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15th December – School of Theoretical Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017

**Advance booking is required here**

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – School of Theoretical Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017

Friday 15th December 2017 at 6.00 p.m.

The Physics and Astrophysics of Merging Neutron-Star Binaries

By: Prof. Dr. Luciano Rezzolla (Goethe University of Frankfurt)

Location: Edmund Burke Theatre (Room 1008), Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

Abstract: I will argue that if black holes represent one the most fascinating implications of Einstein’s theory of gravity, neutron stars in binary system are arguably its richest laboratory, where gravity blends with astrophysics and particle physics. I will discuss the rapid recent progress made in modelling these systems and show how the inspiral and merger of a binary system of neutron stars is more than a strong source of gravitational waves. Indeed, while the gravitational signal can provide tight constraints on the equation of state for matter at nuclear densities, the formation of a black-hole–torus system can explain much of the phenomenology of short gamma-ray bursts, while the ejection of matter during the merger can shed light on the chemical enrichment of the universe.

About Professor Rezzolla : Prof. Dr. Luciano Rezzolla is presently the Chair of Theoretical (Relativistic) Astrophysics and Director at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) of the Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany. He is also Senior Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Studies (FIAS).

School of Celtic Studies Tionól 2017 – Programme now available

Tionol 2017 Programme (Pdf)

Photos from DIAS School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017 (19th October 2017)

“Brave new worlds: the planets in our galaxy” by Professor Giovanna Tinetti, University College London  (abstract)

Prof. Giovanna Tinetti (Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University College London)

l-r : Prof. Gerry Wrixon (Chairman, Governing Board of the School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS) Prof. Giovanna Tinetti (Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University College London) Dr Eucharia Meehan (Registrar and CEO of DIAS)

l-r: Prof. Gerry Wrixon (Chairman, Governing Board of the School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS), Dr Eucharia Meehan (Registrar and CEO of DIAS), Prof. Chris Bean (Head of the Geophysics Section, School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS), Prof. Giovanna Tinetti (Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University College London), Prof. Luke Drury (Director of the School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS and Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Section), Dr Deirdre Coffey (Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Space Science at UCD School of Physics), Prof. Martin Grünewald (Professor of Experimental Physics and Head of the UCD School of Physics)

RTE documentary on LOFAR – Thursday 19th October

Tonight RTE 1 screens a documentary on how Ireland built part the largest radio telescope in the World. LOFAR (The Low-Frequency Array) is an international effort to study the Universe at the lowest radio frequencies, straddling either side of the familiar VHF band. Historical resonances abound in that the radio telescope is on the same site as the famous Leviathan of Parsonstown, once the largest optical telescope in the World. Amazingly there is so little radio interference nearby, that it is the radio equivalent of a pristine site high in the Andes when it comes to seeing the stars!

DIAS is a partner in LOFAR and will use it to study the birth of stars and planets. We will also contribute to the complex software required to operate such a telescope across the European continent with our international partners.

The LOFAR Telescope in Birr, County Offaly. DIAS is part of the Irish consortium that constructed it and we will use it to study how stars like our Sun are born and also how they die.

Dr. Eva Eibl reached the second place in the Falling Walls Lab Ireland competition

Falling Walls Labs have been hosted in more than 50 countries worldwide, where outstanding academics and professionals present their breakthroughs in science and society in merely 3 minute long talks. This year it was hosted in Ireland for the first time and innovative ideas, research projects and social initiatives were shared. DIAS researcher Dr. Eva Eibl competed with a talk titled: „Breaking the Walls of Eruption Forecasting“ presenting the content of her recently published Nature Geoscience publication and reached the second place.

Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory

DIAS welcomes the wonderful news that Ireland will join the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It means Irish astronomers will now have access to world-class observing facilities and Irish companies will be involved in building the biggest telescope on the Planet (shown below), the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). ESO membership has been a major objective of DIAS for many years. We look forward not only to pushing the boundaries of the known Universe with our ESO partners but also building the cutting-edge instruments that make such research possible.

Further reaction and information can be had from the Astronomical Science Group of Ireland (ASGI) website.

The E-ELT will the biggest telescope in the World when completed. Situated high in the Andes in Chile, it will probe the early history of the Universe, discover how stars and planets form, examine the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, and a myriad of other puzzles in Astrophysics. Image courtesy of ESO.

Dunsink Observatory Public Open Night – Maths Week 2017

Speaker: Dr Samuel Kováčik, Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellow funded by the Irish Research Council and based in the School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS.

