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DIAS Research Forum 2018 – Friday 11th May

An inter-disciplinary research forum has been scheduled for Friday 11 May 2018, 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. Posters should ideally be printed in A1 portrait format, as space is limited.

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 Wednesday 9 May.

Section Coordinators:
Celtic Studies - Eibhlín Nic Dhonncha
CP, Astrophysics - Eileen Flood & Anne Grace
CP, Geophysics - Clare Horan
Theoretical Physics - George Rogers
Please contact your section coordinator with any queries.

All DIAS staff are welcome to attend.

Tuesday 27th March: STP Seminar – “The Wave Mechanics of Large-scale Structure”

Title: The Wave Mechanics of Large-scale Structure

Speaker: Peter Coles (U. Cardiff & NUI Maynooth)

Abstract: There has been been a resurgence of interest recently in an idea, originally raised in a seminal paper by Widrow & Kaiser (1993), that the equations describing the evolution of a self-gravitating fluid can be rewritten in the form of a Schrodinger equation coupled to a Poisson equation determining the gravitational potential. In this talk I’ll discuss some of the merits of this idea and explain why it is of topical interest, illustrating the talk with examples of recent work.

Time: Tuesday 27th March 2018, 2.30pm.

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

DIAS Press Release 21st March 2018 : ARIEL Exoplanet Mission Selected by the European Space Agency

Press Release 21st March 2018

ARIEL Exoplanet Mission Selected by the European Space Agency

ARIEL – a mission to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve, of which Prof Tom Ray of Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) is Co-Principal Investigator – has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as its next medium-class science mission, due for launch in 2026.

During a 4-year mission, ARIEL will observe 1000 planets orbiting distant stars and make the first large-scale survey of the chemistry of exoplanet atmospheres. ESA’s Science Programme Committee announced the selection of ARIEL from three candidate missions on 21st March 2018.

The ARIEL mission has been developed by a consortium from 15 ESA member states including Ireland, UK, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, with an additional contribution from NASA in the USA.

University College London (UCL) is the primary lead for the mission and DIAS is providing both hardware and manpower. Irish funding for ARIEL will come from ESA’s PRODEX programme that is supported by the Government of Ireland and managed by Enterprise Ireland.

ARIEL’s Co-Principal Investigator, Prof Tom Ray of DIAS said, “It is wonderful news that ESA have selected ARIEL.  At this stage we have discovered almost 4,000 planets around nearby stars but very little is known about them beyond their size and how far they are from their parent star. ARIEL will study a large number of exoplanets to give us a much better picture of what the atmospheres of these planets are like. This will enable us to answer questions about how the chemistry of a planet is linked to its birth and evolution and may ultimately help us understand how planets with benign atmospheres like the Earth form.”

ARIEL’s National Contact in Ireland, Dr Deirdre Coffey of UCD School of Physics, said “It is tremendously exciting that Ireland is directly involved in ESA’s next exoplanet space mission. Rising demand for places in our MSc Space Science & Technology is testament to the increasing attractiveness of Space as a career trajectory for high-tech graduates. Our involvement provides great inspiration for the next generation, and reinforces to our graduates that Ireland is at the forefront of research.”

ARIEL will study a diverse population of exoplanets ranging from Jupiter- and Neptune-size planets down to super-Earths, in a wide variety of environments. While some of the planets may be in the habitable zones of their stars, the main focus of the mission will be on warm and hot planets in orbits close to their star. The scorching temperatures experienced by planets close to their stars, which can be hotter than 2000 degrees Celsius, also mean that more molecules from the planet’s interior make their way into the atmosphere. This provides ARIEL with better information about the planet’s internal composition and the formation history of the planetary system.

ARIEL will have a meter-class telescope primary mirror to collect visible and infrared light from distant star systems. A spectrometer will spread the light into a ‘rainbow’ and extract the chemical fingerprints of gases in the planets’ atmospheres, which become embedded in starlight when a planet passes in front or behind the star. A photometer and guidance system will capture information on the presence on clouds in the atmospheres of the exoplanets and will allow the spacecraft to point to the target star with high stability and precision. DIAS will contribute special filters to split the light up into different portions of the optical and infrared spectrum before the light is fed to ARIEL’s different instruments.

ARIEL will be launched from Kourou in French Guiana and will be placed in orbit around the Lagrange Point 2 (L2), a gravitational balance point 1.5 million kilometres beyond the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Here, the spacecraft is shielded from the Sun and has a clear view of the whole sky to maximise the possible target exoplanets for observations. This is close to where the James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch next year, will be located. This is another mission involving DIAS.



Further information:

ARIEL Co-Principal Investigator Science and Media Contact

Prof Tom Ray,

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Mob: +353 (0)87 9062696


National Contact

Dr Deirdre Coffey

UCD School of Physics


Notes to the Editor:

ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) Facts and Figures

Elliptical primary mirror: 1.1 x 0.7 metres.

Instrumentation: 3 photometric channels and 3 low resolution spectrometers covering the range from 0.5 to 7.8 microns in wavelength.

Mission lifetime: 4 years in orbit

Launch date: 2027 or 2028

Payload mass: ~450 kg

Total Spacecraft Dry mass: ~1200 kg

Launch mass: ~1300kg

Destination: Sun – Earth Lagrange Point 2 (L2)

ESA Mission Cost: ~450 million Euros, plus nationally funded contributions to the payload

Launch vehicle: Ariane 6-2 from French Guiana

For further information on ARIEL see:



ARIEL will be placed in orbit around the Lagrange Point 2 (L2), a gravitational balance point 1.5 million kilometres beyond the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Image Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office

Artist’s impression of ARIEL on its way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2). Here, the spacecraft is shielded from the Sun and has a clear view of the whole sky. Image Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office


19th – 29th June 2018 : DIAS Summer School in High-Energy Astrophysics 2018

The DIAS Summer School on High-Energy Astrophysics 2018 is the second summer school organised by the Centre for Astroparticle Physics and Astrophysics (CAPPA), part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), and is hosted by Dublin City University (DCU). The school is aimed at motivated young researchers beginning their careers (in particular PhD students and young postdocs), with the a focus on “filling in the gap” between University education and University-level research. The first announcement can be found here.

More details can be found here :

Tuesday 20th March: STP Seminar – “From Hilbert’s 16th Problem to Physics”

Title: From Hilbert’s 16th Problem to Physics

Speaker: Charles Nash (NUI Maynooth)

Abstract: We shall describe a link between Hilbert’s sixteenth problem (part (i)) concerning real algebraic curves and condensed matter physics. The central result is some work of Kenyon and Okounkov (2006). The physics involves so called dimer problems for periodic bipartite and non-bipartite graphs. A differential geometric approach will be introduced to help clarify matters. It transpires that real K-theory underlies the systems studied.

Time: Tuesday 20th March 2018, 2.30pm.

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

15th March 2018 : Austrian Ambassador to Ireland visits DIAS

DIAS was delighted to host a visit from the Austrian Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Helmut Freudenschuss on Thursday 15th March. He met with researchers from each of the Schools and reviewed the legacy of former DIAS Professor, Erwin Schroedinger.

8th March : International Women’s Day 2018

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of our female researchers here at DIAS about their careers. See what they had to say below! #IWD2018 #internationalwomensday2018

Tuesday 6th March: STP Seminar – “Quantum Correlations in Space & Time”

Title: Quantum Correlations in Space & Time

Speaker: Joe Fitzsimons (Singapore University of Technology and Design)

Abstract: In ordinary, non-relativistic, quantum physics, time enters only as a parameter and not as an observable: a state of a physical system is specified at a given time and then evolved according to the prescribed dynamics. While the state can, and usually does, extend across all space, it is only defined at one instant of time, in conflict with special relativity where space and time are treated on an equal footing. In this talk, I will examine the consequences of extending the notion of the quantum density matrix to multiple spatial and temporal measurements. To this end, I will introduce the concept of a pseudo-density matrix which treats space and time indiscriminately. This matrix in general fails to be positive for timelike separated measurements, motivating the definition of a measure of causality that discriminates between spacelike and timelike correlations. I will present the results of recent NMR experiments to measure causal correlations and their decay under the effects of noise. In the second half of the talk, I will present an application on the pseudo-density framework to bounding the capacity of quantum channels, and show how it can be used to obtain new bounds for the capacity of shifted depolarizing channels.

Time: Tuesday 6th March 2018, 2.30pm.

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

2018-02-25, M7.5 Papua New Giunea

On 25th February, 2018, an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.5 occurred at 4a.m local time, in a rural, jungle area of the Southern Highlands in New Guinea, Papaua New Guinea. It wasn’t immediately clear if there was damage. No tsunami watches or warnings were issued because of the quake.

At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate is converging with the Pacific plate and it occurred as the result of thrust faulting at shallow a depth. Thrust-faulting events of the size of the February 25th, 2018 earthquake are typically about 85×30 km (length x width).


The earthquake was recorded at seismic stations worldwide, including stations of the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), see seismic waveforms below (select figure to enlarge).


Tuesday 27th February: STP Seminar – “Anomalous Transport”

Title: Anomalous Transport

Speaker: Karl Landsteiner (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Abstract: The concept of symmetry is one cornerstone of modern theoretical physics, quantum mechanics is another. Sometimes they are incompatible with each other. These incompatibilities are called anomalies. They constrain possible fermion spectra of gauge theories and explain otherwise forbidden processes such as the decay of the neutral pion into two photons. In the recent years it has turned that anomalies have also profound impact on transport theory of relativistic matter. Anomalies induce exotic new transport phenomena such as the chiral magnetic and the chiral vortical effects. I will review anomaly induced transport phenomena and some of its applications in the quark gluon plasma and a in new exciting class of materials: the Weyl semimetals.

Time: Tuesday 27th March 2018, 2.30pm.

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