Ireland

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

On December 31, 1691, Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor Robert Boyle passed away. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant…
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Lord Kelvin and the Analysis of Thermodynamics

Lord Kelvin and the Analysis of Thermodynamics

On December 17, 1907, Irish physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin of Largs, passed away. Thomson did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honour. He was ennobled in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics. Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides; Go measure earth, weigh air, and state…
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William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

On June 17, 1800, Irish astronomer William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, was born. As an astronomer, he had several telescopes built, among them his 72-inch telescope, built in 1845 and colloquially known of as the “Leviathan of Parsonstown“, which was the world’s largest telescope, in terms of aperture size, until the early 20th century. In 1848, he found and named the Crab Nebula (because he thought it resembled a crab), by which name…
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Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

On February 1, 1903, Irish mathematician, physicist, politician and theologian Sir George Gabriel Stokes, 1st Baronet, passed away. Stokes made seminal contributions to fluid dynamics, optics, and mathematical physics including the first version of what is now known as Stokes’ theorem. “It is very difficult for us, placed as we have been from earliest childhood in a condition of training, to say what would have been our feelings had such training never…
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George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

On July 26, 1856, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw was born. As a writer, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). Early Life and Socialpolitical Engagement George Bernard Shaw was born in Synge Street, Dublin, to George Carr Shaw, an…
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William Butler Yeats and Modern English Literature

William Butler Yeats and Modern English Literature

On June 13, 1865, Irish poet William Butler Yeats was born. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and has become one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. “Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their…
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John Boyd Dunlop and the Inflatable Tire

John Boyd Dunlop and the Inflatable Tire

John Boyd Dunlop (1840-1921) On Dezember 7, 1888, Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop patented the pneumatic or inflatable tire. His invention is considered one of the basic building blocks of the automobile manufacturing industry. Today, over 1 billion tires are produced annually in over 400 tire factories. John Boyd Dunlop was born in 1840 on a farm in Dreghorn, North Ayrshire, Scotland, what is now the eastern outskirts of the town of Irvine.…
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William Hamilton and the Quaterions

William Hamilton and the Quaterions

On August 4, 1805, Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was born. He made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra, but is perhaps best known as the inventor of quaternions, a number system that extends the complex numbers. ‘This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age.’ (Astronomer Bishop Dr. John Brinkley about 18-year-old Hamilton) William Hamilton was born as…
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