Late 20th Century
1956: Roy Nodwell is awarded a Ph.D.
1957: Myer Bloom arrives as a Post Doctorate Fellow. Myer becomes "Mr. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance" in Canada. At UBC Bloom used his knowledge of NMR to establish the new disciplinary field of Biophysics, the study of the physical properties of biological membranes. This brought together new collaborations from Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Medicine. These initiatives led to the establishment of a new Canadian Institute for Advanced Research program on the Science of Soft Materials and interfaces, with a team of scientists from Canada, Europe and the United States.
1958: First year for the Faculty of Science to award a B.Sc. Amongst those receiving it were Malcolm McMillan, Detlef Matz, and George Needler; all received first class honours in Mathematics and Physics.
1959-61: The Plasma Physics group is formed. Hannes Barnnard. Roy Nodwell, and Frank Curzon. Frank becomes a world expert in spark discharges in gases, and spent a great deal of his later research years consulting and advising the Japanese TV industry on plasma TV.
- Bill Dalby joins the department.
1960: David Williams arrives at UBC with a NRC Postdoctoral award, and joins Myer Bloom's group. He became a faculty member in 1962. He pioneered the NMR studies of metallic single crystals, and with Garth Jones studied the electron distribution in alloys using angular correlation of gamma rays from positron annihilation.
1961: G.M. Volkoff becomes Head of the Department.
- Shrum retires from UBC and moves on to be Head of B.C. Hydro and Chancellor of Simon Fraser University.
- Garth Jones joins the department.
1962: Hebb Building and Theatre are opened.
- Volkoff president of CAP.
- Peter Matthews joins the Department.
1963: Mike Crooks joins the department. An excellent teacher, Mike is fondly remembered for his dedication to outreach programs for the Department. The Physics Olympics was initially started in the Faculty of Education, approximately 1979, with assistance from members of the Physics department, but gradually the responsibility shifted to Physics, under the guidance of Mike. He was also helped initiate the Physics Olympiad, where Canadian students compete internationally. The space in the Hennings building set aside to support these activities has been named "The Michael Crooks Outreach Lab". Rosalia Guccione receives her Ph.D. in Physics, the first female to do so. Thesis: "Magnetic Space Groups".
1964: Mike Craddock joins the department. He specializes in the physics of particle beams and accelerators, and has worked and consulted at several other institutions, particularly TRIUMF and CERN.
- Boye Ahlborn joins the department, thus making the plasma group up to four. Boye was instrumental in introducing the first Engineering Physics project lab course in 1978, while he was Director.
- Brian Turrell joins the department. He studied nuclear orientation, NMR and cryogenic detectors. His group was the first to detect NMR of oriented nuclei in an antiferromagnet and invented a detector based on a planar array of superheated superconductors. They later performed NMRON experiments on exotic isotopes using the new isotope separator facility (ISAC) at TRIUMF. Brian eventually served several terms as Department Head.
1965: Erich Vogt joins the department in 1965 but left the department in 1975 to become UBC Vice-President (1975-1981) and then the Director of TRIUMF (1981-1994). He taught in the department more or less continuously from 1965 to 2010.
- Walter Hardy gets his Ph.D., under the supervision of Myer Bloom.
- Bill Shuter joins the department, and then with Phil Gregory (1973) and Bill McCutcheon (1972), formed a very active radio-astronomy group. They erected a 15-foot dish antenna and receivers for millimetre observations on the South Campus detecting their first solar signals at 40 GHz in 1972 and CO near 110 GHz in the Orion Nebula in 1973.
- Department hosts the CAP congress for the first time (then again in 1979 and 2005).
- Peter Martin and Paul LeBlond (Oceanography) join the department.
- Antony Hewish and Samuel Okoye observe "an unusual source of high radio brightness temperature in the Crab Nebula". This source turned out to be the Crab Nebula neutron star that resulted from the great supernova of 1054 CE. This was the first experimental observation of what Volkoff and Oppenheimer predicted in 1940.
- The nuclear physics group collaborates with UVic and SFU to form the TRIUMF Study Group to explore construction of a 500-MeV H- cyclotron as a source of intense beams of pions and muons.
1967: Michael Ovenden, Bill Shuter, and Roy Nodwell applied jointly to NRC (the University funding agency at the time) for a Negotiated Development Grant (NDG) split among radio astronomy, laboratory astrophysics, and optical astronomy. In April 1970, NRC agreed to award UBC all of the funds asked for, $538,600. From this grew the Institute for Astronomy and Space Science (IASS).
