Nobel laureate presents Rosse Medal to TCD Physics Student

3 April 2012

Nobel laureate, William Phillips presented the Institute of Physics in Ireland's annual award for communicating postgraduate research to Nina Berner of Trinity College Dublin on 30 March at the IOP in Ireland's awards dinner.

William Phillips and Nina Berner

Nina, a graduate of the University of Bremen, spoke about her research on the fabrication of molecular nanostructures, at a meeting of the Institute of Physics in Ireland. 

60 postgraduate physics students from all over Ireland entered the competition with 10 making it through to Friday’s final. Each of the students gave a short presentation to the audience and panel of judges and took questions from the floor. 

The judges were Dr William Phillips, Dr. Grainne Sheerin, Google, Prof. Cliona O’Farrelly, TCD and Prof. Stuart Palmer Honorary Secretary, Institute of Physics.

William Phillips also gave a highly entertaining demonstration lecture, Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe to the guests at the awards dinner.

Medal winner

In 1997 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. He is currently working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Maryland, USA.

The Rosse Medal commemorates the third Earl of Rosse, William Parsons, and his contributions to science. During the 1840s the Offaly scientist designed and implemented the 72 inch reflecting telescope at Birr, which was the largest in the world and remained so for three quarters of a century. 

With this instrument, Lord Rosse was able to study and record details of immensely distant stellar objects and to provide evidence that many of these mysterious nebulae were actually galaxies located far outside our own.