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A group photo in 1950 at Sydney University of the Australian Organising committee preparatory to the URSI conference in 1952.The Royal Society organised a three week Empire Scientific Conference to be held in June-July 1946 with conferences in London, Oxford & Cambridge. Two further weeks were then arranged for more official government decision making. The delegates to the Royal Society Conference included UK (38), Canada (15), Australia (9), India (14), New Zealand (4), South Africa (7), West Indies (4), Southern Rhodesia (5) as well as Eire & East Africa. The 9 Australian delegates were led by David Rivett FRS of CSIR. & included JPVM who did not deliver any papers but did propose that a Secretariat be formed which would prepare the ground for the first meeting of a Commonwealth Standards body. The Conference was opened by H M The King on Monday June 17 at 11.00 am at the Beveridge Hall of the Senate House, University of London. The UK delegates, mainly FRS, included E Appleton, P M S Blackett, J Chadwick, Lord Cherwell , J D Cockcroft, C Darwin,& Henry Tizard.

Before the war ended Radiophysics in CSIR & the RRB were initiating programmes dealing with the upper atmosphere & operational RAAF radar stations were at times in their routines making recorded observations of atmospheric anomalies. J L Pawsey commenced work on radio astronomy & at the cessation of hostilities a vast supply of surplus radar equipment became available for use in this area.

In 1946 Trevor Pearcey-Csiropedia who had emigrated from Britain in late 1945 & joined Radiophysics started on a design of a stored programme digital computer & its construction in 1947-48 was financed in part at least by the recommendation of JPVM. In August 1951 a Conference on Automatic Computing Machines was held at Sydney University chaired by the now Emeritus Professor Sir John Madsen at which Douglas Hartree from England delivered papers in conjunction with David Myers from Sydney University on Analogue Computing & Trevor Pearcey on CSIR Mk1.& this was one of the first in the world to be displayed this way. The 1951 Conference is regarded as the start of a separate computing profession in Australia & the papers Proceedings of the Conference whilst mainly technical, form the basis of work for decades to follow. A summary of the main discussions indicate by JPVM that up to this point computing had been considered to be a sub discipline of mathematics.

In recognition of the outstanding Australian radio work done in the previous 25 years as acknowledged by E Appleton the President of URSI the Xth General Assembly was held at Sydney University in August 1952. In 1950 the Australian National Research Council requested that the next URSI General Assembly be held in Australia & thus became the first of any scientific unions to hold a meeting outside of Europe & America . Due to the distance of Australia from the northern hemisphere the Australian Government & some local companies subsidised airfares of some important delegates so that they could attend rather than come by boat. JPVM was Chairman of the Australian Organising Committee & was also elected President of the Xth Assembly. Of particular interest to Australia were papers presented to the Radio Astronomy Commission dealing with the 21 cm hydrogen line including work by W N Christiansen & J L Pawsey with the use of his principle of interferometry.

In 1956 there was great concern in the West that Russia had taken a significant lead in scientific training of its engineers following the detonation of its hydrogen bomb soviet atomic bomb project & the soon to follow Sputnik 1. To address the situation in Australia JPVM published a paper through Sydney University setting out recommendations for manpower requirements in the scientific era touching greatly on his own experience of the previous 50 years of promoting engineering with science.

eie-history/1946-1956.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/01 14:01 by superuser
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