1 - Walter Geoffrey Duffield

Date Range12 August 1879 - 1 August 1929

Note: A major source of information used in the creation of this career summary was Rosaleen Love's article 'Science and Government in Australia 1905-14: Geoffrey Duffield and the foundation of the Commonwealth Solar Observatory', Historical Records of Australian Science, 6 (2) (December 1985).

1879, Born 12 August at Gawler, South Australia
1892 - 1897, St. Peter's Collegiate School (with emphasis on languages, the classics and the sciences)
1894, Junior Public Examination (Second Class Honours)
1896, Senior Public Examination (Second Class Honours)
1898 - 1900, University of Adelaide (taught by W.H. Bragg, the Elder Professor of Mathematics and Physics; graduated with an overall third class honours degree in physics and mathematics)
1901, February, Angas Engineering Scholarship examination (first place)
1901 - 1903, University of Cambridge (Mechanical Sciences Tripos)
1903, National Physical Laboratory, Engineering Laboratories (Student assistantship, working on super-heated steam, wind pressure and the effects of repeated stress on iron and steel bars).
1904 - 1908, Owens College, University of Manchester, Physical Laboratories (McKinnon Scholar; M.Sc. And D.Sc. In the field of spectroscopy)
1905, International Congress of Science, Oxford (incorporating a meeting of the International Union for Co-operation in Solar Research which galvanizes Duffield's ideas regarding a Solar Physics Observatory in Australia)
1907, May, International Union for Co-operation in Solar Research, Meudon, France. (Resolution regarding the establishment of a Solar Observatory in Australia)
August 1907, Offered a 6" refractor telescope, 'The Farnham Telescope', for a Commonwealth Solar Observatory 'if and when it was founded'.
February 1908, Royal Society of London examines Meudon resolution.
April 1908, Australian Commonwealth Government rejects the plan for a Commonwealth Solar Observatory as too ambitious.
September 1908, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Dublin. (Special sub-committee set up 'to aid the work of establishing a Solar Observatory in Australia', with Duffield as secretary)
October 1908, leaves England for Australia (the main objective of this trip being his impending marriage).
1909 - 1910, Lived in Australia without a paid academic position.
January 1909, Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, Brisbane. (Australian Solar Physics Committee set up with Duffield as secretary)
1 April 1909, Australian Solar Physics Committee deputation calls on the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs without success.
June 1909, marries Doris Tennant Boult
26 October 1909, Public meeting in the Melbourne Town Hall in support of an Australian Solar Physics Observatory.
11 November 1909, Alfred Deakin, Prime Minister of Australia, recommends an annual grant of /1,500 for the Observatory.
1909, Eclipse preparations organized by Duffield for observations in Tasmania of a solar eclipse in 1910.
1909, University of Manchester (Honorary Research Fellow)
1910, Selection of Mt. Stromlo as site for the Oddie Telescope. (Selection committee did not include W.G.D.)
April 1910, birth of Joan Duffield in Manchester, England.
July 1910, appointed as Professor of Physics at the University of Reading.
1910 - 1923, University of Reading (Professor of Physics; Dean of the Faculty of Science 1912-1923)
1911, Erection of Oddie Dome and installation of 9" Oddie Telescope at Mt. Stromlo. (This did not involve W.G.D.)
June 1911, Duffield goes with a deputation to see the Australian Minister for External Affairs who was in London for the Coronation to further urge the establishment of the Solar Physics Observatory.
1911 - 1912, Conditions at Mt. Stromlo tested by P. Baracchi and J.M. Baldwin.
1913 - 1916, 'The Great Row' at the University of Reading in which eight professors, including Duffield, opposes the proposal of a novel form of constitution.
June 1914 - October 1914, British Association for Advancement of Science holds peripatetic meeting in Australia. En route, W.G.D. conducts gravity at sea experiments aboard the 'Ascanius' Deputation of important scientific and political figures visits Prime Minister Cook to lobby for the Solar Physics Observatory.
14 August 1914, the outbreak of World War I prevents further steps being taken.
20 August 1914, the Farnham Telescope is formally accepted by the Commonwealth of Australia.
1915 - 1916, War work while at the University of Reading, mainly in connection with munitions testing and/or manufacture.
1914 - 1919, Work with Royal Flying Corps, instructing cadets in physics.
February 1922, renews inquiry about Solar Physics Observatory with letter to Sir George Pearce, Minister of Home Affairs.
1922, August - September, in Glasgow to prepare research apparatus for his trip to Australia.
1922, September, Duffield family leaves England for Australia.
October 1922 - September 1923, on sabbatical leave in Australia where he further pursues the question of the Solar Physics Observatory.
April 1923, Commonwealth Government decides to establish the Solar Physics Observatory at Mt. Stromlo.
1924 - 1929, Solar Physics Observatory, Mt Stromlo (Director)
1 January 1924, Appointment to Directorship comes into effect.
September 1924 - November 1924, Duffield family leaves England for Australia via Canada and U.S.A. W.G.D. visits observatories in Europe and North America preparatory to setting up of Solar Physics Observatory.
November 1924, W.G.D. arrives in Australia.
December 1924, remaining family members arrive in Canberra from New Zealand. Family takes up residence at Hotel Canberra, becoming the Hotel's first residents.
1925, First observations undertaken from temporary observatory in Hotel Canberra.
1926, First observations at Mt. Stromlo and shift of Commonwealth Solar Physics Observatory to Mt. Stromlo
1928, Publication of `Luminosity of the Night Sky', first report produced from Solar Physics Observatory
1928, Duffield hosts, in Canberra, the first meeting of physicists and astronomers to breakaway from the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science.
1929, Dies Thursday 1 August, Canberra, A.C.T.

Published by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre on AustehcWeb, April 2004
With support from Ian Potter Foundation, Bank of Tokyo (Australia) Ltd and The University of Melbourne
Listed by Gavan McCarthy and Howard Sankey
HTML edition Ailie Smith
Updated 8 November 2007

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