PhD student Cian McKeown wins Rosse Medal at IOP in Ireland event in Dublin

21 March 2017

The IOP in Ireland’s annual Spring Meeting in Dublin on 11 March included the presentation of the prestigious Rosse Medal to PhD student Cian McKeown.

PhD student Cian McKeown wins Rosse Medal at IOP in Ireland event in Dublin
Peter van der Burgt

As well as a programme of talks the event included workshops and social activities, and there were demonstrations of “bubbleology” – the physics of bubbles – by Sue McGrath of the company Science2Life (pictured with participant Dr Peter van der Burgt).

The theme of the day was “Physics and Life” and there were presentations by Professor Jamie Hobbs of the University of Sheffield on why physics is vital if we are to understand life, Professor Fiona Lyng of the Dublin Institute of Technology on Raman spectroscopy for disease diagnosis and Professor Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh on the physics of biomolecular self-assembly. There was also a talk on using antimatter by Professor David Parker of the University of Birmingham, and a workshop on unconscious bias by Dr Katja Poppenhaeger of Queen’s University Belfast.

There were storytelling sessions organised by Tenx9, in which physicists had 10 minutes to tell a tale. They included last year’s Rosse Medal winner – Niamh Kavanagh of the Tyndall Institute; Solveig Felton of Queen’s University Belfast, Alison Hackett of 21st Century Renaissance, footballer, film actor and physicist Mark Langtry, the IOP in Ireland’s policy adviser, Sheila Gilheany and Tenx9’s co-founder, Paul Doran.

PhD student Cian McKeown wins Rosse Medal at IOP in Ireland event in Dublin
Peter van der Burgt

In the poster competition for the Rosse Medal, McKeown, a research student at the University of Limerick, was one of five finalists chosen out of the 56 entrants who gave short presentations on their work. McKeown’s talk on “How strain enhances fuel cell catalysts” was judged best on the day and his medal was presented by the IOP’s chief executive, Professor Paul Hardaker (pictured left with McKeown) at a dinner on the evening of the event.

Commenting afterwards, Gilheany said: “The Spring Meeting is a great opportunity for the physics community in Ireland to come together across disciplines and this year’s event particularly demonstrated the strength of the postgraduate students’ research work.”