University of Melbourne Magazine

Physics gains in latest gifts

  • Physics at the University of Melbourne has been advanced with the announcement of two major gifts.

    Betty Laby (MSc 1985), pictured, a former University statistician and department head, honoured the memory of her father – esteemed University physicist and chemist Professor T.H. Laby (MA 1915) – by leaving a gift in her will for a Professorial Chair in Physics.

    Betty Laby

    Betty Laby

    The gift will support an area in experimental or observational physics.

    Ms Laby was the last surviving member of a family with close ties to the Faculty of Science.

    Her sister, Dr Jean Laby (BSc 1940, MSc 1951, PhD 1959), was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in physics from the University.

    Dr Laby later became a renowned physicist, specialising in climate assessment.

    The gift extends the Laby family’s support of the School of Physics, which stretches back more than 30 years, largely through gifts from the Laby Foundation.

    Ms Laby’s gift was followed more recently with a gift from alumnus Dr Jake Haimson (BSc 1948, DSc 1967).

    Dr Haimson is an international pioneer in the design of microwave electron linear accelerators – the devices used to deliver high-energy X-rays in cancer radiotherapy.

    Dr Haimson commissioned Australia’s first linear accelerators at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

    The Jacob Haimson and Beverly Mecklenburg Lectureship in the School of Physics provides the school with the flexibility to teach and research fields vital to society’s future.

    The physics gifts are the latest major contributions in Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne.