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Sunday, 20 September 2020

Irish Scientific Discoveries

Irish Scientific Discoveries


On September 6, An Post will release four new stamps to commemorate Ireland’s significant and impressive contributions to the world of science.

Take, for example, Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691) from Waterford after whom Boyle’s Law is named or Francis Beaufort (1774 – 1857) from Meath who invented the Beaufort Scale. John Tyndall (1820 – 1893) from Carlow explained why the sky is blue while Guiglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937) developed the radiotelegraph to send signals across the Atlantic Ocean and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909.

Ernest Walton (1903 – 1995) was also from Waterford and won the Nobel Prize for Physics for splitting the atom. Of course, there was Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874 – 1922) who discovered the south magnetic pole. Dubliner William Rowan Hamilton (1805 – 1864) an astronomer and founder of modern algebra while Cork-born George Boole (1815 – 1864) is often referred to as ‘The Father of Computer Science’.

That pioneering spirit in science is still alive and well in Ireland today. It is this rich heritage of scientific achievement that An Post commissioned four new stamps to recognise some new Irish breakthroughs.

The first stamp celebrates the discovery of a new form of light wave which could improve speed and security along fibre optic cables. The second recognises the finding of a protein in the intestines of mackerel that can kill a wide range of bacteria. The third is all about a new way to purify polluting gases, using a material which can mop up acetylene and lead to reductions in environmentally harmful emissions. The fourth stamp honours new cot-side devices which can continuously assess brain health in preterm infants.