In Memory of E/Prof. John White

It is with deep sadness that the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) remembers the late Emeritus Professor John William White, who passed away on 16 August 2023.

John was Emeritus Professor of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the Australian National University. Through his world-leading scientific research, and his long service to many scientific organisations, including AINSE. John had an enormous impact on the lives of many researchers and students. He also made a significant contribution to Australia’s decision in 1997 to build the new OPAL Reactor, and played a key role in gaining funding for the National Deuteration Facility at ANSTO.

E/Prof. John White (front, right) at AINSE’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in the Australian Museum, 2018.

John was a member of the AINSE Council for 20 years, from 1988-2008, and served as the AINSE President from 2005-2006 and AINSE Vice-President from 2003-2004. In recognition of his long years of outstanding service, John was named as an AINSE Honorary Fellow in 2009.

The late Prof White was a member of ANSTO’s Beam Instruments Advisory Group (2000-2004), a member (2004-2011) and chair (2008-2011) of ANSTO’s Bragg Institute Advisory Committee, and was one of the key people behind the growth of synchrotron radiation in Australia, chairing the Program and Review Committee of Australia’s first synchrotron beamline and serving on the Board of the Australian Synchrotron Research Program.

In addition to serving as chair of the International Advisory Committee for the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (2002-2012), John also served as a president of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, president of the Society for Crystallographers in Australia, and president of the Asia-Oceania Neutron Scattering Association. John was the second President of the Asia-Oceania Neutron Scattering Association(AONSA), and was awarded the AONSA Prize in 2015 in recognition of his leadership across the region.

In 2016, Prof. White was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia ‘for distinguished service to science globally in the field of chemistry, as an academic, mentor and researcher, and through leadership of synchrotron and neutron science projects in Australia and the Asia-Oceania region’.