Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Congratulations to Kenneth Hanley who successfully defended his PhD thesis recently. Kenneth Hanley's PhD thesis was titled: Detection of Faint Exoplanets in Multispectral Data. Pictured from the left are: Dr Nicholas Devaney (supervisor), Kenneth Hanley (PhD Candidate), Prof. Andy Shearer (internal examiner) and Dr. Loïc Deic, University if Saint-Etienne (France) (external examiner).

Monday, 15 April 2019

Astronomers at NUI Galway are part of an international team which for the first time have used the VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes to measure the angular diameter of stars. The study was published in the journal Nature Astronomy. VERITAS is an array of four 12-metre gamma-ray telescopes located at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona.  They are used to detect very-high-energy gamma radiation from exotic objects in space. They do this by measuring the brief flashes of visible light produced when gamma rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr Gary Gillanders of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway, explains: “Stars are so far away from us that they appear as points of light in the sky. Their diameters are usually estimated indirectly using measurements of temperature and brightness.” The VERITAS team have directly measured the angular diameter of two stars by using an asteroid occultation method in which the shadow cast on the Earth when an asteroid passes between the star and the Earth is measured. This is a first for telescopes of the type used by VERITAS, and opens up a new window for direct measurement of the size of stars. Amy Joyce, then an MSc student at NUI Galway was part of the observing crew which measured one of the occultations.  Supported by the Irish Research Council, she is now based at the European Space Agency in Madrid. According to Amy: “The occultation is like a mini solar eclipse, although it is extremely faint and only lasts a few seconds, VERITAS is an ideal instrument to detect it.” Dr Mark Lang of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway welcomed the results: “Normally we use VERITAS to observe objects like the supermassive black hole in M87, recently imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope. Now we have shown that VERITAS can make other types of measurements”. Nature Astronomy, April 15 2019:  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0741-z

Friday, 1 March 2019

Congratulations to Chunshui Lin, Martin Sharkey and Kai Neuhaus who successfully defended their PhD theses recently. Chunshui Lin's PhD thesis was titled: Chemical Nature and Sources of Particulate Matter in Urban Areas.   Pictured from the left are: Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, NUI Galway (co-supervisor), Prof. Roy M. Harrison OBE, FRS, University of Birmingham (external examiner), Chunshui Lin (PhD candidate), Dr Chaosheng Zhang, NUI Galway (internal examiner) and Prof. Colin O’Dowd, NUI Galway (co-supervisor). Martin Sharkey's PhD thesis was titled: Sources, concentrations, and remediation of hazardous brominated flame retardants from waste streams in Ireland. Pictured from the left are: Crispin Halsall CChem FRSC, Professor of Environmental Organic Chemistry at Lancaster University (external examiner), Dr Marie Coggins, NUI Galway (internal examiner), Martin Sharkey (PhD candidate) and Dr Harald Berresheim, NUI Galway (supervisor).  Kai Neuhaus's PhD thesis was titled: The multispectral properties of multiple reference optical coherence tomography. Pictured from the left are: Prof. Martin Leahy, NUI Galway (supervisor), Kai Neuhaus (PhD candidate),  Dr Nicholas Devaney, NUI Galway (internal examiner) and Prof. Rainer Leitgeb, Medical University of Vienna (external examiner).

Monday, 8 April 2019

Kevin Byrne,  a student in the MSc in Medical Physics programme, has been awarded the Young Investigator Grant of €1500 for 2019 at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine (IAPM) in Dublin, 23rd March 2019.  Kevin’s project is entitled “Characterisation of novel optical fibre sensors for applications in Small Animal Irradiators”.     At the same meeting, Mohammed Alswad, PhD student in Medical Physics, won the best oral presentation award (Radiotherapy) for his talk about ‘Radiobiological modelling of clonogen cell distribution, hypoxic fraction and tumour size effects on local tumour control of non-small cell lung cancer’.   Congratulations to Kevin and Mohammed.

