Leading particle physicist receives highest Australia Day award

The scientist who put the University of Adelaide on the world map of outstanding centres working in fundamental nuclear and particle physics, has received the highest award for outstanding achievement and service in the Australian honours system.

Today, physics expert Professor Anthony Thomas, FAA, has been recognised in the Australia Day 2020 Honours as a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Professor Anthony Thomas

Elder Professor of Physics Anthony Thomas has been awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Professor Thomas pioneered work in the area of nuclear and particle physics, where his research has and continues to answer fundamental questions about the nature of our Universe.

By connecting experiment, theory, advanced computation and simulation, the applications of his research have been far-reaching, including the defence industry and global financial markets.

Faculty of Sciences Executive Dean Professor Keith Jones praised Professor Thomas’ service to scientific education and research.

“In the 1980’s, Tony set about putting Adelaide on the world map as a centre for excellence in this field,” says Professor Jones.

“Hundreds of outstanding scientists have since visited the University of Adelaide, imparting their knowledge and unique insights to students and early researchers. “

“Tony continues to be a guiding light, igniting the minds of our students and driving scientific discovery. 

“As a university, we are indebted to his passion and talent, which has placed the University of Adelaide, and the nation more broadly, as an international leader in subatomic physics research. 

“We are grateful and proud to have such an inspirational leader in our community.”

Professor Anthony Thomas

Professor Thomas is the Elder Professor of Physics in the School of Physical Sciences. He heads the Adelaide node of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics at the Tera-scale and the ARC Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter.

During his career he has received numerous awards including the 2014 South Australian Scientist of the Year, winning a Centenary Medal in 2003, and an Appreciation Award in 2009 from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

“This (Australia Day) award is a great honour for which I’m very grateful, and it recognises that one can carry our first-class science and be a full player in the international scientific enterprise from South Australia,” says Professor Thomas.

“Putting the University of Adelaide on the world map of outstanding centres working in fundamental nuclear and particle physics is the achievement of which I am most proud. 

“It is a privilege to work in fundamental science and from time to time be the first person to really understand one of Nature’s secrets. And it’s an honour to share access to that scientific world with my students, and benefit from their enthusiasm.”

Part of this article was originally published at adelaide.edu.au/newsroom.

Tagged in Research, School of Physical Sciences, Physics, CSSM, CoEPP