1 - Ronald Gordon Giovanelli

Date Range30 April 1915 - 27 January 1984

1915 : Born at Grafton, NSW, 30 April

[1920-1926] : Attended primary schools in Milton, Trundle and Forbes, NSW

1927-1932 : Fort Street Boys' High School, Sydney, NSW [He had left his home in the country and was boarding privately in Sydney. He became a Prefect and won a Public Exhibition scholarship to the University of Sydney]

1933-1937 : University of Sydney [Graduated B.Sc. With First Class Honours in mathematics and physics]

1937-1938/9 : Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mt Stromlo, ACT [Research Fellow. It was here that he developed his life long interest in solar optical astronomy and the theory of solar active regions.]

1939 : University of Sydney [Graduated M.Sc.]
: Sydney Technical College [Teacher of Physics]

1940-1941 : National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, United Kingdom [CSIR Research Scholar. He was one of the original group of nine scientists who were recruited by CSIR to establish the Australian National Standards Laboratory. This group was sent to England to prepare for this task. He specialized in optics, light and photometry and arranged for the purchase and dispatch of equipment for the Australian Laboratory.]

1941 : Returned to Australia via the United States of America and Canada visiting the National Bureau of Standards (Washington D.C.) and the National Research Council of Canada (Ottawa)

1941-1958 : CSIR/O Physics Section, Division of Physics, National Standards Laboratory, Chippendale, NSW [Senior Principal Research Scientist and Leader of the Light Section. He became deeply involved in scientific support of the war effort, particularly with respect to the production of optical munitions and military problems of night vision. This work involved the measurement of the refractive indices and homogeneity of the optical glass produced by Australian glass manufacturers and the development of goggles for anti-aircraft spotters. He was a member of the Optical Munitions Panel. Part of his research took him to New Guinea where he contracted dengue fever. After the war he played an important part in establishing Australia's national standards of physical measurement in the fields of optics, photometry, and colorimetry.]

1947 : Married to Katherine Hazel Gordon, February

1948 : First child born, Lesley Anne, December

1949 : Edgeworth David Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales

1950 : University of Sydney [Graduated D.Sc.]
: Second child born, Philip Gordon, November

1956-1959 : International Geophysical Year [Member of the Australian National Committee on World Days and Solar Activity 1956-59]

1958-1974 : CSIRO Division of Physics, National Standards Laboratory, Chippendale, NSW [Chief. During this period he developed his interest in astrophysics and established the optical sides of the Fleurs and later the Culgoora Solar Observatories. He was responsible for conceiving and constructing much of the unique optical equipment at these sites, including the original 1/8 Å birefringent filter and the 1/20 Å filter of the Culgoora magnetograph. The onset of his long illness necessitated his early retirement from administrative duties.]

1959-1974 : University of Sydney, NSW [Honorary Associate in the department of Applied Mathematics]

1959-1976 : National Standards Commission [Member]

1962 : Australian Academy of Science [Elected Fellow. Served on the National Committees for Astronomy, Space Research, and International Relations, and was involved in the Science and Industry Forum]

1962-1965 : International Quiet Sun Years [Chairman of the Australian National Committee]

1964 : Collège de France, Paris [Visiting Professor]

1964-1965 : Fraunhofer-Institut, Freiburg, West Germany [Visiting Scientist]

1966-1984 : Astronomical Society of Australia [Member. He helped in its establishment and was President 1968-1971]

1967-1970 : Wollongong University College, NSW [Visiting Professor of Physics and was a member of the Professorial Board in 1968]

1973-1976 : International Astronomical Union [President of Commission 12 (Solar Radiation)]

1973-1981 : Australian National Committee for Solar-Terrestrial Physics [Chairman 1973, member 1974-1979, chairman 1979-1981]

1974-1976 : CSIRO National Measurement Laboratory, Lindfield, NSW [Research Fellow]

1975 : Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA [Visiting Scientist]

1976-1984 : CSIRO National Measurement Laboratory, Lindfield, NSW and later Division of Applied Physics [Honorary Senior Research Fellow]

1979 : Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA [Visiting Scientist]

1981 : La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria [Gave a lecture series on plasma physics]
: Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA [Visiting Scientist]

1982 : Collège de France [Visiting Professor. Also visited the Smithsonian Institute for Astrophysics at Harvard and Calafornia Institute of Technology at Pasadena, USA]

1983 : Travelled to Europe for conferences and scientific meetings particularly in Switzerland, Greece and Italy

1984 : Died at Sydney, NSW, 27 January
: Secrets of the Sun published 1987
: Secrets of the Sun (German edition) published

Much of the information for this career summary came from the following articles:- Piddington, J.H., R.G. Giovanelli 1915-1984 Eos Vol.65, No. 26, 26 June 1984- Piddington, J.H., Ronald Gordon Giovanelli 1915-84 Historical Records of Australian Science, Vol.6, No.2, December 1985

Published by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre on AustehcWeb, April 2004
With support from Ian Potter Foundation and The University of Melbourne
Listed by Doug McCann and Gavan McCarthy
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Updated 8 November 2007

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