Friday, 1 March 2019

NUI Galway astronomers led by Prof Andy Shearer have recently been awarded observing time on the 8m Gemini South telescope in Chile to observe the isolated neutron star RX J1846.5-3754 using their Galway designed polarimeter, GASP (Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter) .  The star is highly magnetised with magnetic field about a million billion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. Their aim is to observe the phenomena of birefringence, where the magnetic field itself causes the light from the star to become polarised. This will be an important test of one the fundamental theories of Physics – quantum electrodynamics. These observations, to be taken in July 2019, will be significant for both physics and astrophysics. Previous work has shown that such observations are possible and GASP will be able to show how the effect changes as the neutron star rotates.

Friday, 1 March 2019

The concept of PHABLABS 4.0 is based on combining the World of Photonics with the growing creative ecosystem of existing Fab Labs. Joining forces of top experts from 13 European photonics institutes and STEM-oriented organizations with Fab Lab stakeholders, PHABLABS 4.0 will deliver 33 Photonics Workshops, 11 Photonics Challengers and Photonics Toolkits tailored for three different target groups: Young Minds ‌To enlarge and ensure the workforce of tomorrow the PHABLABS 4.0 project will focus on the young minds to stimulate their interest in a technical profession. Ryan McAuley (postgraduste student in the TOMI research group, Schhol of Physics) recently visited Kinvara National School, Co Galway to deliver a photonics workshop for young minds. Students The PHABLABS 4.0 project will focus on the students to encourage experimentation with photonics and grasp the strong enabling character of this key enabling technology in combination with other KETs. Young Professionals The project aims to introduce young professionals to specific aspects of photonics and trigger innovation in their products, with the focus on technological possibilities and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Earlier in 2018, we secured funding from the International astronomical Union (IAU) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) to develop an exhibition that does not rely on the traditionally visual side of astronomy. Our project aims at enabling participants to learn more about the Solar System through a low cost tactile planetarium, which includes a scale representation of the planets using household materials, an asteroid tunnel made by local Irish artists and models of the planets made by a professional artist based in the UK. We also incorporated lights and open discussions to appeal to participants’ other senses and to convey a taste for astronomy to all participants regardless their age or ability. During the Galway Science Technology Festival 2018, we exhibited the planetarium for the first time as an inclusive space where children and families of all abilities and ages could engage with their peers and explore the outer space through their senses. More than 200 people attended the exhibition and the feedback was very positive. Organisers: Adriana Cardinot, PhD student, School of Physics, NUIG Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, Lecturer, School of Physics, NUIG Prof. Andy Shearer, Lecturer, School of Physics, NUIG Artists: Kelly Stanford, Finbar McHugh and Tommy Carew Collaborators: IMPACTE and ISL societies

