Researchers at UCD


Lorraine Hanlon

Full Professor

School Of Physics
Science Centre
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7162214


Academic Positions:

  • Professor (UCD Dublin): January 2014 to date
  • Associate professor (UCD Dublin): December 2007 to December 2013
  • Head of UCD School of Physics: September 2008 to December 2011
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington, Seattle: August 2004-August 2005
  • Lecturer (UCD Dublin): September 1996 to February 2005
  • European Union (EU) Postdoctoral fellow (UCD): 1995 - 1996
  • EU & ESA Fellow, Astrophysics Division, European Space Agency Research Centre (ESTEC), The Netherlands: 1991 - 1995.


PhD thesis (National University of Ireland, UCD): `Studies of cosmic gamma-ray bursts observed by the COMPTEL instrument' (1996)
BSc (Hons) in Experimental Physics (National University of Ireland, UCD): 1st class, 1st place (1987).


Honours and Awards

Year: 1999.
Title: President's teaching grant
Year: 1997.
Title: RDS Science Communication Forum
Year: 2007.
Title: President's teaching grant


Association: Member of the Institute of Physics, Function/Role: *
Association: Chartered Physicist, Function/Role: *
Association: Member of the International Astronomical Union, Function/Role: *


Committee : RIA Committee for Space & Astronomy


Employer: European Space Agency
Position: Research fellow (1991-1995)


Year 1987 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: BSc Subject:
Year 1998 Institution:
Qualification: MIP Subject:
Year 1990 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: MSc Subject:
Year 1996 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject:

Outreach Activities

  • Chair of the UCD Science Promotion & Outreach committee.
  • Developing outreach events and activities concerning Science, such as the UCD Science Week Festival 
  • Co-organiser of the School of Physics Transition Week programme (December 2007).
  • Public events such as Prof. Michael Perryman RDS lecture (November 2006) and Prof. John Mather DIAS/UCD lecture (May 2007).
  • School visits.
  • Building an outreach programme around the UCD Watcher robotic telescope and its links with Africa.




Edited Books

Alberto J. Castro-Tirado, Joshua S. Bloom, Lorraine Hanlon, and Taro Kotani (Ed.). (2010) Robotic Astronomy. New York: Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Available Online [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Abbott,B.P. et al. (2016) 'Supplement: Localization and Broadband Follow-up of the Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914'. Astrophysical Journal, Supplement Series, 225 :8-22. [DOI] [Details]
C. Wade, N. Barrière, L. Hanlon, P. Bastie, G. Fitzpatrick, M. Jentschel, G. Roudil and P. Von Ballmoos (2016) 'Laue diffraction behaviour in silver mosaic crystals at several gamma-ray energies and orientations'. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 49 :606-615. [DOI] [Details]
Martin-Carrillo, A.; Hanlon, L.; Topinka, M.; LaCluyzé, A. P.; Savchenko, V.; Kann, D. A.; Trotter, A. S.; Covino, S.; Krühler, T.; Greiner, J.; McGlynn, S.; Murphy, D.; Tisdall, P.; Meehan, S.; Wade, C.; McBreen, B.; Reichart, D. E.; Fugazza, D.; Haislip, J. B.; Rossi, A.; Schady, P.; Elliott, J.; Klose, S. (2014) 'GRB 120711A: an intense INTEGRAL burst with long-lasting soft gamma-ray emission and a powerful optical flash'. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 567 :84-102. [DOI] [Details]
Savchenko, V.; Ferrigno, C.; Mereghetti, S.; Natalucci, L.; Bazzano, A.; Bozzo, E.; Brandt, S.; Courvoisier, T. J.-L.; Diehl, R.; Hanlon, L.; von Kienlin, A.; Kuulkers, E.; Laurent, P.; Lebrun, F.; Roques, J. P.; Ubertini, P.; Weidenspointner, G. (2016) 'INTEGRAL upper limits on gamma-ray emission associated with the gravitational wave event GW150914'. Astrophysical Journal Letters, . Available Online [Details]
Abbott, B.P. et al. (2016) 'Localization and broadband follow-up of the gravitational-wave transient GW150914'. Astrophysical Journal Letters, . Available Online [Details]
Ulyanov, Alexei; Morris, Oran; Hanlon, Lorraine; McBreen, Sheila; Foley, Suzanne; Roberts, Oliver J.; Tobin, Isaac; Murphy, David; Wade, Colin; Nelms, Nick; Shortt, Brian; Slavicek, Tomas; Granja, Carlos; Solar, Michael (2016) 'Performance of a monolithic LaBr3:Ce crystal coupled to an array of silicon photomultipliers'. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 810 :107-119. [DOI] [Details]
Nicolas M. Barriere, John A. Tomsick, Steven E. Boggs, Alexander Lowell, Colin Wade, Max Baugh, Peter von Ballmoos, Nikolay V. Abrosimov, Lorraine Hanlon (2014) 'Developing a method for soft gamma-ray Laue lens assembly and calibration'. Nuclear Instruments & Methods In Physics Research Section A-Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors And Associated Equipment, 741 :47-56. [DOI] Link to full text [Details]

