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QUB astronomer honoured with gold medal by Royal Irish Academy

Professor Stephen Smartt has been awarded a gold medal by the Royal Irish Academy. Photo by Johnny Bambury
Marie Louise McConville

A Queen's University astronomer had been honoured with a prestigious gold medal by the Royal Irish Academy.

Professor Stephen Smartt, of the Astrophysics Research Centre, was awarded the 2018 accolade in physical and mathematical sciences for his outstanding influence in this area.

Prof Smartt said as well as a personal honour it was "recognition of the very talented and bright students and post-doctoral scientists that have helped to build my team at Queen’s and make it scientifically respected around the world".

He added: "I have always believed that primary, secondary and tertiary education is the cornerstone of a happy, healthy and coherent society. We have a duty to educate and inspire our pupils and students at every level of education, in Ireland, the UK and across the globe."

Prof Smartt has led international projects that survey the sky to find supernovae and exploding stars and in 2017 he led one of the teams which pinpointed the source of gravitational waves, showing that merging neutron stars can produce a brief but luminous explosion powered by radioactivity of the heavy elements.

The gold medals aim to recognise inspirational figures and celebrate achievements in higher education in Ireland to inspire future generations.

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