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21 June 2019

Robert Shaw, lecturer at RMIT and lover of maths

As one of Arcare Maroochydore’s first residents to move in on July 2014, Robert Shaw, now 98-years-old remembers sharing that momentous occasion with his wife Joan, now passed away.

“We moved to the Sunshine Coast from Melbourne about seven years ago and after working with RMIT for 36 years in Melbourne lecturing in Physics, it was time to join my family here in lovely sunny Queensland,” he said.

“It was difficult leaving Melbourne as I worked at RMIT, I worked at Kyneton where I met my wife Joan, so I have very fond memories of our life there raising our family and all,” Robert explained.

Robert loves to chat about his life and how fortunate he was as his family was very poor and not many were given the chance to study past school.

However, in 1939, he was awarded one of the first five university places offered by the education department to study for Science degree.

“Without this degree I wouldn’t have been able to do research and teach which was my passion”, he said.

Robert still enjoys reading scientific papers in his room at Arcare and meets with others at the café to talk about the importance of Maths and Science.

“Maths is important to physics but so is experiment. Maths frames theories which can make predictions, but it is experiment that’s needed to check the predictions and thus to verify or falsify the theories,” Robert explains.

As one of Arcare’s first residents five years ago, Robert said he enjoys working on his computer and listening to opera and remembers how valuable life is when you share it with someone special as he did with his wife, Joan.

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