Pico (OSPP award). Andrea presented new evidence about crustal anisotropy along the North-Anatolian Fault system obtained using passive seismic observations. This study is a joint collaboration between DIAS, GFZ and Istanbul Technical University. His poster was titled: “Crustal anisotropy along the North Anatolian Fault Zone from receiver functions”


DIAS Research Forum 2017 – Wednesday 17th May


An inter-disciplinary research forum has been scheduled for Wednesday 17 May 2017, 3-5pm at Burlington Road. The forum is intended to be an informal event that provides post-doctoral scholars and PhD students with the opportunity to share and discuss their current research with scholars and staff from across the three schools of DIAS.

There will be no main speakers at the event. Instead, participants will be assigned a space where they can share and discuss their research interests. Participants are encouraged to present a poster which visually complements their research, and allows them to explain what they do to all DIAS staff. In instances where a poster presentation is not appropriate, participants should feel free to develop an alternative approach.

The forum presents a great opportunity for scholars to sharpen their academic presentation and public outreach skills in an informal setting, while also getting to know colleagues from across the Institute.

The organisers strongly encourage scholars from all three schools to participate in the forum. A coordinator from each section will liaise with participants regarding their presentations.

Participants are asked to register here prior to Friday 12 May.

Section Coordinators:
Celtic Studies - Eibhlín Nic Dhonncha eibhlin@celt.dias.ie
CP, Astrophysics - Eileen Flood eflood@cp.dias.ie & Anne Grace ag@cp.dias.ie
CP, Geophysics - Clare Horan choran@cp.dias.ie
Theoretical Physics - George Rogers grogers@stp.dias.ie
Please contact your section coordinator with any queries.

All DIAS staff are welcome to attend.


Friday 7th April : DIAS astronomer wins ERC Advanced Grant with SFI support – no EASY feat

Professor Tom Ray of the  Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) has been awarded one of the European Research Council’s (ERC) prestigious Advanced Grants to study the birth of stars and planets.  Tom  is an Irish astronomer whose work sheds light on what the Solar System would have looked like 5 billion years ago when it began to form. During this rather chaotic and turbulent period matter is not only gravitationally sucked onto a newborn star like the Sun but ejected as well in the form of highly supersonic jets that stretch for light-years.

His proposal, “Ejection Accretion Structures in Young Stellar Objects (YSOs)” with acronym EASY, aims to use the latest observing facilities, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, the European low frequency radio telescope LOFAR (with an Irish node funded by SFI currently under construction in Birr, County Offaly) and those of the European Southern Observatory, to improve our understanding of the complex processes involved. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) awarded Prof Ray an ERC development grant and this was crucial in enabling him to obtain all the necessary international observatory agreements.

This round was highly competitive with only 9.6% of proposals being funded.  The grant of just under 2M Euro will support seven research positions in DIAS.

Speaking on behalf of DIAS Prof Luke Drury, Director of the School of Cosmic Physics, said “We are all delighted for Tom.  DIAS, like the ERC, is an organisation that believes in the pursuit of excellence and curiosity-driven research; this award is a vindication of that vision at the highest level”.

Graeme Horley, SFI Programme Manager and ERC National Contact Point said, “We are delighted that Tom has been successful in winning an ERC Advanced Grant. These awards are among the most highly sought after in Europe and are extremely difficult to win. We are particularly pleased that the support provided to Prof. Ray through our  ERC Development Programme has helped in this success. We congratulate Tom and look forward to learning about the exciting developments from this project over the coming years”.

For further information contact:

Prof Tom Ray, School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies,
e-Mail tr@cp.dias.ie
Phone 087 9062696

Dr Graeme Horley, Science Foundation Ireland,  ERC National contact point,
e-Mail graeme.horley@sfi.ie

ERC web site and list of awards:

PhD Scholarships in Astronomy and Astrophysics Section

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) will be offering a number of PhD scholarships to work in the areas of Star and Planet Formation as well as in the development of optical/near infrared detectors for use in astronomy. Funding is available for 4 years starting from September/October 2017 and includes a stipend (at current Science Foundation Ireland rates), postgraduate university fees, an IT allowance, and provision for conference and workshop participation. A primary degree in physics, computer science, astronomy or a related field is required.

Interested students are asked to send a brief statement of their research interests, a CV, and to arrange for 2 letters of recommendation to be sent directly to Ms Eileen Flood from whom further information can be obtained. Detailed inquiries can be made to Prof Tom Ray. The deadline for applications including receipt of letters of recommendation, is Friday 28th April 2017.

2017-4-10 – Seminar by Prof. Tarje Nissen-Meyer

10 April 2017Seminar

When: 16:00 on Monday, 10th April 2017
Where: DIAS, Geophysics Section, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, (library)

Speaker: Prof. Tarje Nissen-Meyer
Title: Occam or not? On the interaction of waves with structure.

2017-4-5 – Seminar by Prof. Heiner Igel

5 April 2017Seminar

When: 16:00 on Wednesday, 5th April 2017
Where: DIAS, Geophysics Section, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, (library)

Speaker: Prof. Heiner Igel (Ludwig-Maximilians-University München, Germany)
Title: Earth’s Rock and Roll: Rotational Motions in Seismology.

Monday 27th March: STP Seminar – “Yang-Baxter sigma-models, conformal twists & noncommutative Yang-Mills”

Title: Yang-Baxter sigma-models, conformal twists & noncommutative Yang-Mills

Speaker: Eoin Ó Colgáin (University of Surrey)

Abstract: The Yang-Baxter σ-model is a systematic way to generate integrable deformations of AdS5×S5. We recast the deformations as seen by open strings, where the metric is undeformed AdS5×S5 with constant string coupling, and all information about the deformation is encoded in the noncommutative (NC) parameter Θ. We identify the deformations of AdS5 as twists of the conformal algebra, thus explaining the noncommutativity. We show that the unimodularity conditon on r-matrices for supergravity solutions translates into Θ being divergence-free. Integrability of the σ-model for unimodular r-matrices implies the existence and planar integrability of the dual NC gauge theory.

Time: Monday 27th March 2017, 3.00pm.

Place: Lecture Room, School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS, 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

New insights into how continuous seismic signals announce an eruption

In the recently published Nature Geoscience paper a diverse group of scientists based at DIAS and other research institutes in Ireland and Iceland developed a new understanding of seismic signals prior to an eruption. The focus of the study is an eruption in Iceland in 2014/15 that was preceded by two weeks of increased, migrating seismicity. This seismicity is the noise of the breaking crust at depth and gave scientists the possibility to ‘watch’ how magma propagated horizontally until it eventually made it to the Earth’s surface. However, the puzzling observation was that no earthquakes occurred at less than 3 km depth, although magma passed through this region. We found that a long-lasting continuous seismic signal, called tremor, exists at this depth instead. This tremor was usually understood as being caused by moving fluids, but it seems that it consists instead of millions of tiny earthquakes that are so closely spaced that they merge into one another and appear as tremor. It seems that the uppermost part of the crust is too weak to generate big earthquakes and it therefore breaks through many small earthquakes. In our paper we describe how the crust beneath the ice opened little by little in about 19 hours at a speed of 220 m/h. As such eruptions beneath ice can distribute huge amounts of ash in the air, understanding these signals is important for volcano monitoring and eruption early-warning.

Nicolas Luca Celli Wins Best Student Talk Prize

At the 2017 Irish Geological Research Meeting (IGRM) that took place at Trinity College Dublin on March 4-6, the prize for the best talk by a student was awarded to Nicolas Luca Celli, DIAS Geophysics. Nicolas spoke on his research on seismic tomography and was congratulated by the jury and by colleagues from across Ireland on an outstanding presentation.
His talk was titled “Waveform Tomography of the North Atlantic Region.”

Photo: Patrick Roycroft (IGA)