The Thomas Preston Centre for Fundamental Physics

The Thomas Preston Centre brings together researchers working on fundamental physics across the broad spectrum of physics.

The Centre is established in honour of Thomas Preston, a distinguished Professor of Natural Philosophy at UCD. His work established empirical rules for the analysis of spectral lines, furthering our understanding of heat, magnetism, and spectroscopy. Preston's discovery of the Anomalous Zeeman Effect, which challenged classical theoretical explanation, resulted in him being awarded the second Boyle Medal by the Royal Dublin Society in 1899. His pioneering work foresaw the discovery of electron spin, and was at the very frontier of physics research at the close of the 19th century.

He was also a dedicated teacher and author; his books "The Theory of Heat" and "The Theory of Light" were popular in leading universities well after his early death in 1900.

It is clear that he understood the value of fundamental research and it is the opinion of many in the UCD School of Physics that his death denied him consideration for a share in the Nobel Prize awarded to Zeeman in 1902, as Preston had, in fact, the correct interpretation of the observed spectral features.

Today, the Thomas Preston Centre is a site of nucleation for cutting-edge research at the forefront of modern fundamental physics.


The Thomas Preston PhD Scholarships

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