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Biographical entry Walsh, Alan (1916 - 1998)

FAA, FRS, FTSE

Born
19 December 1916
England
Died
3 August 1998
Australia
Occupation
Chemical physicist

Summary

(Sir) Alan Walsh was the originator and developer of the atomic absorption method of chemical analysis, which has been described as 'the most significant advance in chemical analysis' in the twentieth century. Walsh claimed this breakthrough came about when he "managed to stop being stupid long enough to see something that should have been obvious all along". The first spectrometer based on his design was produced in Australia during the mid-1960s by Techtron Pty. Ltd. Atomic absorption provided a quick, easy, accurate and highly sensitive method of determining the concentrations of more than sixty-five of the elements, rendering traditional wet-chemical methods obsolete. The method has found important application world-wide in areas as diverse as medicine, agriculture, mineral exploration, metallurgy, food analysis, biochemistry, the wine industry and environmental control. Alan Walsh was leader of the Spectroscopy Section of the CSIRO Division of Chemical Physics from 1946-57 and Assistant Chief of the Division from 1958-76.
Taken in part from http://www.science.org.au/academy/memoirs/walsh2.htm

Details

Events

c. 1935 - c. 1937
Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Manchester, UK
1938
Career position - Postgraduate studies in the Physics Department of the Manchester College of Technology
1939 - 1944
Career position - Investigator in the Physics Section of the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association
1944
Career position - Deputy Chief Chemist at the Metal and Produce Recovery Depot, Ministry of Aircraft Production in Durham, UK (secondment)
1944
Education - Master of Science (MSc Tech) completed at the University of Manchester
1945 - 1946
Career position - Chief Spectroscopist at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association
1947 - 1958
Career position - Leader of Spectroscopy Section of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) Division of Industrial Chemistry in Fisherman's Bend, Victoria
1958 -
Award - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
1958 - 1976
Career position - Chief Research Scientist and Assistant Chief (1962c) of the CSIR / CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Division of Chemical Physics
1960
Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the University of Manchester
1966
Award - Britannica Australia Science Award received
1966 - 1969
Career position - Council member of the Australian Academy of Science
1967
Award - Einstein Memorial Lecturer presented to the Australian Institute of Physics
1967 - 1968
Career position - President of the Australian Institute of Physics
1969 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
1969 -
Career position - Foreign member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Stockholm
1969
Award - Royal Society of Victoria Research Medal received
1969
Career position - Honorary member of the Society of Analytical Chemistry, London
1970
Education - Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from Monash University in Victoria
1972 -
Career position - Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Society of London
1975 -
Career position - Honorary member of the Royal Society of New Zealand
1975
Award - James Cook Medal received from the Royal Society of New South Wales
1976
Award - Knight Bachelor (Kt cr)
1976
Award - Torbern Bergman Medal received from the Swedish Chemical Society
1977 -
Career position - Honorary Fellow at Monash University
1977 -
Career position - Consultant to Perkin-Elmer Corporation in the USA
1980
Award - Matthew Flinders Medal received from the Australian Academy of Science
1982 -
Award - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE)
1982
Award - Robert Boyle Medal received from the Royal Society of Chemistry
1986
Education - Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from the University of Manchester

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • McKay, Andrew, Surprise and Enterprise: Fifty Years of Science for Australia, CSIRO, Melbourne, 1976, 48 pp. Details

Journal Articles

Online Resources

See also

McCarthy, G.J.