Fire in the Belly

The history of the ANU physics research school from 1946 to 1996

The Research School of Physics and Engineering was established by the ANU Act 1946 and commenced in 1947 under the direction of Sir Mark Oliphant. To celebrate the School's 50th anniversary in 1996, Trevor Ophel and John Jenkin were commissioned to write a illustrated history - Fire in the Belly. This book is available in hardcopy from the School, and also on-line below.

Contents page and pre intro (pdf 109KB)
Introduction (pdf 655KB)
  • Genesis of a University and a School
  • A Perspective
  • Early Staffing - The ANU at Birmingham 1948-9
  • The School moves to Acton - 1950
  • The Later Years 1951-56
  • The Early Buildings of the School
The Big Machine (pdf 421KB)
A Changing School (pdf 303KB)
  • "Hatched, Matched and Dispatched"
  • A Shifting Foundation
  • New Schools
  • New Reporting Units
  • The Metamorphosis of Particle Physics
New Fabric and Facades (pdf 421KB)
  • The Next Two Decades 1957 - 1976
  • The Final Decade
Applied Mathematics (pdf 67KB)
Astronomy (pdf 90KB)
The Underlying Strength (pdf 268KB)
  • An Appreciation
  • Workshop Facilities
  • The Electronics Unit
Atomic and Molecular Physics Laboratory (pdf 123KB)
Electronic Materials Engineering (pdf 129KB)
An Essential Function (pdf 79KB)
  • Postgraduate Research Training
  • Physics Summer Schools
  • Undergraduate Involvement
Geophysics & Geochemistry (pdf 200KB)
Laser Physics Centre (pdf 97KB)
Accelerators of Nuclear Physics (pdf 414KB)
  • The Cockcroft - Waltons 1951-1967
  • The Electron Synchrotron 1955 - 1962
  • The EN Tandem Accelerator 1960 - 1980
  • The 2MV AK Van de Graaff (1962 - present) and the
  • Helium Ion Source
  • The 26 MeV Cyclotron Injector 1972 - 1980
  • The 14UD Pelletron Accelerator
  • The Linac - A Super-Conducting Booster
Mathematics (pdf 49KB)
Nuclear Physics (pdf 208KB)
Some Telescopes of MSSSO (pdf 166KB)
  • The 74"
  • The 50" - The Great Melbourne Telescope of 1868
  • The 40"
  • The 2.3m Advanced Technology Telescope
Optical Sciences Centre (pdf 91KB)
Plasma Research Laboratory (pdf 133KB)
Solid State Physics (pdf 84KB)
The Human Face of the School (pdf 193KB)
  • Social Life of the Fifties
  • School Activity
  • Personalities of the School
Systems Engineering (pdf 68KB)
Theoretical Physics (pdf 81KB)
A Rogues Gallery (pdf 197KB)
  • Sir Mark Oliphant 1950 - 1963
  • John Jaeger 1964 - 1965
  • Sir Ernest Titterton 1966 - 1973
  • Robert Street 1974 - 1978
  • John Carver 1978 - 1992
  • Erich Weigold 1992 -
  • Ken Le Couteur 1956 - 1985
Epilogue (pdf 295KB)
  • An Environmental Impact Statement
  • Appendix I Foundation Members of the School
  • Appendix II School Structure - 1952
  • Appendix III School PhD Graduates
  • Appendix IV Summary of School Records
  • Appendix V Photograph Sources
book cover image

Updated:  15 June 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster