John completed his PhD in physics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1991 to 1994 and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and Max Planck Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institut für Strömungsforschung in Göttingen from 1994 to 1998. John returned to Australia taking up a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 2000. He has been a Professor in the Research School of Physics and Engineering since 2008 and was Deputy Director of the School from 2012 to 2016. He was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts from 2015 to 2018. He served as an elected staff representative on ANU Council from 2012 to 2014 and served on the University Education Committee from 2014 to 2016. John was Deputy Chair of ANU Academic Board from 2015 to 2017. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Head of the Department of Quantum Science and Chair of the ANU Defence Working Group.
My main field of research focusses on harnessing the properties of quantum fields to advance quantum sensors and apply them to a range of novel questions in fundamental physics and interdisciplinary physics and engineering. I pursue research in experimental physics and theoretical physics (strongly motivated by experiment) and I have broad collaborations with Earth Science, Biology and Industry. Questions I am currently pursuing include quantum sensors for space based application, microfabricated quantum sensors, inverse problems and mapping exploiting data from quantum magnetometry and quantum gravimetry including the application of quantum sensors to the mapping of restricted archeological sites, mapping of volcanoes, mapping of aquifers and mapping of mineral and ore deposits, quantum wavelet representations, visual reality and the representation of information in higher dimensional spaces, motion simulation with flight and motion simulators, quantum sensing with biological applications.
I have always considered excellence in research and excellence in education important in my role at ANU, and I have been active in both over many years. In 2006, I recieved a national teaching award for research led education. From 2012 to 2016, I was Deputy Director of the Research School of Physics and Engineering at ANU with a focus on undergraduate education. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.