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd, Professor Donal O’Regan and Dr Derek Morris, have ranked in the top 1% of Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018. The Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2018 identifies scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence through publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Researchers are selected for their exceptional performance in one or more of 21 fields (those used in Essential Science Indicators (ESI)) or across several fields. For the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers analysis, the papers surveyed were those published and cited during 2006 - 2016 and which at the end of 2016 ranked in the top 1% by citations for their ESI field and year (the definition of a highly cited paper). The 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list can be seen in its entirety by visiting: https://www.clarivate.com/ Approximately 6,000 researchers are named Highly Cited Researchers in 2018 — some 4,000 in specific fields and about 2,000 for Cross-Field performance. This is the first year that researchers with Cross-Field impact are identified. Professor Colin O’Dowd is Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, and a Professor in the School of Physics, NUI Galway. Through his pioneering work in the field of atmospheric physics, Colin has become internationally renowned as one of the leading scientists in the field of climate change. This is the fourth year in a row since 2015 that Professor O'Dowd has been included in this prestigious list.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Researchers from the School of Physics in NUI Galway have been investigating pesticide exposures among professional gardener’s and amenity horticultural workers. The final results from this four-year study were recently published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. The research was led by Exposure Science lecturer Dr Marie Coggins and Alison Connolly, a PhD researcher in Exposure Science, both from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The research project was conducted in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive, Great Britain and the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. The project was funded by the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Colt Foundation UK.  Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and is extensively used in horticulture to control the growth of weeds and invasive species of plants, such as the Japanese Knotweed. Glyphosate has recently received much public attention following its ‘Group 2A – probably carcinogenic to humans’ classification from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other international agencies have concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. Despite the widespread use of glyphosate, there is limited human exposure data available for this chemical. Commenting on the study, Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, said: “Occupational biomonitoring data across Europe on chemicals such as pesticides is scarce. In this study detectable levels of pesticides in urine were low, however, further studies such as this one are required to fully characterise chemical exposures in humans to support risk assessment and to inform policy.” Key recommendations for pesticide users: Wear personal protective equipment when applying pesticide products. Dispose of all used personal protective equipment after the task or ensure that re-usable personal protective equipment is washed thoroughly after each work task. When taking breaks during the task, be careful when donning or doffing personal protective equipment, to prevent contamination of clothes and the body. Be careful not to contaminate personal items such as mobile phones and steering wheels when working with pesticides. The research has led to the development of a Guidance document on the safe use of plant protection products which is freely available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website at:http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/media/pesticides/content/foodsafety/PesticideResiduesinFood2015270317.pdf To read the final study's in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463917300688?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918302505?via%3Dihub; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918305972?via%3Dihub;    Further information can be found at the NUI Galway News Archive: http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/news-and-events/news-archive/2018/december/nui-galway-scientists-find-low-levels-of-pesticide-exposure-among-professional-horticultural-workers.html

Monday, 17 December 2018

Congratulations to NUI Galway Physics graduate, Amy Joyce, who is one of two Irish scientists selected to travel to the European Space Astronomy Centre  in Madrid, Spain to undertake an Irish Research Council (IRC) - European Space Agency (ESA) Traineeship. Trainees have the opportunity to gain practical experience in high-tech space activities such as space science, earth observation, telecommunications, navigation, mission control and operations, and human spaceflight.  Amy started in November and is working on developing tools for mission cross-calibration. She will also learn about the scientific uses of x-ray satellites as well as the challenges and procedures of operating a space mission. Peter Brown, director of the Irish Research Council, said ”This traineeship offers the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in Europe’s gateway to space. The IRC is committed to supporting the development of Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. We are delighted to support both Amy and Cillian on this project, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with ESA on this initiative."

Friday, 30 November 2018

Congratulatios to James Blackwell, School of Physics and Medical Physics Research Cluster, who won the NUI Galway Threesis Grand Final last night (29th November) against very strong competition - a full list of competitiors can be found at the NUI Galway Research twitter feed. The Threesis competition is a fast-paced event featuring a series of three minute talks by researchers sharing the story of their research using just three presentation slides in front of three judges. It is open to all research students and postdoctoral researchers at NUI Galway. The title of James Blackwell's presentation was "Finding Brain Tumours using Ultrasound". Well done James on communicating the story of your research topic clearly and concisely (and with good humour!) at this public event.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Congratrulations to Mohammed Alaswad on winning Best Oral Presentation Award at the 18th AOCMP (Asia-Oceania Congress of Medical Physics) & 16th SEACOMP (South-East Asia Congress of Medical Physics) which took place 11th - 14th November in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. AOCMP and SEACOMP are both important annual events in medical physics in the region.  The objective of the congress is to gather the medical physics and allied health professionals in the region for the sharing of knowledge, expertise, scientific discussions, cultural exchange and medical technologies updates. The theme for this congress was “A Sustainable Future for Medical Physics”. The title of Mohammed's presentation was "Radiation Dose Intensity and Local Tumour Control of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Radiobiological Modelling Perspective".

