In these interviews, outstanding Australian scientists talk about their early life, development of interest in science, mentors, research work, and other aspects of their careers.
Gordon Ada was born in 1922 in Sydney. He graduated from the University of Sydney during his life made many important contributions to the field of virology and immunology, including research into cholera, the influenza virus and the Murray Valley encephalitis virus. He led a team that united virology and immunology techniques and established a solid international reputation studying cellular immune responses.
Yvonne Aitken received a doctorate in agricultural science from the University of Melbourne, and continued to work there throughout her career. Her research centred on how plant species adapt to climate through the differing flowering responses of early and late varieties and how this in turn affects the growing period (i.e., days from sowing to flower initiation, to first flower and to ripe seed). Aitken first studied the effect of daily temperature and photoperiod on a group of nine well-known agricultural species (three legumes, six cereals and grasses) sown at Melbourne (latitude 38°S) at intervals during the year. A further set of the same varieties was grown in diverse climates in other world agricultural regions during 1963, 1970 and 1975, with the unique data collected personally by her. Aitken has contributed to the search for better crop and pasture species for Australia by increasing our understanding of genetic factors within a species that control reproductive development in different seasons and climates. Dr Aitken passed away in 2004.
Brian Anderson founded the Department of Systems Engineering within ANU's Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering in 1982. In 1994, he oversaw the establishment of the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering and was the School's Director until 2002. He is a past president of the Australian Academy of Science and is currently a distinguished professor at the ANU.
Stephen Angyal was born in 1914 in Budapest. Angyal is a carbohydrate chemist whose research has shed light on many aspects of carbohydrate chemistry. He received a PhD from the University of Science in Budapest and worked as a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry before arriving in Australia. He was employed as a research chemist in both Sydney and Melbourne before being appointed as a junior lecturer at the University of Sydney. Angyal moved to the University of New South Wales (then the New South Wales University of Technology) in 1953 and remained there for the rest of his working life. He was appointed Professor of Chemistry and also served as the Dean of Science. Angyal was awarded the University’s first Doctor of Science in 1964. Professor Angyal passed away in 2012.
Dr Cyril Appleby’s curiosity about the world of science began by watching smoke escape from his neighbour’s burning leaves when he was 8 years old. Despite being labeled as a ‘precocious’ student with a complete lack of sporting finesse, he successfully navigated school and went on to complete a PhD in yeast biochemistry. Appleby discusses a life studying plant and microbial cytochromes and haemoglobins, including how a brief bit of ‘carelessness’ lead to him crystallise the first ever cytochrome.
After gaining her PhD in geology from the ANU, Leanne Armand joined the Institute of Antarctic and South Ocean Studies at the University of Texas as a postdoctoral fellow. She is now working in the Biogeochemical Cycles Program at the Antarctic CRC, investigating biogeochemical cycles using algae collected in sediment traps from ocean sites between Australia and Antarctica.
Sir Geoffrey Badger was born in 1916 in Port Augusta. After receiving his Intermediate Certificate he received a Diploma of Industrial Chemistry from the Gordon Institute of Technology. In 1938 Sir Geoffrey received a BSc (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and then a PhD in 1940 from the University of London. In 1941 Sir Geoffrey worked at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and was an officer in the Royal Navy in 1943 before returning to ICI in 1946 on a research fellowship. In 1949 he became a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide and later as a professor of chemistry in 1955. In 1964 Sir Geoffrey moved to CSIRO as a member of the executive team and in 1966 returned to the University of Adelaide as deputy vice–chancellor and then vice–chancellor in 1967. During 1974–1978 Sir Geoffrey served as President of the Australian Academy of Science. In 1977 until his retirement in 1982, Sir Geoffrey was a chairman of the Australian Science and Technology Council.
Rohan Baker was born in 1962 in Townsville. He received a PhD in 1988 from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. In 1988, he joined the Department of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral fellow, where he researched how cells select proteins for degradation. In 1991, Baker returned to the John Curtin School as a research fellow, and he is now head of the Ubiquitin laboratory, where research is focused on the role of ubiquitin in cell mechanisms.
Amanda Barnard was born in 1971. She completed a BSc from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and went on to receive a PhD in 2003 for her computer modelling work. She then became a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Nanoscale Materials in Argonne National Laboratory, after which she went on to research at the University of Oxford. Her interest in nanoparticles led her to working as a research scientist at CSIRO Material Science and Engineering. Throughout her career she’s received several awards, including the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, a UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, and the Academy’s Fredrick White Prize.
Athel Beckwith was born in 1930 in Perth. He received a BSc Hons from the University of Western Australia in 1952. Beckwith received a CSIRO scholarship to complete his doctorate research on free radicals at Oxford University. In 1960, he received the Rennie Medal, and in 1961, was awarded the Nuffield Scholarship to work in London. Beckwith became head of the Department of Organic Chemistry at Adelaide University in 1965. In 1981, Beckwith became the Professor of Chemistry at the Australian National University’s Research School of Chemistry, until his retirement in 1995. In 2001, Beckwith was awarded the Centenary Medal, and in 2004, was awarded the Order of Australia.
