The Australian National University
Australian Institute of Physics 16th Biennial Congress 2005
Printer Friendly Version of this Document
Medals and Awards

The information below is available for download as a PDF file: Medals and Awards (PDF - 436k)

Medals and Awards

Awards for Excellence

The Congress will highlight discipline contributions to Physics for the Nation through the awarding of prizes for excellence. The AIP will have a special awards ceremony immediately preceding the closing plenary session on the Friday, and will present the Massey, Education, Boas, Bragg and Walsh medals and the Women in Physics Lecturer Award. The individual discipline societies will be encouraged to present their awards in the discipline sessions. All winners of Australian Medals (including those awarded by the AIP) will have their presentations highlighted at the opening ceremony.

AIP Walsh Medal

This award recognizes significant contributions by a practicing physicist to industry in Australia. It is named for the late Sir Alan Walsh, Kt, FAA, FTS, FRS, one of Australia’s most eminent and distinguished scientists, who was the originator and developer of Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS) and pioneered its application as a tool in chemical analysis.

Born in Lancashire in 1916 and educated at Darwen Grammar School, Sir Alan studied physics at Manchester University. After a few years in industry in the UK, he was recruited in 1946 to join the newly-created Chemical Physics Section of the CSIR (now CSIRO) Division of Industrial Chemistry in Melbourne. In 1952 he had the idea of using atomic absorption spectra, rather than atomic emission and molecular absorption spectra, in spectrochemical analysis. The subsequent development of AAS as a simple, rapid and inexpensive method for the analysis of minute traces of metals (and some non-metals) is a tribute to Sir Alan’s extraordinary creativity, his business acumen and his infectious enthusiasm. He promoted the establishment of an Australian manufacturer of the atomic absorption spectrophotometer, the original company Techtron Pty Ltd eventually growing into Varian Australia, now one of the world’s leading spectroscopic instrument companies.

The award consists of a Medal and is open to competition every second year among persons resident in Australia for at least five of the seven years preceding the closing date for applications. The award will be given for physics research and/or development that has led to patents, processes or inventions which, in the opinion of the judging panel, have led to significant industrial and/or commercial outcomes, such as devices that are being manufactured or have influenced a major industrial process.

Winners: Brian Sowerby and James Tickner (NUPP MOD35)

Brian Sowerby

Brian Sowerby is currently Chief Research Scientist, On-Line Analysis and Control in CSIRO Minerals at Lucas Heights. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons. 1) in Physics from the University of NSW and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from the Australian National University. Following post-doctoral work in Canada he has, since 1969, carried out research and development on the application of nuclear and ultrasonic techniques in the mineral and energy industries in the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and CSIRO. This work has led to the commercialisation of techniques for the bulk analysis of copper and nickel ores, the on-line analysis of coal (two of the Coalscan gauges) and the on-belt determination of coke moisture. His work also led to the development of the UltraPS particle size analysers, the UltraPF coal mass flow measurement system and various on-conveyor belt analysers. His current main research interest is the development and application of techniques to detect contraband in air cargo. He has received ten awards for his work including the inaugural Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award (1985) and the 1992 Australia Prize (shared with Watt, Cutmore and Howarth). He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 1986.

James Tickner

James read physics at Oxford University, graduating in 1994. He completed his DPhil at the same institution, measuring proton structure functions at the ZEUS experiment based at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg. In 1998 he moved to Australia to join the On-line Analysis and Control group at CSIRO Minerals. Since then he has worked on the development of nuclear instrumentation for the minerals industry and more recently for security applications, specialising in the development of Monte Carlo methods for designing and optimising nuclear analysers. In 1999 he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency’s coordinated research project on the application of nuclear technologies for humanitarian demining, developing the concept for a hand-held, 3-dimensional gamma-ray camera capable of one-sided imaging. In 2002 he co-developed the fast-neutron/gamma-ray radiography method for cargo screening which is due to be trialled at Brisbane airport next year. James has authored over 70 publications and patents in the fields of particle physics and nuclear instrumentation.

Malcolm McIntosh Medal

The Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year is awarded for an outstanding achievement in science that advances, or has the potential to advance, human welfare or benefits society. This Prize is awarded only to an individual. The Malcolm McIntosh Prize is comprised of a silver medallion and a grant of $50,000.

The objectives of the Prize are to recognise and reward outstanding research by younger scientists; and to demonstrate to the public, and to school students and science undergraduates in particular, that early-stage career achievement in science can be of world-class importance.

Winner: Ben Eggleton (AOS TUA11)

Benjamin J. Eggleton is currently an ARC Federation Fellow and Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney and the Director of CUDOS, an ARC Centre of Excellence. In 1996, he joined Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies as a Postdoctoral Member of staff then transferred to the Optical Fiber Research Department. In 2000 he was promoted to Research Director within the Specialty Fiber Business Division where he was responsible for forward-looking research supporting Lucent Technologies business in optical fiber devices. Prof. Eggleton has co-authored over 100 journal publications and numerous conference papers and was the recipient of the 2004 Malcolm McIntosh Prize, the 2003 ICO prize from the International Commission on Optics, the 1998 Adolph Lomb Medal from the OSA the distinguished lecturer award from the IEEE/LEOS, is an OSA fellow and recipient of an R&D100 award.


His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia will be presenting the medal at 1330 hrs at Llewellyn Hall at the opening of the Outreach programme.

The ANZAAS medal is awarded for services in the advancement of science or administration and organisation of scientific activities, or the teaching of science throughout Australia and New Zealand and in contributions to science which lie beyond normal professional activities. The ANZAAS Medal is only presented to the recipient at a suitably prestigious scientific gathering or event.

Winner: David Blair (ASGRG TUE11)

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to world science through his pioneering research work on gravity waves, the Council of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science has awarded the ANZAAS Medal to Professor David Blair.

Professor Blair, from the School of Physics at the University of Western Australia, is a high profile scientist who has researched gravity waves for more than 25 years. This research has led to the development of the world’s most accurate clock and to the development of a new form of astronomy— gravitational wave astronomy—the spectrum of which is awaiting discovery. When harnessed, gravitational waves will offer a powerful new probe of the universe. This research has received has much media attention and captured the public’s imagination.

Professor Blair is Director of the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre at Gingin, approximately 80 km north east of Perth, in Western Australia. The Centre involves collaboration between Australian and international scientists and incorporates one of the largest astronomy centres in the southern hemisphere, the Australian International Gravitation Observatory. The public arm of the Observatory is the Gravity Discovery Centre which features science education and tourist displays designed to stimulate interest in science.

Professor David Blair’s commitments to the advancement of science and to the promotion of science for secondary and tertiary students make him an outstanding role model and worthy recipient of the ANZAAS Medal.

Boas Medal

The Medal was established in 1984 to promote excellence in research in Physics and to perpetuate the name of Walter Boas. The award is for physics research carried out in the five years prior to the date of the award, as demonstrated by both published papers and unpublished papers prepared for publication, a list of which should accompany the nomination.

Winner: Professor George Dracoulis


George Dracoulis is a graduate of Melbourne University and has been on the staff at the Australian National University since 1973. He has been Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics since 1991. That Department operates a major facility based on a Heavy Ion Accelerator, which is used for a broad range of research, from basic studies in nuclear physics and nuclear reactions, to innovative applications.

His main interests, pursued at both the local and various international facilities, are in the structure of unusual nuclear states populated in heavy ion reactions and studied with time-correlated, gamma-ray spectroscopy. The recent focus of this work has been on the identification of metastable states, or Isomers, and in their use as a probe of the underlying nuclear structure, including elucidation of the mechanisms which control the formation of multi-quasiparticle states in deformed nuclei, and the orbital-dependence controlling nuclear shape co-existence.

He was awarded the 2003 Lyle Medal of the Australian Academy of Science

2004 AIP Massey Medal

The Massey Medal was proposed at the AIP Congress in 1988 as a gift from the Institute of Physics, UK, to the AIP, to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the AIP as a separate institution in 1963. It was first awarded in 1990.

Sir Harrie Massey, born near Melbourne in 1908, had a distinguished career in the UK and in 1931 with Edward Bullard, published the first experimental evidence for electron diffraction in gases. He saw the potential of using direct rocket probes of the atmosphere layers and eventually, as Chairman of the British National Committee for Space Research, he guided the entire UK space research program. From 1960 to 1964 he was President of the European Preparatory Commission for Space Research. He was knighted in 1960.

