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1 December 1971 Sir Mark Oliphant

1 December 1971       Sir Mark Oliphant

Sir Mark Oliphant was the first South Australian born Governor of the state when he took office on 1 December 1971. Born in Adelaide in 1901 he gained first class honours in science at Adelaide University and was awarded a scholarship to Cambridge in 1927 where he did research in physics under Sir Ernest Rutherford. From 1937-50 he was Professor and head of the Physics Department at the University of Birmingham. He was one of the scientists involved in the development of atomic energy and in 1943 worked with the Americans on the Manhatten Project, which produced the first atomic bomb. In the years since then he has spoken out strongly against the misuse of atomic energy.

He returned to Australia in 1950 to establish the Research School of Physical Science at the Australian National University and in 1954 was appointed first President of the Australian Academy of Science.   

100 Famous Australian Lives, Paul Hamlyn, Sydney, 1969, pp. 463-66

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