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1899 - 1984

Eric Loxton Sayce was the Senior Physicist at the Munitions Supply Laboratories. He attended the first meeting of physicists, along with T.H. Laby and L.J. Hartnett, in Melbourne on 26 June 1940. It was at this meeting that the Optical Munitions Panel was established.

Sayce regularly corresponded with J.J. McNeill (while McNeill was studying in England), and shortly after the establishment of the Panel, he wrote that 'with the introduction of Professor Laby, all sorts of new ideas and methods are being tried'.(1)

From McNeill's regular reports to the MSL, Sayce was able to pass on valuable information to the Panel. Sayce also kept McNeill informed on developments in Australia; in a letter to McNeill in August 1941, Sayce said:

When you left Australia, very few people had had even the slightest experience in optical design or production of optical components. The position is considerably different now in that there has been quite a lot of development in optical designing and production of lenses and prisms. We are still, however, in our infancy, and whilst we have picked up the simple phases out here, by trial and error, we will still be relying on you for very material help on the advanced and more complicated phases.(2)

Sayce was an active member of the Optical Munitions Panel and was involved in its work from the beginning until its disbandment at the end of the war.

(1) Letter from E.L. Sayce to J.J. McNeill, 11 September 1940, p 2 (located in the McNeill Archive, University of Melbourne Archives).
(2) Letter from E.L. Sayce to J.J. McNeill, 26 August 1941, p. 2 (located in the McNeill Archive, University of Melbourne Archives).

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Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 30 April 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (bsparcs@asap.unimelb.edu.au)
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland and Elissa Tenkate
Updated by: Joanne Evans
Date modified: 4 January 1998

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