Title of Talk: Sir Hamilton and the story of making things up   (Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865))

Date : Wednesday 18th October 2017 at Dunsink Observatory

Advance booking for this talk is required here

Samuel Kovacik bio: Born in Bratislava (Slovakia), where he Graduated in Theoretical Physics, from Comenius University Bratislava, 2012.
He was then awarded a Ph.D. in Theoretical physics, from Comenius University Bratislava, 2016. This was followed by a Postdoctoral scholarship in DIAS from 2016.
He now holds a Government of Ireland Post-doctoral Fellowship position awarded by the Irish Research Council. Samuel is interested in the Research of Quantum Space(time) and he was honoured by the opportunity to give a TEDx talk in 2015. He spends some part of his free time on sports and the other on popularising science.

STP Vacancy – Junior Post-doctoral Scholarship(s)

The School of Theoretical Physics of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies invites applications for one or possibly two junior post-doctoral scholarships in theoretical physics. Applicants are welcome from all fields of theoretical and mathematical physics; however, preference for one of the positions will be given to candidates with a proven research record in gauge/gravity, lattice gauge theory or non-commutative geometry. Experience in Monte Carlo simulations would be an advantage.

Closing date for applications is December 3rd 2017.

Please apply with a CV, research statement, list of publications and
three letters of recommendation via the DIAS website:


Nobel Prize for Physics 2017 Awarded to Discovery of Gravitational Waves

For a couple of years, gravitational waves are the central topic of numerous discussions. What do the physicists find so interesting on them is a combination of four factors, two of them very big and two very small:

1. Usually, gravity is a very weak force. You might find this slightly counter-intuitive since we feel its presence at every moment of our lives, but recall that a small electric charge of a balloon can make your hair stand – even though the gravity of the entire planet tells them otherwise.

2. In contrast to it, a black hole merger is an extremely energetic event. Two black holes, usually weighing like tens of suns, merge into a new black hole – which is lighter than the sum of two. The difference is turned into a colossal amount of energy and radiated in form of gravitational waves.

3. Fortunately, this happens very far away – usually around a billion of light years. It took the signal around one-tenth of the age of the Universe to reach us!

4. This mitigates the effect of gravitation waves by many orders of magnitude – so much that it is nearly impossible to notice them. In the result, they make the 4 km long arms of the LIGO and Virgo detectors periodically shorter and longer by a fraction of a nucleus size. Only the genius design makes the detection possible.

The detected signal is not just a simple beep, it has a rich structure which allows us to extract valuable information about the cataclysmic event.

It was a long journey, that began with the Einstein’s prediction back in 1916. The construction of the LIGO experiment began in 1994, but the first run between the years 2002-2010 lead to no success.

It was only shortly after starting the improved run in 2015 when the first detection exhilarated the team of LIGO/Virgo collaboration. Three of the most dominant figures: Barry C. Barish, Kip S. Thorne and Rainer Weiss were today awarded the Nobel prize (for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves).

This prize does not conclude the story of gravitational waves though. There have been 4 detections officialy announced, all of them originating from a black hole merger. However, there is a gossip that this August gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars have been observed. A neutron star is nearly as extreme as a black hole, but not completely – light can still escape it. This means that might not have only captured the gravitational signal, but also its optic counterpart.

We are all eagerly anticipating what the near future will bring.

Dr. Samuel Kovacik – School of Theoretical Physics, DIAS

CTA Public Event in Dunsink Observatory

Public Open Night Wednesday October 11th

Two talks on the Cherenkov Telescope Array. Gates open at 7:00 pm

Book here

Dr Masha Chernyakova:

New frontiers in science with the Cherenkov Telescope Array.

Abstract: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), will be the Major Global Observatory for very High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy over the next decade and beyond. The scientific potential of CTA is extremely broad: from understanding the role of Relativistic Cosmic Particles to the search for Dark Matter. CTA is an explorer of the extreme universe, probing environments from the immediate neighbourhood of Black Holes to Cosmic Voids on the largest scales. In my talk I will overview the most exiting discoveries that CTA should be able to do.

Prof. John Quinn

The Cherenkov Telescope Array: Instrumentation for Exploring the Very High Energy Universe

Abstract: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a next-generation astronomical facility, currently in the design and prototyping phase, for exploring the Very High Energy (VHE) gamma-ray Universe. The energy range covered by CTA will be from 20 GeV to 300 TeV, allowing for the study of nature’s most powerful particle accelerators, associated with black holes, neutron stars and supernova remnants,
in unprecedented detail (for comparison, the LHC at CERN accelerates protons to energies up to 14 TeV). CTA is being developed by a global consortium of scientists and will have two observatories, one in the northern hemisphere on La Palma in the Canary Islands, and the other in the southern hemisphere at ESO’s Paranal site in Chile. Gamma-ray telescopes are usually placed on satellites in space to get above the Earth’s atmosphere, but CTA will actually use the atmosphere to detect gamma rays via the faint flashes of blue Cherenkov light that are produced when gamma rays are destroyed through interactions with air molecules. In this talk an overview will be given of the CTA telescopes and how they work, and the significant role Irish scientists played in developing this exciting young branch of astronomy will be highlighted.