Famous Irish Scientists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Erwin Schrödinger

Erwin Schrödinger
8
Famous As: Physicist
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

Robert Boyle
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Famous As: Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law
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 Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Sir William Rowan Hamilton
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 4, 1805
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 2, 1865

Son of a Dublin solicitor, Sir William Rowan Hamilton was raised and educated by his priest uncle from age 3. Initially a master of languages such as Latin, Greek, and Persian, Hamilton began deviating to math at 16. He is remembered for his contribution to optics, Hamiltonian mechanics, and algebra.

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 4 John Lennox

John Lennox
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Famous As: mathematician, philosopher of science, university teacher
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northern Ireland

Apart from being an ace mathematician, John Lennox has also taught at institutes such as Oxford and is an emeritus fellow at Green Templeton College. A Christian apologist, too, he has penned books, such as Can Science Explain Everything?, exploring diverse topics, such as religion and artificial intelligence.

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 5 Walter O'Brien

Walter O'Brien
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Famous As: Business Person
Birthdate: February 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Wexford, Ireland

Irish IT expert and entrepreneur Walter O'Brien produced the CBS action-drama TV series Scorpion, which was inspired by his life. It is believed he established Scorpion Computer Services at age 13 and had an IQ of 197 as a child, though many such claims by him remain unproved.

 6 John Tyndall

John Tyndall
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Famous As: Physicist
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.

 7 Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet
3
Famous As: Physicist
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.

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 8 William C. Campbell

William C. Campbell
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Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: June 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ramelton, Ireland

Nobel Prize-winning Irish-American biologist William C. Campbell is best known for his pioneering research on the prevention of parasitic infections in humans and other animals. The Trinity College alumnus later studied at the University of Wisconsin and then worked for Merck. He has also been associated with Drew University.

 9 Pamela Uba

Pamela Uba
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Famous As: First black woman to win the Miss Ireland competition and represent Ireland for the Miss World competition
Birthdate: 1995 AD
Birthplace: South Africa

 10 Caitlín R. Kiernan

Caitlín R. Kiernan
3
Famous As: Paleontologist
Birthdate: May 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skerries, Ireland

Caitlín R. Kiernan is an Irish-born American author and paleontologist. A two-time winner of both the Bram Stoker and World Fantasy awards, Kiernan has written over 250 short stories and several novels. She has also won several other prestigious awards, such as the International Horror Guild Award, Barnes and Noble Maiden Voyage Award, and James Tiptree, Jr. Award.  

 11 Ernest Walton

Ernest Walton
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Famous As: Physicist
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.

 12 Mary Ward

Mary Ward
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Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 27, 1827
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ballylin, County Offaly, Ireland
Died: 1869 AD

English nun Mary Ward was one of the first to show how influential women could be in the Church. Her work led to the development of the Congregation of Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Loreto Sisters. She traveled on foot all across Europe, establishing schools and was often criticized by traditionalists.

 13 Teresa Lambe

Teresa Lambe
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

Irish scientist Teresa Lambe, who works as an associate professor with Oxford’s Jenner Institute, made headlines when she co-developed the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19. She has also worked on vaccines for viruses such as Nipah and Ebola. She was later awarded an OBE for her achievements.

 14 Francis Beaufort

Francis Beaufort
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Famous As: Former Hydrographer known for Beaufort cipher, Beaufort scale
Birthdate: May 27, 1774
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Navan, Ireland
Died: December 17, 1857

Irish-born Francis Beaufort grew up to be a British Royal Navy admiral. He also went down in history as the inventor of the Beaufort wind force scale, which was meant for observing wind force at sea. His personal diaries, written in Beaufort cipher, reveal an incestuous relationship with his sister.

 15 Damien Leith

Damien Leith
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Damien Leith is an Irish-Australian singer and songwriter who achieved popularity after winning the fourth season of Australian Idol in 2006. Since winning the title, he has received one gold and seven platinum certifications by ARIA for his singles and albums. In 2007, Damien Leith received two nominations at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards.

 16 Francis Ysidro Edgeworth

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
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Famous As: Economist, Statistician, Lawyer, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 8, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Longford
Died: February 13, 1926

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish economist and statistician, known for his significant contributions to the methods of statistics. An autodidact in mathematics and economics, he imaginatively applied mathematics to the fields of economics and statistics, writing several books, including Mathematical Psychics, presenting new ideas on various topics like on the generalized utility function, the indifference curve etc.  .

 17 George Johnstone Stoney

George Johnstone Stoney
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Famous As: Physicist
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.

 18 Joseph Larmor

Joseph Larmor
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Famous As: Physicist
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.

 19 Eleanor Maguire

Eleanor Maguire
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Famous As: Neuroscientist
Birthdate: March 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Irish neuroscientist and UCL professor Eleanor Maguire is best known for her work on the role of the human brain, especially the hippocampus. One of her best-known works was on the spatial abilities of cab drivers in London. She has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the British Academy.

 20 Emma Teeling

Emma Teeling
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Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Irish zoologist and University College Dublin (UCD) professor Emma Teeling is best known for her research on phylogenetics. She also heads the Centre for Irish Bat Research as its director and has established a phylogenetics laboratory at UCD. A TED Talk speaker, she was one of 2014’s top 100 female Irish scientists.

