Professional Work

David Blair: Professional Work



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In Brief


Academic Record

Positions Held

Areas of Research



In Brief

David’s career has been as a physicist, with emphasis on mathematical physics.  He retired in 2002.

Currently he works part-time in an honorary capacity at the Ocean Technology Group at The University of Sydney.  (The OT Group is a body within The University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science.  The latter forms part of the School of Geosciences.)

David’s research interests there are mainly in the field of sonar.  (Sonar may described, pretty well, as ultrasound imaging in the ocean.)  The emphasis is on high-resolution sonar. 

David’s last two appointments before retirement were as follows.  First, he was a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), where he was on the staff for 16.5 years.  From then to retirement, he was a Senior Research Scientist with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, at its Sydney campus.  In his 11.5 years there, he was part of a team carrying out research on sonar.  (His work at Sydney University has been a continuation of this.) 

Further information on David’s professional work is given in the sections of the Resumé below.



Updated to March 2010

Born 1939, Sydney, Australia

An Australian citizen

Academic Record

Gained New South Wales Leaving Certificate, 1956 (4th in NSW in aggregate marks)

Graduated from University of Sydney, 1961, as Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honours in Physics (theoretical physics strand)

PhD from University of Sydney, awarded 1967.  Thesis: “Approximations Describing Electron Eigenstates in a One-Dimensional Liquid Model”

Positions Held

Lecturer in Physics, University of Western Australia, 1965

Research Associate (in physics), Royal Military College of Canada, 1965-1969

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, 1969-1971

Research Associate (in mathematics), Royal Military College of Canada, 1971-1974

Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, University of Technology, Sydney, 1974-1990

Subjects taught in that position include: quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, electrotechnology, optics, statistical mechanics, advanced mechanics, the energy crisis, solid state physics.  Also did much administrative work, including being coordinator of senior physics for many years.

Senior Research Scientist, Maritime Operations Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (Sydney), 1990-January 2002.  Continued as an Honorary Research Fellow until January 2003

At DSTO I was a leading member of a team which, in collaboration with Thales Underwater Systems and CSIRO, developed an engineering prototype of a high-resolution imaging sonar (Acoustic Mine Imaging or AMI Project).  For about two years I was the DSTO Task Manager for the AMI Project.

Visiting Scholar (from August 2004), then Honorary Associate (from August 2006 to present), Ocean Technology Group, University of Sydney. (The OT Group formed part of the School of Civil Engineering until the end of 2009, but from then it has formed part of the School of Geosciences.)   This honorary work is part-time.

Professional Society

Fellow of Australian Institute of Physics, from 1989


Areas of Research

(PhD student and University Of WA:) Electron wave functions in disordered structures: Towards understanding liquid semiconductors.

(RMC [first period] and University of Alberta:) Theory of damping of acoustic waves in solids due to the breakaway of dislocations from a line of pinning points.  (A dislocation is one type of flaw in a crystal—a flaw that always extends along a line or a curve.  Dislocations are important in understanding the strength of materials.) 

(RMC [second period]:) Correlation functions of fluids, in particular a hard-sphere gas.  (The correlation function of a substance is the answer to the question: Given the position of one molecule at one time, what is the probability of there being a molecule located at any given position at any given time?) 

(1982-1987, with CSIRO, while employed at UTS:) Electromagnetic response of ore bodies: The development of software (in FORTRAN) for use in exploration for minerals.

(DSTO:) Sonar, principally underwater acoustic imaging.  Essentially sonar involves the use of ultrasound and is basically the same as the use of ultrasound in medicine.  The “imaging” in the present case produces a detailed image (resolution of order centimetres or millimeters); for technical reasons the range is limited to a few metres.  The Defence application is to the identification and imaging of (hostile) sea mines (mines intended to destroy shipping).  David’s research consisted mainly of theory and computer simulation, but also included participation in trials.

(University of Sydney:) Principally underwater acoustic imaging (UAI), via mathematical theory and computer simulation.  The emphasis has been on, first, the images produced by curved specular reflectors (surfaces that reflect sound as a mirror does in optics) and, second, the consequences of using so-called “one-bit digitization” (a technique enabling the recording of a signal at very high sampling rates).  Besides UAI, some mini-projects on other sonar and other acoustics.


PUBLICATIONS (David Graham Blair)

A. Full-Length, External Journal Articles (excluding conference papers)

  1. “Expressions Describing Electron Eigenstates in a One-Dimensional Liquid Chain of Weak Wells,” Proc. Phys. Soc. 91, 8–15 (1967).
  2. “Local-Density Approximation for Electron Eigenstates in a One-Dimensional Liquid Model,” Proc. Phys. Soc. 91, 736–738 (1967).
  3. “Theory of the Thermal Breakaway of a Dislocation from a Row of Equally-Spaced Pinning Points,” J. App. Phys. 40, 97–106 (1969) (with T. S. Hutchison and D. H. Rogers).
  4. “Amplitude-Dependent and Thermally-Activated Mechanisms for Extended Dislocations,” Can. J. Phys. 48, 2943–2954 (1970) (with T. S. Hutchison and D. H. Rogers).
  5. “Damping by Extended Dislocations,” Can. J. Phys. 48, 2955–2970 (1970) (with T. S. Hutchison and D. H. Rogers).
  6. “Theory of Damping due to Thermally Assisted Unpinning of Dislocations,” Can. J. Phys. 49, 633–662 (1971) (with T. S. Hutchison and D. H. Rogers).
  7. “Theory of High-Temperature Breakaway of Dislocations from a Row of Randomly Placed Pinning Agents,” J. Appl. Phys. 43, 37–46 (1972).
  8. “Mean Free Path of Electrons in a One-Dimensional Liquid Model,” Phys. Rev. B5, 2097–2102 (1972).
  9. “Low-Density Density Derivative of the Self-Correlation Function of a Hard-Sphere Gas,” Can. J. Phys. 52, 902–916 (1974) (with N. K. Pope).
  10. “On Purely Probabilistic Theories of Scientific Inference,” Philosophy of Science 42, 242‑249 (1975).
  11. “Density Expansion of the Correlation Function of a Hard Sphere Gas,” Can. J. Phys. 57, 466–476 (1979) (with N. K. Pope and S. Ranganathan).
  12. “Equilibration in Defect Clustering Reactions,” Sol. St. Commun. 76, no. 7, 881–882 (1990) (with A.R. Moon and M.R. Phillips).
  13. “The Ewald and Darwin Limits Obtained from the Hamilton-Darwin Energy Transfer Equations,” Acta Cryst. A48, 98–103 (1992) (with T. M. Sabine).
  14. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: Image Due to a Specular Reflector in the Geometrical-Acoustics Limit,” J. Mar. Sci. Technol. 11, 123–130 (2006).  Also available from


B. Other Publications from 1997 onward

  1. “The Effectiveness of Sparse Random Arrays for Underwater Acoustic Imaging,” in “Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Sound and Vibration” (Adelaide: International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration), p. 2765‑2772 (held at University of Adelaide, December 1997) (with J. Thompson and S. Anstee).
  2. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: A Computing Hardware Approach to Rapid Signal Processing,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0099 (Melbourne: Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory, 1997).
  3. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: Rapid Signal Processing,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0098 (Melbourne: Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory, 1998) (with I. S. F. Jones).
  4. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: A Simulation Program and Related Theory,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0274 (Melbourne: Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory, 2000) (with S. D. Anstee).
  5.  “Theory Pertaining to Comparison and Calibration in an Experiment to Measure Acoustic Attenuation Coefficients,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0417 (Melbourne: Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory, 2002).
  6. “Scaling of Optical and Low-Megahertz Acoustic Properties of Turbid-Water Systems in the Context of Image Quality,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0419 (Melbourne: Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory, 2002).
  7. “Suitability of Correlation Arrays and Superresolution for Minehunting Sonar,” DSTO Technical Note DSTO-TN-0443 (Edinburgh, South Australia: Systems Sciences Laboratory, 2002).
  8. “Image due to a Curved Specular Reflector in Acoustic Mine Imaging,” Proceedings of Mine Countermeasures and Demining Conference , held at Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, 9–11 February, 2004 (organized by Defence Science and Technology Organisation and two other organizations).
  9. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: One-Bit Digitisation,” OTG Report No. 1/06 (Ocean Technology Group, University of Sydney, 2006) (with I.S.F. Jones and A. Madry).  Available from
  10. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: Exact Geometrical-Acoustics Treatment of the Image due to a Specular Reflector”, OTG Report No. 1/09 (Ocean Technology Group, University of Sydney, 2009.  Available from .


C. Oral Presentations from 1997 onward (other than conference papers)

  1. “Acoustic Mine Imaging,” prepared by D. Blair and delivered by D. Conley, was presented to a meeting within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Meeting NG3, about March 2002.
  2. “Underwater Acoustic Imaging: Effects of One-Bit Digitisation,” paper presented at Australian-Chinese Gathering on Ocean Science and Technology, Sydney and Canberra, 15–18 Nov. 2005 (organised by Univ. of Sydney) (with I.S.F. Jones and A. Madry).
  3. “Surveying for the Census of Marine Life,” paper presented at Australian-Chinese Gathering on Ocean Science and Technology, Sydney and Canberra, 15–18 Nov. 2005 (organised by Univ. of Sydney) (with I.S.F. Jones).

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