SÍLE NIC CHORMAIC
Professor, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)
Irish living in Japan
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Síle is an atomic and laser physicist and heads the Light-Matter Interactions for Quantum Technologies Unit at OIST since 2011. Having studied and worked in Ireland, England, France, Austria, Australia, Germany, and Japan, she’s passionate about travel and using her international experience and viewpoint to improve the status of women in academia.
Aside from her research in basic physics, she exploits her knowledge to develop optics-based tools for a range of topics that branch across to other disciplines, such as neuro-imaging and environmental monitoring. In her spare time, when not travelling overseas, she enjoys exploring the many islands of the Ryukyu Archipelago in Japan by foot or bicycle; 2020 was a particularly fruitful year for this pastime due to the COVID pandemic.
In recent years, Síle has been running a programme that allows displaced students from Ukraine and Russia to continue their scientific studies on Okinawa. She considers this island paradise to be a perfect place for healing, since nature and living in harmony with the seasons play an important daily role for everyone on it. She is an active member of two professional societies, Optica and SPIE, and recently joined the latter’s committee on equity, diversity and inclusion.
She hopes her main legacy will be the opportunities she has provided to students from diverse socio-economic and geographical backgrounds to be empowered through education and research for the betterment of society.