John Paul Wild, CSIRO Chair from 14/12/1978 to 24/09/1985

Dr John Paul Wild AC CBE MA ScD (Cantab.) FRS FTSE FAA, 17 May 1923 – 10 May 2008

CSIRO deeply regrets the passing of Dr John Paul Wild, distinguished scientist and former Chairman of CSIRO. Dr Wild died on Saturday, 10 May 2008.

  • 16 May 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

In this article

  1. Statement
  2. Dr Paul Wild: Man In The Sun

Statement

Page 1 of 2

Dr Wild was one of Australia’s most respected and inspirational scientist and engineers. 

Dr Wild was best known for his contributions to Solar Science.  He was part of the team that built and operated the original solar radiospectrographs and later the Radioheliograph at Culgoora in NSW.  The Radioheliograph was a ground breaking instrument producing real time images of solar activity across a range of altitudes from the Sun's surface.  In the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s the Culgoora group led the world in solar research, attracting prominent solar physicists from around the world.

Dr Wild successfully applied his considerable initiative and expertise to the development of ground breaking technology for industry and the community.  As Chief of the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics from 1971 until 1978 he led the team that developed the Interscan aircraft landing system that was adopted in 1978 as the international standard.

Colleagues appreciated his generosity in sharing ideas.  He was extremely approachable and had the magical ability to reduce the most complex of concepts to simple terms understood by all.  His colleagues appreciated the fact that when these concepts were realised in practice he never failed to acknowledge the role they played in developing them.

“Yet, whatever the changes, one characteristic must remain inviolate: a high standard of excellence and originality.  Without excellence and originality, research achieves nothing.”
Dr John Paul Wild

As Chairman of CSIRO from 1978 to 1985, Dr Wild was a national science leader.  He led the Organisation through the restructure designed in 1978 to modernise the Organisation and bring it closer to the industries and community which it serves.  He recognised that CSIRO needed to adapt and provide scientific and technological leadership in a changing world.  And, as he wrote in 1984 'Yet, whatever the changes, one characteristic must remain inviolate: a high standard of excellence and originality.  Without excellence and originality, research achieves nothing.' During this period he was instrumental in securing funding for major national research facilities including the oceanographic research vessel, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory and the Australia Telescope, and he established a new Division of Information Technology. 

He has left a rich inheritance which will continue to bring enormous benefits to Australia.

On behalf of his colleagues and friends at CSIRO, I would like to extend our condolences and best wishes to his family and friends. 

Geoff Garrett
Chief Executive of CSIRO.