A. W. Pryor

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A. W. Pryor
Born August 31, 1928
Died September 2014 (aged 86)
Nationality Australian
Fields Crystallography
Institutions Australian Atomic Energy Commission
Macquarie University
Alma mater University of Queensland
Durham University
Known for Crystalography
Neutron diffraction
Molecular laser isotope separation

Arthur William Pryor (1928 – 6 September 2014) was an Australian physicist known for his contributions to neutron diffraction[1][2] and infrared laser isotope separation.[3][4][5] Pryor authored and co-authored a number of papers in the field of crystallography[6][7][8][9] and he also co-authored, with B. T. M. Willis, the book Thermal Vibrations in Crystallography.[10]

Laser isotope separation[edit]

Pryor conducted research on laser isotope separation using infrared lasers.[3][4][5] Also, earlier work in this area brought him in contact with J. C. Ward who advocated a phase transition transformation of UF6 known as the Ward process.[5] Pryor provides a unique historical account on laser isotope separation efforts in Australia (during the early 1980s) that included both visible and infrared laser sources (relevant to AVLIS and MLIS, respectively).[5] In this regard, he refers to the reluctance of the Australian authorities, to adopt laser isotope separation, with the sentence... "but the cautious hand refrained".[5] Pryor's account was independently corroborated, albeit with a time lag, by other researchers in the field.[11]


Later in his career, Pryor was interested on historical and philosophical aspects of science and physics. He authored various recordings on this subject, which were broadcast on 2SER-FM in 1980-1983.[12][13][14][15]


Pryor was educated at the University of Queensland and completed his doctoral studies at Durham University. Pryor spent most of his career at Lucas Heights (as a scientist in the former Australian Atomic Energy Commission) and was a faculty visiting fellow at Macquarie University where he lectured on atomic physics. He was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics.

He died at the age of 86, on 6 September 2014.[16][17]


  1. ^ R. S. Seymour and A. W. Pryor, Neutron diffraction study of NH4Br and NH4I, Acta Crystallogr. B 26, 1487-1491 (1970).
  2. ^ G. L. Paul and A. W. Pryor, The study of sodium nitrate by neutron diffraction, Acta Crystallogr. B 27, 2700-2702 (1971).
  3. ^ a b J.E. Eberhardt, D.A. Johnson, R.B. Knott, A.W. Pryor, A.B. Waugh,Multiphoton dissociation of two vanadyl compounds, Chem. Phys. Lett. 93, 448-452 (1982).
  4. ^ a b J.E. Eberhardt, I.E. Hoare, D.A. Johnson, R.B. Knott, A.W. Pryor, A.B. Waugh, Multiphoton dissociation of some volatile uranyl complexes. I. The phenomena of reversible and permanent dissociation, Chem. Phys. 72, 41-49 (1982).
  5. ^ a b c d e A. W. Pryor, Personal memories of two advanced uranium enrichment projects at Lucas Heights in the years 1972-1980, The Australian & New Zealand Physicist 33 (3-4), 53-58 (1997).
  6. ^ A. W. Pryor, Debye-Waller factors in crystals of the sodium chloride structure, Acta Crystallogr. 20, 138-140 (1966).
  7. ^ M. M. Elcombe and A. W. Pryor, The lattice dynamics of calcium fluoride, J. Phys. C Solid State Phys. 3, 492 (1970).
  8. ^ A. W. Pryor and P. L. Sanger, Collection and interpretation of neutron diffraction measurements on urea, Acta Crystallogr. A 26, 543-558 (1970).
  9. ^ K. D. Rouse, B. T. M. Willis and A. W. Pryor, Anharmonic contributions to the Debye-Waller factors of UO2, Acta Crystallogr. B 24, 117-122 (1970).
  10. ^ B. T. M. Willis and A. W. Pryor, Thermal Vibrations in Crystallography (Cambridge University, Cambridge, 1975).
  11. ^ F. J. Duarte, Tunable lasers for atomic vapor laser isotope separation: the Australian contribution, Australian Physics 47 (2), 38-40 (2010).
  12. ^ A. W. Pryor, The Oppenheimer case (2SER-FM, August 1980).
  13. ^ A. W. Pryor, Lysenko-science and politics (2SER-FM, March 1981).
  14. ^ A. W. Pryor, Physics and faith (2SER-FM, July–September 1982).
  15. ^ A. W. Pryor, Record century: one hundred years of recorded sound (2SER-FM, March 1983).
  16. ^ "Arthur PRYOR". Retrieved 11 September 2014. PRYOR, Arthur William.Family and friends of Arthur (Tom), are warmly invited to attend his Funeral Service to be held at Northern Suburbs Crematorium, 199 Delhi Road, North Ryde on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10-30 a.m. in the East Chapel. 
  17. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2014.