Belfast Telegraph

Science may solve problem of John Stewart Bell street naming row

By Rebecca Black

A failed bid to have a Belfast street named in honour of one of the most eminent scientists we have produced has been relaunched.

Last month Belfast City Council refused to name a street in the Titanic Quarter after physicist John Stewart Bell.

Councillors argued that it was better to stick to the convention of never naming streets after people for fear it could result in controversy.

Now the Belfast Telegraph can reveal that a new application has been submitted to name the street after Mr Bell's most famous theory.

The council is now considering naming the street Bell's Theorem Crescent, and councillors are set to vote on the proposal later this year.

There are also believed to be discussions about naming the former Belfast Metropolitan College building at College Square East - where Mr Bell was educated - the John S Bell Building.

Mr Bell was born into a working-class family in south Belfast in 1928 and after failing to secure a scholarship to grammar school, left education at 16 to work as a lab technician at Queen's University.

It was there that his talent was noticed and he was encouraged to resume his studies.

He was nominated - and widely believed to be a front-runner for - the Nobel Prize in 1990 before his sudden death that year. Dubbed one of the top 10 physicists of the 20th century by the Institute of Physics, Mr Bell is considered by some scientists to rank alongside Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Yesterday Belfast City Hall was lit up in a rainbow of colour to mark November 4, when Bell's Theorem was first published in 1964.

A number of events are taking place to mark the anniversary including an exhibition at the Naughton Gallery at Queen's and a series of public lectures at the university.

Professor Tom Millar, dean of engineering and physical sciences at Queen's, said Mr Bell's story "goes to the heart of the Queen's experience".

The exhibition, Action At A Distance: The Life And Legacy Of John Stewart Bell opens today.

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