New Past Pupils Feature - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 19th March 2013

Check out our new weekly feature on notable Old Clongownians. You can find all the stories located under the People drop down menu. First Up, Micheal Byrne (O.C. 2004)

Michael Byrne (OC’04)

Michael Byrne is currently in his 4th year of a PhD program in Climate Dynamics at MIT in Boston. MIT is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading universities. Most of Michael’s time is spent at his computer running simulations of the Earth’s climate under elevated CO2 conditions. This involves a lot of coding! In the course of his work, Michael has set about answering several questions such as: why, under global warming, do land temperatures increase more than ocean temperatures? How will the terrestrial water cycle change in the future? What effects do land surface conditions have on seasonal monsoon circulations? To tackle these issues, simulations are analysed before Michael and his team try to come up with simple mathematical/physical theories to explain the observed behaviour.

Michael attributes his strong research discipline to the work ethic instilled in him during his time in Clongowes – notably, the early mornings, the regular study hours and the everyday duties that come with life in the school.

Upon leaving Clongowes in May 2004, Michael studied Physics at Trinity College. However, he notes that his career path was still very much undecided for a time until he found himself at Oxford doing a Masters in Applied Maths. While there, Michael developed an interest in geophysical fluid mechanics and in the use of computers to solve scientific problems. Such interests naturally culminated in Michael’s arrival in the field of climate science. Research in climate dynamics demands, in particular, a strong background in physics and maths. Michael is also quick to acknowledge that this interest was primarily stimulated and developed by several teachers in Clongowes. However Michael hasn’t solely committed himself to research, pointing to his balanced lifestyle. Indeed, a rugby player of some note, Michael is currently president and fullback for the MIT XV! Ultimately Michael hopes to become a university lecturer/researcher.


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