Seán Tobin (1930-2023) was born in Moneygall, Tipperary, and was educated at UCG and at Manchester where, in 1954, he obtained a PhD for his thesis 'On Groups of Exponent Four' directed by Graham Higman. He spent 40 years at UCG and served on its Governing Authority. His specialist research area was Group Theory and early in his career he was well known for his work on Burnside's Problem.

From the time of Seán Tobin's appointment as Professor he built up the Department of Mathematics which, in the early 1960s, had been in a rather weak position. A candid confidential report to the Naval Research Office, London, clearly echoes information he wished to convey to the University authorities. In the survey of mathematics departments, the situation in UCG was described as follows: 'The Mathematics Department is badly understaffed. The only professor, Sean Tobin, who is a competent algebraist, has been unable to make an appointment to a position that has been authorized for some time. This has compelled him to shoulder a very heavy teaching load, and his research has suffered accordingly, The remainder of the department consists of a number of very young men, several of whom are working on dissertations under the supervision of advisers // at other schools.’ (Epstein, 1965). From that unpromising situation he developed a very strong department.
Thomas J. Laffey, professor in UCD, is just one of many of Seán Tobin's former students who have paid tribute to his formative influence ('Interview').
Continuing his work and the strength the Mathematics Department developed in his research area, a meeting on Group Theory has been held in Galway every spring since 1978.


Bernard Epstein, 'Mathematics in Northern and Southern Ireland', Technical Report ONRL-57-65, Office of Naval  Research, London, 1965, Accessed 22 July 2023.

J. F. Queiró, 'Interview with Thomas J. Laffey',  CIM Bulletin, Centro Nacional de Matemática, Portugal, 13 (Dec. 2002), 17-23 at 17, Accessed 22 July 2022.





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MSc postgraduates with staff, 1965 People Image
Seán Tobin, north of the Quadrangle building People Image