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Skibbereen's Séamus is ready to spearhead pioneering research

January 2nd, 2019 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Professor Davis is returning to Cork from Cornell University, where he was a Professor of Physical Sciences for the past ten years. (Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision)

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A SKIBBEREEN man is to spearhead a pioneering research programme at University College Cork.

The university has appointed Professor Séamus Davis to study quantum materials in the field of quantum technology as part of a project known as the Davis-led Research Programme.

It is a joint appointment with the University of Oxford, which, like Séamus, is a world-leader in this field.

The idea is that by bringing both world leaders together it will inspire research excellence.

For Séamus, who grew up in Skibbereen and developed his passion for science at St Fachtna’s de la Salle secondary school – the move means ‘home at last.’

Séamus is a multi-award-winning physicist. Amongst numerous other international prizes, Séamus was, in 2005, presented with the Fritz London Memorial Prize, which is the greatest honour anyone in the field of low-temperature physics can receive.

 The appointment has been funded by a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship and an SFI Infrastructure Award, as well as a European Research Council Advanced Grant Award from the UK.

Commenting on his appointment, Prof Davis said he is excited by the opportunity to work on ‘the coming Second Quantum Revolution,’ which will bring huge advances in science, industry, economy and society. He also said: ‘I am very much looking forward to returning home to Cork and to working with my colleagues in University College Cork.’

It is believed that Davis-led Research Programme will enhance Ireland’s growing reputation for quantum technology research especially as Prof Davis plans to engage with researchers at various SFI research sentres and the affiliated Tyndall National Institute.     

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, commented on the appointment saying: ‘I am confident that Prof Davis will be a fantastic asset to the thriving research community in Cork, as well as to the economic and societal development of Ireland.’

Professor Patrick O’Shea, president of University College Cork illustrated the pioneering research that Professor Davis will be engaged in saying: ‘Prof Davis’s work will be at the interface between discovery and innovation.’

After Séamus Davis obtained his BSc in physics at UCC in 1983, he went to the US where, for the past 10 years, he was the James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University.

He also held the title of senior physicist at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and became a fellow of the prestigious US National Academy of Sciences. 

Professor Anita Maguire, vice-president for research and innovation at UCC told The Southern Star: ‘Having the Davis-led Research Programme in Cork, in addition to the innovative partnership with Oxford, will ensure that Ireland is at the forefront of research in quantum technology.’

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