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Visiting Fellow in Science Communication, Australian National University

John holds a PhD in hypersonics from the ANU. For many years he taught in the School of Electronics Engineering and Applied Physics at the University of Canberra (UC). Prior to his retirement, he was the Chair of the University’s Academic Board and the Dean of the School of Information Sciences and Engineering. These days he divides his time between UC and the National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) at the ANU. (His wife says that she is far too busy to entertain him at home.)
His interests include innovative teaching and learning in physics and engineering, and professional development programs for science teachers including workshops and online re-training programs in physics for science teachers. He also seeks to enhance the public awareness of science through public lectures to schools and community groups. His research work in plasma physics at UC is concerned with wave-heated plasma sources and their applications. At CPAS his research centres on the history of the physical sciences in Australia with particular reference to the development of exploration geophysics, and the diffusion of new ideas through the Australian physics community during the physics revolution of the first half of the 20th Century.


  • 2003–2005
    Dean, Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering, University of Canberra


  • 1974 
    Australian National University, PhD Physics

Research Areas

  • Plasma Physics; Fusion Plasmas; Electrical Discharges (020204)
  • History And Philosophy Of Science (Incl. Non Historical Philosophy Of Science) (220206)
  • Teacher Education And Professional Development Of Educators (130313)
  • Language, Communication And Culture (20)


Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to science and engineering education