John Watt

By March 29th, 2011


John Watt started work with the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC) as a Research Officer after graduating from The University of Sydney in 1956 with a Master of Science. He worked in the AAEC Isotope Division, becoming Head of the Radioisotope Applications Research Section in 1967.

In 1982, he was transferred to the CSIRO Division of Mineral Physics as a Chief Research Scientist and Officer-in-Charge of the Division’s Lucas Heights and Port Melbourne sites. He was appointed an Assistant Chief of the CSIRO Division of Mineral and Process Engineering in 1985, and returned to full-time research work as a CSIRO Fellow in 1995. He retired from CSIRO in 1997.

John’s research has covered a whole range of on-line analysis applications in the minerals, coal and oil industries. He pioneered this research in Australia, developing a balance between laboratory research and field trials. He also undertook the first major commercialisation of on-line mineral slurry analysis systems in the early 1970s, which led to the setting up of the on-line analysis manufacturing industry in Australia.

Honours and awards

Mr Watt has received the following major awards:

2003 Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in applied physics
2002 Member of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian mineral industry through the development and application of nuclear analysis techniques
1992 Australia Prize
1991 Australian Nuclear Association Award
1983 Australian Design Award, awarded by the Industrial Design Council of Australia for the system for in-stream analysis of coal slurries (together with Amdel)
1973 Prince Philip Prize, awarded by the Industrial Design Council of Australia, for the system for on-stream analysis of mineral slurries (together with Philips Industries, Amdel and The Zinc Corporation)

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (elected 1977) and was editor of the international research journal Nuclear Geophysics.


Find out more
  • 1992 Australia Prize ‘ Mr John S Watt (Australian Government)