ARC Nanotechnology Network

Brief Bio

Emeritus Professor Neville H. Fletcher,
AM, PhD (Harvard), DSc (Sydney), FAA, FTSE

Neville Fletcher was born in Armidale NSW in 1930 and took an honours degree in Mathematics and Physics at the New England University College, then a part of the University of Sydney. After some brief work in plasma physics (transient arcs and sparks) he received a Fellowship to Harvard University where he completed a PhD in theoretical solid-state physics in 1995. While working for his PhD he had part-time employment with Clevite Transistor Products in Boston, where he developed innovative (and patented) designs for power transistors. Returning to CSIRO Radiophysics Laboratory in Sydney, he worked on semiconductor devices for several years, and then transferred to the Cloud Physics section where he worked on the nucleation and crystal growth of ice in clouds as part of the rainmaking program.

In 1960 he returned to what had become the University of New England, where he was Professor of Physics from 1963 to 1983. During part of this time he was also Dean of Science, Chair of the Professorial Board, and Pro-Vice Chancellor. He did research on various aspects of condensed matter physics, but particularly on ice and related materials — ice is actually a protonic semiconductor! In the mid-1970s he also developed a research interest in acoustics, particularly the acoustics of musical instruments (he plays flute, organ and bassoon) and of biological systems. In 1983 he returned to CSIRO as Director of the Institute of Physical Sciences 1983–1988, and then continued as a Chief Research Scientist until his retirement in 1995. Since then he has been a full-time Visiting Fellow in the ANU Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, and is also currently an Adjunct Professor of the University of NSW. His main present research interests are in musical and biological acoustics, but he maintains a strong interest in condensed matter physics.

During his career he has published five books and some 180 scientific papers and holds several patents on semiconductor devices and acoustic devices. He has received many awards and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Professor Fletchers's ANN Profile