The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest Academic honour in Ireland.

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John Bell Day

John Stewart Bell - 'The man who proved Einstein wrong'.

On 4th November 1964 John Bell (1928-1990) from Tate’s Avenue, Belfast changed the world of science by laying the foundation stone for quantum computing.

According to TIME magazine, Quantum Computing promises ‘a revolution on the order of the invention of the microprocessor or the splitting of the atom’. In short, Quantum computers will be millions of times more powerful than current computer systems and will impact dramatically on our lives.

We in the Royal Irish Academy want to make John Bell a role model for the young people of Northern Ireland. We want to inspire them to see education and science as a route by which they can fulfil their greatest ambitions like Bell did. 

Considered by many scientists to rank alongside Newton and Einstein, Bell was widely believed to be a front runner for the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics but tragically died earlier that year from a stroke. The Institute of Physics has described him as one of the top ten physicists of the twentieth century. According to Bell’s biographer, his work has ‘changed our perception of physical reality and the nature of the universe’.

Belfast remembers John Bell 

The former Belfast Metropolitan College on College Square East has been renamed to John Bell House

Belfast Metropolitan College

To mark the 50th anniversary of his discovery, John Bell was honoured with the naming of a new street in Titanic Quarter in February 2015, the new street circles the Belfast MET College.

You can read John Bell’s full biography here.

Photo credit: John Bell © Cern.

This year, Ronald Hanson from the University of Delft– one of the top scientists working in quantum computing today– joined us at Queen's University Belfast to commemorate John Steward Bell. A capacity audience attended a Breakfast Briefing with Professor Hanson, chaired by former Head of Public Policy at Intel, Leonard Hobbs. 175 people from the world of science and industry attended the discussion. 13 post-doctorate students then attended a masterclass session later that morning with Hanson, to exchange experiences and expertise.

Watch the interview with Professor Ronald Hanson and Leonard Hobbs.

John Bell Day 2016 was jointly organised by Queen's University Belfast. The day was supported by IBEC.

Action at a Distance : The life and legacy of John Stewart Bell from Stuart Sloan on Vimeo.

Video courtesy of Queen's University Belfast and Naughton Gallery.

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