Famous Irish Physicists

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 1 
Erwin Schrödinger
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Birthdate: August 12, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erdberg, Vienna, Austria
Died: January 4, 1961
Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, is best known for the "Schrödinger's cat" experiment, or the Schrodinger equation. His book What Is Life? explored genetics through physics. The Nobel Prize winner also wrote on a variety of topics, such as color theory and thermodynamics, and tried to create a unified field theory.
 2 
Robert Boyle
(Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law)
Robert Boyle
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Birthdate: January 25, 1627
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: December 30, 1691

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish chemist, natural philosopher, inventor, and physicist. Regarded as the first modern chemist, Boyle is often counted among the founders of modern chemistry. One of the pioneers of the scientific method, Robert Boyle is also remembered for his books, including The Sceptical Chymist, which is viewed as a keystone book in chemistry.

 3 
John Tyndall
(Physicist)
John Tyndall
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Birthdate: August 2, 1820
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leighlinbridge, Ireland
Died: December 4, 1893

Born into a poor Protestant family, Irish physicist John Tyndall was a self-made man who funded his own doctoral education. His contributions include his research on the greenhouse effect and the discovery of the Tyndall effect. Not known to many, he was also an avid mountaineer and glaciologist.

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Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet
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Birthdate: August 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Skreen, Ireland
Died: February 1, 1903

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet was an Anglo-Irish physicist and mathematician. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and spent his entire career at the University of Cambridge as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. As a physicist, he made key contributions to fluid mechanics and physical optics. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1893.

 5 
Ernest Walton
(Physicist)
Ernest Walton
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Birthdate: October 6, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abbeyside, Ireland
Died: June 25, 1995

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ernest Walton was the first person to split the atom. He boasted of a PhD from Cambridge and, with Sir John Douglas Cockcroft, developed the world’s first nuclear particle accelerator, or the Cockcroft-Walton generator, with which they conducted the first artificial nuclear reaction without radioactive substances.

 6 
George Johnstone Stoney
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Birthdate: February 15, 1826
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Offaly
Died: July 5, 1911

Irish physicist George Johnstone Stoney made important contributions in the areas of cosmic physics and the theory of gases. Most significant scientific work of Stoney was the conception and calculation of the magnitude of the atom or particle of electricity. He is noted for introducing the term electron to elucidate the fundamental unit of electrical charge.

 7 
Joseph Larmor
(Physicist)
Joseph Larmor
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Birthdate: July 11, 1857
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: County Antrim, Ireland
Died: May 19, 1942

Copley Medal-winning Irish physicist Joseph Larmor is best remembered for his physics book Aether and Matter. Known for his contribution to the fields of thermodynamics and the magnetic field, he now has a crater on the Moon and a scientific phenomenon called Larmor precession named after him.

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 8 
John Joly
(Physicist)
John Joly
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Birthdate: November 1, 1857
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Holywood, Ireland
Died: December 8, 1933

Irish physicist and geologist John Joly created headlines when he estimated the age of the Earth at a 100 million years back in 1898. The University of Dublin professor of geology also made developments in the extraction of radium and its application in the treatment of cancer.

 9 
Edward Sabine
(Astronomer Known for His Studies of Earth’s Magnetic Field)
Edward Sabine
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Birthdate: October 14, 1788
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: June 26, 1883

Anglo-Irish astronomer Edward Sabine initially served the British Army and eventually retired as a major-general. The Copley Medal-winning scientist is remembered for his work on determining the shape and magnetic field of the Earth. He also studied birds in Greenland and was knighted for his achievements.

 10 
Robert Mallet
(Civil engineer)
Robert Mallet
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Birthdate: June 3, 1810
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 5, 1881

Irish geophysicist Robert Mallet is remembered for his pathbreaking studies on earthquakes and is regarded as the father of seismology. Th Trinity alumnus initially worked at his father’s foundry and expanded it. His research on the 1857 Naples earthquake was crucial to developments in seismology, a term he is said to have coined.

 11 
John Sealy Townsend
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Birthdate: June 7, 1868
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
Died: February 16, 1957

Irish physicist John Sealy Townsend is best remembered for his pathbreaking research on the electrical conduction of gases and for his discovery of Townsend discharge. He was also the first to directly measure the electrical charge. He received the Hughes Medal and was also knighted for his contribution to science.

 12 
George Francis FitzGerald
(Physicist, University teacher)
George Francis FitzGerald
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Birthdate: August 3, 1851
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin
Died: February 22, 1901

Irish physicist and Trinity College professor George Francis FitzGerald made pioneering contributions to wireless telegraphy with his discovery of a way of producing radio waves. His Lorentz–FitzGerald contraction was later used by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity. He also made unsuccessful attempts to create a flying machine.