Professor Ken Baldwin

Professor, Research School of Physics; inaugural Director, former ANU Energy Change Institute (now incorporated into ICEDS); founding Director, ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific
T: 0432 987 251

Areas of expertise

  • Lasers And Quantum Electronics 020502
  • Quantum Optics 020604
  • Atomic And Molecular Physics 020201
  • Optical Physics 0205
  • Nonlinear Optics And Spectroscopy 020503
  • Degenerate Quantum Gases And Atom Optics 020601

Research interests

As inaugural Director of the ANU Energy Change Institute (now part of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions), and as founding Director of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific, Professor Baldwin's research interests are in energy policy to inform the energy transition to a decarbonised economy.  This includes research into developing a systems level approach to the integration of renewable energy sources throughout all sectors of the economy, including the potentially dominant renewable energy export sector.  Policy development in the understanding of export prospects in the Asia-Pacific, including the creation of certification systems for hydrogen and other energy carriers, are a key research interest.

Professor Baldwin’s physics research interests lie in developing new laser technologies for precision measurement to test quantum theories of atomic and molecular structure.  This can be used to test fundamental theories such as Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED), or applied to determine how air molecules react to ultraviolet light, thereby enabling better understanding of energy balance and ozone formation in the earth’s atmosphere.  He is a pioneer in atom optics – a field which uses lasers to create new technologies for atoms which are the analogue of optical elements for light – that can be used e.g. to create nanostructures for better microchips.  Lasers can also be used to cool atoms to the lowest temperatures in the universe, at which point they behave more like waves than particles, enabling them to be used as sensitive detectors e.g. of changes in the earths gravitational field for mineral exploration. 




Professor Ken Baldwin was the inaugural Director of the ANU Energy Change Institute (now part of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions), and founding Director of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific

He is a graduate of the ANU (BSc Hons 1977, MSc 1979) and Imperial College, London (PhD, DIC 1983), and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2021).  In 2021 he was recognised by the ANU with the Chancellor's award for Distinguished Contribution to the University.

The main focus of his current work is to help drive the energy transition, particularly for Australia’s future export industries based on renewable energy.  Professor Baldwin is Chair of the ACOLA Steering Committee for the Australian Energy Transition Research Plan.  He is also Chair of the Industry Advisory Board for the ACT Government's Renewable Energy Innovation Fund, and a Director of the Australian Hydrogen Research Network.

Professor Baldwin's background is in laser physics located in the Research School of Physics, where his research focuses on precision measurement in atomic physics and the quantum mechanical behaviour of ultracold atoms.

Professor Baldwin is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (FTSE), the American Physical Society (FAPS), the Optical Society of America (FOSA), The Institute of Physics UK (FInstP), and the Australian Institute of Physics (FAIP) - from which he was recognised by the 2019 Award for Outsanding Service to Physics.  He is a past-President of the Australian Optical Society, and is the first Australian to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Optical Society of America.  In 2007, Professor Baldwin was awarded the W.H. Beattie Steel Medal, the highest honour of the Australian Optical Society, and in 2010 he was awarded the Barry Inglis Medal by the National Measurement Institute for excellence in precision measurement.

From 2007 - 2009 Professor Baldwin was President of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS - now Science and Technology Australia).  In 2004 he won the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science, for his role in initiating and championing “Science meets Parliament”.

Researcher's projects

Professor Baldwin's research projects lie in two related fields: the use of laser
techniques (in particular the generation of vacuum ultraviolet – VUV – radiation <200nm) for high resolution spectroscopy of atoms and molecules; and laser cooling to trap and manipulate metastable helium (He*) atoms for atom optics and atomic physics experiments.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  20 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers