Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

George Dennis Dracoulis (1944–2014)

from Life Celebrations: ANU Obituaries 2000-2021 (ed. by James Fox), Australian National University

George Dracoulis, 1988

George Dracoulis, 1988

ANU Archives, ANUA 225-337

George Dennis Dracoulis FAA was born 9 December 1944 in Melbourne. He pursued undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Melbourne, capping his studies with a PhD in nuclear physics.

Following his graduation in 1970, Dracoulis spent three years in England as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. In 1973, he returned to Australia to take up a position in the Department of Nuclear Physics at The Australian National University (ANU), where he spent the remainder of his career.

Dracoulis was heavily involved in the development of the department’s tandem heavy-ion accelerator, contributing to the University’s establishment as a leading nuclear physics research facility. Dracoulis also contributed his skills and insights overseas, travelling to institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom as a visiting researcher. In 1991 he was appointed to a chair in physics at ANU; the following year, he progressed to the Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics, a role he held until retirement in 2009, after which he was appointed Professor Emeritus. Dracoulis remained active in research and public education following his retirement, receiving the 2011 Australian National University Media Award (with Aidan Byrne) for his response to the Japan tsunami crisis.

A tireless and exacting researcher, Dracoulis’s interests lay in the structure of nuclear states. He made significant contributions to the field, authoring and co-authoring nearly 300 papers, and presenting at national and international conferences. He also participated in numerous councils and committees in Australia and overseas, and was chosen as a member of the Prime Minister’s Select Task Force on Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy in 2006.

Dracoulis was honoured with numerous awards over his career, including the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal, the Centenary Medal, the Walter Boas Medal and the Australian Nuclear Association Annual Award.

In addition to being elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Dracoulis was also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He was an active member of the Academy, serving on the National Replacement Reactor Project, as well as sectional and awards committees and the House Standing Committee. He finished a term as Chair of the Thomas Ranken Lyle Awards Committee in 2013.

Dracoulis passed away on 19 June 2014 following a diagnosis of kidney cancer earlier in the year. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, children, Angelo, Nicola and Julia, and two grandchildren. 

* Originally published by the Australian Academy of Science: australian-academy-science-newsletter-97/obituary-george-dracoulis.

Other Obituaries for George Dennis Dracoulis

  • Nuclear Physics News, vol 24, no 4, 2014, p 39, by Greg Lane, Andrew Stuchbery, Phil Walker and Filip Kondev

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Dracoulis, George Dennis (1944–2014)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024