Professor John Newton was born in 1924 in Birmingham, England. He won a scholarship to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he completed the first two years of his bachelor degree (BA, 1944) before joining the war effort in 1943. During WWII Newton worked as a junior scientific officer at the radar facility in Malvern. In 1946, he was able to return to the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge to finish his MA (1948) and later his PhD (1953).
Newton joined the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) in Harwell in 1951. He began as a fellow before promotion to principal scientific officer in 1954. Newton then accepted an appointment as senior lecturer (1959–67) and later, reader in physics (1967–70) at the University of Manchester. The first of Newton’s visits to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (LBL) in Berkeley, USA took place in 1956–58. He made subsequent visits in 1965–67, 1975 and 1980–81.
In 1970, Newton left England and became professor of nuclear physics and head of department at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. Newton was instrumental in the installation of a new accelerator at the ANU and introduced a new collaborative research ethos to the department. He was made emeritus professor in 1990 and continued as a visiting fellow in the Department of Nuclear Physics until 2008.
Newton was made a Fellow of the Academy in 1975. In 2010 he was interviewed for the Academy by Professor George Dracoulis.
Robert (Robin) Stokes was born in England in 1918 and moved to New Zealand at age five. Stokes earned a BSc (1938), MSc (1940) and DSc (1949) from the Auckland University College and a PhD (1950) from the University of Cambridge. During the war (1941-45) Stokes worked as a chemist and chief chemist at the Colonial Ammunition Company, New Zealand. He then moved to Australia to take up a position as lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Western Australia. In 1948 Stokes went to the University of Cambridge as an Imperial Chemical Industries fellow. From 1950 to 1955, he was senior lecturer and reader in chemistry at the University of Western Australia. In 1955 Stokes's definitive book ‘Electrolyte Solutions’, which he co-authored with Professor Robert Robinson, was first published. Also in 1955, he moved to the University of New England in New South Wales as the foundation professor of chemistry, a position which he held until his retirement in 1979. Stokes was made emeritus professor from 1980.
Stokes was elected to the Academy in 1957. In 2009 he was interviewed for the Academy by Professor Ken Marsh.
© 2020 Australian Academy of Science