In 1916 Norman Abraham Esserman finished his degree in Mathematics at the University of Sydney. Between 1917 and 1920, he travelled to London to study optics at the Munitions Office's Arsenal Branch. On his return to Australia in 1920, Esserman became the first physicist to join the Department of Defence. He worked in the Munitions Supply Laboratories, and eventually worked his way up the ladder to become Assistant Superintendent.
In 1938, Esserman became the Officer-in-Charge of the Metrology (Measurement) Section of the National Standards Laboratory (NSL). He brought a great deal of expertise in optics to the NSL and was a valuable member of the Optical Munitions Panel throughout the war years.
Esserman later became Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee on Optical Munitions (TACOM), which was established in February 1952:
to advise the Department of Defence Production on
matters relating to Optical Munitions and to re-establish the
precision optical industry which developed during the 1939-45 war
but was disbanded at the cessation of hostilities.
After the war, Esserman continued his career with the NSL and became Director in 1958.
H.C. Bolton (1983), 'J.J. McNeill and the Development of Optical Research in Australia', Historical Records of Australian
Science, vol. 5, no. 4, p. 65.
Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 30 April 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland and Elissa Tenkate
Updated by: Joanne Evans
Date modified: 4 January 1999