A proton-proton collision at the Cern particle collider. John Bell had a stellar physics career at the physics research centre and laboratory in Geneva, where he was officially focused on particle physics. Photograph: AP Photo/Cern

The island of Ireland might be known, to those wearing emerald-tinted glasses, as the land of saints and scholars, but isn’t it curious that in the(...)

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865), an Irish mathematician and inventor of quarternions. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The power of mathematics is astonishing. Time and again, mathematical theories developed without any application in mind have later proved ideal for s(...)

The Pitch Drop experiment

Later this year a big black blob of sticky pitch will plummet from a funnel and plop into a beaker. In one of the longest-running physics exper(...)