 21 John Joly

John Joly
1
Famous As: Physicist
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.

 22 George Salmon

George Salmon
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Famous As: Mathematician, Chess player
Birthdate: September 25, 1819
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 22, 1904

George Salmon initially gained fame as a remarkable mathematician only to switch to theology in his later years. A linen merchant’s son, he graduated from Trinity College on a scholarship and then taught at Trinity and made developments in the study of algebraic geometry. He was later ordained a priest.

 23 Edward Sabine

Edward Sabine
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Famous As: Astronomer
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.

 24 Tara Shine

Tara Shine
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Famous As: Environmental scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: not known

Environmental scientist Tara Shine is an expert on climate change and has co-founded the award-winning initiative named Change by Degrees to make people aware of sustainable living choices. She has traveled throughout the world, from Borneo to Antarctica, and has hosted many environment-centric TV shows, such as Brave New World.

 25 Robert Mallet

Robert Mallet
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Famous As: Civil engineer
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.

 26 Niamh Shaw

Niamh Shaw
1
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: ireland

An award-winning communicator of science and space-related topics, Niamh Shaw has been associated with shows such as Baking in Space and has appeared in movies such as Dorothy Mills and Hideaways. She has also penned the book Dream Big and contributes to the Sky at Night magazine.

 27 John Sealy Townsend

John Sealy Townsend
1
Famous As: Physicist
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.

 28 Richard Dixon Oldham

Richard Dixon Oldham
1
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 31, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 15, 1936

British geologist Richard Dixon Oldham made ground-breaking discoveries in the field of seismology and was also the first to discover the proof of the existence of the Earth’s core. His pioneering studies include his work on the 1897 Assam earthquake in India. He was named a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 29 George Francis FitzGerald

George Francis FitzGerald
1
Famous As: Physicist, University teacher
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.

 30 Richard Kirwan

Richard Kirwan
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: August 1, 1733
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
Died: June 22, 1812

Initially part of the Jesuit novitiate of Saint-Omer in France, Richard Kirwan quit the order when his brother was killed in a duel. He then rose to become one of Ireland’s greatest chemists and geologists. He was known for his studies on phlogiston and for developing the Royal Irish Society.

 31 John Kells Ingram

John Kells Ingram
1
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: July 7, 1823
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pettigo, Ireland
Died: May 1, 1907

Irish economic historian John Kells Ingram didn’t just excel in math in his younger days but also showed considerable talent in literature and languages, teaching oratory and Greek at Trinity. He is remembered for his extensive work on the Poor Law and also for his contribution to inversive geometry.

 32 Robert Adrain

Robert Adrain
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: August 10, 1843

Irish-born mathematician Robert Adrain moved to the US when he was 23, as a political refugee, after his campaign against the British Crown forces failed. In the US, he taught at various institutes, such as Rutgers and Columbia, and made significant contributions to algebra and statistics.

 33 Henry Horatio Dixon

Henry Horatio Dixon
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Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: May 19, 1869
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: December 20, 1953

Irish botanist and Trinity College professor Henry Horatio Dixon is best remembered for introducing the cohesion-tension theory of the movement of water in plants, along with John Joly. He was named a Fellow of The Royal Society and also penned books such as Practical Plant Biology.

 34 George Darley

George Darley
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1795 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 23, 1846

Apart from writing math texts, Irish author George Darley also penned poems and novels and was a talented literary critic. He also wrote as John Lacy for The London Magazine. His stammer and his inability to publish his literary works probably pushed him into depression in his later life.

 35 Abdusalam Abubakar

Abdusalam Abubakar
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: 1990 AD
Birthplace: Somalia

Once the Nigerian army general, Abdusalam Abubakar also reigned as the president of his country after the death of military ruler Sani Abacha. After coming to power, he abolished all political parties formed by Abacha and brought back a full-fledged civilian government by handing over his power to the elected president Olusegun Obasanjo.

 36 James Hingston Tuckey

James Hingston Tuckey
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Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: July 31, 1776
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mallow, Ireland
Died: October 4, 1816

Irish-born British naval officer and explorer James Hingston Tuckey was known for his expeditions, especially the one to Port Philip, where he was commanded by David Collins. Though his expedition to Congo failed, and he died in the middle of it, it helped pave the path for the exploration of Africa.

 37 Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet

Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet
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Famous As: Botanist, Diplomat
Birthdate: April 10, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1801

Initially a doctor in the West Indies, Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet later turned to law. He then also worked as an English diplomat in places such as India and China assisting his friend, George, Lord Macartney. He is also said to have released the official account of the Macartney Embassy.

 38 Sir Richard Griffith, 1st Baronet

Sir Richard Griffith, 1st Baronet
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Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 20, 1784
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 22, 1878

The son of an Irish MP, Sir Richard Griffith, 1st Baronet initially served the Irish Artillery but later devoted himself to mining and geology. Known as the father of Irish geology, he was the first to create a geological map of Ireland and also wrote a land valuation survey of the country.

 39 Mountifort Longfield

Mountifort Longfield
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: 1802 AD
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: November 21, 1884

The first political economy professor at Trinity College, Mountifort Longfield later also taught law at the institute. A renowned property lawyer, he was named a Queen's Counsel and later became part of the Irish privy council. He also drafted various bills proposed by William Gladstone’s administration.