- About 1969, funding from NRC was received to construct a 15-foot radio telescope operating at millimetre wavelengths. This was constructed in 1970 on a plot of land south of W. 16th Ave., and on the east side of Wesbrook (just to the north of the B.C. Research Council building).
1968: TRIUMF receives its funding and construction begins on the South Campus. J.B. Warren was the first Director. The following members of the department played key roles in the design, construction and commissioning of TRIUMF. Auld, Axen, Craddock, Griffiths, Jones, Johnson, McMillan, Erdman, White, Livesey and Vogt.
- Gordon Walker joins Geophysics. Gordon subsequently searches for extrasolar planets - techniques developed that led the way to modern successful searches - one of most active areas in astronomy currently. Walker won the Muhlman Prize for this.
- Jason Auman, Doug Beder, David Balzarini, and Maurice Pryce join the department.
- Jim Carolan joins the department. Jim was a highly effective supervisor for the science under graduates for many years, and instrumental in making the Science One program the success it is.
- Jochen Meyer joins the department. He used high intensity pulsed lasers to generate, manipulate, and probe various states of matter.
- Andrew Gold joins the department.
1970: David Measday joins the department. David was famous for the TRIUMF detectors TINA and MINA which are large NaI crystals which have been used for over 30 years. Completed experiments include a study of the reaction (π- + p → n + γ), with superb measurements of differential cross-sections and also of the asymmetry parameter using the TRIUMF polarized target. David was Science Dean pro tem (1997-98).
- Vogt president of CAP.
- Rudi Haering is the first to receive the CAP Herzberg medal.
1971: Walter Hardy [his scientific record needs to be expanded] arrives and becomes one of the most honoured scientists in Canada, for his research with hydrogen, low temperature physics and high-temperature cuprate superconductors. The most recent award given to him, Doug Bonn and Ruixing Liang was the 2005 NSERC Brockhouse Prize.
- Greg Fahlman and Harvey Richer join Astronomy.
- Bob Parsons joins the department. He develops many evaporation technologies for modern glass windows.
- Robin Louis' final oral for his Ph.D. was on January 27, 1971, and the topic was "The properties of ion orbits in the central region of a cyclotron". Student of Mike Craddock, he was President of Ventures West from 1999 to 2005. Prior to joining Ventures West in 1991, Robin was the CEO of Columbia Computing Services Ltd., a provider of software used in K-12 schools for administrative data management. Under Robin´s leadership, Columbia became the dominant company in its industry, was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and subsequently was sold to a British acquirer. Robin also serves as a member of the board of governors of Science World British Columbia and is a member of the board of the CVCA, where he was President from 2003 to 2005 and is now Chairman.
1972: Rudi Haering becomes Head of the Department. He appoints Bob Parsons as Director of Engineering Physics, and thus starts the rebuilding of the Engineering Physics program.
- Berger Bergersen joins.
- Urged by John Warren, Charles McDowell (Head of Chemistry) hires Don Fleming to begin a study of muonium chemistry at TRIUMF. Jess Brewer obtains his PhD in that subject from Berkeley. Fleming hires Brewer as a PDF the next year.
1973: G.M. Volkoff becomes Dean of Science.
- Opechowski is awarded an Honorary degree from University of Wroclaw, Poland.
- Lore Hoffmann is hired by Rudi Haering to become the Head’s secretary. Lore continued to be secretary to the Head until her retirement in 2005. She was secretary for Haering, Nodwell, Williams, Turrell, and Tiedje. She was an enthusiastic supporter and volunteer of the Vancouver Opera Guild, and is still very active in various roles.
- Derek Livesey resigned his UBC position to become Head of Department at the University of New Brunswick. His Full Professor position was split into three Assistant Professor appointments -- Phil Gregory and Bill McCutcheon were hired in Radio Astronomy and Michael Hasinoff was hired in Nuclear/Particle Physics. Both Bill and Mike had been teaching in the Department as Visiting Assistant Professors since 1971.
1974: First full energy beam at TRIUMF.
- Vortek lamp invented. Ahlborn, Nodwell, and Camm the principals. The company is formed and becomes a successful high tech spin-off from Physics. Gary Albach was heavily involved in the formation of the company.
1975: Erich Vogt becomes UBC Vice-President (1975-1981).
- Rudi Haering's and Jim Stiles's research on Li intercalation into molybdenum sulphide leads to the formation of Moli Energy with Norman Keevil Sr. of Teck and Jeff Dahn providing important business and scientific leadership respectively. The moly sulfide battery research was initiated by Rudi and Jim Stiles, a postdoc working for Dave Williams; Jeff Dahn was a later arrival. Stiles was the research director of Moli Energy for a number of years. Keevil came to Rudi and asked him if he wanted to commercialize the battery work, and subsequently took the lead in raising money and establishing the company.
- Karl Brackhaus is awarded his PhD for "The generation and control of 1.5 megawatts of RF power for the TRIUMF Cyclotron", under the supervision of Karl Erdman. Karl Brackhaus is one of the founders of Dynapro Systems, which provides control systems for industry.
- Rudi Haering becomes an Officer of the Order of Canada.
1976: Erich Vogt becomes an Officer of the Order of Canada.
- Bill Unruh joined the department. He is a world renowned expert on gravity, and is key member of one of the best theoretical groups in Canada (Semenoff, Stamp, Affleck, Scott, Berciu, and others).
1977: Roy Nodwell becomes Head of the Department. In 1984 following his retirement from UBC, he was appointed Chairman of the Science Council of BC, and in 1987, he received a gold medal from that council for his significant contributions to Technology Transfer.
- Jess Brewer joins the department as an assistant professor. World renowned for his use of muon beams at TRIUMF for a wide variety of science experiments, from particle physics to using the muon as a probe of the magnetic properties of superconductors, Jess was awarded the Brockhouse Medal by the CAP in 2008.
1978: Lorne Whitehead, a graduate student of Walter Hardy and John Berlinsky makes his first invention of the "Light Pipe". Lorne Whitehead then eventually forms along with Roy Nodwell the company TIR which markets these pipes around the world. Frank Curzon was instrumental in this effort as well.
- Haering president of CAP.
1980: Paul Hickson joins Astronomy. Paul is famous, amongst other things for his telescope of liquid Mercury, which is rotating to keep it parabolic.
- Andrew Ng joined the department. He used a high impact projectile accelerator to understand the behaviour of plasmas at very high densities.
1981: Erich Vogt becomes Director of TRIUMF. He retires from that post in 1994.
- Geof Auchinlech and Andre Godoroja produce a design report to retrofit the Vancouver Planetarium entertainment system for their Engineering Physics ApSc 459 project. They get a contract to do the work, and as a result, the department set in motion the process that eventually produced the full provincial funding for the Project Lab in 1988.
- Alex McKay joins the department.
1982: David Williams becomes Head of Department. During his term the J.B. Warren Chair was created, and the Department took the step of having year-round Co-op Education placements in the Honours Physics program.
1983: Richard McMahon (graduate student in Bob Parsons' lab) developed sophisticated computer technology (hardware and software), and founded local company, Techware Systems Corporation, to commercialize his product. Sales grew to $6M within 13 years. In 1996, Techware was acquired by Brooks Automation Inc., with Richard McMahon remaining as president. Richard, Jeff Young and Dan Friedman (MDA president) were all in the same Engineering Physics graduating class (1979).
- Gordon Semenoff joins the department. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2000, CAP/CRM Medal for Mathematical Physics, 2000 National Bank of Denmark Award 1999, MacDowell Medal 1990 Killam Research Prize 1989. UBC Site Director, Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, 1995-1997 Organizer of Frontiers in Mathematical Physics Workshops, 1995-2003.
1984: Last time that Shrum was able to come to the departmental photo.
1985: Chris Waltham joins the department. (SNO). He joined the Sudbury Solar Neutrino collaboration in 1988, and quickly became a key player in the development of the huge detector. The first major funding for SNO came in 1990. First neutrino (cosmic ray) 1999/05/05. First solar neutrino results announced at CAP (Victoria) in 2001.
1986: Chemistry-Physics wing completed.
1987: Brian Turrell becomes Head of the department.
- Tom Tiedje joins the department and brings molecular beam epitaxy to UBC.
- Ian Affleck (member of the CIAR) joins the department. Has provided essential theoretical insight into many solid state and high temperature super-conducting questions. He is one of the most cited researchers in the department. An internationally recognized theorist; provides great insight into: Condensed Matter Theory : Superconductivity, Quantum Magnetism, Quantum Impurities, Field Theory Methods in Condensed Matter Physics.
