Dr.Cormac O Raifeartaigh

Staff Directory - Cormac O Raifeartaigh

Dr.  Cormac  O'Raifeartaigh  BSc (Hons) PhD FRAS


Lecturer in physics


School of Science & Computing ,Dept of Science


+353 051845572


[email protected]

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1969 - Main Building


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My Biography

Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh is a graduate of University College Dublin (BSc Hons) and Trinity College Dublin (PhD). He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Fellow of the Science, Technology and Society program at Harvard University. A solid-state physicist by training, his research has recently focused on the history and philosophy of 20th century physics.

My Research

Early career work concerned the study of defects in solids. More recent research is concerned with the history and philosophy of 20th century science, in particular the rise of the Standard Model of particle physics and the rise of the Big Bang model of the evolution of the universe.

Best known for several original discoveries concerning the cosmology of Albert Einstein, in particular the discovery that Einstein attempted a steady-state theory of the universe many years before Fred Hoyle. This work was described in Nature, Scientific American and Discovery Magazine.

Teaching Experience

Lecturer in physics at WIT since 1996. Major part in design and delivery of BSc (Hons) in Physics for Modern Technology. Modules designed and taught include mechanics, the quantum theory of solids and special relativity. Other modules include:

Science, Universe and Society (1): A brief history of cosmology

Science, Universe and Society (2): A brief history of particle physics

Science, Universe and Society (3): A brief history of global climate

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

Member of the Institute of Physics (UK) and Chartered Physicist

Member of the American Physical Society

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 the science blog Antimatter and a monthly science column in The Irish Times. 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 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’. European Physical Journal (H) vol. 40 (3) pp301-335. ArXiv preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.08029 

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 (3), pp.353-367.  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 

O’Raifeartaigh, C. (2014). ‘Einstein’s steady-state cosmology’. Physics World  (September 2014) vol. 27  no.9.

Book reviews

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2015. 'A Very Brief History of General Relativity'. Review of 'Einstein’s Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity by John Gribbin. To be published in Physics World (August 2015)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2015. 'A Bad Night at the Academy'. Review of Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat' by John Halpern. To be published in The Irish Times (December  2015)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2014. 'One Hundred Years of General Relativity'. Review of The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity by  Pedro G. Ferreira in Physics World (July 2014)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2012. 'A Strange Cat in Dublin'. Review of Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin  in Physics World (November 2012)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2012. 'Potshots from a Sceptical Scientist'. Review of The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake in The Irish Times (04/02/2012)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2011. 'A Startling Vision of the Future'. Review of Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku (Doubleday) in The Irish Times (23/04/2011)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2010. 'A Glimpse of the Future'. Review of How It Ends by Chris Impey (Norton) in Physics World (December 2010)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2010. 'A Dark Forecast of Climate Change'. Review of Climate Wars by Gynne Dyer (Oneworld) in The Irish Times (11/05/2010)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2010. 'The Scramble for the Arctic'. Review of The Future History of the Arctic by Charles Emmerson (BodleyHead) in The Irish Times (12/04/2010)

O’Raifeartaigh C.  2009. 'The Story of the Quantum'. Review of Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar (Icon Books) in Physics World (May 2009)

Newspaper articles

Irish Nobel win shos the glacial spped of science. Science Today, The Irish Times (31/12/2015)

Fred Hoyle: the brilliant man who lost the big bang debate. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/10/2015)

The great injustice of climate change. Science Today, The Irish Times (30/07/2015)

Ireland’s narrow research focus on commercial technology is short-sighted. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/04/2015)

Hawking film gripping despite a black hole or two. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/02/2015)

Einstein’s theory of relativity clashes with common sense. Science Today, The Irish Times (30/10/2014)

Fraudulent research results; how common are they? Science Today, The Irish Times (31/07/2014)

All changed, changed utterly. Article on Leaving Cert mathematics, The Irish Times (10/06/2014)

Term is over so the research begins. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/05/2014)

Science isn’t swayed by the fashion of the age. Science Today, The Irish Times (30/01/2014)

A Nobel for Higgs. Science Today, The Irish Times (31/10/2013)

Earth burns as we chat about the weather. Science Today, The Irish Times (22/08/2013)

No relief as climate change accelerates. Science Today, The Irish Times (14/06/2013)

Labs, lectures and luring young people into science. My Education Week, The Irish Times (14/05/2013)

Why the big bang is a misnomer. Science Today, The Irish Times (31/01/2013)

Don’t expect an evolution in US climate change policy. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/11/2012)

Lost genius who merits a place on the podium. Science Today, The Irish Times (30/08/2012)

Science is for everyone. Think Tank: Ideas for the 21st Century,The Sunday Times (04/08/2012)

A glimpse of the god particle. Science Today, The Irish Times (29/03/2012)

Verdict out on neutrino experiment. Science Today, The Irish Times (28/12/2011)

Relativity passes dramatic satellite test. Science Today, The Irish Times (22/09/2011)

One of the great puzzles of science celebrates its centenary. Science Today, The Irish Times (31/03/2011)

Five steps to keep science straight on global warming. Science Today, The Irish Times (30/10/2010)

Should Literacy Include Science? Science Today, The Irish Times (29/07/2010)

Fifty years of CERN. Science Today, The Irish Times (4/3/2004)

Quantum leap into the future. Science Today, The Irish Times (6/2/2003)