Craig Barrett and Séamus Davis awarded St Patrick’s Day Science Medal

16 Mar 2016

For their contributions to science and technology in Ireland, technologist Dr Craig Barrett and physicist Prof Séamus Davis have been awarded the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) St Patrick’s Day Science Medal.

The pair were awarded the St Patrick’s Day Science Medal at an event in Washington DC, ahead of tomorrow’s celebration of Ireland’s national holiday, in what was the ceremony’s third year.

The SFI award was established to recognise the major contributions made by US-based scientists, engineers or technology leaders with Irish connections and – for the first time – the medal was presented to two recipients.

In terms of why the pair were considered for the award, Barrett has been a leading advocate for improving education in the US and globally while also being a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards globally.

As chairperson, CEO and president of Intel, Barrett played a major role in the establishment of Intel’s European manufacturing base in Leixlip and the promotion of Ireland as a high-tech centre.

Meanwhile, Davis has established himself at the forefront of modern physics for over 30 years, particularly on the exploration and visualisation of electronic structure and behaviour at the atomic level, and the exotic new forms of quantum matter found in these advanced materials.

From Intel to quantum physics

A graduate of University College Cork (UCC), Davis has established himself as a senior professor at some of the US’ leading universities, as well as being a senior physicist at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of the SFI, commented: “The global reach and influence of the Irish diaspora in supporting Irish scientific research both academic and industrial is vital in developing Ireland’s future scientific achievements.

“The work of Prof Davis and Dr Barrett has served Ireland well at home and has also enhanced our reputation internationally.”

Adding thanks for the award, Barrett said: “I believe that Ireland is a place where the science and industry communities converge and work together for societal and economic benefit. My efforts with many organisations in Ireland to advance the STEM agenda to provide an impetus for the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders are a great example of this collective work.”

Similarly, Davis added: “This is a wonderful honour, not only for me but for all the scientists at institutions worldwide that form our collaborative research network.

“This award highlights exciting opportunities now emerging from networking the scientific research communities in Ireland and here in the US.”

Last year saw immunologist Prof Katherine Fitzgerald win the award for her research into understanding the cellular events that trigger inflammatory responses during infection.

Washington DC image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic