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Department of Physics
While some Physics classes had been taught by the legendary mathematics Professor Horace Lamb since 1876, arguably the real beginning of Physics at the University of Adelaide was in 1886 with the arrival of William Henry Bragg as the Elder Professor of Mathematics and Physics. Research and teaching were Bragg's dual occupations at Adelaide for 22 years, including time instructing his son, William Lawrence Bragg, who graduated from the University in 1908. The two Braggs went on to earn the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915, the work having begun in Adelaide and completed in England. Lawrence remains the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize, at age 25.
Kerr Grant succeeded William Bragg as Professor of Physics in 1909. Over his long tenure stretching to 1948, he maintained a small but important teaching department with a variety of research interests. A popular local figure in Adelaide through his public lectures, Kerr Grant led a department with real relevance for the local South Australian community.
The character of the Physics Department transformed dramatically in the post-war years under the stewardship of Leonard Huxley and John H. Carver. Staff numbers grew, and internationally-focused research became an essential part of the culture. Through several key appointments, and the organisation of research into groups with critical mass, the Physics Department became an internationally-known research department with a proud history of quality teaching.
Physics at the University also included a separate Department of Mathematical Physics begun in 1951, led initially by H.S. (Bert) Green, and later by Angas Hurst. While a small department, it had a remarkable international reputation for scholarship.
The Physics and Mathematical Physics departments merged into one department in 1986. The Physics Department was part of the School of Chemistry & Physics from 2003, and the School of Physical Sciences from 2015.
Taken from - https://sciences.adelaide.edu.au/physical-sciences/history/physics-history - Accessed 12 December 2020
Professor of Physics
- Professor Sir Kerr Grant, MSc (Melb), FInstP, Acting Professor, 1909-1910; Professor, 1911-1948 (Emeritus Professor 1949)
- Professor Leonard George Holden Huxley, KBE, MA, PhD (Oxford), FAA, 1949-1959 (Emeritus Professor 1960)
- Professor Kenneth Gordon McCracken, BSc, PhD (Tas), 1966-1969
- Professor John Henry Carver, MSc (Syd), PhD, ScD (Camb), 1961-1978 (Emeritus 1979)
- Professor John Russell Prescott, PhD (Melb), PhD (Oxf), BSc, 1971-1987 (Emeritus Professor 1990)
- Professor Stewart Alan Greenhalgh BSc (Hons), MSc (Syd), PhD (Minnesota) DSc (Syd), FTSE, 2003-2011 (Emeritus Professor 2012)
Professor of Mathematics and Physics
- Professor William Henry Bragg, MA (Camb), FRS, 1886-1908
- Professor Paul Charles William Davies, BSc (Hons), PhD (Lond), FIP, FAIP, 1990-1997
Professor of Experimental Physics
- Professor Jesper Munch, BS (MIT), MS, PhD (Chicago), 1990-2013 (Emeritus Professor 2013)
Early 1950’s graduation - L to R: Bob Crompton, George Fuller, David Sutton, Clare Sykes (background), Graham Elford, Gordon Aitchison (Taken from programme for Physics History Symposium, 1 September 2012, University of Adelaide )