APPLES AND ATOMS

Trinity College Dublin

PUBLIC WRITING COMPETITION WINNER
APPLES AND ATOMS

APPLES AND ATOMS

Trinity College Dublin

PUBLIC WRITING COMPETITION WINNER
Unknown

animated by: Fionnuala Flaherty

With extra thanks to the Abbey Theatre, Dublin

Padraig Dinneen

competition winner: Padraig Dinneen

I am Marian Woods, daughter of Ernest Walton, in whose honour this statue was built.  My father, was born in 1903 in Dungarvin, County Waterford. His secondary education was at Methodist College, Belfast, where he developed his love of mathematics and science in which he gained excellent examination results. He was awarded a scholarship to study mathematics and physics at Trinity College, Dublin, where he gained 1st class honours in both subjects.

In 1928 Walton gained a place at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to study physics under Ernest Rutherford, who recognised his exceptional ability. Rutherford asked Walton to work with John Cockcroft to produce high energy fast particles to investigate the transformation of atoms. In 1932 their experiment was successful and was the first time an atom was split by artificial means. The results also verified Einstein’s mass-energy equation, E=mc2. In 1951 Walton and Cockcroft were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1934 Walton returned to the Physics Department in Trinity College, where he eventualy became Professor of Physics until his retirement in1974.

The sculpture Eilis O’Connell’s design for ‘Apples and Atoms’ was inspired by photographs of the apparatus used to split the atom, which contained several large spheres.

Statue biography by Marianne Woods