QUB professor Stephen Smartt receives the UK's most prestigious scientific award

  • Queen's University's Professor Stephen Smartt has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his ground-breaking body of work on the complex and violent deaths of stars in our galaxy.

    Northern Ireland contributes significantly to the global scientific community, with fundamental research at our universities often leading to new tech innovations in everything from MedTech to Telecoms. Many of Queen's University Belfast's professors have been internationally recognised for their scientific achievements, and today the university announced that one of its professors has received the highest recognition of scientific endeavour in the UK.

    Professor Stephen Smartt from Queen’s University Belfast's School of Mathematics and Physics has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) 2020. This is one of the highest scientific achievements in UK and Ireland, with fellows selected based on outstanding contributions to scientific understanding in their fields. Professor Smartt was recognised for his work significantly advancing our understanding of the physics around the death of stars.

    As the leader of several international projects and a recognised pioneer in digital sky surveys, Professor Smartt discovered many examples of the rare and powerful "super-luminous" supernovae. He led an international team in 2017 that was involved in the identification of gravitational waves from merging neutron stars, and showed that merging neutron stars can produce these brief but high-luminosity explosions.

    Professor Smartt was recognised last year with the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for his ground-breaking work. He was also awarded the George Darwin lectureship from the Royal Astronomical Society before that in 2018, and is a previous recipient of the coveted Leverhulme Prize.

    Professor Smartt commented on the achievement: "I am honoured and delighted to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. In science, we work in a global arena. It is a huge privilege to join other scientific giants who have been appointed to the Society over the years, in recognition of my work and the level of scientific achievement at Queen’s. Science impacts on all our lives, no more so than at present, and I look forward to progressing the Society’s purpose of promoting excellence in science and using it for the benefit of humanity."

    Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said: "At this time of global crisis, the importance of scientific thinking, and the medicines, technologies and insights it delivers, has never been clearer. Our Fellows and Foreign Members are central to the mission of the Royal Society, to use science for the benefit of humanity."

    Source: Written based on press release

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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