Engaging Curious Minds
Scotch College Foundation
Scotch College Melbourne

Professor John Spence

Professor John Spence

This month, Professor John Spence (‘64) has been elected as a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science, in recognition of his distinguished career in science. This high distinction is awarded to only two non-resident scientists each year.

Professor Spence is Regents Professor and Richard Snell Professor of Physics at Arizona State University in the USA, and is the Director of Science for the National Science Foundation BioXFEL Science and Technology Centre.

He is widely recognised as a world leader in x-ray lasers and atomic-resolution electron microscopy. His discovery of ‘damage-free’ x-ray laser diffraction on protein nanocrystals has opened the way for emerging research on protein crystallography, and also for making movies of molecular machines at work using femtosecond serial crystallography.

Professor Spence studied at Scotch, graduating in 1964. He was Captain of Arthur Robinson House and was a School Officer. He completed his PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1972 and then studied at Oxford.

His outstanding contribution to science has been recognised with numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scientist award of the Microscopy Society of America, the Buerger Award of the American Crystallographic Society, the J.M. Cowley Medal of the International Federation of Societies of Electron Microscopy, and a Humbolt Senior Scientist award.

Professor Spence is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Microscopy Society of American.

Atit Bhargava, Science Ambassador