HRH The Duke of Kent commemorates famous son

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent will be at the University of Adelaide on Wednesday 3 October to unveil a bust to commemorate one of Adelaide's most distinguished sons and world-famous scientist, Sir William Lawrence Bragg.

Sir William Lawrence Bragg (Lawrence) graduated from the University of Adelaide in mathematics in 1908 and in 1915 won the Nobel Prize jointly with his father, Sir William Henry Bragg. Together they worked out how to determine the molecular structure of crystals using x-rays. Lawrence Bragg remains the youngest scientist ever to win the Nobel Prize, at 25.

Their work has had an enormous impact across modern science and its applications, in medicine, physics, chemistry and biological sciences including determining the structures of proteins and DNA, and their techniques are routinely used in many industries including the development of new drugs and chemicals and in the minerals industry.

Sir William Henry Bragg spent 22 years at the University of Adelaide, as Elder Professor of Mathematics and Physics from 1886 to 1908, and his pioneering work with X-rays and radium started at the University of Adelaide.

HRH The Duke of Kent, who is President of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, is in Adelaide to launch the new Royal Institution of Australia, of which he will be Patron. Both Lawrence and William Bragg had been Directors of the Royal Institution.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said: "It is a great honour to welcome The Duke of Kent to the University of Adelaide and for him to see where the work of these famous scientists, William and Lawrence Bragg, began. The University of Adelaide is extremely proud to have been involved in the education and research of these great minds, whose work touches many aspects of all of our lives, almost 100 years on."

At the University's School of Chemistry and Physics, The Duke of Kent will sign the same University of Adelaide visitors book signed in 1901 by his grandfather who laid the foundation stone for Elder Hall on that visit, and who later became King George V. The Duke will see some of the legacy of the Bragg research in the SA Partnership for Advanced Computing's Visualisation Laboratory, then unveil a bronze bust of Sir William Lawrence Bragg before viewing Bragg memorabilia and meeting staff and students.

The bronze bust by sculptor John Mills is a twin to that located in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, cast especially for the University of Adelaide. A third bust will be located at St Peter's College where Lawrence Bragg went to school.

"Bragg's Law" is fundamental to the determination of the molecular structure of materials. For example, the Bragg techniques were used to develop the anti-influenza drug Relenza which was developed in Australia using the X-ray crystal structural work of another University of Adelaide graduate and Australia Prize-winning scientist, Professor Peter Colman.


Contact Details

Professor John Carver
Professor of Chemistry
School of Chemistry & Physics
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3110
Mobile: 0434 075 097

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084