Co Waterford in Ireland’s ‘sunny southeast’ has produced some of its greatest ever scientists.
Robert Boyle, born in Lismore, is considered one of the founding fathers of modern chemistry, and is famously remembered for Boyle’s Law, which says that pressure and volume, in a gas, are inversely proportional.
Ireland’s only ever Nobel Laureate in science, Ernest Walton, was born in Dungarvan, and famously was part of a team in the Cavendish Laboratory, at Cambridge, UK, that split the atom in 1932, and heralded in the atomic age.
Then there was Thomas Grubb, perhaps the most famous telescope maker of the Victorian era, who was involved with making the famous Birr Castle leviathan telescope that was the world’s largest for more than 70 years.
Listen: Interviews with Donald Brady and Eric Finch on the lives of Boyle, Walton and Grubb
Interviews originally broadcast on Science Spinning, on 103.2 Dublin City FM
Co Offaly, highlighted on the map on the right, might commonly be associated with our former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, or great All-Ireland winning hurling and gaelic football teams, but it is not often associated with producing famous scientists.
Fact is, though, that this small midlands county, with a current population of just 76,806 (2011 Census) has produced at least three world class scientists: William and Charles Parsons and John Joly.
Today we’ll be talking to John Joyce, a retired scientist and tour guide at Birr Castle, the ancestral home of the Parsons family, about the lives and achievements of William and Charles Parsons, and to Patrick Wyse-Jackson, geologist, and curator of the TCD Geology Museum about the life of John Joly.
Interview with John Joyce & Patrick Wyse Jackson discussing famous Offaly scientists
First broadcast on 2.02.2012 on Dublin City FM