Researchers at UCD


Shane Bergin

Assistant Professor Science Education

School of Education
Roebuck Offices

Tel: +355 1 716 7977
Email: shane.bergin at


Dr Shane Bergin is a physicist and an assistant professor in science education at UCD¿s School of Education. Shane's research focuses on teaching and learning in physics and both in formal settings like lecture-halls or labs and also in more informal settings (like a metro train). In recent years, Shane has been awarded several fellowships to support his research. These include Marie Curie Actions and support through Science Foundation Ireland's SIRG programme. Dr Bergin was awarded a BA(Mod) in Nanoscience from Trinity College Dublin in 2003 and a PhD for his research with carbon nanotubes in 2008. Shane's contributions to the literature arising from this support have been well received by his field and with more than 4,000 citations.

Shane is the founder of City of Physics a campaign to spark physics conversations around Dublin based on physics posters, art and projections dotted around the city. This follows DARTofPhysics a similar campaign on Dublin's DART train  in 2013. Shane received awards for public engagement in science from the European Commission and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for this work. In 2015, Shane began a collaboration with the National Concert Hall -  blending STEM subjects with music for primary school audiences.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2016.
Title: Trinity College Provost Teaching Award
Year: 2014.
Title: Marie Curie Achievement Award for Communication of Science
Year: 2014.
Title: Public Engagement with Science

Conference Contributions

Shane Bergin (2016) Exploring Problem-based Cooperative Learning (PBCL) in Undergraduate Physics Labs. [Oral Presentation], American Association of Physics Teachers, Sacramento, California , 16-JUL-16 - 20-JUL-16.


Committee : Leonardo Group (Science Gallery Dublin)
Committee : Teaching Council of Ireland External Advisors' Panel (Physics)
Committee : Committee of Institute of Physics in Ireland


Year 2008 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject:



