Dr Vincent Casey Award winner 2024
Pictured at the prizegiving during the Department of Physics research day were Associate Professor Tofail Syed, Head of the Department of Physics, Professor Kenneth Stanton Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Luke Mann and Celine Casey.
Thursday, 23 May 2024

A fourth-year student from the Department of Physics has been awarded the Dr Vincent Casey Memorial Award for Best Final Year Project (FYP).

Luke Mann, an Applied Physics student from Newmarket on Fergus in Co Clare, received the award during the Physics research day, an event held recently in the Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick.

The Best FYP award honours the memory of Dr Vincent Casey, a pioneering figure in physics at the University of Limerick. He was the course leader for the first BSc in Applied Physics at UL and the founding Head of the Department of Physics. He was also the Chair of the Institute of Physics in Ireland.

Dr Casey was renowned for his research in physical electronics, with specialisation in thin films and solid-state sensors. This award highlights the impact of his work and legacy on the field of physics.

Luke's project entitled 'Galactic Classification Using Artificial Intelligence', involved the creation of machine learning models for the classification of galaxies based on their primary source of ionisation, and their morphology, both using the emission spectra of galaxies as the classifying features.

The models created (using Logistic Regression and Random Forests) proved successful and identified connections between the morphology and spectral features of galaxies.

These connections were found to have a high degree of agreement with existing literature, demonstrating the potential use of machine learning as a tool to identify the physical phenomena taking place within galaxies.
Commenting on receiving the award Luke said: “
I am deeply honoured to receive this award. I thoroughly enjoyed this project and the challenges encountered, gaining experience in the use of machine learning, Python, and SQL. This project also allowed me to strengthen my analytical abilities, and ability to process data. Additionally, I enjoyed learning about galaxy classification and the physical phenomena which differ between galaxy types.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Dr Corcoran for his guidance, advice, and feedback throughout the project, which was instrumental to its success.“

Presenting the award on the day Professor Kenneth Stanton, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, congratulated Luke and his family members and thanked Dr Casey’s wife Celine who also attended the presentation.