A. W. Pryor
Interferometric Optics

Arthur W. Pryor


Brief Biography

Arthur W. Pryor (1928-2014) was an Australian physicist known for his work in acoustics, crystallography, and laser isotope separation. He was a physics graduate from the University of Queensland and received his PhD from the University of Durham.

For most of his career Pryor was a research physicist at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, at Lucas Heights, Sydney, NSW. Concurrently, he was also a Visiting Fellow at the School of Mathematics and Physics, Macquarie University. At Macquarie he taught atomic physics and electronics, at various levels.

Pryor was part of the Australian team, at Lucas Heights, that demonstrated uranium laser isotope separation, utilizing UF6 and infrared lasers. From an Australian perspective he was probably the most knowledgeable scientists on uranium enrichment as he was also acquainted with the alternative atomic vapor laser isotope separation technique and phase transition methods.

Pryor was very active in the Australian Institute of physics (AIP) where he served in various capacities including as a registrar. During the late 1970s Pryor strongly supported the Macquarie Science Reform Movement that transformed the degree structure of Macquarie University. In this regard, he played a critical role in securing a strong endorsement from the AIP for the Macquarie reformers. Years later he wrote frankly and directly about the physics history of Macquarie.

Pryor was also interested in the history, politics, and philosophy of science thus generating a series of radio programs on these topics, at 2SER-FM. He even explored issues of physics and faith. His English had a distiguished tone and he spoke almost without an accent.

Selected Publications


Laser isotope separation: the Australian research effort.


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Tunable Lasers and Quantum Optics Books

Page published on the 25th of September, 2023

Updated on the 25th of September, 2023