Conference Publications

Tatischeff, V.; Tavani, M.; von Ballmoos, P.; Hanlon, L.; Oberlack, U.; Aboudan, A.; Argan, A.; Bernard, D.; Brogna, A.; Bulgarelli, A.; Bykov, A.; Campana, R.; Caraveo, P.; Cardillo, M.; Coppi, P.; De Angelis, A.; Diehl, R.; Donnarumma, I.; Fioretti, V.; Giuliani, A.; Grenier, I.; Grove, J. E.; Hamadache, C.; Hartmann, D.; Hernanz, M.; Isern, J.; Kanbach, G.; Kiener, J.; Knödlseder, J.; Labanti, C.; Laurent, P.; Limousin, O.; Longo, F.; Marisaldi, M.; McBreen, S.; McEnery, J. E.; Mereghetti, S.; Mirabel, F.; Morselli, A.; Nakazawa, K.; Peyré, J.; Piano, G.; Pittori, C.; Sabatini, S.; Stawarz, L.; Thompson, D. J.; Ulyanov, A.; Walter, R.; Wu, X.; Zdziarski, A.; Zoglauer, A. (2016) The e-ASTROGAM gamma-ray space mission SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Edinburgh, , 20-JUN-16 - 24-JUN-16 Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Vagg, Daniel; O'Callaghan, Derek; hÓgáin, Fionn Ó; McBreen, Sheila; Hanlon, Lorraine; Lynn, David; O'Mullane, William (2016) GAVIP: A Platform for Gaia Data Analysis SPIE Astronomical Telescopes & Instrumentation , 20-JUN-16 - 24-JUN-16 Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

My research activities are in the areas of space science and astrophysics, with a particular emphasis on ground-based and space-based studies of gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful and distant sources in the universe.
I develop hardware and instrumentation for astrophysics, including robotic telescopes and novel materials for improved gamma-ray detection. I also work on advanced techniques for gamma-ray focussing using Laue lenses. The latter two areas have potential medical applications which I also actively explore.



Teaching Philosophy

The main theme which motivates me to strive to improve the learning environment for all my students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, is to encourage learning for understanding. This deep approach to learning involves a continuous feedback process, in which new material is integrated with previously encountered topics and re-assessed.

Enhancement of Teaching

I believe that the process of course delivery is not confined solely to lecture preparation and delivery, but encompasses the following: - Construction of a set of learner-centred objectives around which the course is based; - Creation of quality course materials including: lecture notes, reading lists, problem-sheets, relevant laboratory experiments, on-line demonstrations and simulations; - Provision of timely and supportive feedback to students on their continuous assessment work, either in the laboratory or on written problem sheets; - Provision of tutorials; - Informal discussion with students (where feasible) on their progress and difficulties in the course; - Maintaining an open dialogue with students and soliciting their open and on-going, feedback from students in order to improve the course. These steps enable me to improve the quality of course delivery as the course progresses during the year and also from year to year. Focussing the course on the learners and their needs, rather than the material to be covered, prevents the course from becoming stale, since the students are fresh every year and their new perspectives can be used to modify and improve the course delivery, once the lecturer is prepared to listen. New technology is there to be embraced and I was one of the earliest adopters of on-line learning environments and using 'clickers' in the classroom. I make frequent use of on-line materials to help visualise difficult concepts and bring students up to date in the latest research activity of the discipline.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

My recent experience in developing new modules and programmes has been primarily in astronomy, where my own research practice deeply informs my approach and desired learning outcomes. For example, I developed 2 final year field trip modules, both of which address aspects of my research expertise. In one case, to allow Physics with Astronomy & Space Science students to actually gain hands-on experience at a telescope, I arrange for them to have 5 nights observing at a professional telescope on an excellent site in Tenerife. To prepare for the trip the students must write an observing proposal, as any professional astronomer must, explaining the scientific goals and the technical feasibility of their project. They must demonstrate the target is visible in the sky and calculate how much telescope time they will need and what instruments will be needed. Most of the assessment is based on continuous assessment at the telescope, where team working, meticulous note-taking and willingness to trouble-shoot problems when they arise are all assessed. In my 1st year astronomy class with more than 150 students, this kind of experience is impractical. However, it is clear from the feedback I received this year (my first year on the course since 2008) that they had an expectation and a desire to gain some kind of practical experience. I have already started looking at how this might be implemented through e.g. robotic telescope access and have also agreed with the head of School that some of the tutorial sessions be turned into interactive sessions in one of the new Active Learning Labs.

Developing as a Teacher

I believe it is crucial to buttress the foundation of physics learning with the concepts of physics, reinforced with active demonstration of these concepts: in lectures, through high-quality demonstrations, quizzes and simulations; in the laboratory, through hands-on experiments and one-on-one interaction with the demonstrator and finally through the application of these concepts in homework problems and tutorial discussions. Whenever appropriate and available, I increasingly use research-validated teaching materials. In response to mid-semester feedback in my large introductory astronomy class, I began to use the book 'Lecture-Tutorials in Introductory Astronomy' (Adams, Prather, Slater) which specifically address the difficulties of engaging large classes in astronomy by presenting short 'tutorial-style' challenges and problems, within the traditional theatre format.

Innovation & Leadership

UCD President's teaching grant (2007): A Pilot Classroom Participation System for Large Lecture Classes Invited talk at ESOF 2012 in the session ¿Is the Future of Mathematics Medieval?¿, with artist Emer O Boyle we presented our inter-disciplinary teaching approach involving Physics and Fine Art students in the Tunnelling Art and Physics module. UCD President's teaching grant (1999): Understanding Physics: An Integrated Approach to the Teaching and Learning of 2nd Year Experimental Physics


Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Dr. Andreas von Kienlin, MPE
  • Dr. Pieter Meintjes, UFS
  • Dr. Matie Hofmann, UFS
  • Dr. Nicolas Barriere, UC Berkeley
  • Dr. Peter von Ballmoos, IRAP Toulouse