Celebrating Ireland’s ‘father of seismology’

Robert MallettAs a working science journalist in Ireland, it always amazes me how little we celebrate – and I include myself in this group – or even know anything about, some of our most famous, and accomplished scientists.

I came across yet another example of this recently, when it was brought to my attention by Tom Blake, experimental officer in the geophysics section of the Dublin Institute for Advance Studies that next year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Mallet, a Dubliner, recognised around the world as ‘the father’ of the science of seismology.

Robert performed an ingenious experiment on Killiney Beach, where he exploded gunpowder, and measured how the resulting shock wave travelling through rock and sediments down along the beach. This helped to prove his theory that earthquakes were caused by shock waves moving out from an area where rocks had suddently shifted underground.

To read more about Robert click here for article (published in Science Spin, Issue 36, September ’09)