Home > News & resources > News > Paying tribute to Sir Paul Callaghan

Paying tribute to Sir Paul Callaghan

28 March 2012

“The passing of renowned physicist Professor Sir Paul Callaghan on Saturday following a long battle with aggressive bowel cancer is a tremendous loss,” says Malaghan Institute Director Prof Graham Le Gros.  

“Sir Paul was a truly great New Zealander with an electric personality,” he says.  “It was a privilege to have known him.”

Born in Wanganui, Sir Paul studied physics at Victoria University of Wellington, before undertaking his PhD at the University of Oxford, England. From here Sir Paul went on to establish a career in science in New Zealand that was distinguished with awards and accolades too numerous to list.  Most noteworthy of which was the Rutherford Medal – New Zealand’s top science award that recognises a lifetime of exceptional contribution to the advancement of science in this country.  

A natural communicator, Sir Paul will also be remembered for his unique ability to engage people, and get them thinking and talking about science.

"Sir Paul had a lovely way with everyone, no matter what their background, and gave you the sense that we all have something to contribute to this great game of life," says Prof Le Gros.

"He was generous with his time and praise of anyone who had a go."

"I am really sorry we couldn't do more together."

On behalf of everyone at the Malaghan Institute we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Callaghan family.

Link to Sir Pauls’ obituary in the Dominion Post to learn about his first scientific experiments – “blowing up rocks with Molotov cocktails.”

Read more about Sir Paul Callaghan in the stuff.co.nz article and tvnz national news.

Photo of Prof Sir Paul Callaghan courtesy of Matt Grace, Victoria University of Wellington.