Globally recognised astronomical research institute, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, is set to present the Robinson Medal for Science to the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, at a formal reception attended by guests from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, to be held at Dublin’s Bank of Ireland building at College Green on May 26. The Astronomer Royal will deliver the associated Robinson Lecture in Dublin on May 27.
The May 26 event is the second in a series of formal engagements by the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland’s emerging North South partnership, which seeks to recognise the global historical co-operation links between the observatories of Ireland.
Established during Armagh Observatory’s bicentenary celebrations, the Robinson Medal and Lecture were proposed to honour the memory of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s founder, Archbishop Richard Robinson.
The medal is a silver replica of an original struck in 1789 by Irish Medallist, Mossop of Dublin, to mark the commencement of the observatory’s construction. It is occasionally awarded to a distinguished scientist.
Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, says, “I am honoured to receive the Robinson Medal and would like to thank Armagh Observatory and Planetarium for the upcoming accolade which pays tribute to the memory of the distinguished Archbishop Richard Robinson.
“The Astronomical Observatories of Ireland’s emerging partnership is a vital collaboration and I look forward to seeing how Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies- Dunsink Observatory and Birr Castle Demesne continue to make a strong, ongoing contribution to international astrophysical research.”
Comprising Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – Dunsink Observatory and Birr Castle Demesne, the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland seeks to develop a programme of joint work across all three sites and to create a shared approach to science, research, heritage, public education and culture across the island of Ireland.
Commenting on the official launch of the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland partnership, Professor Peter Gallagher, Director of DIAS Dunsink Observatory and Chairperson of Birr Castle Demesne, said, “The Astronomical Observatories of Ireland is a really exciting initiative for the science and research community – and all astronomy enthusiasts – on the island of Ireland.
“Ireland, North and South, has made a very significant contribution to global astronomy over more than three centuries, but this fact is sometimes overlooked or little known outside the astronomy community. This partnership will bring renewed public and stakeholder attention to our important astronomical legacy, as well as facilitating closer cooperation and collaboration between the three observatories for future projects.
“It is fitting that the launch of the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland partnership should coincide with the awarding of the Robinson Medal to such a distinguished scientist as Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal. It is an honour to welcome him to Dublin to receive this accolade in a venue that itself has many historic links to astronomy.”
The choice of venue for the medal presentation ceremony has been strongly influenced by the historical connections with both of the original astronomical observatories of Ireland, at Armagh and Dunsink.
Professor Michael Burton, Director at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, adds, “We very much look forward to presenting the Robinson Medal for Science to Lord Martin Rees on May 26.
“Together with our partners, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – Dunsink Observatory and Birr Castle Demesne, we hope to make a strong, ongoing contribution to the public understanding of science across the island of Ireland and its jurisdictions.”