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 Computing & Mathematics


+353 051845572


[email protected]

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1969 - Main Building


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My Biography

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.

My Research

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

11 Oct 2015

A celebration of Sir Fred Hoyle at the Royal Astronomical Society

The birth centenary of the noted British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle was celebrated on Friday at the Royal Astronomical Society with a one-day meeting of talks describing Sir Fred’s many contributions to 20th century physics. While he is chiefly remembered in some … Continue reading

30 Jun 2015

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

21 Mar 2015

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

31 Jan 2015

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

10 Jan 2015

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

07 Jul 2014

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

23 May 2014

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