The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs

The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs - Level 5

Natural and Processed Materials' Strand, Structure and Properties

Write an account of the contributions of
a scientist, such as Dalton, to our
understanding of atoms and molecules

Sir Mark Oliphant is one of Australia's most respected atomic physicists. He worked with Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and undertook ground-breaking atomic research. Bright Sparcs' Online Exhibition, Sir Mark Oliphant, tells the story of Oliphant's life and work.

The Physics in Australia to 1945 site contains more detailed information on Australian physicists, with listings of their publications and biographical details. This is definitely a worthwhile location to visit. The introduction is an excellent place to start with this site.

To find out more information on a particular scientist, a Bibliography is now available through Bright Sparcs. This resource lists any biographical books or articles about an Australian scientist, which can then be located in your library.

While history tends to focus on the exciting discoveries and firsts in science, much of scientific progress is made by men and women who work steadily on their research, and slowly add to our scientific knowledge and understanding. By searching Bright Sparcs for 'physicist', you will discover many names of those who have contributed to this cumulative scientific knowledge.

A good number of these scientists have Australian Academy of Science Biographical Memoirs; the memoirs provide lengthy, detailed life stories of over eighty famous Australian scientists. These files can then be downloaded and/or printed out for later use at home or in the classroom.

The following physicists can provide a good starting point for you:

'Working Scientifically' Strand, Using Science

Analyse and discuss statistics on the participation
in science of different groups in Australia

Bright Sparcs can be used to search for scientists who were born in a particular country, a particular Australian state, or at a particular time. It can also be used to search for male or female Australian scientists. The User's Guide to Bright Sparcs contains more details on how to search the database.

To help your students learn more about Australia's long and productive scientific, technological and medical heritage, some questions that could be asked about science in Australia are:

If you have any suggestions on Australian scientists that we can feature in this section,
please email us at:

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Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 7 March 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland and Elissa Tenkate
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 19 February 1998

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