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Gordon Godfrey
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The workshop is named after Professor Gordon Godfrey who left a bequest
to promote theoretical physics at University of New South Wales.


Biography of Gordon Hay Godfrey
Acting Head, School of Applied Physics 1951-1952

Gordon Godfrey was born in Sydney in 1892, and studied at Fort Street High
School and the University of Sydney. He took his BA with first class honours
in 1914, and his MA with first class honours and the University Medal (the
second ever awarded) in 1919. He graduated with his BSc in 1922.

Godfrey entered the NSW teaching service in1916, and was an assistant master
at both Sydney Boys High School and Parramatta High School. From 1921 he was
head teacher of physics, and later lecturer-in-charge of the Department of
Physics, at the Sydney Technical College. At the college he developed the
new diploma course in optometry and then created the diploma course in
physics. In 1951 he was appointed an Associate Professor of the NSW
University of Technology (later renamed the University of New South Wales) -
he was the first representative of theoretical physics at the University.

Professor Godfrey served as Acting Head of the School of Applied Physics
during 1951 and 1952, until Professor Milner commenced his position as Head
of School. Professor Godfrey remained Deputy Head of School until his
retirement in 1958, and Professor Milner claimed “no Head of School could
have had a more-loyal or more-helpful deputy.” After his retirement, he
continued to teach in the School of Physics until well into the 1970’s. 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 was a highly engaged and sincere teacher during his entire
working life a career that spanned nearly 60 years. In recognition of his
services to optometrical education he was made an Honorary Life Fellow of
the Institute of Optometrists (NSW).

Gordon Godfrey also made several contributions in research. 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. After his
retirement he turned to a long standing research interest in the
presentation of quantum mechanics, especially the uncertainty principle.

Following the death of Professor Gordon 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, primarily by
providing financial support to assist in the travel and accommodation
expenses of academic visitors to the University, but also by funding
undergraduate prizes, postgraduate scholarships, and a biannual workshop in
theoretical physics.

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