Prof. Lorraine Hanlon
University College Dublin
School Of Physics
BSc, MSc, PhD, FRAS, MInstP, CPhys. University College Dublin: Full Professor of Astronomy (since 2014). Head, UCD School of Physics (2008-2011). Programme co-chair BSc `Physics with Astronomy & Space Science’ (2006-2017). Appointed lecturer in 1996. European Space Agency: Research Fellow (1991-1995). Scientific Advisor to the Irish delegation at ESA SPC (since 2011). Member, Royal Irish Academy Astronomy & Space Sciences committee (2009 – 2013).
Special Interests: Gamma-ray Bursts, Multi-messenger astronomy, Robotic telescopes, Space instrumentation, Cubesats.
Irish astronomy has a long and notable history, with close ties to the RAS. The astronomical community in Ireland has experienced significant development in recent years. Negotiations to secure the long-held strategic goal of ESO membership are underway, while an Irish node of the LOFAR array became operational in 2017. All universities now have astronomy embedded in their undergraduate curricula. Specialised MSc degrees (e.g. Space Science & Technology, Astronomical Instrumentation) are being offered, reflecting the expertise in these areas nationally. Our PhD graduates go on to successful careers, both in research and industry. We also benefit from a vibrant science communication community. These outcomes tangibly demonstrate the impacts and societal benefits of astronomy education, research and outreach activities. However, the low level of basic research funding remains a concern. Sustained advocacy is needed to coherently voice the concerns of the community and effect change. This is an opportune moment to explore how the Irish astronomical community and the RAS could create a working relationship that would support our mutual goals, reinforcing the importance of all-Ireland and UK collaboration in the wake of Brexit. If elected to council, I will work to achieve stronger links between the RAS and the Ireland-based astronomy community, many of whom are RAS fellows.
Championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a core value of the RAS, clearly evident in, for example, the remarkable RAS200 projects currently being supported. If elected, I will advocate to ensure diversity in speaker line-ups, committees and panel memberships in RAS-organised events, in line with Key objective 2 `Promoting equality of opportunity’ of the EDI policy.