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Thomas Preston Centre

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

For information, please click here.

Current Thomas Preston Scholars

Silas O'Toole 

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Silas received the Thomas Preston scholarship after receiving a first class honours degree in theoretical physics in UCD. He joined the Plasmonics and Ultrafast Optics group under Prof Dominic Zerulla and is now working on the project that has recently been awarded the SFI Future Innovator special prize award in 2020 as well as a class B project in ICHEC, Ireland's supercomputing centre, with some recent publications as well as speaking at the Photonics Ireland conference in June 2021.

Areas of research: Plasmonics and Ultrafast NanoOptics
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dominic Zerulla

Brajesh Narayan

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Brajesh started his postgraduate studies by being awarded a UCD Graduate Excellence Scholarship. After completing his Taught MSc degree in Computational Physics with first class honors, he was awarded a Thomas Preston Scholarship for PhD studies in Physics. He has been working in Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group under joint supervision of Prof. Vio Buchete (UCD Physics) and Prof. Christina Kiel (Systems Biology Ireland).  His research projects are interdisciplinary, at the interface of theoretical and computational physics and system biology. During the past two years, he has also been collaborating with Prof. Ron Elber (Univesity of Texas, Austin), with whom he also published  three research papers with additional publications under preparation. He also contributed as first- author to two papers resulting from a different collaboration with Prof. Bernard Brooks (NIH, Maryland) and Prof. Brian Rodriguez (UCD, Physics).

Areas of research: Computational NanoBio
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Nicolae Viorel Buchete

Eoin Carolan

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Eoin Carolan, Joint Thomas Preston and IRC Scholar.

Areas of research: Control And Thermodynamics of Quantum Systems
Supervisor: Dr. Steve Campbell

(opens in a new window)Thomas Preston Scholarship Fund Logo

(opens in a new window)Information on how to donate please click here.

UCD School of Physics

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777