- Rob Kiefl joins the department.
1988: Engineering Physics receives a Fund For Excellence grant from the Provincial government to form the Engineering Physics Project Lab.
1989: Phil Stamp joins the department. A.A. Offenberger (UBC Engphys ’57, University of Alberta), becomes president of CAP.
1990: Herb Gush with Halpern and Wishnow successfully measure the Cosmic microwave background radiation with a ten-minute rocket launch from Churchill, Manitoba. A very sophisticated but inexpensive liquid helium cooled spectrometer did the trick. Essentially all of the apparatus was built in the Department’s workshop. It was launched just a month or so after COBE whose principals were awarded the Nobel prize in 2006.
- Carl Michal joins the department, and creates an immediate stir with his NMR measurements of spider webs.
- Kristin Schleich joins the department. She, along with her husband Don, take over the running of the highly successful Physics Olympics. It has flourished under their management.
1992: Michael Crooks receives the President’s Service award for Excellence.
1993: Jeff Young joins the department.
- Janis McKenna joins the department. She and her husband Tom Mattison (who joined the department in 1999) are part of the huge BaBar collaboration at SLAC measuring the B-Anti-B production.
- A symposium in honour of Myer Bloom was held at Whistler B.C., Canada.
1994: Lorne Whitehead joins the department as an Associate Professor and Chairholder of the NSERC/3M Research Chair in Structured Surface Physics. He becomes the most prolific inventor of patents the university has ever had.
- Doug Bonn joins the department and forms a great partnership with Walter Hardy.
- Tom Tiedje becomes the first director of AMPEL. AMPEL building opens.
- George Volkoff becomes an officer of the Order of Canada.
- Bertram Brockhouse wins Nobel prize in physics.
1995: Ariel Zhitnitsky joins the department.
- Doug Scott joined astronomy (theoretical astrophysics). "The most extraordinary thing that we have been learning about cosmology in the last few decades is that there are things we measured which can give us direct answers to questions about the large scale nature of the Universe. Right now these quantities are being measured and we are in a period of rapid growth in our understanding of cosmology. Many of today's questions appear answerable on a timescale of years - and this is what makes cosmology currently so exciting!"
1996: April 1, Astronomers join the department after the re-organization of the Faculty of Science. The Department is renamed Physics and Astronomy.
- Lore Hoffmann is awarded the President’s Service award for excellence.
1997: 50th anniversary of the first Engineering Physics graduates celebrated. Over 200 alumni came to the reunion.
- Bjarni Tryggvasson (Eng Phys ‘72), a Canadian Astronaut, was in orbit on the space station in August. He was testing his motion isolation system, part of which had been developed in the Engineering Physics project lab.
- Jaymie Matthews joins the department: a spectacular teacher and a very innovative researcher. He is mission scientist for MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars), which detects vibrations in the light of ringing stars too subtle to be seen even by the largest telescopes on Earth; the satellite observation station was his idea.
1998: Tom Tiedje becomes Head of the department.
- Ed Auld retires as Director of Engineering Physics after 18 years. Jeff Young takes over as Director.
- Andre Marziali joins the department, introduces a research program that aims to improve the sequencing and diagnostics of DNA. He has already formed a company to do forensic diagnostics. In 2000 he introduced a new project oriented course in Engineering Physics for second year students to build autonomous robots. The final exam in this course is a public display of these robots playing their various interactive games. (When? First weekend in August. If you don’t think education is exciting come and watch in Hennings 200.)
1999: Doug Bryman is appointed to the Warren Chair. The Warren chair was funded in recognition of John Warren's contributions to TRIUMF and Nuclear Physics. Doug is an experimental particle physicist specializing in the measurement of rare decay modes of elementary particles, notably muons and kaons.
- Matthew Choptiuk joins the department.
- Greg Fahlman leaves to take up the Directorship of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and in 2003 becomes Director-General of The Herzberg Institute pf Astrophysics (Division of NRC).
- Erich Vogt wins the Departmental Christmas Limerick contest, which was to produce a Limerick with Christmas, Political and Physics themes:
At something that Heisenberg missed,
"There is no uncertainty,
You can wait till eternity,
Van der Zalm is not on my list."