Daedalus in Dublin: A Physicist’s Labyrinth
I describe some of the rich physical and natural-philosophy heritage of the urban center of the Irish capital Dublin (first tour) and its environs (second tour), in a two-part excursion that could take between two and eight hours in toto. In terms of history, both tours center around the nineteenth century. The first tour is located in and around Trinity College, and we encounter such personages as William Rowan Hamilton, George Fitzgerald, Ernest Walton, and Erwin Schrödinger, among others. Moving away from Trinity College, the second tour explores some of the periphery of the city. I describe the role of politics, money, and religion in shaping the emergence and development of scientific talent among the Irish people, and consequently the footprint left by physics in the city today, with its numerous sites and names that put Irish physics in an honorable place among the nations.
KeywordsDublin nineteenth century physics university education natural Philosophy Trinity College University of Dublin Catholic University of Ireland
Dr. Thomas C. O’Connor died on November 6, 2012, leaving this manuscript nearly complete. Some editing work was done by Martine O’Connor, Christopher Noonan, and Miguel DeArce. Professor Denis Weaire, of the Department of Physics, Trinity College Dublin, kindly provided many of the illustrations. We are also grateful to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland Imagery for the illustrations referring to the city of Dublin. Finally, the editors are grateful to Edward Sweeney of The National Institute for Transport & Logistics (NITL), who took the time not only to read the manuscript with care, but also to follow out the routes, noting corrections where necessary.
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