Moyal Medallist 2013

Moyal Medallist 2013

Moyal Medal 

The 2013 Moyal Medallist is Professor Donald Melrose, Professor of Physics (theoretical) in the School of Physics, Sydney University.
Don’s undergraduate studies were at the University of Western Australia (1958) and the University of Tasmania (1959-61). The following year he went to Oxford as the Rhodes Scholar for Tasmania and completed a DPhil in theoretical elementary particle physics.

He then became interested in plasma astrophysics and that has been the overarching theme of his subsequent research. Don has been an outstanding contributor to the development of plasma Astrophysics since its inception.  He worked at the University of Sussex (UK), Yeshiva University (New York, USA) and the University of Maryland (USA) before joining the faculty at the Australian National University (1969-1979).

Since 1979 he has been Professor of Physics (Theoretical) at the University of Sydney. He was Director of the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Centre for Theoretical Astrophysics from 1991 to 1999.

Don has received numerous honours in the course of his career, including the Pawsey Medal and the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal, both awarded by the Australian Academy of Science. He is a Fellow of the Academy. Don’s recent and current research interests include quantum plasmadynamics, pulsar electrodynamics and the physics of solar flares.

Title: Coherent emission in astrophysical plasmas


New radio telescopes with high angular and time resolution at low frequencies are coming on line and leading to a renewed interest in coherent emission. Four coherent emission mechanisms are known to operate: plasma emission, electron cyclotron maser emission (ECME), pulsar emission, and emission from cosmic-ray showers. Professor Melrose will discuss the observational and theoretical background of plasma emission and ECME and explain how ideas evolved, some of the challenges that were encountered, suggested applications, and some of the problems that remain unsolved. He will comment on pulsar emission and radio emission from showers, and the possibility of direct measurement of `coherence’ through intensity interferometry in radio astronomy.

The talk is followed by a complimentary light supper in the tearoom E6B 2.300 (Dept of Physics & Astronomy multi purpose room). All are welcome.

For more information, please contact Maths Dept Administrator, Christine Hale (

John Corbett
Chair of the Moyal Medal Committee

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