The Godfrey Bequest — supporting theoretical physics

Gordon Godfrey was a member of the staff of the NSW University of Technology (later renamed the University of New South Wales) when it was founded in 1949. In 1951 he was appointed Associate Professor of Applied Physics, and remained a member of the staff of the School of Physics until his retirement in 1958. He was the first representative of theoretical physics at the University. Subsequent to his retirement he held an appointment for a time as Honorary Visiting Professor at UNSW, and until his death that of Honorary Associate of the School of Physics.

Professor Godfrey taught, first in secondary schools and then in tertiary institutions, throughout his entire career. His research in theoretical physics encompassed several areas. His MA thesis, written in 1919, was probably the first paper written in Australia on special relativity. He also published work on atmospheric radio propagation and on the reflectance characteristics of multilayer coatings.

Following the deaths of Professor Godfrey in 1979, and his wife Mrs Mabel Godfrey in 1980, the Godfrey Bequest was established. This gift funds a number of initiatives supporting theoretical physics at UNSW.

The Godfrey Bequest primarily promotes the advancement of theoretical physics within the University by providing financial support to assist in the travel and accommodation expenses of academic visitors to the University in this area. Seven researchers visited UNSW during 2003: Professor Mark Whittle (USA), Dr William Barford (UK), Dr M. Troyer (Switzerland), Professor Mihkail Kozlov (Russia), Professor Vladimir Dmitriev (Russia), Professor John Barrow (UK) and Professor Igor Bartos (Czech Academy of Science).

Another area of support is the undergraduate prize recognising outstanding performance in third year theoretical physics, which was awarded to Anthony Tedesco in 2003. There are also Gordon Godfrey scholarships awarded to outstanding students pursuing postgraduate study in theoretical physics. Two students received these scholarships in 2003: Julian Berengut and Alex Von Brasch.

In 2003 the 13th Gordon Godfrey Workshop was held. This year’s workshop was focussed on the theoretical aspects of soft condensed matter and nanoscale physics and was combined with the ATSE funded “Frontiers of Science and Technology Workshop on Soft Condensed Matter and Nanoscale Physics”, which looked at experimental aspects of this area.




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