By Conor Demspey
Professor Petros Florides was inaugurated as a Pro-Chancellor of the University at the Provost’s House on November 4. He joins five other distinguished members of the College community in the role.
As Pro-Chancellor Professor Florides may deputise for Chancellor Mary Robinson but the most important and frequent role of a Pro-Chancellor is to officiate at Commencements, the degree-conferring ceremonies of the College.
Professor Florides noted at his inauguration that these ceremonies are amongst “the most solemn public functions of the University” and that “the strong bond that always existed between me and my students, and my sincere and deep empathy with them, will enable me to enhance this experience and make it a memorable one”.
Professor Florides gained his BSc in Mathematics from the University of London in 1958 and his PhD in General Relativity and Cosmology from the same university two years late. He completed his PhD under the supervision of the renowned astronomer and mathematician Sir W. H. McCrea. In 1960 Professor Florides carried out research in relativity at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies where he worked with Professor J. L. Synge, nephew of the playwright J. M. Synge. Professor Florides cites Synge as the figure who drew him to Dublin in the first place. He worked closely with Synge as a lecturer and Professor in Trinity’s School of Mathematics. In 1992 , he established the J. L. Synge Public Lectures and the J. L. Synge Prize in Mathematics in honour of Professor Synge.
Professor Florides was also Warden of Trinity Hall from 1989 to 1996 during which time he helped to stop moves to sell Halls. He was invited in 2005 by the Royal Society of London to write a biography of Professor Synge. This was published in 2008.