Top UK research award for Skibbereen scientist

May 14th, 2020 5:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Seamus Davis has been awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship.

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A SKIBBEREEN physicist has been awarded one of the UK’s premier research awards.

Séamus Davis – who holds a joint position as Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork and Professor of Physics at Oxford University – has been awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship.

The Royal Society is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Séamus Davis – the son of the late Denis and Joan Davis of Skibbereen – attended St Fachtna’s De La Salle in Skibbereen, and obtained his BSc in physics at UCC in 1983.

He studies exotic new quantum mechanical states of matter and is considered one of the world’s leading quantum mechanics scientists.

Commenting on the award, Prof Anita Maguire, vice-president of research and innovation at UCC said she was delighted that the prestigious award would be used to support Séamus’ ‘ground-breaking research.’

Under the Royal Society Research Professorship, Séamus’ research will focus on atomic-scale visualisation of quantum spin liquids.

This research will be conducted at Oxford University, where Séamus spends half of his academic year – during the other half of the year he travels from his home base in Tragumna to UCC.

Putting the research in context, Séamus told The Southern Star: ‘A rapidly accelerating second quantum revolution is currently occurring, and it will see the next generation of high-speed electronic devices, which promises truly transformative advances in science, industry, economy, and society.’

In layman’s terms, Séamus said: ‘The speed of computers could become between a thousand and a million times faster.’

He said the research is designed to advance our understanding of the most enigmatic and challenging of these states – otherwise known as ‘quantum spin liquid.’

Spin liquids are materials in which every electron is quantum ‘entangled’, instantaneously influencing all the others by what Einstein called ‘spooky action at a distance.’

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