How Irish Scientists Changed the World
Publication Date: August 2013
‘Why a place can become a source of some of the world’s greatest creativity is a mystery, a mystery that is partly unravelled in this wonderful book which I recommend wholeheartedly to a wide readership.’ Patrick J. Prendergast, Provost, Trinity College Dublin
Ireland has been home to some of the most influential scientific figures of all time, people whose discoveries and inventions changed the world forever.
Irish scientists have contributed to some of science’s greatest achievements: the splitting of the atom in 1932, the discovery of DNA in 1953 and the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landings. They built the world’s largest telescope, helped make electricity available for all, connected sunspot activity with changes to the earth’s climate and designed the first US combat submarine.
Many of these scientists’ names have been almost forgotten by Irish history, yet some were celebrities in their own time. People like Carlow-born John Tyndall, who wrote popular science books, established that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and why exactly the sky is blue; or Dublin’s Robert Mallett, who found out why earthquakes happen; or Belfast-born Jocelyn Bell, who discovered pulsars in a laboratory in Cambridge in 1967.
Also included in the pages of this fascinating book are scientists who were not Irish born, but had a strong connection to Ireland: Guglielmo Marconi, the father of radio, George Boole, who invented the language of computers and Erwin Schrödinger, who helped found the science of quantum mechanics, which studies the weird world of the very small, where normal rules don’t apply.