Max Gunnersen was Dux of Camberwell Grammar School in 1946, and proceeded to the University of Melbourne where he gained First Class Honours in Science. In 1952 he was awarded the first Rutherford Memorial Scholarship from the Royal Society of London, which took him to The Cavendish, (Mond) Laboratory, Cambridge University for his doctorate – he was the first to determine the Fermi Surface of a metal in the field of low temperature, solid state physics.
In 1957 he joined the UK Ministry of Defence, where he led research teams which studied radiation effects, semiconductor detector development, and high powered lasers. This research also included close liaison with both American and French research teams. Max also assisted in developing gamma-ray imaging of cancer tumors at Marsden Hospital, UK.
With the equivalent rank of Brigadier-General, Max directed and co-ordinated the UK’s participation in defensive radiation anti-missile weapon development within President Reagan’s USA Strategic Defence Initiative program.