Helen Shaw’s guest in this edition of the The Family of Things podcast is Irish scientist and astro physicist Professor Peter Gallagher.
Peter Gallagher leads solar physics and space weather research at Trinity College Dublin. Gallagher researches the Sun, in particular solar storms and their impact on Earth. He is Director of the Rosse Solar Terrestrial Observatory at Birr Castle and leads the Irish LOFAR radio telescope project. Gallagher says he was always fascinated by how things work when he was a small boy, even taking the television apart to see what made it work but was a lack lustre student at school.
He took physics and mathematics at UCD before his PhD in solar physics at Queen’s University Belfast. At UCD he met and married fellow scientist Emma Teeling who now heads the bat lab at UCD and is an internationally acclaimed geneticist. Gallagher spent six years in the US including working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
His cutting edge work at Birr Castle connects Ireland’s space research history with its future since the 3rd Earl of Rosse in 1845 constructed the biggest telescope in the world – Leviathan – and identified the whirl pool galaxy.