Following my PhD (1970) in theoretical physics at Monash University on Compton scattering of gamma rays by relativistically bound atomic electrons (supervisor Dr H Perlman) and a short period as lecturer in physics at RMIT (1970-1971), I took up a Royal Exhibition of 1851 Scholarship atUniversity College London (1972-1974) under Prof. Sir Harrie Massey where I did further research on Compton scattering and developed an interest in spectral line broadening.

I joined the Physics Department at James Cook University in 1974 and have undertaken research in radiation physics, spectral line broadening, ultracold atomic collisions, particle theory and cosmology as lecturer (1974-1979), senior lecturer (1980--1991), associate professor (1992--2004), professor (2005--2008) and now adjunct  professor. I was Head of Discipline, Physics and a member of the School Executive from 1998 until mid 2005 when I stepped down on  medical grounds.

My research has been recognized in several ways. On the basis of my early research in radiation physics I was invited to be a founding member of the International Radiation Physics Society and to be on its International Advisory Board. Subsequently, my particle physics research led to a visitingfellowship and, in 1995, the Benjamin Meeker Visiting Professorship, at the Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol. It also resulted in my appointment as an Associate of the Special Research Centre for Subatomic Structure of Matter in Adelaide.  My research in ultracold atoms has been particularly successful; our calculations are used by the world's leading experimental groups, I have been a visiting fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum-Atom-Optics at the ANU, have close links with the ultracold atoms group at the  Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Ecole Normale Superiere, Paris and the ANU.

  • 1. Atomic physics: Ultracold collisions of trapped metastable helium atoms • Quantum close-coupled calculations of elastic and inelastic rates for ultracold collisions between spin-polarised metastable helium atoms in a magnetostatic trap • Effects of laser intensity on photoassociation lineshapes. • Close-coupled calculations of the bound states of the He(2s)+He(2p) system to study the role of non-adiabatic and Coriolis couplings. Both bosonic helium-4 , fermionic helium-3 and mixed helium-3 -- helium-4 systems have been studied. • Current calculations are focused on loss rates and bound state lifetimes in mixed metastable helium and rubidium systems. 2. Theoretical cosmology: Astro-particle physics • Comparative study of particle-physics motivated models of interacting dark matter and dark energy. Models considered include holographic and neutrino dark energy. • Enhancement of relic dark matter abundances in various cosmological scenarios such as quintessence, scalar-tensor and brane world universes. • Consequences of dark energy interactions with matter. • Generation of matter-antimatter asymmetry (baryogenesis) in the very early universe.
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 36+ research outputs authored by Prof Ian Whittingham from 2000 onwards.


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  • Searching for Pulsating Stars in the Gap Between the SPB and d Scuti Domains Through Machine Learning and Data Mining Techniques (PhD, Primary Advisor)

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