Community Outreach to Physics Award

Former University of Wollongong employee and astronomer Mr Glen Moore was recently awarded the 2019 NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award from the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Glen’s contributions to science and his passion for physics made him a “very worthy recipient”, according to the institute.

The award seeks to acknowledge an individual, with a clearly notable record of work in contributing to outreach, physics education, and has demonstrated passion for the study of physics in New South Wales.

Mr Glen Moore – 2019 Community Outreach to Physics Award Winner with Professor Jodie Bradby, National President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Fostering a love of learning and an appreciation of science in people of all ages has been Glen’s lifelong mission.

In this pursuit, he is a long-standing Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a foundation member of the CSIRO Public Education Committee, a Founder-Coordinator of the Illawarra Regional Science Hub in 2012, the Chair of Australian Astronomy and Space Exploration Liaison Group since 1986, and as of this year, a foundation member of International Planetarium Society Emerging Communities Committee.

In 2013, Glen was also the recipient of the UOW Award for Community Service; in 2014, the City of Wollongong Recognition Award, and in 2016, an Australia Day Innovation Award.

Glen is the founder and was, until 2014, the Director of the University of Wollongong’s Science Centre and Planetarium.

Over a remarkable 48-year career spent at UOW, Glen has shared his love of the cosmos and has gifted the Illawarra region with one of the country’s most sophisticated and innovative science spaces.

After a stint as a physicist at BHP, Glen was employed at UOW in the early 1970s as the first senior lecturer in physics and astronomy. Glen drew great interest from students outside his faculty with his accessible teaching style and in 1976 he introduced the subject Concepts of the Modern Universe to satisfy this interest. Glen’s teaching talents earnt him formal recognition through the award of the Australian College of Education Medal in 1991. With his teaching at UOW, TAFE and the local WEA college came the realisation that astronomy lent itself perfectly to practical demonstrations and exhibits, with the potential to foster a broader, popular understanding of our world and the galaxies beyond.

For nearly two decades, Glen harboured a passion to build a planetarium at UOW which became a reality in 1989. Its champions, in response to a public petition organised by Glen, were Barry Jones, Minister for Science, and Paul Keating, the then-Treasurer, along with former UOW Vice-Chancellor, Ken McKinnon and former state MP Colin Markham. The first incarnation of the Science Centre was housed in a cluster of drab Nissan huts located in Fairy Meadow.

A product of Glen’s resourcefulness, the Science Centre’s first exhibits were mostly donations, mixed with ingeniously devised models of our solar system. Without the ability to support a paid staff, tours and admin were expertly led by the Planetarium Society (community volunteers and research students of UOW) and Glen’s wife, Elizabeth.

Following extensive damage caused by the devastating floods of 1998, Glen’s tireless advocacy saw a collective three million-dollar commitment come from the NSW Government, industry and the community to rebuild it. It was re-opened in 2000 by the Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, Professor Alan McDermott of the University of Pennsylvania – a reflection of the standing of Glen’s achievements on a global scale.

The Science Centre clocked the milestone of one million visitors in 2012 and was recently relaunched as ‘Science Space’.