Tributes paid on the retirement of Dick Ahlstrom

Former science editor joined ‘The Irish Times’ in 1979 and received many accolades

The Irish Times’ Dick Ahlstrom, who has served as the newspaper’s science editor since 1998, has retired, on his 66th birthday.

His retirement was marked by a celebration attended by colleagues, current and old, and members of the Ahlstrom family.

Born in the United States, Ahlstrom came to Ireland in the 1970s where he studied in Dublin before joining The Irish Times in 1979.

Long praised for making science understandable for the general reader, he was made an honorary life member of the Royal Dublin Society in 2010.


He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of British Science Writers, in 2013.

Meanwhile, Ahlstrom was conferred with an honorary NUI degree of Doctor of Science in 2015 for his contribution to the public understanding of science – sharing the stage on the day with rugby great Paul O’Connell.

Saying that awards had rested lightly on his shoulders, the editor of The Irish Times, Paul O’Neill, said Ahlstrom had a unique gift of presenting complex scientific research and technological developments in a form that could be clearly understood by a very wide newspaper audience.

“Without him our readers would not know that fish can recognise human faces or that bees can be taught to play football. Or that when love is in the air elephants can literally make the earth move,” said the editor.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist