An easy find on a bike ride around the lake. Note you cannot park on Parkes Way - try parking in ANU grounds but not during work hours.
Soon after graduating from University of Adelaide, Oliphant won a scholarship to join a research team at Cambridge University in England where he explored the new and exciting field of nuclear physics. This meant dissecting atoms, the smallest particle of a chemical element. Their findings stirred interest around the world. Little did they know their discoveries would contribute to the most devastating weapon ever used in war.
During World War Two, Oliphant worked on improving communication equipment. His team invented a magnetron. This radar device was used to track down enemy planes and ships. The magnetron gave the Allies a huge advantage in air and navy battles. The same technology is now found in microwave ovens.
By 1943, Sir Mark had returned to the subject that fascinated him most, nuclear energy. He led top secret research in America, code-named 'the Manhatten Project'. Oliphant's team was racing the Germans to be the first with the atom bomb. "It was essential to do this job, hateful though it was, because we knew the Germans were hot on the trail."
The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima . "It was a strange mixture of feelings." On the day an atom bomb flattened Hiroshima, Sir Mark was on a family holiday in Wales. "Sort of proud that one's gadget had worked, and absolutely appalled at what it had done to human beings." Even today, Sir Mark condemns nuclear weapons, he wants research into solar rather than nuclear energy. "That sun up there is the best nuclear furnace that exists - why not make use of it."
After the war Sir Mark returned to Australia to help establish the Australian National University in Canberra. Here, he continued delving into the mysterious world of nuclear physics.
Sir Mark's outstanding scientific work earned him a knighthood in 1959. Twelve years later Sir Mark's career took a different turn with his appointment as Governor of South Australia. He died on 17 July 2000.
From Australian Broadcasting Commission ‘Education Schools’ website http://www.abc.net.au/schoolstv/australians/oliphant.htm