Dr Isobel Bennett is one of Australia's most distinguished marine biologists. She was involved in the first study of plankton to be undertaken in Australian waters, she became an expert on the intertidal zone of the temperate shores, and her best known area of expertise is the Great Barrier Reef.
Max Bennett was born in 1939 in Melbourne. He received a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1963. His interest in the human mind led him to study neurophysiology, where he received a MSc in 1965, and a PhD in 1967, both from the University of Melbourne. Bennett Joined the Department of Physiology at the University of Sydney in 1969. Here he was appointed Director of the Special Research Centre of Excellence in Neurobiology. As well as making significant scientific contributions, Bennett has also founded organisations to promote science and brain research.
Fraser Bergersen was born in 1929 in New Zealand, receiving a DSc from the University of New Zealand in 1962. He was a distinguished plant scientist whose research in the field of microbiology, particularly through the study of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes, has led to improved crop performance in Australia and Asia. He was at CSIRO for almost all his working life, retiring from his position of Chief Research Scientist in 1994.
Marcela Bilek was born in 1968 in Prague. Bilek received a BSc (Hons) from the University of Sydney in physics and computer science and while studying, spent a year at the IBM Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. After completing a PhD in engineering at the University of Cambridge, she remained there as a research fellow at Emmanuel College. During this time she continued her research and established collaborations with a number of international institutions. These included Technische Universität Hamburg, Germany, where she developed an undergraduate degree program in general engineering science and the Plasma Applications Group at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, USA. In November 2000 she became Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Sydney.
Louis Charles Birch commenced his entomology research career at the University of Adelaide. Through out his career, Birch made major contributions to the understanding of the effect of weather disturbances on the population and distribution of animals.
Peter Bishop was born in 1917 in Tamworth. In 1940 he received a BMBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) from the University of Sydney. Bishop served in the Navy during World War II then went to England where he began his work in neurophysiology. In 1950 he returned to the University of Sydney and became Professor of Physiology in 1955. In the 1960s Bishop and his colleagues developed a mathematical model of the visual system of a cat. He was Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at The Australian National University (ANU) between 1967 and 1982. Peter Bishop passed away in June 2012.
Blevin joined the CSIRO Division of Physics as a research scientist (1956) progressing to chief research scientist (1976). During this time he was awarded a DSc from the University of New England. Blevin served as acting chief from 1979, assistant chief and chief standards scientist from 1980 and finally chief from 1988 of CSIRO Division of Applied Physics before retiring in 1994.
Norman Keith Boardman was born in 1926 in Geelong. Boardman completed a Leaving honours at Melbourne Boys High School and was awarded a Dafydd Lewis Scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Melbourne before receiving a Master of Science in 1949. He worked at the Wool Research Section of CSIRO for 2 years then went to Cambridge in 1951 to do his PhD. Boardman received an ICI postdoctoral fellowship to continue his work at Cambridge and later received a PhD and a ScD in biochemistry, also from the University of Cambridge. In 1956, Boardman returned to the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry to set up their chromatography facilities and in 1964, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles as a Fullbright Scholar.
Boardman was a member of the executive of CSIRO between 1977 and 1985 and became Chairman and Chief Executive in 1985 and Chief Executive in 1987 after the separation of the two positions. Boardman was awarded the David Syme Research Prize by the University of Melbourne in 1967 and the Lemberg Medal of the Australian Biochemical Society in 1969. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1972, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1978 and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 1986. He was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of Newcastle in 1988 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1993.
Natashia Boland was born in 1967 in Perth. She received a PhD from the University of Western Australia for her work on operations research in 1992. After this, she joined the University of Waterloo as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimisation. This was followed by another research fellowship at the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. She then joined the University of Melbourne as a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She is involved in a number of research projects in both theoretical operations research as well as process optimising, and provides consulting services to the airline and transport industry.
Stephen Boyden was born in 1925 in south London. Originally trained as a veterinarian, he studied at the University of Cambridge, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the Pasteur Institute and the Tuberculosis Immunisation Research Centre of WHO in Copenhagen before going to the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the ANU in 1960. Boyden was the director of the Hong Kong Human Ecology Program and a consultant to UNESCO's Man in the Biosphere Program. He is a visiting fellow at the ANU's Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies and deeply involved in the activities of the Nature and Society Forum.
Dr Kristen Bremmell was born in Newcastle in 2001. In 1998, she received a PhD from the University of Newcastle in chemical engineering. After completing her PhD, she was a research fellow at the University of Melbourne in the Particulate Fluid Processing Centre. In 2001, she was appointed as a research fellow at the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia. Her research includes investigating particle interactions and the effect of different molecules in suspensions of particles.
Ronald (Ron) Drayton Brown was born in 1927 in Melbourne. He received a BSc in 1946 from the University of Melbourne and completed his PhD at Kings College at the University of London in 1952. Brown was then an assistant lecturer in Chemistry at the University College London from 1952 before returning to the University of Melbourne in 1953 as a senior lecturer in general chemistry and in 1959 became a reader in theoretical chemistry. Also in 1959, Brown became the foundation professor of chemistry at Monash University and remained in that position until retiring in 1992. Professor Brown passed away in 2008.