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

How our footsteps could be used for security and health checks Analysis: new research shows how behavioural biometrics such as walking provide valuable data about who we are and our health and well-being . Image analysis of faces, fingerprints and retinal scans to identify people is well established at this stage. But "behavioural biometrics" such as walking provide valuable biomechanical information since every human has to walk or interact with gravity to get about. If you would like to find out more about behavioural biometrics, please follow this link: RTE Brainstorm: How our footsteps could be used for security and health checks   

Friday, 9 November 2018

Vacancy for Postdoctoral Researcher working in the Exposure Science Research Group, School of Physics, NUI Galway Project: Indoor Air quality, ventilation and occupant comfort in Irish Domestic dwellings post Deep Energy Renovations  (Ref. No. NUIG189-18) Funded by: The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full time, fixed term position as a Postdoctoral researcher with the Exposure Science research group within the School of Physics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded by The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and is available from the earliest date possible to 31st December 2020 (with a possibility to an extension). About the project The impact of energy efficient measures such as Deep Retrofit (DR) on indoor air quality (IAQ) is largely understudied internationally. Although research shows that improving the energy performance of a building improves indoor temperature and occupant comfort, the impact on IAQ is unclear. This research project, aims to measure the air concentration of ten priority pollutants for health in homes participating in SEAI’s DR Pilot programme, before and after deep energy renovations. The study will also evaluate the impact of the renovation works on occupant comfort and how occupants use and adopt to new energy saving features in their home. Further details attached. Further information for Ref. No. NUIG189-18 available at the following link : NUI Galway Research Jobs   

Monday, 12 November 2018

Explore the world of nanoscience with dance and theatre! This multimedia piece will explore the science of the very small, with performance and projection devised by visiting choreographer Deidre Cavazzi, Saddleback College. The performance will be preceded by a short talk by Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics, NUI Galway. Art and science intertwine in this exciting new dance theatre piece that explores physics, technology, and wonder. Performances will take place at 6pm on Thursday, November 15, and Friday, November 16, in the O'Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway. The Thursday performance will include a talkback session with Jessamyn and Deidre, facilitated by Marianne Ní Chinnéide of the NUI Galway Discipline of Drama and Theatre Studies.  Tickets are free but must be prebooked here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/nanodance-tickets-52221724584 Choreographjy & Direction: Deidre Cavazzi Nanoscience Talk: Dr Jessamyn Fairfield

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Congratulations to Alison Connolly and Kirsten Fossum who successfully defended their theses recently. Alison Connolly's PhD title is: Characterising Occupational Exposure to Glyphosate among Amenity Horticulturists. Pictured are: Alison Connolly and Dr Marie Coggins (supervisor).   Kirsten Fossum's PhD title is: Size and compositional dependent effects of marine aerosol on cloud condensation nuclei. Pictured are: Dr Rachael Cave (internal examiner), Kirsten Fossum, Chancellor Kaarle Hämeri (external examiner) and Prof. Colin O’Dowd (supervisor).

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield of the School of Physics is one of the winners of this year’s NUI Galway President’s Award for Societal Impact, for her work enabling public engagement with research through projects such as Bright Club, Soapbox Science, and the March for Science. She has also been working with the Mawazo Institute in Nairobi, Kenya to develop their public engagement strategy, running training and events to empower local researchers and communicators, funded by the Institute of Physics Virdee Grant. Her next project combines nanoscience and dance, with performances scheduled for Science Week 2018.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Soapbox Science Galway 2018 will take place on Saturday 7th July in the Spanish Arch, Galway from 11am to 2pm. This is an event which brings science to the streets! 12 speakers will be sharing their work in technology, science, medicine and engineering while standing on a box in the Spanish Arch area of Galway city. It is a great opportunity for the public to get a taste of some of the exciting research taking place locally and nationally. This event is organised by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield and Dr Dara Stanley.  Jessamyn is a nanoscientist and comedian, whose research is focused on building electronics like the brain. She is a lecturer in the School of Physics and CÚRAM (Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway.  Dara is a scientist interested in ecology and biodiversity, and in particular in plants and the insects that pollinate them! She is a lecturer in Botany and Plant Science, in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. Further information about the speakers and their discussion topics can be found by clicking on this link to the Soapbox Science website.

Archived School of Physics News items

Archived School of Physics News items can be found at the following URL: http://www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/physics/news.html