Media Release: Parkes Way bridge to honour ANU pioneer

Started by Barry Drive, June 16, 2010, 12:43:43 pm

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Barry Drive

Released 16/06/2010

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has written to the ACT Place Names Committee requesting that a bridge over Sullivan's Creek on Parkes Way be named after Australian nuclear physicist and founder of the ANU Research School of Physical Sciences, Sir Mark Oliphant.

Mr Stanhope said he had recently received the proposal to commemorate Sir Mark from ANU Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Chubb AC.

"Individuals who have made a notable contribution to Canberra's establishment and community life are under-represented in our city's street and place names," Mr Stanhope said. "I am grateful to Professor Chubb for his proposal to commemorate Sir Mark, which if agreed to will go some way to addressing this issue.

"Sir Mark was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Academy of Science and became its first president in 1954. His contribution to the early days of the ANU and his wider contribution to the development and promotion of Australian science warrant significant recognition in our city.

"The bridge identified by Professor Chubb is on the edge of the ANU Campus and just a stones throw from the Academy of Science's Shine Dome. It is, I believe, an ideal place to recognise Sir Mark's connection with Canberra," Mr Stanhope said.

Sir Mark was born in South Australia in 1901 and completed his early studies at the University of Adelaide. He subsequently studied with and then worked alongside the notable physicist Lord Earnest Rutherford. He returned to Australia to become the founding Director of the ANU Research School of Physical Sciences, a post he held from 1950 until 1963.

Sir Mark also played a key role in the creation of the now heritage-listed Shine Dome which has been home to the Academy of Science since its completion in 1959.

After five years as Governor of South Australia from 1971, Sir Mark retired to Canberra in 1976 where he lived until his death in July 2000, aged 98.