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John Spencer & CSIRAC - A Brief Biography

John Spencer with CSIRAC, 1999

Image: John Spencer with CSIRAC, 1999

Source: Museum Victoria

John Spencer graduated BSc with a major in chemistry from the University of Melbourne in 1949.

He commenced work at the CSIRO Division of Building Research, working initially on joint-sealing compounds, bitumens and bituminous roofing and later on thermal, optical and mechanical properties of various types of glazing.

His association with CSIRAC started in 1959 and continued until its decommissioning in 1964. Its use facilitated work on the calculation of solar position and the measurement and estimation of solar radiation on building surfaces leading to the publication of tables for all Australian capital cities.

Later, using various CSIRO computers after CSIRAC, he worked on the calculation of indoor temperatures, air conditioning loads and energy consumption in buildings and building thermal modelling.

John was one of the few who preserved CSIRAC tapes and has been able to donate them to the Archive. He retired from CSIRO in 1994 and has since written an emulator for CSIRAC to run on a PC. He is a dedicated member of the CSIRAC History Team.

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