Vale Bill Blevin

August 18th, 2022

Bill Blevin passed away last week at the age of 92.

Bill was Chief of the Division of Applied Physics at Lindfield back in the early ‘90’s. He remained involved with the NMI far after his retirement, and many will remember him.

His funeral will be at St George’s Anglican Church Gerringong on Tuesday 23 August at 10.30am.

William Roderick (Bill) Blevin was born in Inverell, NSW in 1929. He completed his secondary schooling at Tamworth High School (1945) before deciding, in a circular fashion, to study at New England University College (NEUC) to become a science teacher. Blevin graduated with a BSc (Hons 1) in physics in 1950. He continued in research for his masters of science (MSc, 1952). Blevin completed his DipEd in 1951 and spent a year as a lecturer in physics at NEUC.

In 1953 Blevin joined the CSIRO Division of Physics as a research scientist. Here he led the optical radiometry group and progressed to chief research scientist in 1976. During this time he was awarded a DSc from the University of New England (UNE, 1972). Blevin served as acting chief (1979-80), assistant chief and chief standards scientist (1980-88) and finally chief (1988-94) of CSIRO Division of Applied Physics before his retirement in 1994. One of Blevin’s major achievements while at CSIRO was to have the SI unit of light intensity (the candela) redefined in 1979 to be on a firm physical basis.

During Blevin’s career he was also active in the international standards community. He served as president (1980-96) of the Consultative Committee for Photometry and Radiometry, and as vice-president (1992-96) and secretary (1997-2000) of the Comité International des Poids et Mesures (CIPM, the International Committee of Weights and Measures). In 1998, at the request of CIPM, he completed a strategic plan for the 21st century for the worldwide measurement system and, in particular, for the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures), located at Sèvres in France.

You can read more about his life and research in this interview by Professor Neville Fletcher and our article on CSIROpedia