Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture

Peter Domachuk in his lab

Peter Domachuk in his Laboratory in 2012

The vision of the Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture is to support the sharing of information from leading optical physicists from around the world with students, academics and researchers. The Sydney University Faculty of Science and School of Physics aspires to attract the world’s leading physicists to present primarily in the area of Optics, with an alternative broader option of lecturing in Experimental Physics.

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, Peter Domachuk joined the newly founded CUDOS group in 2003 as a PhD student of Professor Ben Eggleton.

Of his PhD years (2003-2006) Prof Eggleton noted: “Peter, through hard work, perseverance, and his confident, highly energized approach, was highly successful. He published a series of landmark papers in the field of optofluidics. By the time he graduated, he was already presenting invited papers at international conferences. Peter published 17 journal papers from his PhD thesis; these papers have been cited more than 600 times with a seminal article in Nature Photonics being cited over 350 times. Overall, Peter published 36 journal papers with over 1000 citations.”

Upon finishing his PhD, Peter had his pick and decided to take a postdoctoral position at Tufts University in Boston with Professor Fio Omenetto in the emerging field of biophotonics. Here, he was part of a number of ground-breaking demonstrations in the field of silk photonics, bringing the world closer to implantable, biocompatible optical components.

In 2009, following 2½ years at Tufts, Peter returned to the Sydney University School of Physics to work in optofluidics. He quickly secured an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship and established a new program in biophotonics. For the past 3 years Peter had been leading his own research program in silk photonics and optofluidics. He established new laboratories, supervised students, built linkages with hospitals, companies and other groups around Australia.

“Peter was a unique character, highly intelligent with a dynamic and energetic personality. Peter was equally at home discussing the philosophy of science or bouncing the riff raff out the door at one of Sydney’s toughest nightclub. Behind his brash personality Peter was always first and foremost a sweet and caring young man with a love of life, people and fun. Being a PhD supervisor, when it’s done right, is a lot like being a parent and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve seen all sides of Peter. I can say that I was one of his biggest fans.” Wrote Prof Ben Eggleton in a Eulogy for Peter. “The loss of Peter is a true tragedy. We are all heartbroken. Peter was so young and energetic and had so much potential; he was just at his beginning. And now he has gone.”

With a generous donation from Mr and Mrs Domachuk, The University of Sydney, the Faculty of Science, and the School of Physics are honored to host the Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture Series. This biennial Lecture Series commemorates Peter’s life and his profound contribution to the University. The Faculty and School are proud to host the inaugural lecture, which is planned for late 2013, with a speaker and date to be confirmed. The format of the lecture will be 45 minutes plus 15 minutes for questions and discussion, followed by a reception.

To acknowledge Peter’s legacy in perpetuity, the Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture aims to attract the brightest minds and visionary thinkers in Experimental Physics and bring them together with students, academics and researchers to engage on ideas that contribute to a better understanding. This lecture will provide researchers and students with the freedom and resources required to define and pursue new and important lines of enquiry in Physics.