Catherine P. Foley was born in 1957 (Sydney, Australia) and received her tertiary education from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Macquarie University where she was one of the first students to graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc). Subsequently, she was awarded a First Class Honours in Physics (1980). Also at Macquarie she did her doctoral research under the supervision of the solid-state British physicist Trevor L. Tansley. Macquarie awarded her a PhD in Physics in 1984. The title of her thesis was Indium Nitride Polycrystalline Thin Films.
As a result of her doctoral research, Foley and Tansley published some highly regarded papers on indium nitride semiconductors. This seminal research is directly applicable to the physics of blue-green semiconductor lasers. Following a brief post-doc in the United States, at Oregon State University, she returned to Australia (1985) and became a research scientist at the Applied Physics Division of CSIRO, Lindfield, NSW. At CSIRO, she conducted notable research on SQUIDs, nano SQUIDs, and their applications to mineral exploration.
Her career at CSIRO culminated in the position of Chief Research Scientist (promoted in 2008) and she was named Chief Scientist of Australia in 2021. Foley was also president of the Australian Institute of Physics (2007-2008) and has used her prominence to effectively champion the participation of women in science. Foley has received numerous awards and was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in 2020.
Page published on the 15th of September, 2023
Updated on the 24th of September, 2023