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Biographical entry Cowley, John Maxwell (1923 - 2004)


18 February 1923
Peterborough, South Australia, Australia
18 May 2004
Arizona, United States of America


John Cowley began his career as a research assistant with CSIRO's Section of Chemical Physics. He progressed through the ranks and was promoted to Chief Research Officer and Head of Crystallography. In 1962 he moved to the University of Melbourne as Professor of Physics, then to the Arizona State University in 1969 where he remained until his retirement in 1994. During this time, Cowley was appointed Director of the Facility for High Resolution Electron Microscopy in 1983 and Regents Professor in 1988. The latter being a rare honour which is only awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional scholarship and achievements.


Cowley pioneered work on high-resolution electron diffraction and structure analysis. His achievements were many and included the development of single-crystal structure analysis, the theory of direct imaging of atomic crystal structures and defects, and the interpretation and use of Fourier images. Cowley received numerous awards for his work (see Chronology section) throughout his 44 years of research. Even very early in his career he was making a name for himself, winning the Edgeworth David Medal and Research Medal of the Royal Societies of New South Wales and Victoria respectively.


Education - Completed a Masters Degree (MSc). Location: University of Adelaide, South Australia
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed. Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Education - Doctorate of Science (DSc) received. Location: University of Adelaide, South Australia
1961 -
Career position - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
1962 -
Career position - Chamber of Manufacturers' Professor of Physics at the University of Melbourne
Career position - Galvin Professor of Physics. Location: Arizona State University, USA
1971 - 1980
Career position - Co-editor of Acta Crystallography
Award - Bertram Eugene Warren Award received. Location: USA
Award - Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
Career position - Director of the Facility for High Resolution Electron Microscopy. Location: Arizona State University, USA
Award - Fellow of the American Physical Society. Location: USA
Award - Joint inaugural winner of the International Union of Chrystallography's Ewald Prize
1987 - 1990
Career position - Chairman of the Commission on Electron Diffraction of the International Union of Crystallography
Career position - Regents Professorship appointment. Location: Arizona State University, USA
Life event - Retired. Location: Arizona State University

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Moodie, A. F. and Spence, J. C. H., 'John Maxwell Cowley, 1923-2004', Historical Records of Australian Science, 17 (2) (2006), 227-262. Details


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See also

McCarthy, G.J.