Molecules as we typically know them are comprised of two or more atoms glued together by the sharing of electrons. But, in 2019 a South-American research group (Charry, Reyes and Varella) predicted antimatter-bonded molecules, specifically molecules who’s fragments were anions glued together by a positron. We have developed and applied our many-body theory of positron-molecule interactions to describe such positronically-bonded molecules, using it to predict positronically-bonded molecules with molecular fragments, e.g., the binding of two NCO negative ions by a positron.
Group PhD student Jaroslav Hofierka successully completed his PhD, titled “Many-body theory of positron-molecule interactions”. Below is a photo of the group with the external examiner Prof Vitali Averbukh (Imperial College London) and our colleague Dr Gleb Gribakin (QUB internal examiner).
Congratulations to Jaroslav! Jaroslav will now take up a postdoc position with the internationally-renowned Heidelberg group of Prof Lorenz Cederbaum. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Jaroslav in the future!
POSMOL 2023, held in Notre Dame University, South Bend Indiana, USA combined the XXI International Workshop on Low-Energy Positron and Positronium Physics and the XXIII International Symposium on Electron-Molecule Collisions and Swarms.
Dermot gave the EPJD sponsored Plenary talk on his group’s work on “Many-body theory of positron-molecule interactions”.
Dermot and Jack both presented at ICPEAC 2023, held in Ottawa, Canada. Dermot gave an invited progress report on the group’s recent work. Jack presented a poster on our recent work on positron binding to halogenated hydrocarbons.
This was Dermot’s first flight/travelling since 2019!
Dermot attended the Stomont All-Party Group on STEM as Chair of the IOP Ireland committee. Common themes in the educational sphere were raised by a number of contributors, as were the effects of imposed budget cuts on Northern Ireland on the education sector.
Dermot had the pleasure to be part of a 3-day scheme that brought together about 20 young people (15-21 year olds) not in education, employment or training who are part of an inclusive and cross community Springboard/Belong programme for mutual engagement with a small number of physicists.
As well as jumping into the numerous activities and helping explain physics demonstrations, Dermot discussed the barriers he faced (as a Belfast-born first-generation University student) to his entry into physics, who physicists are and what they do, and listened to the stories the young people had to tell.
Springboard https://springboard-opps.org/ is a charity “committed to building a society that develops and strengthens capacity, promotes citizenship, better values diversity and encourages mutual respect”.
On Tuesday 25th April Dermot was inducted into the new Young Academy of Ireland at the beautiful Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, as one of the first 40 members from across society representing academia, the arts, business and finance, policy experts etc.
Dermot found the founding members, all leaders in their own rights, mightily impressive, and is looking forward to creating the work programme and collaborating with them for the next 4 years, to provide a voice for change and work across disciplines to tackle many issues facing today’s society.
Dermot, as Chair of IOP Ireland, had the great pleasure of hosting and introducing renowned space scientist and professional science communicator and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock for her keynote talk at the 2023 Northern Ireland Science Festival to a sold out MAC theatre Belfast. Dermot was accompanied on stage for the introduction by his 5-year old daughter.
The IOP Ireland supported the event in partnership with the NISF. It was a fantastic event: Maggie spoke beautifully addressing key questions of astrophysics detailed in her latest book “Am I made of Stardust”, and we had many excellent questions from the budding scientists in the packed audience. Maggie also kindly spent time afterwards signing her new book.