Dr Irish first became interested in quantum information and technology during her undergraduate summer research placements at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She was awarded a National Physical Sciences Consortium fellowship in 2000 and obtained her PhD on the theory of quantum electromechanics from the University of Rochester (USA) in 2006.
She moved to the UK to work on coupled cavity networks with Myungshik Kim at Queen’s University Belfast and Vlatko Vedral at the University of Leeds. Following two years as a Teaching Fellow at Durham University, she joined the group of Brendon Lovett at Heriot-Watt University, later moving to St Andrews, where she worked on vibration-assisted quantum energy transfer in photosynthetic systems. In 2014 she moved to the University of Southampton as a lecturer.
Dr Irish is recognised internationally as an expert in the physics of quantum light-matter interactions, particularly the Rabi model.
Outside of physics, Elinor plays oboe and cor Anglais in a number of local orchestras and chamber ensembles.