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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abdusalam Abubakar is a Somali-born Irish scientist who won the 43rd Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2007 at the age of seventeen. He represented Ireland at the 19th European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Valencia, Spain in 2007 and won first prize in the field of mathematics.
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.
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.