The medal is awarded every two years for contributions to physics or its applications made by an Australian physicist working anywhere in the world, or by a non-Australian physicist resident in and for work carried out in Australia.

Winner: Peter Drummond (AOS TUA31)

Peter Drummond is the Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Queensland, and UQ Director of the Australian Centre for Quantum-Atom Optics. He has degrees from Auckland, Harvard and Waikato Universities, and is a Fellow of the AIP, APS and AAS.

He has worked on: techniques and tests of quantum theory, theory of quantum and classical solitons, computational physics, physics of communication and information, laser physics, Bose-Einstein condensation and atom lasers.

He has published over 135 research papers in refereed journals, with more than 4100 citations. The calculations are generally closely related to experiments—and have been verified in many laboratories in the USA, Europe, Japan and elsewhere.

The most significant work was the development of novel theoretical phase-space representations of quantum operators. A practical application of this technique was the prediction of the first evidence for quantum solitons in optical fibers.

This was verified in several laboratories, and featured on Nature’s front cover.

In addition, he has contributed to the field of computational physics, through the development of new programs and algorithms, which are widely available to the physics community. He is currently working on new techniques for correlated fermions.

AIP Education Medal

The purpose of the prize is to recognize an outstanding contribution to physics education in Australia. It was proposed as an initiative of the Physics Education Group at the 2002 AIP Congress in Adelaide. The prize is awarded to any member of the AIP who is judged to have made a significant contribution to physics education in Australia. In determining the recipient of the award, the quality of the work, the significance to physics education, and the creativity displayed will be taken into account. The inaugural prize will be presented at the 2005 AIP Congress in Canberra.

Winner: Marjan Zadnik (PEG TUF31)

Marjan Zadnik is the inaugural Professor and Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Division of Engineering, Science and Technology at Curtin University of Technology. Prior to this position he taught and carried out research in the Department of Applied Physics at Curtin. Before joining Curtin he carried out research on the isotopic composition of noble gases trapped in meteoritical and terrestrial samples at the Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, and at the Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, in Germany. He has a strong commitment to student learning and supporting staff improve their teaching. He has been a co-investigator

Congress Handbook and Abstracts on over 40 competitive research and development grants totalling over $1.2 M. These include 5 national Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching and the Committee for University Teaching and Staff Development grants, plus a large ARC research grant. Awards and honours include the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in 1993, a CAUT National Teaching Fellowship in 1996, the inaugural Curtin Student nominated Guild Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999), the Dean of Science Medal (2000), the Most Valuable Paper published in 2000 in the Aust Science Teachers Journal and was a National Finalist for the Australia Awards for University Teaching, in 2002. He has published over 120 papers and presented at over 100 conferences.

2003 AIP Bragg Medal

The Bragg Medal was established in 1992 as an initiative of the South Australian Branch, to commemorated Sir Laurence Bragg and his father Sir William Bragg. The medal is awarded annually to the student who is judged to have completed the most outstanding PhD thesis in Physics under the auspices of an Australian university.

Nominations from each university are submitted to the State Branch Committee, which selects a state winner. A national selection panel then selects the national winner.

The medal will be presented to the winner at the congress by the President of the AIP.

Winner: Michael Bromley


Michael completed his PhD on -Positron-atom interactions studied using configuration-interaction methods- in 2002 for which he was awarded the 2003 Australian Institute of Physics Bragg Gold Medal for Excellence in Physics. His computer-based research, on anti-matter/matter interactions, was performed under the supervision of Dr. Jim Mitroy at the Northern Territory University in Darwin. The main result of this research was the identification of a number of new positronic atoms (i.e. atoms which could stably bind a positron to them).

Post-PhD, he has been a Research Associate at Kansas State University (U.S.A.) investigating atom optical elements (“atom chips”) with Prof. Brett Esry. He recently returned to Australia for a short-term Postdoctoral Fellow position at the (now renamed) Charles Darwin University, while looking for further work. He was a Young Australian of the Year winner in 2001 (Northern Territory, Science and Technology category) and, as of October 2004, has published 23 scientific papers with an emphasis on computational atomic physics; ranging from the electronic structure of atoms through to matter-wave (eg. Bose-Einstein condensate) propagation and manipulation.