Sir Mark Oliphant A Bright Sparcs Exhibition

Major Dates and Events

1901 8 October. Born in Kent Town, South Australia.

1925 23 May. Married Rosa Wilbraham.

1927 Awarded '1851 Exhibition' scholarship. Moved to England to study at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University.

1929 Senior at Cambridge University, England.

1932 Built particle accelerator at Cavendish Laboratory.

1933 Discovered Tritium (Hydrogen with nucleus of mass 3) and Helium-3 (Helium with nucleus of mass 3).

1935 Assistant Director of Cavendish Laboratory.

1937 Professor of Physics, University of Birmingham. Constructs the biggest cyclotron in Europe (located in Birmingham). Rutherford dies.

1939 Undertakes wartime work on microwave radar. Member of Atomic Energy Technical Committee.

1943 Led team of British scientists to the United States of America to work on atomic bomb project. Electro-magnetic separation of isotopes of Uranium.

1945 Returned to Birmingham. Built proton synchroton.

1950 Moved to Canberra, Australia, to establish the Research School of Physical Sciences (RSPS) at the Australian National University. Founding Director of the RSPS.

1954 One of the founding members of Australian Academy of Science. First President (1954-56).

1962 Retired from the Australian National University.

1971-76 State Governor of South Australia.

1972 Published Rutherford: Recollection of the Cambridge Days.

Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 26 June 1996
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 19 February 1998

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