Five scientists to represent Ireland at Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Research council chooses candidates from variety of areas for conference in Germany

Astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell with the five scientists (Niamh Kavanagh, Christopher Broderick, Sarah Guerin, Adam Kelly and Vijaykumar V Jadhav) chosen to represent Ireland in Germany at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Five young scientists, who are leading researchers on cosmology, particle physics and quantum technology, have been chosen by the Irish Research Council to represent Ireland at a conference to be attended by up to 40 Nobel-Prize winners.

The five nominated to participate in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany this July were honoured at an event hosted by the council at the Science Gallery in Trinity College on Thursday.

The conference aims to build links and promote exchange of ideas among scientists of different generations, cultures and disciplines and is attended by hundreds of undergraduates, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world.

The successful candidates are:


– Niamh Kavanagh from the Tyndall Institute at UCC, whose research focuses on designing, building and optimising an optical communications system to provide alternatives for future high-capacity, high-speed internet growth;

– Dr Christopher A Broderick, also based at the Tyndall Institute, who works on condensed matter theory and computational physics;

– Dr Sarah Guerin, based at the Bernal Institute at University of Limerick, who is developing molecular modelling tools to predict electronic structures and certain responses of molecular crystals;

– Dr Adam Kelly, a nanoscientist at Trinity College, whose research focuses on developing printed electronics from solution-processed 2D materials; and

– Dr Vijaykumar V Jadhav of the Tyndall Institute, whose research focuses on energy storage and material physics.

"This is an excellent opportunity for very promising scientists to develop links and exchange ideas, both with their peers and with Nobel Laureates in their fields," said IRC director Peter Brown.

Meanwhile, Prof Valeria Nicolosi from Amber, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering at TCD, was awarded a European Research Council "proof of concept grant", which brings her total research funding awarded in the past 10 years to more than €20 million – she is Ireland's only six-time ERC awardee.

Prof Nicolosi said the grant would allow her take her novel energy storage devices from prototype to product stage. “We have demonstrated that we can manufacture inexpensive and high-performance energy storage devices (supercapacitors) using a nanomaterial based on MXenes inks. These devices can easily be 3D printed on virtually any substance and on any shape or pattern . . . I want my research to power the next generation of smart wearables and textile-electronics.”

Smart wearables perform electronic functions and add features to common wearable devices, enabling functionalities such as heat regulation, luminescence, touch, and sensitivity which are useful in healthcare, sports, space exploration and gaming.

The market is set to grow to $51 billion (€45.6bn) by 2022 but development of e-wearables has been overshadowed by power supply issues, as “a traditional battery is unsustainable and not convenient”, she said.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times