UCC graduate honoured with SFI Science Medal

23 Mar 2018
Professor Margaret Murnane and David McCourt, this year’s recipients of SFI’s St Patrick’s Day Medal.

Leading physicist and UCC alum Professor Margaret Murnane has today been named one of the two recipients of this year's St Patrick's Day science medals at an event in Washington, D.C. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presented the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) accolade, which recognises distinguished Irish scientists, engineers or technology leaders living and working in the US, to Professor Murnane, who is Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado.

One of only two female physicists in history to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, Limerick native Professor Murnane's many achievements include designing some of the fastest lasers in the world, with the ability to pulse in the range of the low trillionths of a second. 

A visionary in her field of laser science and one of the most acclaimed research-active physicists in the US, she studied in UCC before completing her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, and continues to support work of Tyndall National Institute, UCC. 

"In my work with the Tyndall Institute, I have seen first-hand the fantastic research taking place in Ireland which has applications around the world," she said.

On accepting her SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal, Professor Murnane said: “My passion and love for physics first came from my father who was a teacher, and this grew when I attended University College Cork and completed my Bachelors there. Today I am proud to say that the education I started in Ireland and continue to develop in the US has allowed me to follow my interests and create technology and systems which can be used across different areas of research in both countries today.

"In my work with the Tyndall Institute, I have seen first-hand the fantastic research taking place in Ireland which has applications around the world. As an Irish citizen living in America, it heartens me to see the continued collaboration between the two countries to ensure the research community in both Ireland and the US can produce the very best work. Today, I am very honoured to receive the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal.”

Telecoms innovator and entrepreneur, David McCourt, was also honoured at the event. His drive, expertise and experience saw him founding the network and telecommunications company Granahan McCourt Capital, of which he is CEO.  In Ireland, Granahan McCourt has been highly active in expanding access to broadband through its part-owned company, enet, which operates next-generation, open-access telecoms infrastructure.



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