Anthony Thomas: Brief Biography

Anthony (Tony) Thomas was born in Adelaide in 1949. He attended Adelaide Boys High School, winning the Thomas Price Scholarship (as top student in the State in the Leaving Examinations) in 1966. He was awarded the BHP Medal in 1967 as the top student in South Australia in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in the (new) Matriculation Examinations. After obtaining a PhD at Flinders University (where he was awarded the University Medal in 1971), Tony took a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Canada, stimulated by the imminent start of operations at TRIUMF. In 1975 he was offered one of the two foundation positions in the Theory Group (along with Harold Fearing) at the new laboratory, which he accepted subject to a one-year period of leave taken in the Theory Division of CERN.

He served as secretary to the Experiment Evaluation Committee, which had responsibility for evaluating proposals for beam time, and then chaired it from 1981 to 1987. In 1982 he took leave from TRIUMF to go to CERN as a Staff Member the Theory Division. While there he served a term on the Proton Synchrotron and Synchro-Cyclotron Committee.

In 1983 an offer came for the Chair of Physics in Adelaide, which he accepted. He arrived in Adelaide in February 1984. He has since served as Deputy Chairman of the Physics Department and for four years as the first Head of the new Department of Physics and Mathematical Physics. He has been Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science, and was elected to the University Council from 1991 to 1997.

In 1990 he was appointed Elder Professor of Physics - the sixth person to hold the chair first held in 1886 by Sir William Bragg. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987 and the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in 1990. In 1987 he won the Walter Boas Medal (of the Australian Institute of Physics, the AIP), and in 1991 the Inaugural Silver Jubilee Commemoration Medal of Flinders University.

From 1991 to 1993 he served as President of the Australian Institute of Physics. This was an exciting period during which the first Strategic Plan for Physics in Australia was created and his involvement in the AIP continued as chair of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee as well as serving from time to time on the Boas Medal Selection Committee.

From 1991 to 1996 he held an Australian Research Council Senior Research Fellowship and from 1996 to 1999 an ARC Special Investigator Award. In 1992 he was awarded a Research prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Research Foundation. Tony served on the Council of the Australian Academy of Science from 1992 to 1995, including a term as Vice-President from 1994 to 1995.

Following the recommendation of the Strategic Plan for Physics it was proposed to hold a competition to host the proposed National Institute for Theoretical Physics. The National Committee for Physics (of the AAS) awarded the honour to Adelaide University, in partnership with the ANU, UNSW and Flinders University in 1995, with Tony as Director. Since that time the NITP has hosted almost 50 workshops and conferences at the partner institutions and elsewhere. The Board of the NITP has 7 senior theorists from Qld., NSW, ACT, Vic., Tas. and SA.

Under the framework of the NITP, which is still seeking continuing stable funding, a bid was prepared for a more specialized research centre working in nuclear and particle theory. This led to the award of the Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM for short) in 1997.

The CSSM is widely recognised as one of the world's major centres for research in theoretical subatomic physics and details of its staff, its workshops, visitor program, publications and other activities may be found on the Centre's web pages.

Tony was elected a Fellow of the (UK) Institute of Physics in 1996. In 1997 the University of Adelaide recognised his achievements through the award of the Stephen Cole the Elder Prize for Scholarship. In the same year the AAS awarded him the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal and this was followed by the Harrie Massey Medal (of the UK Institute of Physics) in 2000.

Tony serves on numerous national and international committees. He was Secretary of Commission C12 (Nuclear Physics) of IUPAP from 1996 to 2002; he is currently Chair of the National Committee for Physics (AAS); he has chaired the IUCF Visiting Committee for two years and he currently serves on the Beirat at the Nuclear Physics Institute of FZ-Juelich.