The University of Western Australia today honoured an eminent physicist who dedicated his life to the science behind astronomical telescopes, science communication and bio-magnetism by naming a building and lecture theatre after him.
Emeritus Professor Robert Street was UWA Vice-Chancellor from 1978 -86.
Born in Yorkshire in 1920, he began his career in magnetism research before moving to Australia in 1960 with his wife, Joan, and their young son and daughter.
Professor Street was appointed Foundation Professor of Physics at the then newly established Monash University. He also developed the Victorian physics curriculum and science communication through an ABC TV science program. He was actively involved with organisations such as the Australian Institute of Physics, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the Metric Conversion Board and the ARGC, which was the precursor to the Australian Research Council.
He was appointed Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences at the Australian National University and was one of six members of a committee established to oversee the development of the Anglo Australian Telescope, opened by Prince Charles in 1975.
During his career he also developed a magnetics lab in the CSIRO and was also associated with nanotechnology, the safe destruction of toxic wastes using mechano-chemical processes, and solving problems such as the deterioration of railway lines in the Pilbara.
He recently worked with UWA researcher Professor Tim St Pierre whose use of magnetic resonance imaging to painlessly treat a range of iron overload diseases won him a Clunies Ross Award.
Professor Street was awarded as Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985 - and 20 years later, the couple's daughter, Alison, was given the same award for services to medicine.
The University will rename other campus landmarks in October: the Curnow Building in honour of David Curnow formerly a clinical biochemist at Royal Perth Hospital and from 1968 Professor of Clinical Biochemistry; and Underwood Promenade in honour of Eric Underwood, former Dean of UWA's Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and a pioneer in sheep nutrition and wool production.
Emeritus Professor Robert Street (+61 8) 9293 2978
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716