Corporate Goodwill Measures Up in Time for Record Numbers

12 March 2010

The University of Sydney's School of Physics may be heritage listed and have a valuable collection in the Physics Museum but when the leading Physics department in the country is still using the same oscilloscopes since the mid-1970s it was definitely time for an upgrade.

Oscilloscopes are graph-displaying devices and one of the most versatile and widely used electronic instruments used in Physics and many other branches of science to visually display an electrical signal. Upgrading all the equipment was going to prove expensive and the cost looked prohibitive.

Enter Agilent Technologies who learned of the School's dilemma and decided to help out by offering a competitive package consisting of 70 new oscilloscopes for use in the teaching labs. Agilent also donated a large oscilloscope to the School for research use.

"It's an essential piece of equipment for physics students and experimental physicists. Oscilloscopes are instruments that they will be using throughout their careers albeit in a somewhat more powerful and capable form," says Dr Richard Tarrant, Director of First Year Laboratories.

"The number of students coming into Physics has grown rapidly over the last few years. In 2010, we have more than 1,600 undergraduates and over 150 postgraduate students, all of whom are tech-savvy. Training students on obsolete equipment that is not a useful contribution to students' development so we welcome Agilent's support."

Agilent Australia General Manager, Alan Brown, said the company was delighted to be able to support the School of Physics. "Agilent recognises the talent of the University of Sydney's physics researchers and teachers as well as the outstanding calibre of students who have worked hard to achieve a place at the School. It is a great feeling to be able to provide Australia's oldest Physics department with the newest equipment." Trio Smartcal, an Agilent channel partner in Australia, MD, Charles Holtom, said, "We take great pride in seeing the new labs powered by Agilent and the role we can play in ensuring the University of Sydney's success in the fields of Physics and Electronics".

Quantum physicist and Senior Lecturer, Dr David Reilly, also recognises the value of Agilent's generosity. "In my field of physics oscilloscopes are an everyday part of experimental research and you must have the most reliable and effective equipment available."

Dr Reilly, whose research includes looking at 'Quantum Measurement and Control of Spin Qubits', says there's likely to be a long-term benefit for Agilent. "As a student you get used to using a particular brand of equipment so with a record number of undergrads and a record number of post-graduate and honours students there's potential there for quite a healthy return on investment."

Agilent oscillosope.
Agilent oscillosope.