Prof Seámus Davis is set to take on the role as the head of a joint Irish-UK research programme split between University College Cork (UCC) and the University of Oxford.

The Davis-led research programme will focus on direct, atomic-scale visualisation of electronic states in quantum materials, requiring high-tech, ultra-low-vibration laboratory environment found at Oxford.

Following his appointment, UCC said that Davis wishes to engage with researchers at various Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centres, including the Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC) hosted at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork.

“The rapidly accelerating second quantum revolution promises truly transformative advances in science, industry, economy and society,” Davis said.

“In Ireland, a spectacularly sophisticated research ecosystem has been nurtured and has rapidly grown, and I am very much looking forward to returning home to Cork and to working with my colleagues in UCC.”

Establishing himself as a global authority in quantum matter, for the past 10 years he was the James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor of physical sciences at Cornell University and a senior physicist at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. In addition to being a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, he was awarded the Fritz London Memorial Prize, the greatest honour in low-temperature physics, in 2005.

The announcement came two years after Davis was named as a winner of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for his achievements in modern physics.

The latest move was supported through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship and Infrastructure Award, as well as through the European Research Council Advanced Grant Award.

“At Oxford, with support from the university and our alumni, we have just opened the Beecroft Building, which houses one of the finest low-vibration science facilities in the world,” said Prof Ian Shipsey, chair of the of the Department of Physics at Oxford University. “This is the perfect platform for Seámus to continue his groundbreaking research utilising scanning tunnelling and spectroscopic imaging scanning tunnelling microscopes that will be installed here.”

Colm Gorey

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