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Alan MacDiarmid Chair in Physical Sciences named

Internationally-renowned physicist Professor Paul Callaghan is the inaugural appointee to the Alan MacDiarmid Chair of Physical Sciences at Victoria University.

The appointment was announced in the presence of Nobel Laureate and namesake Professor Alan MacDiarmid as part of his public lecture in the Wellington Town Hall on Wednesday evening (4 July).

In June this year Callaghan, a Victoria University graduate, was appointed Professor of Chemical Physics at Victoria University, relinquishing his role as Professor of Physics at Massey University's Institute of Fundamental Science.

He was also recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in London, in recognition of his work in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Lord Rutherford was the first New Zealander to be admitted as a Fellow.

Victoria University's Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Science, Professor Peter Englert, says Professor Callaghan's appointment to the Chair recognises his high profile, inter-disciplinary work spanning both physics and chemistry.

"He is one of the world's leading scientists, demonstrated by his admission to the Royal Society - one of the highest honours a scientist can receive," Professor Englert says.

"In his role as the Alan MacDiarmid Chair of Physical Sciences he will be at the forefront of current and future excellence in physical sciences at Victoria University and the wider scientific community.

"He will also make an enormous contribution to both teaching and research at Victoria."

Professor Englert says it was a privilege to witness Professors Callaghan and MacDiarmid meet and discuss the Chair last week at a powhiri on the University's Te Herenga Waka Marae.

"Their meeting saw a coming together of two top scientific minds…it really has been a special occasion and sets the scene for world-class materials science at Victoria University."

At the Marae powhiri, where Professors MacDiarmid and Callaghan were welcomed to Victoria University, Professor MacDiarmid said that, "with scientists such as Professor Callaghan teaching here, I have no doubt that Victoria University science students will lead the world in the future."

Professor Callaghan was born and educated in Wanganui and gained a BSc with First Class Honours in Physics from Victoria University in 1970, and a D.Phil in Physics from Oxford University in 1974. He has authored or co-authored more than 170 scientific articles.

The Chair in Physical Sciences was established at Victoria University earlier this year in recognition of the accomplishments of Nobel Prize winning alumnus, Professor Alan MacDiarmid.

The creation of the Chair contributes to Victoria University's and wider government objectives of nurturing and investing in human capital and of fostering talent, intellect and determination

Professor MacDiarmid visited Victoria University on 27 June and 4 July, culminating with his Public Lecture in the Wellington Town Hall.

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