Vale Geoff Wilson, UNSW Canberra’s inaugural Rector

16 Mar 2020
Professor Geoff Wilson

UNSW pays tribute to the distinguished Professor Geoff Wilson, who passed away at the age of 81.

The renowned nuclear physicist and academic pioneer, Professor Geoff Wilson was the inaugural Rector of UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (formerly known as the University College of the UNSW) from 1984 – 1991. 

“Geoff has left a great legacy in his research and in his leadership contributions to the development of three universities,” said Professor Michael Frater, Rector, UNSW Canberra. 

“He spent many years at UNSW Canberra and was a world-renowned nuclear physicist. One of his most talked about achievements as a researcher is leading the team that achieved the lowest temperature ever recorded in Australia. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.” 

As the first vice-chancellor of Central Queensland University and the fourth vice-chancellor of Deakin University, Professor Wilson had a distinguished career in the tertiary sector as an experienced academic and leader. In 1978, he was appointed as the Dean of the Faculty of Military Studies at RMC Duntroon, following his tenure as a Professor of Physics. He has also held appointments at Monash and Oxford University and the Free University of Berlin. 

Professor Wilson had many achievements, and his contributions were even more extensive. He published more than 100 papers in international scientific journals and made immense contributions to the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and low temperature physics. He was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1997 and conferred a Centenary Medal in 2003. 

Wearing several hats in his lifetime, Professor Wilson served as the National President of the Australian Institute of Physics, the Chair of the Victorian and Queensland Vice-Chancellors’ Committees, and the Vice President and Acting President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee. 

UNSW extends its sympathies to Professor Wilson’s family.