About Ron Nielsen

Professor Ron Nielsen
Professor Ron W Nielsen aka Jan Nurzynski


My research work was in the experimental nuclear physics. However, I have also carried out theoretical analysis and interpretation of experimental data. In this sense, therefore, my work was partly experimental and partly theoretical.

I have carried out a pioneering research work in nuclear physics in Poland. After moving to Australia, I introduced and directed research in the field of direct nuclear reactions in the Department of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University. The reactions were induced by light projectiles: protons, deuterons, 3He, and 4He particles. At the same time, I've also investigated polarization phenomena in nuclear reactions using overseas research facilities in Switzerland and Germany. Later in my research carrier I have also studied heavy-ion induced nuclear reactions using the same theoretical methods in their interpretations as I have introduced earlier for the study of direct nuclear reactions induced by light projectiles.

Research equipment included, inter alia, cyclotrons, electrostatic accelerators, polarized ion sources, magnetic spectrometers, nuclear emulsions, scintillation counters, solid state detectors, multi-electrode focal-plane detectors, and mainframe computers such as IBM, HP, VAX, and UNIVAC.

I changed my name when I was forced into an early retirement because of my ill health caused by overwork and stress. For the next 8 years I concentrated all my attention on improving my health. When I was feeling strong enough I focused my interest on the environmental issues and in particular our common future. I was doing it partly to satisfy my curiosity and partly as a therapeutic method. Gradually, more people were interested in my work. I've presented a series of radio interviews on the environmental issues and eventually I was asked first by my listeners and then by a publisher in Melbourne to write it all down in a book. The book was first published in Australia and New Zealand, later in the US and Canada and finally in Taiwan translated into Chinese language.

In this book I discuss all the critical trends and events shaping the future of our planet. I have presented them in seven groups: 1. The growth of human population. 2. The diminishing land resources. 3. The diminishing water resources. 4. The destruction of the atmosphere. 5. The approaching energy crisis. 6. Social decline. 7. Conflicts and increasing killing power. This book contains a massive among of data and very little of my personal opinion. I've decided to leave it to the Reader to draw his/her own conclusions.

I've tried my best to help the Reader to assimilate all this information. To this end, I use simple language and simple explanations. Each chapter is divided into small subsections. Each chapter ends with a brief summary showing how the past might be shaping the future. The book contains a brief summary of all seven critical global trends and events. It also contains the list and a brief discussion of the major landmarks in the past and the future. However, above all, each table in the book represents a self-contained story. One can learn a lot from numerical data but it's frustrating when the key to reading them is hidden somewhere in the text or even worse when it is not even mentioned anywhere in the text. In my book, each table contains a guide and an example how to read information contained in the table. As far as I can tell, my book is the only publication where all the critical trends are discussed and comprehensively explained in one place.

The major problem, indeed the driving force of all our current environmental problems shaping our future, is the excessive growth of human population. If we are going to survive, it will be essential for us to understand the mechanism of growth and to learn how to control it.

Over the past few years, I've carried out work on the dynamics of human population. I've investigated the current explanations of the growth of human population and I've found that they do not agree with empirical evidence. A handful of published works, which was pointing in the right direction to understand the mechanism of growth, is notoriously ignored and it is replaced by an avalanche of fanciful descriptions and hypotheses, which on closer examination are in contradiction with empirical information.

I've formulated a simple and general law of growth. This simple law turns out to be exceptionally flexible and it can be applied to any type of growth. It allows for an easy introduction of various models of growth, including such better known models as exponential or logistic, which can be easily derived using this law. I've used this law to explain the growth of human population between 300,000 BC to the present time using just a single force of growth. I've also extended my study to the economic progress as described by the historical GDP data. I'm now finishing writing a book with a tentatively proposed title: Growth of human population and economic progress explained.

I have worked in the following research centres:

1956-1964 – Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP), Cracow, Poland.

1964-1989 – Department of Nuclear Physics, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University.

1970-1971 – Department of Physics, Birmingham University, UK

1975-1976 – Laboratorium für Kernphysik, ETHZ, Zurich, and Schweizerisches Institut für Nuclearforshung, Villigen, Switzerland.

1983-1984 – Max-Plank Institut für Kernphysik, Heidelberg, and Institut für Angewandte Kernphysik and Zyklotron-Laboratorium Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany.

2010-present - Adjunct Professor, Environmental Futures Centre, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland 4222, Australia.

Some of the research highlights in nuclear physics include:

  Pioneering research in the field on nuclear reactions in Poland. The first ever experimental work in the field of nuclear reactions was a study of neutron polarization following a stripping reaction induced by deuterons.
  I have demonstrated a puzzling and until now not yet properly explained mass and energy-dependent discontinuities in the diffraction patterns of elastic deuteron scattering. 
  I have demonstrated clear core-coupling modes of nuclear excitations.
  I have demonstrated the existence of the previously unknown discrete radius ambiguity in the optical model. 
  I have demonstrated and explained isotopic effects in deuteron polarization. I have suggested an experiment that has led to a clear experimental demonstration of isotopic effects in the vector polarization of deuterons. Subsequently, I have carried out theoretical analysis of the acquired data and explained the effect as being due to an elusive two-step process involving the excitation and de-excitation of the first energy levels in target nuclei.
  I've written a computer program for the analysis of experimental results on nuclear polarization. Using just a few initial parameters, the program reads multiple spectra obtained in polarization experiments, employs nuclear kinematics and automatically reduces the raw data to the angular distributions of differential cross sections, vector polarization and tensor polarization components.
  I have carried out an extensive study of reorientation effects in deuteron polarization. Experimental work was done using the Karlsruhe cyclotron, Germany. Data reduction was carried out using my computer program and a computer facility in Heidelberg, Germany. Finally, I have carried out an extensive coupled-channels analysis of the data using computing facility at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

