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2005  Einstein (Éire)

Albert Einstein appeared on an Irish stamp for the second time in five years (the earlier appearance was in a millennium set from 2000). This one was part of a set of three issued to mark the UNESCO World Year of Physics in 2005, the 50th anniversary of Einstein’s death.

That year was also the bicentenary of the birth of William Rowan Hamilton, regarded as Ireland’s greatest-ever scientist. Hamilton was shown on the 48c stamp in the same World Year of Physics set. Although he was Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College, Dublin, and director of its associated observatory at Dunsink, from 1827 until his death in 1865, Hamilton was not an astronomer but a mathematician; he was best-known for originating the theory of quaternions. The third member of this World Year of physics set had a face value of 60c and depicted the Paris headquarters of UNESCO.

Britain’s Royal Mail did not issue stamps for the World Year of Physics, presumably reckoning that the greatest British physicist, Isaac Newton, had been sufficiently feted on stamps in 1987 and 1999.

Stanley Gibbons no. 1729