Book Chapters


Peer Reviewed Journals

Giordani, S, Bergin, S, Nicolosi, V, Lebedkin, S, Blau, WJ, Coleman, JN (2006) 'Fabrication of stable dispersions containing up to 70% individual carbon nanotubes in a common organic solvent'. physica status solidi (b), 243 (13):3058-3062. [Details]
Giordani, Silvia, Bergin, Shane D, Nicolosi, Valeria, Lebedkin, Sergei, Kappes, Manfred M, Blau, Werner J, Coleman, Jonathan N (2006) 'Debundling of single-walled nanotubes by dilution: observation of large populations of individual nanotubes in amide solvent dispersions'. The journal of physical chemistry B, 110 (32):15708-15718. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Nicolosi, Valeria, Giordani, Silvia, de Gromard, Antoine, Carpenter, Leslie, Blau, Werner J, Coleman, Jonathan N (2007) 'Exfoliation in ecstasy: liquid crystal formation and concentration-dependent debundling observed for single-wall nanotubes dispersed in the liquid drug γ-butyrolactone'. Nanotechnology, 18 (45):455705. [Details]
Amiran, Johnny, Nicolosi, Valeria, Bergin, Shane D, Khan, Umar, Lyons, Philip E, Coleman, Jonathan N (2008) 'High quality dispersions of functionalized single walled nanotubes at high concentration'. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 112 (10):3519-3524. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Nicolosi, Valeria, Cathcart, Helen, Lotya, Mustafa, Rickard, David, Sun, Zhenyu, Blau, Werner J, Coleman, Jonathan N (2008) 'Large populations of individual nanotubes in surfactant-based dispersions without the need for ultracentrifugation'. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 112 (4):972-977. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Nicolosi, Valeria, Streich, Philip V, Giordani, Silvia, Sun, Zhenyu, Windle, Alan H, Ryan, Peter, Niraj, N Peter P, Wang, Zhi⿐Tao T, Carpenter, Leslie (2008) 'Towards Solutions of Single⿐Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Common Solvents'. Advanced Materials, 20 (10):1876-1881. [Details]
Sun, Zhenyu, Nicolosi, Valeria, Bergin, Shane D, Coleman, Jonathan N (2008) 'Efficient dispersion and exfoliation of single-walled nanotubes in 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane and its derivatives'. Nanotechnology, 19 (48):485702. [Details]
Sun, Zhenyu, Nicolosi, Valeria, Rickard, David, Bergin, Shane D, Aherne, Damian, Coleman, Jonathan N (2008) 'Quantitative evaluation of surfactant-stabilized single-walled carbon nanotubes: dispersion quality and its correlation with zeta potential'. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 112 (29):10692-10699. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Sun, Zhenyu, Rickard, David, Streich, Philip V, Hamilton, James P, Coleman, Jonathan N (2009) 'Multicomponent solubility parameters for single-walled carbon nanotubeâ¿¿ solvent mixtures'. ACS nano, 3 (8):2340-2350. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Sun, Zhenyu, Streich, Philip, Hamilton, James, Coleman, Jonathan N (2009) 'New solvents for nanotubes: approaching the dispersibility of surfactants'. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 114 (1):231-237. [Details]
Hernandez, Yenny, Lotya, Mustafa, Rickard, David, Bergin, Shane D, Coleman, Jonathan N (2009) 'Measurement of multicomponent solubility parameters for graphene facilitates solvent discovery'. Langmuir, 26 (5):3208-3213. [Details]
Sun, Zhenyu, Oâ¿¿Connor, Ian, Bergin, Shane D, Coleman, Jonathan N (2009) 'Effects of Ambient Conditions on Solventâ¿¿ Nanotube Dispersions: Exposure to Water and Temperature Variation'. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (4):1260-1266. [Details]
Coleman, Jonathan N, Lotya, Mustafa, Oâ¿¿Neill, Arlene, Bergin, Shane D, King, Paul J, Khan, Umar, Young, Karen, Gaucher, Alexandre, De, Sukanta, Smith, Ronan J (2011) 'Two-dimensional nanosheets produced by liquid exfoliation of layered materials'. Science, 331 (6017):568-571. [Details]
Nerl, Hannah C, Cheng, Crystal, Goode, Angela E, Bergin, Shane D, Lich, Ben, Gass, Mhairi, Porter, Alexandra E (2011) 'Imaging methods for determining uptake and toxicity of carbon nanotubes in vitro and in vivo'. Nanomedicine, 6 (5):849-865. [Details]
Cunningham, Graeme, Lotya, Mustafa, Cucinotta, Clotilde S, Sanvito, Stefano, Bergin, Shane D, Menzel, Robert, Shaffer, Milo SP, Coleman, Jonathan N (2012) 'Solvent exfoliation of transition metal dichalcogenides: dispersibility of exfoliated nanosheets varies only weakly between compounds'. ACS nano, 6 (4):3468-3480. [Details]
Hughes, J Marguerite, Aherne, Damian, Bergin, Shane D, Oâ¿¿Neill, Arlene, Streich, Philip V, Hamilton, James P, Coleman, Jonathan N (2012) 'Using solution thermodynamics to describe the dispersion of rod-like solutes: application to dispersions of carbon nanotubes in organic solvents'. Nanotechnology, 23 (26):265604. [Details]
McGuire, Eva K, Motskin, Michael, Bolognesi, Benedetta, Bergin, Shane D, Knowles, Tuomas PJ, Skepper, Jeremy, Luheshi, Leila M, McComb, David W, Dobson, Christopher M, Porter, Alexandra E (2012) 'Selenium-enhanced electron microscopic imaging of different aggregate forms of a segment of the amyloid β peptide in cells'. ACS nano, 6 (6):4740-4747. [Details]
Bergin, Shane D, Hutzler, Stefan (2014) 'The drop heard round the world'. Physics World, 27 (05):26. [Details]
Goode, AE, Hine, NDM, Chen, S, Bergin, SD, Shaffer, MSP, Ryan, MP, Haynes, PD, Porter, AE, McComb, DW (2014) 'Mapping functional groups on oxidised multi-walled carbon nanotubes at the nanometre scale'. Chemical Communications, 50 (51):6744-6747. [Details]
Goode, Angela E, Hine, Nicholas DM, Chen, Shu, Bergin, Shane D, Motskin, Michael, Carter, Daniel A Gonzalez, Dexter, David T, Shaffer, Milo SP, Ryan, Mary P, Haynes, Peter D (2014) 'Electron Microscopic Characterization of Functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Their Interactions with the Blood Brain Barrier'. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 20 (S3):1744-1745. [Details]
Ferguson, Auren, Caffrey, Ivan T, Backes, Claudia, Coleman, Jonathan N, Bergin, Shane D (2016) 'Differentiating Defect and Basal Plane Contributions to the Surface Energy of Graphite Using Inverse Gas Chromatography'. Chemistry of Materials, . [Details]
Ferguson, Auren, Khan, Umar, Walsh, Melissa, Lee, Koon-Yang, Bismarck, Alexander, Shaffer, Milo SP, Coleman, Jonathan N, Bergin, Shane D (2016) 'Understanding the dispersion and assembly of Bacterial Cellulose in Organic Solvents'. Biomacromolecules, 17 (5):1845-1853. [Details]
Shmeliov, A, Nicholls, RJ, Grieveson, E, Theuwissen, K, Lotya, M, Bergin, SD, Oâ¿¿Neill, A, Chisholm, MF, Pennycook, TJ, Krivanek, OL 'Processing and atomic resolution imaging of two-dimensional nanomaterials'. . [Details]


