Trinity College Dublin’s Prof Peter Gallagher has left his role with the university to become the new senior professor and head of astronomy and astrophysics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).

During his tenure as a professor of astrophysics at TCD, Gallagher has been heavily involved in developing the country’s astronomy infrastructure in collaboration with partners in Europe and elsewhere.

Among these efforts included his role as lead developer for the Irish Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) switched on at its site in Birr, Co Offaly last year. The €2m site joined the European €150m LOFAR telescope network used to study celestial objects including our sun, black holes and magnetic fields.

He was also instrumental in the establishment of a magnetometer array at TCD built to help us get advanced warning for solar flares and, in 2017 began working with the European Space Agency (ESA) in an advisory role.

Forging greater links with the world

Commenting on his new role, Gallagher said: “It is a privilege to take up this appointment in an institution with fundamental research at its core.

“DIAS has an exemplary track record and a rich heritage in astrophysics and space research. Since its formation, DIAS Astrophysics has connected Ireland to leading international organisations, such as ESA and, more recently, the European Southern Observatory (ESO).”

He went on to add: “Ireland is currently developing a space strategy for enterprise, which offers us a great opportunity to develop a strong space research and innovation ecosystem.

“I am looking forward to further advancing both DIAS and Ireland’s links between Irish research institutions, companies and international space agencies.”

This news follows another major appointment involving the institute, with member Prof Tom Ray being announced as Ireland’s representative at ESO now the country has formally joined.

“Membership of the ESO is a wonderful development for Irish astronomy and is hugely significant for future generations of Irish scientists,” Ray said following his appointment.

Colm Gorey

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