Henry George Burger was born in Austria in 1933. Burger completed a medical degree in 1956, and a Doctor of Medicine in 1960, both from the University in Melbourne. In 1961, Burger moved to the UK to do some research, after which he moved to the USA to take up a United State Public Health Service International postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. In 1965, he returned to Australia and by 1972, became director of the Medical Research Centre and the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Prince Henry’s Hospital. He concurrently lectured at Monash until 1978.
Professor Geoffrey Burnstock’s personal philosophy of ‘if you can’t do it one way, you find another’ saw him transition out of graveyard work to studying theology, maths, physics and biology at university. He reflects on a star-studded career in autonomic neuroscience and gastroenterology, the importance of a creative spirit and his first ever in vivo motility publication which involved the tricky business of putting condoms on fish.
Julie Campbell is a vascular biologist whose research has focused on the cell biology of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. Her team has developed a method of growing artificial blood vessels in the peritoneal cavity of an animal into which it will be later grafted. Campbell is Director of the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology at the University of Queensland and Director of the Wesley Research Institute at the Wesley Hospital. In 1995 she won the Wellcome Australia Medal and Award for Medical and Scientific Research.
As Australia's senior palaeontologist, Ken Campbell, has made a remarkable contribution to the study of palaeontology worldwide. He began his career at the University of Queensland and has had many honours including a Nuffield Dominion Travelling Fellowship at Cambridge University and a Fulbright Fellowship at Harvard University.
Sam Carey was born in 1911 in Campbelltown. He received a DSc from the University of Sydney in 1939. He went on to work in the petroleum industry in New Guinea and then served the Australian Infantry Forces from 1942-44. He then became chief government geologist in Tasmania, and later, foundation professor of geology at the University of Tasmania, where he worked until his retirement in 1976. Carey received the Officer of the Order of Australia award in the Australia Day Honour list of 1977.
Frank Caruso received a degree in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne. In 1994, he received a PhD for his research in the dynamics of molecules. He continued his research as a postdoctoral fellow at the CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers until 1997. He was then awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship to work at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Berlin. Here he developed a strategy to modify the surface of nano-sized colloid particles that can be used for things such as biosensors. Caruso received many awards for his research, and in 2002, he joined the University of Melbourne as a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
John Carver was born in 1926 in Sydney. Carver received a BSc in 1947 and an MSc in 1948 from the University of Sydney and in 1953, he received his PhD at the University of Cambridge. In 1953 Carver was a research fellow, fellow and then senior fellow at The Australian National University (ANU). In 1961 he was appointed elder professor and held the position of head of the department of physics at the University of Adelaide until 1978. In 1967 Carver provided the scientific payload for WRESAT, the first Australian satellite, launched from Woomera. He returned to the ANU in 1978 as professor of physics and was the Research School of Physical Sciences until 1992. In 1993 Carver became the emeritus professor and served as deputy vice-chancellor and director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the ANU until 1994. From 1977 to 1982 Carver was the chairman of the Radio Research Board of Australia and from 1983 to 1986 as the chairman of the Anglo-Australian Telescope Board.
Physicist and engineer, Chris Christiansen developed a new type of aerial array known as a grating interferometer to study solar radiation. In 1953, by adding a second array of aerials at right angles to the original array he could scan the sun in two dimensions. Christiansen also developed the innovative cross-type radio telescope, known as the Chris Cross.
Professor Graeme Clark is best known as the ‘bionic ear’ or ‘cochlear implant’ scientist. Somewhat less of a mouthful than ‘otolaryngologist’. But in the beginning, getting research funding for a radical idea like the cochlear implant was always going to be a challenge. Undeterred, Professor Clark took to Swanston Street, Melbourne with a donation can in hand. The rest is history.
Andrew Cole was born in 1924 in Perth. He completed a BSc Hons in 1946 from the University of Western Australia. In the same year he received a Hackett studentship that enabled him to research at St John’s College, Oxford. In 1950, Cole joined the National Research Council of Canada as a postdoctoral research fellow. He received a Nuffield research fellowship and returned to the University of Western Australia in 1952. In 1955, Cole was appointed senior lecturer in chemistry, and in 1971 he was head of the department.
William (Bill) Compston is a renowned geophysicist who began his research career fingerprinting and dating rocks at the University of Western Australia before moving to the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University (ANU). He was a principal investigator dating lunar rock samples that were collected by Apollo 11, but is best known for his work developing the Sensitive High Resolution Ion Micro Probe (SHRIMP).The SHRIMP is a great achievement for Australian geology and was used to identify the world's oldest mineral, found in Western Australia. Bill is a Visiting Fellow at the ANU and has received many awards, including the Flinders Medal, the Mawson Medal and the Centenary Medal. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Royal Society of London.
Alec Costin was born in 1925 in Sydney. He completed a BSc in Agriculture at the University of Sydney. He then accepted an honours placement to study the Australian Alps. In the early 1950s, Costin received two research grants than allowed him to research the high mountain ecology of Europe. In 1955, he began a 19 year career at the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry. In 1974, Costin became a visiting fellow at the Australian National University until his retirement in 1977. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in land use ecology.
