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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McCrea Lecture

Organised and hosted by the Royal Irish Academy, the McCrea lecture series is held in honour of Sir William McCrea MRIA (1904-1999), an eminent and influential astronomer. Run every two years, the McCrea Lecture is a highlight on the astronomy enthusiasts’ calendars as it is an opportunity for people from various backgrounds, disciplines and professions to come together to discuss news and progress within space science.

Past Speakers

  • McCrea Lecture 2015Rosetta Mission: Are Comets the Giver and Taker of Life? delivered by Professor Monica Grady, Professor at Open University, 25 June 2015

  • McCrea Lecture 2013Are the Laws of Physics Changing? delivered by Professor John D. Barrow, University of Cambridge, 12 November 2013

  • McCrea Lecture 2011The Hundred Year Mystery of Cosmic Rays, delivered by Professor Luke Drury, former President of the Royal Irish Academy, Director of the School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS and Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College, 9 December 2011.

2019 McCrea Lecture

'The European Southern Observatory in 2019, and the evolution of galaxies as probed by ALMA'

About the lecture

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) - with Ireland as its latest Member State - is conducting an ambitious programme, building and operating world-class astronomical observatories on the ground and fostering cooperation in astronomy.  In this presentation, the Director of Science for ESO, Rob Ivison, will provide an update on recent progress in the various ESO programmes, the La Silla Paranal Observatory, the now fully operational Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), and what will be the world’s largest observatory, the 39-m European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), under construction in Chile. Rob Ivison will close with a look at the latest breakthroughs in our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies, based largely on observations with ALMA.

About the speaker

Rob Ivison is the Director for Science at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). 
He is on secondment from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, where he is a Professor of Astrophysics and holds an ERC Advanced Grant (2013--). He studies the formation and evolution of galaxies, specialising in observations at far-infrared, submillimetre and radio wavelengths. He currently leads science projects with the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA) in Chile and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) near Socorro in New Mexico.