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Biographical entry Robinson, Brian John (1930 - 2004)

FAA

Born
4 November 1930
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
22 July 2004
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Radio astronomer

Summary

Brian John Robinson was a pioneer and major contributor to the field of radio astronomy. He spent most of his 33 year career working for the many subdivisions of CSIRO's Radiophysics Division. Brian Robinson was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the Australia Telescope, later becoming the Vice-Chairman and was deeply involved in the telescopes design and construction.

Details

After graduating with a Masters Degree from the University of Sydney (MSc), Robinson worked as a Research Officer at CSIRO Physics Laboratory from 1953-54. He was awarded the Rutherford Scholar of the Royal Society in 1954 and moved to the United Kingdom to undertake a PhD at Cambridge University. Upon completion of his doctorate, Robinson went on to hold many prestigious posts including visiting scientist at the Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy in Leiden (1958-61), Director of Research, Australian National Radio Astronomy Observatory (1971-79) and Chairman Inter-Union Commission on Allocation of Frequencies (1976-1994).

Robinson pioneered the technical development of very sensitive receivers (masers and parametric amplifiers) used for the detection of extremely weak radio signals. His other major contribution was the use of emission and absorption microwave spectral lines to explore the galaxy. This was used to detect maser-like radiation by hydroxyl molecules within interstellar space and galactic centre. Towards the end of his Career, Robinson research evolved to take in satellite navigation systems. He has been awarded and honoured many times for his contribution to radio astronomy (see Chronology section).

Born Melbourne, 4 November 1930. Educated Universities of Sydney (BSc (hons) 1952, MSc 1953) and Cambridge (PhD 1958). Research Officer, CSIRO Physics Laboratory 1953-54; Rutherford Scholar of the Royal Society 1954-57; Visiting Scientist, Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy, Leiden 1958-61; Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Radiophysics Laboratory 1962-65, Principal Research Scientist 1965-66, Senior Principal Research Scientist 1968-75, Chief Research Scientist (Grade 1) 1975- , Deputy Director, Australian National Radio Astronomy Observatory Parkes 1968-70, Director of Research, Australian National Radio Astronomy Observatory Parkes 1971-79, in charge of millimetre-wave facility at Epping 1980-87; Research Fellow Emeritus ?- . Premium of Institution of Electrical Engineers, London 1963; Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society 1964; Fellow, Australian Institute of Physics 1967; Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1974; Walter Burfitt Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales 1974. Council Member, International Scientific Radio Union (URSI) 1975-80; Chairman, Working Group on Protection of Molecular Line Frequencies, International Astronomical Union (IAU) 1976-1994; Chairman Inter-Union Commission on Allocation of Frequencies (IUCAF) 1987-ca 1995. Chairman, Australian Radio Astronomy Panel 1972-80.

Events

1953 -
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed. Location: University of Sydney, NSW
1954
Award - Rutherford Scholar of the Royal Society
1958
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed. Location: Cambridge University, UK
1958 - 1961
Career position - Visiting Scientist at the Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy. Location: Leiden
1962 - 1965
Career position - Senior Research Scientist in the Radiophysics Laboratory at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
1963
Award - Premium of Institution of Electrical Engineers received. Location: London
1964
Award - Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS)
1967
Award - Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics (FAIP)
1968 - 1970
Career position - Deputy Director of the Australian National Radio Astronomy Observatory Parkes. Location: Parkes
1968 - 1975
Career position - Senior Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO Radiophysics Laboratory
1971 - 1979
Career position - Director of Research at the Australian National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Location: Parkes
1972 - 1980
Career position - Chairman of the Australian Radio Astronomy Panel
1974
Award - Walter Burfitt Prize received from the Royal Society of New South Wales
1974
Award - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
1975
Career position - Founding member of the Steering Committee for the Australia Telescope
1975 - 1980
Career position - Council member of the International Scientific Radio Union
1975 - 1995
Career position - Chief Research Scientist at the CSIRO Radiophysics Laboratory
1976 - 1994
Career position - Chairman of the Working Group on Protection of Molecular Line Frequencies of the International Astronomical Union
1980 - 1987
Career position - Head of the Millimeter-Wave Facility. Location: Epping, Victoria
1987 - 1995
Career position - Chairman of the Inter-Union Commission on Allocation of Frequencies
1995
Career position - Retired

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Whiteoak, J. B. and Sim, H. L., 'Brian John Robinson, 1930-2004', Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 17, no. 2, 2006, pp. 263-281. Details

Online Resources

Rosanne Walker