NUI Galway Physicist Wins International Award

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd has been awarded the Appleton Medal by the Institute of Physics for his ‘distinguished research in environmental and atmospheric physics’. In particular, the NUI Galway physicist was lauded for his work on the formation and transformation of aerosols, the tiny particles which can effect cloud formation and impact climate change.

Sir Edward Appleton was a British physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his achievements in ionospheric physics. His experiments proved the existence of a layer of ionised gas in the upper atmosphere, known now as the Appleton layer. The Institute of Physics, which has its headquarters in London, awards the medal every two years to identify and honour physicists who are today making remarkable contributions to science.

At NUI Galway, Colin O’Dowd is Professor in the School of Physics and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies. Commenting on his award, he said: “It is a great honour to be recognised by as prestigious an organisation as the Institute of Physics, especially as this particular accolade dates back to 1941. This award is an indicator of the international standing of research carried out at NUI Galway.”

Professor O’Dowd is internationally renowned for his research into atmospheric composition, air pollution and climate change and has previously received the Smoluchowski Award and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Manchester for his research achievements. 

Much of his work involves NUI Galway’s Mace Head atmospherics research station, which is one of the most advanced and sophisticated research stations of its kind. Data from Mace Head, located in Connemara, is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change.

Previously, Professor O’Dowd’s research has been recognised through the award of Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society and with Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, the latter being regarded as the highest academic honor within Ireland.

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Keywords: Press.

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