Shane D Bergin, et al. (2016) Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers. Brussels: Comment Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

I am interested in science education - both formal and informal. 

Formal Learning:

Recently, colleagues and I have developed a problem-based cooperative learning approach for undergraduate physics labs.  I am working with colleagues from schools of science and education to understand the impact of this on the students' perceptions of the scientific process. Furthermore, we are interested understanding how high levels of student engagement (associated with our approach) can impact on their learning.

I have designed and run a number of informal learning projects (described below) that involve large numbers of under- and post-graduate students (as volunteers or learning coaches). I am working with an international team to understand the impact of such informal learning activities on their formal learning.

Informal Learning: 

City of Physics -  The data repeatedly shows that people love science. But they lack the confidence to talk about it. They¿re worried that they'll get it wrong.

Science isn't about being right- it's a process built on curiosity, wonder and really looking at things, so that we can explain the world around us.  And that's the focus of City of Physics. This campaign (run with Dr Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain at the School of Mathematics) is about bringing science out of the lab and onto the streets. It's about giving people something to talk about, whether they have a science background or not. We¿re gathering together some of the most exciting scientists in Ireland and partnering them with some of the finest Irish illustrators and designers to turn the city into a canvas, with projections, murals, live shows and much, much more.
City of Physics is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Dublin City Council, UCD, Trinity College Dublin and a range of other organisations.  

 DARTofPhysics - In 2013, I won a small grant to put some physics-themed ads on the DART, Dublin¿s commuter line. This grew into an award-winning media campaign that garnered national attention and international support. 

Science isn¿t about memorising equations and battling with proofs ¿ it¿s how we see, and understand and shape the world around us. Over the course of eight weeks in 2013, we turned Dublin¿s DART into our own laboratory and get the city thinking and talking about physics.

Through quirky adverts on the DART, we invited Dubliners to discover scientific concepts through tricky teasers, mind-melting facts and seemingly illogical questions that will be scattered throughout the DART.

Commuters could continue their physics journeys by chatting to us on-line through Twitter or by following our blogs. 


Research Projects

Sponsor : Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
Title : Learning by Heart
Start Date / End Date : 01-JAN-17 / 31-DEC-17


Teaching Philosophy

Modules Coordinated

201600   EDUC41320     Education: Adv Research Meth 2 - Quantit
201600   EDUC42540     Education: Subj Pedag: Science Ext I
201600   EDUC42340     Education: Subj Pedag: Science I
201600   EDUC20020     Education: Science and Maths Pedagogy
201600   EDUC42820     Education: Placement Science and Maths
201600   EDUC42850     Education: Pedag Approaches to Science
201600   EDUC42860     Education: Science Pedag in Placement

Enhancement of Teaching

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

Developing as a Teacher

Innovation & Leadership