David Rivett:

Fighter for Australian Science

David Rivett

Sir David Rivett was an Australian chemist and Chief Executive Officer of CSIR between 1927 and 1945. He became Chairman from 1945 to 1949, retiring when CSIR was reorganised and became CSIRO.

Because of Sir David's unique contributions to many fields of science and his efforts directed towards CSIR's early development, CSIR became Australia's major research agency. In April 1961 the Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies, commenting on the death of Rivett, said: 'David Rivett was one of the greatest Australians of our time. He combined an absolute first class mind and great scientific attainments with a generous outlook and a quiet, but pervading, enthusiasm. Scientific research in Australia owes a great deal to him'.

The international scientific journal Nature in its issue of June 10, 1961, said that Rivett was 'a man who had contributed perhaps more than any other to the present healthy state of Australian science. ... Rivett and his colleagues contrived, in a country woefully weak in research, to create an atmosphere in which it could flourish... Once one had gained his confidence he was a magnificent friend and backer; he believed in delegating responsibility and with it any credit that accrued, but in times of adversity he it was who wished to shoulder the blame'.

This is an eBook version of the hardback originally published in 1972.