100 years of Einstein’s general relativity

1 March 2016

IOP Ireland moved north to Belfast for its annual Spring Meeting with the theme ‘100 years of Einstein’s general relativity’.

Basil McCrea, MLA, Padraig Dunne, UCD, Paul Hardaker, IOP, Liz Conlon, IOP
Credit: Peter van der Burgt
Basil McCrea, MLA, Padraig Dunne, UCD, Paul Hardaker, IOP, Liz Conlon, IOP

  
The meeting was organised alongside the second annual Northern Ireland Science Festival. Coming just a week after the announcement of the detection of gravitational waves, first predicted almost exactly 100 years previously by Einstein, the event attracted significant attention from the general public as well as the physics community.

Speakers

Professor Mike Cruise
Credit: Peter van der Burgt
Professor Mike Cruise

Prof Mike Cruise, of Birmingham University, talked about the Ligo observatory and its ground breaking work in detecting gravitational waves, noting that he and his colleagues had all been under a media embargo since their discovery five months earlier until all possible cross checks had been carried out. Prof Mauro Paternostro of Queen’s University Belfast, discussed issues around quntum computing while Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, Waterford Institute of Technology gave a fascinating insight into Einstein’s experimental thinking based on recent translations of Einstein’s original work in German.

Rosse Medal Competition

A key part of the event was the Rosse Medal Competition for postgraduate students for physics communication. 37 entrants presented posters earlier in the day to the judging panel leading to six finalists giving 5-minute presentations to the full audience on their work. The finalists were:

Mark Coughlan, Queen’s University Belfast
Sarah Guern, University of Limerick
Niamh Kavanagh, Tyndall Institute/UCC
Mark Kennedy, UCC
Andrew Swann, QUB
Dawn Thompson, QUB

The winner was announced at the conference dinner - Niamh Kavanagh, Tyndall Institute, for her presentation on Opening a new transmission window for telecommunications

IOP CEO Paul Hardaker presenting Niamh Kavanagh with the Rosse Medal
Credit: Peter van der Burgt
IOP CEO Paul Hardaker presenting Niamh Kavanagh with the Rosse Medal

 
Capping off the afternoon delegates had the opportunity to take part in events in the Northern Ireland Science Festival including:

Science of the Sea, Titanic
Science according to adventure time, Strand Arts Centre,
BBC Make it Digital, Titanic Quarter
Better stronger, faster. Sports science exhibition, W5
How to survive an apocalypse, QUB
The elements exhibition, Ulster Museum