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John Sandeman - Emeritus Professor, physicist and climate change activist

The Australian National University, Emeritus Faculty Inc.

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CollectionsANU Emeritus Faculty Oral History Project
Title: John Sandeman - Emeritus Professor, physicist and climate change activist
Author(s): Sandeman, Sandeman
Stewart, Peter
Keywords: John Sandeman
Emeritus Faculty
oral history
Publisher: The Australian National University, Emeritus Faculty Inc.
This interview, with Professor John Sandeman, is part of the Emeritus Faculty's Oral History Program, involving retired staff members of ANU who were part of the university in the early decades of its life. The Oral History Program was initiated and developed by ANU Emeritus Faculty as a contribution to university and community understanding of the beginnings and development of ANU over the past six decades. Emeritus Faculty has a special interest in this era, since the Faculty's membership includes many of the people who helped shape ANU in its early days, to make it the pre-eminent university it is today. John Sandeman was born in Adelaide 1928 and graduated BSc in physics from Adelaide University in 1950. After working at the Long Range Weapons Establishment and the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in transonic wind tunnel research, he completed an MSc at Melbourne University in 1960 and a PhD at Cambridge University in 1960. In 1966, John was appointed senior lecturer in the Physics Department in the School of General Studies at the Australian National University. In 1987 he was appointed to a personal research chair, and was head of department 1983-93. He retired in 1993, but has since remained in the university as Emeritus Professor and Visiting Fellow, and until 2008 was a committee member of ANU Emeritus Faculty. John's research interests encompass optical, interferometric and laser diagnostics of gases in shock tunnels, the physics of ultra-high speed shock waves in gases, laboratory measurements of atomic spectroscopic constants important in astrophysics, and laser spectroscopy. Around the time of his retirement, his interests turned to quantum mechanical applications of interferometric measurements of gravitational waves. John has held Visiting Professor appointments at Harvard College Observatory and at the Astronomy Institute of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. From 1993 to 2000 John was Chairman of the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Wave Astronomy, made up of gravitational wave researchers at ANU, Adelaide and Monash Universities, and University of WA. He was Australian representative on the Gravitational Wave International Committee. Beyond his research, John has been an activist in the cause of better teaching of science in Australia. From 1983 to 1998 he was ANU representative on the Council of the National Science Summer School, held each year in the ACT. This event brought together more than 200 beginning year 12 students to Canberra for an intensive two-week interaction with scientists and engineers in the region. In 2004, John was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his contributions to science education. From 2002, John's professional interests moved to the science and impacts of climate change, and processes and design issues related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He has since written and commented widely on energy, water, environmental, and architectural matters related to the adoption of solar and other clean energy sources.


File Description SizeFormat Image
ANUEF_OHP_John_Sandeman.mp3Interview Audio File57.43 MBUnknown
ANUEF_OHP_John_Sandeman.htmlBiographical Introduction and Interview Abstract10.84 kBHTML
ANUEF_OHP_John_Sandeman.jpgPhotograph13.69 kBJPEG ImageThumbnail

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