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Biographical entry Swan, John Melvin (1924 - 2015)

AO, FAA, FTSE

Born
25 April 1924
Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia
Died
15 June 2015
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Chemist

Summary

John Swan was a chemist whose research interests included peptides, amino acids, proteins, sulphur chemistry, organometallic and organophosphorus chemistry. Among his projects were the synthesis of the peptide oxytocin and the analysis of cigarette smoke. During his years at ICIANZ and CSIRO Swan worked on analysis of explosives, the manufacture of drugs and insecticides, and properties of wool and other keratins. Swan was Professor of Organic Chemistry at Monash University from 1966 to 1984, during which time he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He was influential in establishment of Graduate School of Environmental Science at Monash, forging links between Monash and organisations such as Bureau of Meteorology for which he was for a time a member of its Meteorology Policy Committee. In retirement Swan worked on improved, non-polluting ways of cleaning wool which, though successful, were not commercially viable. Swan was actively involved in policy and advisory committees concerned with marine environments, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Marine Sciences and Technologies Advisory Committee, and those relating to the health and management of Port Philip and Western Port Bays in Victoria. He also chaired the CRC for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology.

Details

Events

1940 - 1943
Career position - Junior Laboratory Assistant, No. 5 Explosives Factory, ICIANZ
1943 - 1945
Career position - Laboratory assistant, ICIANZ Research Laboratory, Deer Park, Melbourne
1944
Education - Associate Diploma in Applied Chemistry, Royal Melbourne Technical College
1944
Education - Diploma of Applied Chemistry, Melbourne Technology College
1947
Education - BSc, University of Melbourne
1947 - 1948
Career position - Member, Royal Society of Chemistry
1947 - 1949
Award - CSIR scholarship for study in London
1949
Education - PhD, Imperial College, London
1949 - 1960
Career position - Research Scientist, Biochemistry Unit, CSIRO Wool Textile Research Laboratories
1949 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry
1952 - 1953
Award - Fulbright Fellowship for study at Cornell University Medical School, U.S.A.
1955
Career position - Organising Secretary, 1st International Wool Textile Research Conference, Melbourne
1955 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
1959 - 1961
Career position - Editor, Proceedings of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
1960 - 1965
Career position - Research Scientist (later Chief Research Scientist), CSIRO Division of Organic Chemistry
1960 - 2015
Career position - Member, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1964
Award - H. G. Smith Memorial Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
1965
Award - David Syme Research Prize, University of Melbourne
1966 - 1971
Career position - Foundation Professor of Organic Chemistry, Monash University
1967
Career position - President, Victorian Branch, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
1967
Award - Liversidge Lecturer, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1968
Education - DSc, University of Melbourne
1968 - 1973
Career position - Member, CSIRO Advisory Council
1968 - 1979
Career position - Member, Australian-Asian Universities Cooperation Scheme
1968 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
1969
Career position - Member of organising committee and co-ordinating Editor, 22nd International Congress on Pure and Applied Chemistry and 22nd International Conference on Coordination Chemistry, Sydney
1971 - 1975
Career position - Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Monash University
1972 - 1974
Career position - Member of Council, Royal Society of Victoria
1972 - 1974
Career position - Chair of the Scientific Committee, Western Port Bay Environmental Study
1972 - 1984
Career position - Member, Victorian Conservation Trust
1975 - 1977
Career position - Member of Executive, Australian-Asian Universities Cooperation Scheme
1976 - 1978
Career position - Chairman, Queen's Fellowships in Marine Science
1976 - 1984
Career position - Dean, Faculty of Science, Monash University
1978 - 1980
Career position - Member, Meteorology Policy Committee
1979 - 1981
Career position - Member, Australian Research Grants Commission
1980
Career position - Chairman, Board of Management, Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences
1980 - 1981
Career position - Member, Australian National Commission for UNESCO
1980 - 1987
Career position - Chairman, Advisory Board, Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University
1981 - 1984
Career position - Chairman, Australian Marine Sciences and Technologies Advisory Committee (AMSTAC)
1981 - 1995
Career position - Foundation Member, Scientific Advisory Board, CRA Limited
1982 - 1983
Career position - Vice-President, Australian Academy of Science
1982 - 1984
Career position - Chairman, Victorian Conservation Trust
1984 - 1986
Career position - Member, National Advisory Board, Australian Science Archives Project
1985
Life event - Retired
1985 - 1987
Career position - Member, Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Advisory and Review Committee, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
1985 - 2015
Career position - Emeritus Professor, Monash University
1986 - 1991
Career position - Chairman, Tide International Pty Ltd
1987 - 1995
Career position - Honorary Research Associate, Howard Florey Institute for Experimental Physiology and Medicine
1988 - 1989
Career position - Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study
1988 - 1993
Career position - Member, Crown-of-Thorns Research Committee, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
1988 - 1994
Career position - Member Science and Humanities Committee, Museum Victoria
1988 - 2003
Career position - Chairman, Western Port Seagrass Partnership
1989 - 1992
Career position - Chairman, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1991 - 2000
Career position - Member, Westernport Region Water Authority (later Westernport Water Board)
1992 - 1995
Career position - Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study
1993 - 2000
Career position - Chairman, Board of Management, CRC for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology
1994
Award - DSc honoris causa, Monash University
1994
Award - ANZAAS Medal, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1994 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
1999 - 2000
Career position - Honorary Principal Fellow, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne
2000 - 2003
Career position - Member, Victorian Coastal Council
2001
Award - Centenary medal for service to improving the environmental health of Westernport
2002
Award - Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service as an outstanding contributor to the advancement of Australian science, particularly in the fields of chemistry, marine science and meteorology, to education, and to the management, protection and conservation of the natural environment
2010 - 2015
Career position - Chairman, Western Port Seagrass Partnership

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • John Melvin Swan - Records, 1947 - 1993, MS 119; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details
  • Oral Collection, 1931 - 2003, MS 057; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Journal Articles

  • Collins, David J. and Rae, Ian D., 'John Melvin Swan 1924 - 2015', Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 28, no. 1, 2017, pp. 58-65. Details
  • Rae, Ian D., 'John Melvin Swan 25 April 1924 - 15 June 2015', Chemistry in Australia, vol. 2015/6, Dec/Jan, 2015, p. 31. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Science and the making of Victoria, with Royal Society of Victoria, 2001, http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/smv/index_s.html. Details
  • Powell, Cedric, 'Early history of the electron spectroscopy project and the University of Western Australia: first definitive identification of surface and bulk plasmons', Australian Physics, vol. 53, no. 3, 2016, pp. 88-94. Details

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn