Lecturer in physics at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland since 1996. As well as standard courses in mechanics, relativity and solid-state physics, I teach introductory courses in modern particle physics and cosmology. A solid-state physicist by training, my research has recently focused on the history and philosophy of 20th century physics, with an emphasis on the evolution of the big bang model of the cosmos.
Early career work concerned the study of defects in solids induced by ion implantation. More recent research is concerned with the history and philosophy of 20th century science, in particular the evolution of the big bang model of the cosmos. Best known for the discovery that Albert Einstein attempted a steady-state theory of the universe many years before Fred Hoyle. This work has been described in Nature, Scientific American and Discovery Magazine.
My Professional Experience
BSc Hons (University College Dublin) 1988.
Trinity Trust Award (Trinity College Dublin) 1988-1991.
PhD (Trinity College Dublin) 1994.
CEC Marie Curie Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (Aarhus University) 1993 - 1994
CEC Marie Curie Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (Trinity College Dublin) 1994 - 1995
Research Fellow, Science, Technology and Society Program (Harvard University) 2010-11
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society 2013
Research Associate of the School of Theoretical Physics of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 2014.
Well-known science communicator, best known for a monthly science column in The Irish Times and the science blog Antimatter. Science Ambassador for Discover Science and Engineering Ireland. Experienced public science presenter with appearances on The Six One News (RTE TV 1), Drivetime (RTE Radio 1), Pat Kenny Live (Newstalk) and Futureproof (Newstalk). Former Chair of the RAW public science debates at Science Gallery Dublin.
Recent book chapters
O'Raifeartaigh, C. (2015). ‘A new perspective on Einstein's philosophy of cosmology’. To be published in 'The Philosophy of Cosmology: Foundations and Perspectives' (Ed. J. Silk and J. Barrow) Cambridge University Press.
O’Raifeartaigh, C. and Mitton S. (2015). ‘A new perspective on steady-state cosmology: from Einstein to Hoyle', To be published in the 'Proceedings of the Inaugural Institute of Physics International Conference on the History of Physics', Cambridge University Press,
O’Raifeartaigh, C. (2013). ‘The contribution of V.M. Slipher to the discovery of the expanding universe’. In ‘Origins of the Expanding Universe: 1912-1932.' (Ed. M.Way and D. Hunter) Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series 471 pp. 49-61
Recent peer-reviewed journal articles
O'Raifeartaigh C., O'Keeffe M., Nahm W. and S. Mitton. (2015). ‘Einstein's cosmology review of 1933: a new perspective on the Einstein-de Sitter model of the cosmos’. To be published in the European Physical Journal (H) vol. 40
O’Raifeartaigh,,C. (2014). ‘Einstein’s steady-state cosmology ’, Physics World vol. 27 no.9.
O’Raifeartaigh, C, McCann, B, Nahm, W, and Mitton, S. (2014). ‘Einstein’s steady-state theory: an abandoned model of the cosmos’, European Physical Journal (H) vol. 39 (2), pp.1-15. ArXiv preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.0132
O’Raifeartaigh,, C. and McCann, B. (2014). ‘Einstein’s cosmic model of 1931 revisited: an analysis and translation of a forgotten model of the universe’, European Physical Journal (H) vol. 39 (1), pp. 63-85. ArXiv preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.2192
My Blog Feed
Robert Boyle Summer School 2015
Last weekend, I attended the Robert Boyle Summer School, an annual 3-day science festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in Ireland. It’s my favourite annual conference by some margin – a small number of talks by highly eminent scholars of the history … Continue reading
A day out (and a solar eclipse) at Maynooth University
I had a most enjoyable day on Friday at the mathematical physics department of Maynooth University, or NUI Maynooth, to give it its proper title. I was there to attend an international masterclass in particle physics. This project, a few years … Continue reading
A Night at the Academy Awards
I spent a most enjoyable evening last week at the Royal Irish Academy. Ireland’s premier learned society, the Academy is an all-Ireland body that promotes excellence in the sciences and the humanities, fostering links between ‘the two cultures’. Membership of the Academy … Continue reading
Academics and their holidays
Last week, I returned to the snow world for the first time in a long while. The college teaching semester starts on Monday 12th, and I managed to get my corrections done over Christmas, leaving a precious few days over. … Continue reading
Robert Boyle Summer School 2014
Last weekend saw the third Robert Boyle Summer School, an annual 3-day meeting in Lismore, Co, Waterford in honour of one of Ireland’s greatest scientists. Born in Lismore into an extremely wealthy family, Boyle became one of the most important figures … Continue reading
Freeman Dyson and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
On Monday, I attended the Statutory Lecture of the School of Theoretical Physics of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). This is an outreach lecture presented annually by DIAS and this year the lecture took place at University College … Continue reading
Hawking, Cambridge and the infant universe
I hugely enjoyed this week’s conference ‘Cosomolgy and the Constants of Nature’ at Cambridge University. There were some truly great talks by John Barrow, John Ellis and Thanu Padmanabhan among others, not to mention Joao Magueijo describing his famous ‘variable speed of light’ theory in person. … Continue reading