PhD students
Part of my work consisted of teaching and supervising PhD students as well as of examining PhD theses submitted either by the ANU candidates or by graduate students from other universities. Under my supervision, the following graduate students received their PhD degrees and now work in various capacities in Australia or overseas.

Direct supervision:

  Bray, Kevin Howard 1967, Some 3He-induced Reaction Studies. Kevin Bray became a Director of the International Relations Section of Fisheries and Aquaculture Branch, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra, Australia.
  Bourke, William Patrick 1968, Scattering of Alpha Particles from 20Ne. Bill Bourke became the Head of the Data Assimilation Group at the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
  Djaloeis, Azhar 1971, Tensor Polarization and Differential Cross Sections in the Elastic Scattering of Deuterons by Some Light Nuclei. Azhar Djaloeis worked for a number of years as a Professor of Nuclear Physics in the Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany. Later he moved to Indonesia where he became the Director of the National Atomic Energy Agency of Indonesia; Sudjatmoko, Yogyakarta Nuclear Research Centre.
  Borsaru, Mihai 1974, A Study of (p,d) reactions in the f-p Shell. Mihai Borsaru became a Senior Scientist at the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Division of Exploration & Mining working on nuclear applications in mineral exploration.
  Barbapolous, Leonidas Odysseus 1976, One and Two-neutron Pick-up Reactions on the even Se Isotopes. Leo Barbapolous became a lecturer at the University of Canberra and worked at the Centre for Advanced Telecommunications and Quantum Electronics Research.
  Aniol, Konrad Anton 1977, The 50,52,54Cr(4He ,p)53,55,57Mn Reactions at E(4He) =18 and 26 MeV. Konrad Aniol became Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, College of Natural and Social Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles. He also carries out research using high energy electron beams (0.6-6 GeV) at Jefferson National Accelerator Lab, Newport News, Virginia, USA and University of Mainz MaMi accelerator, Mainz, Germany.

Joint supervision:

  Cords, Hartmut 1969, Tensor Polarization and Reactions of Deuterons on 12C and 16O.
  Davis, James Richard 1972, Neutron Emitting Reactions in Light Nuclei.
  Rosalky, David Markus 1971, Spectroscopy of 55Cr from Direct Reaction and Gamma Ray Studies.
  Clark, Peter David 1981, Spin Assignments of Levels in N=82 Nuclei by Means of the (7Li,6He) Reaction.

I have been asked to take over the supervision of Hartmut Cords and James Davis. They have already had their research projects but I was asked to take over the supervision of their work. David Rosalky was assigned to another senior staff member, who asked me to suggest  a suitable research project and help him in the supervision of the research work. Peter Clark participated in a research work, which was carried out by a group of senior staff members. Our responsibility in directing and supervising the research work were equally divided.

I have served as a referee examining scientific papers submitted for publication in the Australian Journal of Physics.

Seminar tours
1971 – An extensive tour to nuclear research institutes in Europe
1976 – A coast-to-coast tour to nuclear research institutes in the USA

Public lectures
I have given numerous public lectures in various countries of Europe and Australia on a wide range of topics

Radio programs
For a number of years I have been engaged in radio programs on topics of science and technology. I continue to be a regular presenter at the local radio station.

I have published numerous research papers on the subject of nuclear physics in a wide range of professional international journals:

Acta Physica Polonica
Australian Journal of Physics
Bulletine de L’Academie Polonaise des Sciences
Computer Physics Communications
Journal of Physics G: Nuclear Physics
Le Journal de Physique at le Radium
Le Journal de Physique
Nuclear Instruments and Methods
Nuclear Physics
Physical Review C
Physics Letters
The Australian Journal of Science
The Physical Review


List of publications

Summary of my research work in nulclear physics: Volume I and Volume II

Summary of my research work in economics and demography.


Organizational Memberships

Fellow of Australian Institute of Physics
Active Member of New York Academy of Sciences
Professional Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Member of the American Scientific Affiliation

Listed in

Australian Men and Women of Science, Engineering, and Technology
Who’s Who in Australasia and the Pacific Nations
Five Hundred Leaders of Influence
Who’s Who in the 21st Century
Who’s Who in Science and Engineering
2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century
2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century
Who’s Who in the World
Dictionary of International Biography
2000 Eminent Scientists of Today
Great Minds of the 21 Century
The Contemporary Who’s Who
Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century
, Inaugural Edition
International Dictionary of Experts and Expertise, Premier Edition
The Cambridge Blue Book of Foremost International Scientists
500 Great Leaders - Honours Edition
International Profiles of Accomplished Leaders - Inaugural Edition
International Dictionary of Professionals