Dublin’s Newest Bridge to be Named After One of Ireland’s Nobel Prize Winners?

200px-Ernest_WaltonVisitors to Dublin’s city centre recently will probably have noticed that the River Liffey is expecting a new addition to its family of bridges at Marlborough St. which will allow the Luas to light rail system to cross.. Dublin City Council has just announced the shortlist of 17 names from 85 official nominations and will announce which one the bridge will be named after on June 12th. Among the names on the shortlist is Ernest Walton, Ireland’s only Nobel prize winner for science.

Walton was one of the most respected and influential scientists of the 20th century. He was born in Dungarvan, Waterford in 1903. A gifted mathematician and physicist, he graduated with first class honours from Trinity College in 1926. In 1927, he was awarded a Research Scholarship by the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 and he went to Cambridge University to work in the Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rutherford.

In 1932, he and his partner, Sir John Cockcroft, became the first people to artificially split the atom using a particle accelerator they constructed in Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, which was the principal research centre in atomic and nuclear physics at the time. Among the outcomes of this experiment was included the verification of the now infamous equation of Albert Einstein’s: E=MC2. This was also the birth of the kind of particle acceleration that takes place at places like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN – where the very origins of the universe are now being simulated and analysed.

He and Cockroft won the Nobel Prize in 1951 for the construction of the particle accelerator and successfully using it the split the atom.

Ernest T.S. Walton died on June 25, 1995.

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About the author: Conor Hughes works as a Marketing Executive at Life Science Recruitment

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