Jim Piper we salute you
Jim Piper we salute you


Jim Piper we salute you

Professor Jim Piper has retired from Macquarie University after 38 years of service.

As Macquarie University nears its 50th Jubilee celebrations, it stands poised to achieve great things.

Piper’s legacy is reflected in many facets of Macquarie’s emergence – its outstanding research rankings; its unique Australian Hearing Hub partnership; its pioneering Master of Research degree.

It’s a bold statement, but such has been his influence on the University over a sustained period, that it is accurate to say Macquarie would not be Macquarie as we know it today were it not for Jim Piper.

A world-class researcher

What did the young laser physicist think of Macquarie University in 1975, fresh from Oxford’s dreaming spires?

Piper is quoted as saying that on his arrival he could not ‘believe how bad the research situation was’.

But as was typical, he put his head down and started to do something about it.

The result was hard-won funding for the ARC Special Research Centre for Lasers and Applications, which Piper – by now a full Professor and Chair in Physics – led from 1988.

One of Piper’s proudest achievements was to Chair the International Quantum Electronics Conference held in Sydney in 1996, the first time the prestigious conference had been held in Australia. It attracted around 1000 delegates and is now widely hailed as being responsible for the huge leaps in optics and photonics research in Australia.

His own research contribution is sometimes overlooked given his recent executive and strategic leadership role, but it too is very significant. He has:

- authored or co-authored over 200 international refereed journal articles and 100 full-length published conference proceedings
- over 150 individual co-authors from more than 30 countries
- received nearly 3000 citations
- supervised 40 higher degree research students to completion, many of whom have established highly successful careers in their own right in research, industry, entrepreneurship and education
- invented or co-invented 14 patents.

Numerous professional awards and an honorary doctorate have followed these research achievements, as well as appointments to various national and international boards, panels and councils. He served on the Australian Research Council for 10 years, and was instrumental in the introduction of the Linkage funding scheme that we take for granted today.

If the first half of Jim Piper’s career at Macquarie was largely about growing his research team’s international profile, the second was about helping to guide the rest of the University to do the same.

An inspiring leader

Piper started with a stint as Head of School in 1997, but quickly moved on to a four-year appointment as Dean of the then Division of Information and Communication Sciences. In 2003 he took on the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Research, for which he is now best known.

During this past decade, under his stewardship Macquarie’s PhD program has doubled. More than 100 outstanding researchers from all over the world also joined Macquarie as part of the CORE program.

He has also been an innovator. He introduced the BTech degree in 1992, which established Macquarie’s early engineering credentials, and the Master of Research 20 years later. The ‘Macquarie Model’ is now being emulated by other Australian universities.

And he has fostered partnerships. To commercialise research with industry; to bring international research students to Australia; and to bring Australia’s leading hearing organisations together under one roof.

A valued friend

We look around Macquarie and see much to thank Professor Jim Piper for. A man who has served, faithfully and with great talent, every one of Macquarie’s Vice-Chancellors during his 38-year career.

There are hundreds of alumni who have graduated under his watch. Please use the section below to comment on how Jim influenced your career or wish him all the best for the future.

Professor Piper, we salute you – researcher and teacher, mentor and leader, colleague and friend.

Comments (11)

    1. RAmr. Sahapong Kruapech

      I am your student under Defence cooperation program (DCP) year 1988. You are a great teacher. Thank you for your contributions. You will always be missed.

  1. Thuy Willcocks

    Thank you very much for your contributions. We are grateful for it. You will always be missed. Wish you all the very best.

  2. Emeritus Professor John Clark

    Congratulations Jim, on a truly remarkable career both as a distinguished scientist and as a fundamental contributor to the academic development of Macquarie. We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have someone as selflessly committed as you to our university. I wish you well in what I am certain will continue to be a very productive future.

    Professor John Clark
    (founding Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Macquarie)

  3. Alex Harrison

    As a student of Prof Piper in the laser physics lab between 1977 and 1979, I recall he had a profound influence on us all when it came to research methods and quality, even though we had a very little budget at the time. Thank you Jim.

  4. Muhammad Bangura

    Thank you for your contributions Professor Jim Piper. You will be missed immensely!!! I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors. Thank you!!!

  5. Jeffrey Hunter

    Dear Professor Piper, It is with fond memories that I remember your kindhearted teaching style back in the 1970′s. Then, as a B.Sc. Dip Ed student, you may remember teaching me Thermodynamics in 1978 along with Cathy Foley (as Dr Piper at that time). Later in 1979, whilst studying Properties of Solids, I recall the thrill of the X-Ray diffraction experiment which required us to have you place the apparatus in the X-Ray chamber for exposure on film overnight for later analysis. I always enjoyed your clear explanations of phenomena which I believe had a positive impact on my own teaching style and career as a Physics Teacher. I would like to offer you and your family all the very best for your future in retirement. God Bless and Thanks from Jeff Hunter.

  6. marc convery

    Congratulations Jim on a most outstanding career. I will always value the faith you showed in me and the motivation you gave me to begin and finish my degree. I wish you all the best for the future

  7. Natasha Homsey

    I was honoured to have your reside at my bachelor degree graduation ceremony a couple of years ago – only to find out my mother worked on a research project with you in the 1980s! Thank you for being the professor that both my mother, Bidar, and I will always look up to.

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  9. Henry

    Hi Jim,

    Much appreciated for everything! I will see you in the next version!

    Your PhD student, Henry


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