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Biographical entry Titterton, Ernest William (1916 - 1990)


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    Sir Ernest William Titterton

4 March 1916
Kettlebrook, Staffordshire, England
8 February 1990
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Ernest Titterton was Professor of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University, Canberra 1950-1981. He worked on a number of committees concerned with atomic energy and weapons.


Born Kettlebrook, Staffordshire, England, 4 March 1916. Died Canberra, 8 February 1990. CMG 1959; Kt 1970. Educated Birmingham University (BSc (Hons) 1937, MSc 1938, DipEd 1939, PhD 1941). Research Officer, British Admiralty working on radar 1939-43; member of the British Scientific Mission in the USA working on the development of the first nuclear weapons 1943-47; senior member of the timing group responsible for firing the first nuclear weapon at Alamagordo, New Mexico 1945; Chief Adviser on Instrumentation to the Task Force Commander at the Bikini Nuclear Weapons Tests 1946; Head, Electronics Division, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, New Mexico 1946-47; Group Leader in charge of Nuclear Emulsion and Cloud Chamber Research, Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) , Harwell 1947-50; Foundation Professor of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University 1950-68, Dean, Research School of Physical Sciences 1966-68, Director, Research School of Physical Sciences 1968-73, Professor of Nuclear Physics 1973-81, Visiting Fellow, Department of Nuclear Physics 1981-87. Fellow, Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of London 1952; Fellow, American Physical Society 1952; Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1954. Chairman, Australian Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee 1957-73; president, Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering 1973-74.

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Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Ernest William Titterton - Records, 1940 - 1990, MS 168; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details
  • John Oswald Newton - Records, c. 1941 - c. 1992, MS 212; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Ophel, Trevor and Jenkin, John, Fire in the Belly: the First Fifty Years of the Pioneer School at the ANU, Research School of Physical Science and Engineering, Institute of Advanced Studies, ANU, Canberra, 1996, 157 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Newton, J. O. and Jenkin, John, 'Titterton, Sir Ernest William (1916-1990), Professor of Nuclear Physics', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 510-2. Details

Journal Articles

Online Resources

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Digital resources

Sir Ernest William Titterton


McCarthy, G.J.