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1916 -

Noel Gordon Chamberlain was a physicist and Research Fellow when he arrived to undertake meteorological work at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory (CSO). He had previously worked at the Watheroo Magnetic Observatory in Western Australia. However, wartime optical munitions work interrupted his research plans!

Chamberlain's skills were popular: the Munitions Supply Laboratories wanted him to work with them, but R. v.d.R. Woolley managed to convince him to remain at the CSO. Chamberlain assisted Woolley in the design of optics and held various supervisory roles in design, assembly and inspection of optical instruments.

Chamberlain lived in the Bachelors' Quarters at the CSO on Mount Stromlo, along with S.G. 'Ben' Gascoigne, J. Dooley, F. Lord and K. Gottlieb. The Bachelors' Quarters saw many loud parties, but also served as the informal production headquarters. Chamberlain was one of the few CSO residents who had a car, and he was often driver for the CSO-organised bushwalks and skiing trips.

The optical munitions work had shown Chamberlain that he really preferred to work with his hands on practical projects. As this type of work is hard to achieve in the field of astronomy, he left the CSO at the end of the war. He went to work at the Commonwealth Mineral Resources Survey (which later became the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics) and later became the Bureau's Head Geophysicist.

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Bright SPARCS Biographical Entry

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 1999

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