Emeritus Professor David Blair

Started at UWA: 1976

Groundbreaking researcher in gravitational wave discovery

I have 40 years of experience, which has been used to develop innovations and technologies, and work with a dynamic young team who are ready to build Australia's future in gravitational astronomy.

Emeritus Professor David Blair

Emeritus Professor David Blair is a pioneer in gravitational wave research in Australia. Working on methods for their detection for more than 40 years, Professor Blair also founded the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre. This centre became a Western Australian node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, OzGrav.

Among his many notable achievements are developing the niobium bar gravitational wave detector NIOBE, and associated superconducting electromechanical sensors. These achieved world-record sensitivity and opened a new area of research into quantum measurement and optomechanics.

Professor Blair also invented the first sapphire clock in 1984, an extremely precise timepiece designed for improving clocks, radars and measuring systems. The clock is now used by standards laboratories and has been commercialised for use in radar systems, while still underpinning research at UWA.

Over the years, Professor Blair has been lauded for his work and achievements in the field of gravitational wave research. In 1995 he won the Walter Boas Medal of the Australian Institute of Physics, followed by the Clunies Ross Medal for Science and Technology in 2003. In the same year, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for the Promotion of Science, and in 2005 was given a WA Government Centre of Excellence Grant to develop the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre.

In 2014, Professor Blair began leading the Einstein-First Project, aimed at introducing Einsteinian Physics to children. The project’s partners include Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, the US Air Force Academy and the Gravity Discovery Centre.

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Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, 2018

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Gravitational wave discovery team awarded Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics, 2016

Gravitational wave discovery team awarded the Gruber Prize, 2016

Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2013

Received the WA Premier's Science Award for Scientist of the Year, 2007

Awarded the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science Medal, 2005

Top science honour for UWA physicist

40 years of researching gravitational waves



Swimming Australia

  • ‘ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery’

Australian Research Council

  • ‘Enhancing gravitational wave detector sensitivity & bandwidth for astronomy’


Australian Research Council and CGG Aviation (Australia)

  • ‘Advanced gravity and electromagnetic methods for uncovering the deep Earth’

Australian Research Council

  • ‘Controlling parametric instabilities in advanced GW detectors’

Australian National University and Australian Research Council

  • ‘Equipment for International Collaboration in Next Generation GW Detectors’


Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Australian Research Council and Gravity Discovery Centre Foundation

  • ‘Einsteinian Physics – A New Paradigm for School Science’

Australian Research Council

  • ‘Equipment for International Collaboration in Gravitational Wave Detection’

More grants and publications

Australia from orbit at night

ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery

The mission of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) is to capitalise on the historic first detections of gravitational waves to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime, and to inspire the next generation of Australian scientists and engineers through this new window on the universe.

Find out more

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Supervisor opportunities

Professor Blair is keen to recruit new students in the following areas:
  • gravitational wave research
  • advanced technologies in vibration isolation
  • imaging and cancelling seismic noise
  • high optical power techniques for gravitational wave detectors
  • developing curriculum for teaching Einsteinian Physics in schools

Contact Emeritus Professor David Blair