Chronology 1960-1969


  • October - The Department moved into the first phase of a new eight story building.  
    New Physics Building
  • First practical superconducting bolometers for use in the extreme infrared [submillimetre wave] region developed by Drs Derek Martin and David Bloor.
    Spectometer using superconducting bolometer
    A spectrometer for use in the far infrared employing a superconducting bolometer [at liquid helium temperatures] as a detector.
  • Start of particle physics research at Queen Mary by Dr Alick Ashmore


  • The Department admitted its first Astrophysics research student, Mr P.J. Wright.  
    PJ Wright
  • St Benet's vicarage demolished to make way for the Physics Building North extension. The vicarage had been used as offices and lecture rooms since the College acquired it in 1947.  
    St Benet's vicarage
    The vicarage.
    Physics Building phase II under construction, February 1961
  • New Physics Building 'topped out' by the addition of a sculpture by T.B. Huxley-Jones.  
    Sculpture by Huxley-JonesRaising sculpture


  • June - Phase two of the new building, the three storey north extension, opens.
  • September - The Department hosts LT8, the 8th International Conference on Low Temperature Physics with 321 participants for five days.  
    LT8 Conference Comittee
    LT8 Conference Committee
  • 5 metre far-infrared telescope completed at Coxtie Green under Dr John Bastin's supervision.  
    Coxtie Green neewspaper clipping


  • The new physics building was formally opened by Sir Harrie Massey who declared that the building was both workmanlike and attractive and would provide amenities for "fun at a high cultural level"
    Opening of new building
  • Research in the Department consists of:
    • Low-Temperature Physics - Dr R. Heastie, Prof G.O. Jones, Dr D.H. Martin and Dr F.E. Neale
    • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - Dr J.G. Powles
    • Nuclear Physics - Dr A. Ashmore
    • Astrophysics - Dr J. Bastin, Prof G.O. Jones
    • Architectural Acoustics - Dr E.J. Irons
    • Ferroelectrics - Dr J.C. Burfoot
    • X-ray Crystallography - Dr E. Sándor
    • Theoretical Physics - Dr R.O. Davies, Dr S. Doniach, Prof R.K. Eisenschitz, Dr J.W. Leech, Mr G. Mandel, Dr J. Newman
    Further Information: (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • Departmental Brochure. (PDF)  
  • G.O.Jones paper in Nature 'New Physics building at Queen Mary College, University of London', Nature, 197, 1142–1145, 1963. PDF
  • G.O.Jones paper in East London papers - Physics at Queen Mary College PDF


  • Long Wave Infrared Developments Conference organised by Professor Derek Martin.


  • The 'course unit' system of teaching adopted in the Physics Department at Queen Mary.


  • Publication of Magnetism in Solids by Professor Derek Martin.
  • Publication of Ferroelectrics : an Introduction to the Physical Principles by Dr Jack Burfoot


  • Professor Alick Ashmore appointed Head of Department.  
    Professor A Ashmore,  born 7 November 1920
    1920 -
    Alick Ashmore graduated in Physics in 1941 from Kings College, London. After working as an Experimental Officer at the Radar Research and Development Establishment, Malvern, he joined the Physics Department at the University of Liverpool in 1947 as a Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer leading a research group working on the 156 inch cyclotron. In the summer of 1959 he received a letter from G.O. Jones, then Head of the Physics Department at QMC, suggesting he might apply for a University Readership in Experimental Physics. The proposal was to set up a user group on Nimrod, the proton synchrotron under construction at the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory (RHEL). Following a visit to QMC, seeing the new Physics Building under construction and discussions with G.O. Jones and the Director of RHEL, it seemed to him to be an attractive proposition with access to research at a higher range of particle energies. He joined the staff of the Physics Department here in January 1960. With Nimrod not yet operational his research was accommodated on the 50 Mev proton Linear Accelerator at RHEL. This allowed him the continuation of research started at Liverpool on the spin dependant parameters in proton-proton scattering. The programme received a boost when the was joined for a year by Bob Clarke, on sabbatical from AECL, Chalk River, Canada. Preparations for an experiment on Nimrod also started at this time in collaboration with AERE Harwell and RHEL. With financial support from RHEL appointments of research associates and technicians were made and research students allocated to the programme. In 1964 the opportunity arose to strengthen the group with additional staff appointments. It was at this time that Peter Kalmus joined the group and took over responsibility for it during Alick's sabbatical year at Brookhaven National Laboratory in U.S.A. - and subsequently as it turned out. At the same time John Charap was appointed to a Readership in Theoretical Physics with the consequent development of theoretical particle physics in the Department. He was appointed Professor of Nuclear Physics in 1964. With the departure of G.O. Jones in 1968 Alick Ashmore became Head of Department and at the same time Chairman of the University Board of Studies in Physics which largely filled his time with administrative matters. In 1969 he was invited to become Director of Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory and took up the appointment in 1970, retiring from there in 1981 having received a CBE in 1979.
  • Publication of Particles and their Interactions by Dr Jack Powles.


  • September - First samples of moon rock in Britain were exhibited in the Physics Museum for two weeks at start of experiments by Drs John Bastin and John Edgington.  
    Telescope newspaper clipping
  • Professor G.O. Jones admitted as Fellow of the College.
  • Publication of How to Use Groups by Drs John Leech and Douglas Newman.
  • Millimeter wave measurements on the sun and planets made at the Pic du Midi telescope.  
    Group at Pic du Midi
    Chris Clarke, Tony Marston, John Beckman, Ian Robson and Peter Ade at Pic du Midi.
  • Departmental Brochure. (PDF)