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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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