Assessment

Assessment

The innovations of, and Company established by, Thomas Grubb played a major role in the history of astronomy.  They were involved in the construction of famous telescopes at locations all over the world in locations as dispersed as Melbourne, Vienna, Madrid, Mecca and Mississippi.  The Company was “…the only Irish scientific instrument company to achieve international status.”  
Thomas Grubb’s contribution was recognized readily during his own lifetime as he was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1839 and became a Fellow in 1864.
His legacy can be viewed in many places today including the Crawford Observatory in UCC which represents just one prime example of the progress made by firm as,

“this observatory, though small, is unique in Ireland, if not in Europe, for the remarkable state of preservation of its instruments and the original condition of its buildings.”

Another telescope built by the Grubb firm and installed at the Dunsink Observatory was “recently dismantled and refurbished by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.  
Thomas Grubb died on the 19th of September 1878 and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.  It is, perhaps, fitting in a piece on this significant Irishman to reflect on the lack of recognition afforded to Irish scientists in our schools and culture.  In an interesting article, Dr. Roy Johnson has suggested that,

“Science technology and their interactions are embedded in the culture of the Irish proto-nation, the roots however being primarily in the Protestant component and the fruits being sequestered and digested by the empire particularly in the nineteenth century the dominant process being emigration towards the application of science in the imperial interest abroad.”

He continues stating that we neither adequately know nor celebrate our scientists and concludes that:

“The fact that the Irish nation has suffered from imperial domination based on the abuse of scientific technology should not blind us to its necessary role in national survival.”

While this conclusion may have significant validity it is one that surely can be easily surmounted.

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