University Of Sydney
Professor Julius Sumner Miller
The position of the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow is named after Professor Julius Sumner Miller. Click here for a brief history of Professor Sumner Miller's life and connection with the School of Physics, Sydney University. The position is administered by the Faculty Of Science at the University of Sydney
The Science Foundation for Physics partly funds a unique role in the University: the Julius Sumner Miller (JSM) Fellow, responsible for communicating science to the broader community and named after American scientist Professor Julius Sumner Miller who became well known in the 1980's though TV broadcasts of his lectures at the Professor Harry Messel International Science Schools, and later for his "Why is it so?" television shows and books.
In 1993, the Foundation chose the first JSM Fellow, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, known Australia-wide for his rampant enthusiasm for all things science-related, thanks to his work on radio, TV and the web. It seems the choice was a good one - close to two decades later, Dr Karl is still the Foundation's JSM Fellow!
Entry surveys to the University of Sydney have shown that one in seven students have chosen to do science as a direct influence from Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Dr Karl says about this role:
"I have been honoured to be the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow since 1993. During this time in my role as JSM Fellow, I've been fortunate to be a part of several exciting projects - installing Foucault Pendulum's in both the QVB and the ABC buildings, sending out several hundred tonnes of free New Scientist magazines, Sleek Geeks Eureka Film Prize and most importantly, I've been able directly to mess with the minds of many students around Australia, hopefully convincing many of them that a career in science can be highly stimulating and will give them many opportunities to travel the world."
Source: ABC online
Do Physics First...
Suppose that you have a degree in Physics, and that you are being interviewed for your first paying job. To get the interview going, the interviewer will ask, "So, you have a degree in Physics?" The best answer is, "No, I have a degree in How To Solve Problems".
There are two main reasons why it is essential to make physics a big part of your first degree.
First, physics teaches you how to be a good scientist. You learn how to work out what the problem is, and then, how to solve it. You will learn how to do experiments. You will learn how to design experiments, how to make measurements, and how to analyse your results.
Note one very important thing. You are learning how to be any type of Scientist, not just a Physicist.
Once you know Physics, you need only a very small amount of Local Knowledge to do science into diabetes, the fatigue of metals, the different states of water (still a very poorly understood liquid), or why a tail is more efficient than a propeller (and maybe put the "fish" back into efficiency for ships). You need only a few weeks of solid reading to get started in any other field. You will pick up the rest of the knowledge that you need as you go along.
The second important thing that Physics teaches you is the essential "mental toolbox" to be any kind of good scientist. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to make a sick pancreas "morph" into a healthy pancreas while it's still in the body of a diabetic, or whether you are trying to save fuel by designing a better plane wing.
Every thing that we can measure is in some way dependent on the Four Forces that run the Universe.
They are the Gravity Force (that keeps the planets in their orbits), the Electromagnetic Force (radio, TV, etc), the Weak Nuclear Force (certain types of radioactivity), and the Strong Nuclear Force (holds the protons in the nucleus together). No matter what you are trying to investigate, it will be mediated by one, or more, of these forces. Knowing this makes your job as a scientist so much easier!