March 17, 2016

Séamus Davis awarded St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal

Seamus Davis wins award in D.C.
Séamus Davis, Cornell’s James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences, left, receives the St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal from Science Foundation Ireland March 16 in Washington, D.C.

Science Foundation Ireland presented its prestigious St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal March 16 to Séamus Davis, Cornell’s James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences. The presentation was made by Charles Flanagan, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and trade, as part of St. Patricks’ Day celebrations in Washington, D.C.

This is a wonderful honor, not only for me but for all the scientists at institutions worldwide that form our collaborative research network,” said Davis at the award ceremony. “This award highlights exciting opportunities now emerging from networking the scientific research communities in Ireland and here in the United States. Both countries benefit from this positive relationship, with cross-Atlantic collaboration now playing a vital role in the success of many of the most advanced scientific projects.

“This science medal is also a testament to the world-leading quality of scientific education in Ireland, and to the deep commitment to promote and enhance Ireland’s educational standards today. I am extremely grateful to Science Foundation Ireland for this medal, and I express my gratitude to my family, especially all those at home in Ireland, and to all my colleagues, past and present.”

The award announcement cited Davis as being at the forefront of modern physics for more than 30 years and his inventive and wide-ranging contributions to the physics of quantum materials. His work focuses on the exploration and visualization of electronic structure and behavior at the atomic level, and the exotic new forms of quantum matter found in these advanced materials.

“The type of spectroscopic imaging scanning tunneling microscope [Davis] developed has since spawned a worldwide revolution in electronic quantum matter studies, and replicas of this instrument have now been built in labs at many of the world’s leading research universities,” noted the award announcement.

Now in its third year, the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal recognizes extraordinary contributions made by U.S.-based scientists, engineers or technology leaders with Irish connections. Davis is a graduate of University College Cork and has extensive personal and research links with Ireland. He is a frequent visitor and speaker at University College Cork, Tyndall National Institute, Royal Irish Academy and University College Dublin, and has worked with the CRANN Research Institute as an adviser.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.