David Craig was born in 1919 in Sydney. He received his BSc Hons in 1940 and MSc in 1941 from the University of Sydney. Craig became a research fellow at the University College in London, where he completed his PhD in 1949. In 1952, he became the Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Sydney. In 1956, he went back to the University College in London as a Professor of Theoretical Chemistry. In 1967, Craig returned to Australia and was appointed Foundation Professor of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the Australian National University, and later served as the Dean. He became an Emeritus Professor in 1984, and was president of the Australian Academy of Science from 1990-94. Professor Craig passed away in July 2015.
Professor Robert (Bob) Woodhouse Crompton’s early interests in building electric gramophones, clocks and motors to power his toys helped to develop his early interests in science. After reaching top of the state in physics and securing a coveted cadetship at The University of Adelaide, Crompton went on to become a world renowned researcher in electron swarm physics. In his interview Crompton describes the struggles of conducting research in postwar conditions, building and maintaining laboratory equipment and much-loved motor cars, and determining the energy cross sections of electrons in hydrogen isotopes - results which still serve as benchmark measurements today.
David Curtis was born in 1927 in Melbourne. He received a BMBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from the University of Melbourne in 1950. After completing his medical training Curtis was a resident medical officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital from 1951 and from 1953 as a registrar at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. In 1954 he moved to The Australian National University (ANU) as a research scholar where he remained for the rest of his career. While at the ANU’s John Curtin School of Medical Research's Department of Physiology Curtis became a research fellow from 1956, fellow from 1957, senior fellow from 1959, professorial fellow from 1962, professor of pharmacology with a personal chair from 1966 and professor of neuropharmacology from 1968. From 1973 to 1988 he was Foundation Head of the John Curtin School's Department of Pharmacology. A reorganisation of the School in 1988 saw Curtis appointed successively as head of the Division of Neuroscience, and in 1989 as Director and Howard Florey professor of medical research, a position he held until his retirement in 1992 when he was then appointed Emeritus Professor and University Fellow. Curtis became the President of the Australian Academy of Science from 1986 to 1990.
Louis Davies was born in 1923 in Sydney. He received a BSc Hons in 1948 from the University of Sydney and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, for which he received a DPhil in 1951. Davies returned to Australia and joined the CSIRO. In 1958 he visited the Bell Laboratories on a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship. After returning to CSIRO for several years, he became chief physicist at Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) from 1960-1985. This position was combined with a professorship at the University of New South Wales from 1965-1984.
Tracy Dawes-Gromadzki was born in 1972 in Adelaide. Dawes-Gromadzki completed an honours degree at the Flinders University and in 1999, she received a PhD. In 1999, Dawes-Gromadzki was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the CSIRO Division of Sustainable Ecosystems and was promoted to Research Scientist in 2001. Her particular areas of interest are the relationship between macroinvertebrate density and various ecosystem processes and the impact of human-made disturbances on this relationship and the potential use of termites as a tool to aid in the restoration of degraded landscapes.
Max Day received a BSc in 1937 from the University of Sydney before leaving Australia in 1938 for Harvard University where he worked as a biological assistant and a Lehman Fellow. He was awarded a PhD in 1941 and after completing his PhD, Day lectured in cytology and parasitology at Washington University in Missouri. After World War II, he worked as the scientific liaison officer at the Australian Scientific Research Liaison Office in Washington, DC; a position he was twice seconded to from 1944 to 1947 and from 1955 to 1957. In 1947 Day returned to Australia to the Division of Entomology in the CSIRO where he was employed first as a research officer and eventually to chief research officer before finally serving as assistant chief from 1963 to 1966. He was a member of the CSIRO Executive from 1966 to 1976 and served as the first chief of the CSIRO Division of Forest Research from 1976 to 1980. Day was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1956.
Ross Henry Day was born in 1927 in Albany. He started a BSc (Hons) at the University of Western Australia in 1946 and while in his third year, was offered a graduate assistant position in psychology, which he held throughout his honours year. In 1950 Day moved to the University of Bristol as an assistant lecturer and then research fellow from 1951 to 1955. Whilst at the University of Bristol, he completed a PhD in psychology in 1954. Day returned to Australia to the University of Sydney as lecturer from 1955, then senior lecturer from 1959 to 1961 and finally reader from 1962 to 1964. In 1962 Day became the foundation chair of the department of psychology, until 1992 and as well as establishing a strong experimental psychology department, he served as associate dean of the faculty of science from 1981 to 1983. After retiring Day became adjunct professor in psychology at La Trobe University where he continues to conduct experiments into perceptual illusions.
Elizabeth Dennis is an eminent plant molecular biologist and Chief Research Scientist, Division of Plant Industry, CSIRO. She is a past president of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and was elected to the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 1987. In 2000, she was joint recipient of the inaugural Prime Minister's Science Prize.
David de Kretser was born in 1939 in Sri Lanka. He immigrated to Australia with his parents and brother in 1949. de Kretser completed his MB and BS in 1962 at the University of Melbourne and a MD in 1969 at Monash University. He began working as a demonstrator, then a lecturer, in Monash’s department of anatomy in 1965, before moving to the University of Washington as a senior fellow of endocrinology from 1969. On his return to Australia in 1971 de Kretser returned to Monash’s department of anatomy as a senior lecturer, reader from 1976 and professor and chairman from 1978. In 1991 he became the director for the Institute of Reproduction and Development at the University. de Kretser later founded the educational information program, Andrology Australia and in 2006 he took up the appointment of Governor of Victoria.
Margaret Dick was born in 1918. She has been described as a pioneer of Australian food microbiology. Dick made her outstanding career from the early 1940s as a microbiologist in Kraft Foods Australia, and rose quickly to become their Chief Microbiologist. In addition, she carried her research and expertise outwards to influence national standards in Australia and to influence education in her field of expertise, and to work with government bodies associated with public health. Margaret Dick passed away in 2008.
Lloyd Evans was born in 1927 in Wanganui, New Zealand. He gained his MSc at Lincoln College, and in 1954, was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to complete his PhD at Oxford University. Evans’ interest in plants took him to the California Institute of Technology, where he built the world’s first phytotron. Evans joined the CSIRO Division of Plant and Industry in 1956, and became Chief of the Division from 1971-78. Evans served as president of the Australian Academy of Science from 1978-82. During his career he received several awards for his outstanding contribution to plant science, including the Farrer Medal, Centenary Medal, and Adolph E Gude, Jr Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
Peter Doherty was born in 1940 in Brisbane. He attended veterinary school at the University of Queensland, and went on to complete his PhD at Edinburgh University. He took up a post-doctoral position with the John Curtin School of Medicine Research, where he researched how the body’s immune cells protect against viruses. He made a breakthrough in discovering the role of T cells in the immune system, for which, he received the Novel Prize in Medicine in 1996, and was named Australian of the Year in 1997. Doherty currently splits his time between researching at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee and working in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne.
Frank Fenner was born in Ballarat in 1914, and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide. He served in the Australian Army Medical Corps where he worked on the malarial parasite. After the war he worked mainly in Australia, focusing on microbiology and virology. His two greatest achievements were considered to be overseeing the eradication of smallpox and the control of Australia's rabbit plague through the introduction of myxoma virus.
Neville Fletcher was born in 1930 in Armidale. He attended New England University College, which was part of Sydney University, receiving a BSc in 1951. Fletcher then went to Harvard University where he gained a PhD in 1955 before returning to Australia in 1956 to work in the Radiophysics Division of CSIRO. From 1960, Fletcher moved to the University of New England where he was a senior lecturer in physics and then professor of physics from 1963. In 1983 Fletcher was appointed director of CSIRO's Institute of Physical Sciences, a position he held until 1987. When he completed his term as director, he remained at CSIRO as a chief research scientist until 1995.
Sir Otto Frankel was a geneticist by training, plant breeder by occupation, cytologist by inclination and genetic conservationist by acclaim. Apart from his research, Frankel was a highly effective builder and leader of research groups, Socratic gadfly to the scientific establishment and high prophet of the genetic resources conservation movement. His most acclaimed work was after retirement.
Bruce Fraser was born in England in 1924. He joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot during the World War II, where he taught pilot navigation. He went on to complete a BSc and a PhD on the use of polarised infrared radiation to study the structure of biological materials, both from King’s College in London. Fraser then took up a position at CSIRO’s Division of Protein Chemistry, where he researched the molecular structures of fibrous proteins such as wool and collagen. In 1987, he retired to take up a Fogarty Scholarship at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, and since then has spent time publishing more research on the structure of fibrous proteins.
Ian Frazer was born in 1953 in Scotland and studied medicine at Edinburgh University, training as a renal physician and clinical immunologist. Frazer moved to Australia in 1981 where he studied viral immunology and autoimmunity, focusing on human papilloma viruses (HPV), in particular HPV and cervical cancer. He was awarded a MD in 1988. The work of Frazer with his colleague, the late molecular virologist Dr Jian Zhou, led to the development of a vaccine which prevents infection with HPV and cervical cancer. Frazer is currently CEO and Director of Research at the Translational Research Institute (TRI).
Born in the USA in 1970, Bryan Fry graduated from the Portland State University Honours Program in 1995 with a dual degree in Molecular Biology (BSc) and Scientific Philosophy, with a minor in Psychology (BA). Drawn to Australia by its numerous toxic creatures, Fry completed a PhD on the inland taipan. After researching venom at the University of Melbourne, Fry moved to Singapore and researched snake venom evolution. He returned to Melbourne in 2003 and is now continuing his research in Queensland.
Joseph Gani was born in 1924 in Egypt. He received a BSc Hons and a DIC from the Imperial College in London. He went on to complete a PhD in statistics from the Australian National University in 1955, and received a DSc in 1970 from London University. Gani lectured applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia. In 1961, he became a senior fellow in statistics at the ANU. He then lectured in the US for ten years before returning to Australia as chief of the CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics. In 1981, he returned to the USA to lecture statistics until his retirement in 1994.
Sidney Charles Bartholomew Gascoigne, known as Ben, was born in 1915. He earned a BSc at the University College of Auckland (now the University of Auckland) and a travelling scholarship took Gascoigne to the University of Bristol, where he received his PhD. In 1941 Gascoigne came to Australia to join a team at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory at Mount Stromlo and continued there after the war. Among Gascoigne's most important achievements was his work in establishing the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring, New South Wales. Commissioned in 1974, the 150-inch telescope is part of the Anglo-Australian Observatory. He was honoured with an Order of Australia in 1996 for his service to Australian astronomy. Ben Gascoigne passed away in 2010.
Frank Gibson was born in 1923 in Melbourne. In 1937 he worked in the Bacteriology Department at the University of Melbourne and in 1939 he moved to the newly created Bacteriology Department at the University of Queensland as a technical officer. Gibson returned to the University of Melbourne in 1947 and earned his BSc in 1949. He was awarded an Australian National University (ANU) scholarship to study for a doctorate at Oxford and completed a DPhil in 1953. On his return to Australia in 1953, Gibson took up a senior lectureship at the University of Melbourne. In 1967 he took up the Chair of Biochemistry at ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research. Since retiring in 1988, Gibson continued collaborating with colleagues on projects using computers to study the structure of various proteins. Frank Gibson passed away in 2008.
Jenny Graves was born in Adelaide in 1941. She received her BSc Hons in 1964 and MSc in 1967 from the University of Adelaide. Graves was awarded a Fullbright Travel Grant to go to the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a PhD in 1971. She returned to Australia to lecture in genetics at La Trobe University. In 2001, she became head of the Comparative Genomics Research Unit at the Research School of Biological Sciences, Australia National University. Graves’ current research involves investigating the organisation, function, and evolution of mammalian sex chromosomes and sex determining genes.
Anton Hales was born in 1911. He received a BSc in 1929, an MSc in 1930 and a PhD in 1936 from the University of Cape Town. Hales also studied at the University of Cambridge in Britain, earning a BA in 1934 and an MA in 1952. He was Director of the Bernard Price Institute of Geophysical Research at the University of Witwatersrand from 1954 to 1962. Originally trained as a mathematician, Hales applied quantitative methods to many geological problems. He served as the first Head of the Geoscience Division at the Southwest Centre for Advanced Studies (later the University of Texas at Dallas) from 1962 to 1973. He moved to The Australian National University (ANU) in 1973 as foundation Director of the Research School of Earth Sciences and held this position until 1978. Anton Hales passed away in 2006.
Natasha Hendrick was born in 1972 in Brisbane. She received a BAppSc Hons from the University of Queensland, and went on pursue her interests in geophysics with a research group at Oxford University. In 1994, she joined Veritas DGC, a seismic processing company. Hendrick returned to study at the University of Queensland in 1997 to complete a PhD. Since then, she has worked as a geophysicist at a number of firms including DownUnder GeoSolutions and Santos. Hendrick has received the Laric Hawkins Award for a research paper on geophysical techniques for seismic exploration.
Dorothy Hill was born in 1907 in Brisbane. She completed a BSc Hons in 1929 from the University of Queensland, where she received a gold medal for most outstanding graduate of the year. In 1932, Hill received her PhD from the University of Cambridge for her research in Carboniferous corals in Scotland. Hill received several scholarships that allowed her to continue her research in Cambridge. In 1983, she returned to Australia as a research fellow at CSIR (now CSIRO), whilst lecturing at the University of Queensland. She then went on to work for the war effort under the Women’s Royal Australia Naval Service, and in 1970, became the Academy’s president.
Bruce Holloway received a BSc Hons from the University of Adelaide in 1948. He then travelled to the California Institute of Technology, where he was awarded a PhD in 1953. Holloway returned to Australia and joined the John Curtin School of Medical Research to study microbial genetics. He then became a lecturer in bacteriology and microbial genetics at the University of Melbourne. Here he received a DSc, after which he became the foundation professor of genetics at Monash University until 1993. In 1994, he was appointed an emeritus professor at Monash.
After gaining her DPhil from Oxford University in 1957 - Holman won the Melbourne University Travelling Scholarship - she joined the University of Melbourne as a lecturer in physiology. In 1963, Holman joined Monash University as a senior lecturer, becoming a reader in 1965 and a professor in 1970. Holman was awarded a DSc by Monash University in 1970.
Nick Hoogenraad was born in 1942 in Holland. He graduated with a BAgSc and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Melbourne. In 1970 he commenced a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Paediatrics at Stanford University, and was appointed assistant professor in Human Biology. In 1993, he joined La Trobe University as head of the Department of Biochemistry and later, the School of Molecular Sciences. He has received many awards for his research, and has been active in research for the Cooperative Research Centres for Diagnostic Technologies.
Adrian Horridge was born in 1927 in Sheffield. Horridge’s research interests include the role of the nervous system in behaviour. His particular speciality was in understanding natural visual processing as an engineering problem. Horridge was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Visual Studies at The Australian National University. In addition to his biological research he has published many titles on Indonesian traditional boats.
Charles Angas Hurst was born in 1923 in Adelaide. Hurst attended the Scotch College, Melbourne where he graduated dux in 1940 before enrolling at the University of Melbourne where his studies were interrupted by war. In 1942, he enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in radio location and after completing a radio physics course at the University of Sydney, a radar course at Richmond and officer training at Bradfield Park, Pilot Officer Hurst was stationed firstly on Normanby Island and then Manus Island, Papua New Guinea from 1942 to 1946.
After the war, Hurst returned to the University of Melbourne, graduating with a BA Hons in 1947 and a BSc in 1948. He was then awarded the Aitchison Travelling Scholarship from the University of Melbourne which allowed him to travel to Cambridge where he was awarded a PhD in 1952. Hurst later returned to the University of Melbourne as senior lecturer in the Mathematics Department. In 1957, Hurst moved to the Mathematical Physics department at the University of Adelaide and was appointed firstly as senior lecturer in 1957, then reader in 1961 and finally professor in 1964. Hurst was made professor emeritus in the department of Physics and Mathematical Physics in 1989. Professor Hurst passed away in October 2011.
Atoms are mostly empty space. Quantum reality explains why, despite this empty space, a baby’s hand doesn’t pass through its mother’s cheek. This idea was explained in the interview with theoretical chemist, Professor Noel Hush. When asked about an infant’s first experience of reality, Professor Hush said “If you asked the baby, and he’d read a bit, he would say, ‘I realise why mummy’s cheek is resisting me; it’s because of exchange quantum repulsion’.” Wow, clever baby!
Priscilla Kincaid-Smith was born in 1926 in South Africa. She received a BSc Hons in 1946, and then went on to study medicine. In 1953, she travelled to London to study pathology at the Hammersmith Hospital, after which she began working on the treatment for malignant hypertension. She then worked as a research fellow at the Baker Institute and a senior associate in medicine at the University of Melbourne. In 1967, she was appointed a full-time associate in medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and a Doctor in Medicine in 1968. She went on to focus her research efforts on the prevention of renal failure, and in 1975, was appointed Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, which she continued until her retirement in 1991.
Paul Korner was born in 1925 in Moravská Ostrava in Czechoskovakia (now the Czech Republic). At age 13, Korner, along with his parents and brother, fled to England to escape the Nazis before emigrating to the safety of Australia a year later. Korner enrolled in a medical degree at the University of Sydney in 1943, which he finally completed in 1951, having taken some time out from his medical studies to finish a BSc in 1946 and an MSc in 1947. Korner went on to the Kanematsu Research Institute at Sydney Hospital in 1952, after spending a year as a medical resident at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In 1954 he travelled to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London and then on to Harvard. Returning to Australia in 1956 he took up a senior lecturer position at the University of Sydney, then foundation chair in physiology at the University of New South Wales from 1960, the foundation Scandrett professor of cardiology at the University of Sydney from 1968 to 1974 and then the director of the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne from 1975 to 1990. Paul Korner passed away in 2012.
Jean Laby was born in 1915 in Melbourne. She received a BSc in 1939, an MSc in 1951 and a PhD in 1959 from the University of Melbourne. Laby was employed by the University in 1940 to work in the Department of Natural Philosophy, later named the Physics Department. Serving initially as a part-time demonstrator she was appointed to the position of lecturer in 1959. While continuing as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, from 1961 to 1980, Laby also held a position as senior lecturer at the RAAF Academy at Point Cook, Victoria. From 1972 to 1980 Laby was involved in the Climatic Impact Assessment Program. In collaboration with the University of Wyoming, she measured atmospheric aerosols, ozone and water vapour in the stratosphere. Dr Laby passed away in 2008.
James Lance was born in Wollongong in 1926. Lance completed his medical degree at the University of Sydney in 1950 and his Doctor of Medicine in 1955. Lance trained as a neurologist in London and then worked in Sydney. He undertook research in the US, then founded the department of neurology in the newly established medical school at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He remained at UNSW throughout his professional career. Concurrent with his research, Lance continued his clinical practice.
Phillip Law was born in 1912 in Tallangatta. Law was educated at Ballarat Teachers’ College and worked as a secondary school teacher before studying at the University of Melbourne where he received his MSc in 1941. In 1947 and 1948 Law was involved in the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) and was appointed leader of ANARE and director of the Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs in 1949. He personally led 23 voyages to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic regions and directed ANARE activities that resulted in the mapping of 4000 miles of coastline and 800,000 square miles of territory. In 1954 he founded the Mawson, Davis and Casey bases in Antarctica. Law resigned from the Department of External Affairs in 1966 and became the executive vice-president of the Victoria Institute of Colleges until 1977.
Lawrence Lyons graduated from the University of Sydney in 1942 and completed his PhD and DSc at the University of London in 1952 and 1964 respectively. In 1963, Lyons became the first professor of physical chemistry at the University of Queensland (UQ), and from 1970 to 1973 was head of chemistry. Lyons remained at UQ until his retirement and appoinment as emeritus professor in 1987.
John Lovering was born in 1930 in Sydney. Lovering was awarded a New South Wales cadetship at the Australian Museum to attend the University of Sydney and in 1951 he graduated with a BSc (Hons). Lovering worked as an assistant curator at the Australian Museum until 1955. In 1953, he completed an MSc at the University of Sydney and was awarded a PhD in 1956 while working at Caltech. In 1956 Lovering was a research fellow at The Australian National University, fellow in 1960 and finally in 1964 as a senior fellow. In 1969 until 1987 he was a professor of geology at the University of Melbourne and from 1975 to 1987 as head of the School of Earth Sciences. He also served as dean of the Faculty of Science in 1983 and deputy vice-chancellor (research) in 1985, as well as a member of the Australian Antarctic Research Expeditions in 1978 and 1987. In 1987 Lovering was made emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne and became vice-chancellor and professor of geology at Flinders University until 1995.
After completing a PhD at Cambridge, Angus David McEwan was appointed senior research scientist within CSIRO's Division of Meteorological Physics. McEwan was later appointed chief of CSIRO's new Division of Oceanography in Hobart, after which, he served as senior science advisor to the Commonealth Bureau of Meteorology.
Joel Mackay was born in 1968 in Auckland. He received his BSc and MSc from the University of Auckland. In 1990, he won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study at Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in 1993. In 1994, Mackay worked as an experimental scientist at the CSIRO Food Research Laboratory. In 1995, he became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney, where he was later appointed research fellow and senior lecturer in the School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences. In 2002, Mackay received the Science Minister’s Prize for Achievement in the Life Sciences.
Elspeth McLachlan received a BSc Hons from the University of Sydney in 1963, then worked as a test pharmacologist for Roche Products in London, before moving to the library of the British Museum. She began teaching at the University of Sydney in 1970 and was awarded a PhD in 1973. From 1974 to 1982, McLachlan worked at Monash University in the physiology department and in 1984 she moved to the Baker Medical Research Institute until 1988. McLachlan then became professor and head of the department of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Queensland. In 1993 she moved to Sydney as Conjoint Professor at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and since 1999 she was also the director of the Centre for Research Management, National Health and Medical Research Council. McLachan was awarded a DSc by the University of Sydney in 1994.
Helene Marsh served as chair of the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee (1998-2000) and was a recipient of an international Pew Charitable Trust Award for marine conservation (1998). She is currently leading a program at the CRC for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, looking for sustainable solutions to human impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
Barry Marshall was born in Kalgoorlie in 1951 and studied medicine. In 1981 Marshall began to work with Dr Robin Warren studying bacteria in the stomach. In 1984 he proved that H. pylori infections caused peptic ulcers and it is for this body of work that Marshall and Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005. Marshall moved to the USA to continue his research, where it became accepted that eradication of H. pylori infection was the key to treating duodenal and gastric ulcers. Marshall returned to Perth in 1996 and he still sees patients at the gastroenterology department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Ray Martin earned a BSc in 1946 and an MSc in 1948 from the University of Melbourne. From 1949 to 1951 he was an Exhibition Scholar at the University of Cambridge where he was awarded a PhD in 1952 and a ScD in 1968. Martin stayed at Cambridge as a research fellow until returning to Australia in 1954 as a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales. He left academia in 1959 to work in industry at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) until 1962 when he became a professor and head of inorganic chemistry at the University of Melbourne where he helped set up the inorganic department. In 1972 Martin moved to The Australian National University as foundation professor of inorganic chemistry in the Research School of Chemistry where he was awarded a DSc in 1978. Martin became the vice-chancellor of Monash University from 1977 until 1987 and then professor of chemistry until 1991. During these years he was also chairman of the Australian Science and Technology Council from 1988 to 1992.
Lord Robert May's childhood interests in puzzles, problem solving games and debating served as excellent groundwork for a highly successful and interdisciplinary career spanning physics, mathematics, chemical engineering and ecology. In his interview, May - who describes himself simply as a 'scientist with a short attention span' - reflects on how he 'accidentally' became a physicist and revolutionised ecology, was elected to the House of Lords and became one of the most valued advisers to the British Government and some of the world's largest banks.
Oliver Mayo was born in Adelaide in 1942 and completed his PhD at the University of Adelaide in 1968. Mayo then studied at the University of Edinburgh, after which he joined the University of Adelaide. Mayo was chief of the CSIRO Division of Animal Production until retiring in 2000. He has more than 40 years of experience in the areas of applied statistics and genetics, with his main achievements being in evolutionary population genetics.
Donald Metcalf was born in 1929 in Mittagong. In 1951 he received a BSc (Med) from the University of Sydney. Metcalf earned an MB BS in 1953 for his work on the ectromelia virus and received an MD in 1961. Metcalf was a resident medical officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney when in 1954 he accepted a Carden Fellowship in cancer research at Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (the Hall Institute). He was a postdoctoral student at Harvard Medical School between 1956 and 1958, returning to the Hall Institute as Head of the Cancer Research Laboratory in 1958. Metcalf remained at the Hall Institute for the rest of his career, where he remained actively engaged in research. From 1965 to 1996 he was Head of the Cancer Research Unit and Assistant Director of the Hall Institute, and was also Research Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Melbourne from 1986. In 1996 he became Professor Emeritus of the University of Melbourne. Professor Metcalf passed away in 2014.
Harvey Miller was born in 1971 in Canberra. He received his PhD from The Australian National University in 1997 for the regulation of electron transport pathways in plant mitochondria, during both normal plant growth and during symbiotic nitrogen fixation with the aid of rhizobium bacteria. In 1997, he was worked at the University of Oxford under a Human Frontier Fellowship and in 1999, he became a University Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia where he is developing proteomics of plants and plant mitochondria.
In 1966, Jacques Miller headed the experimental pathology unit at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Miller served with the International Research Agency for Cancer and was president of the Scientific Council. He served with the World Health Organisation and had a term with the International Union of Immunological Societies.
Nancy Millis was born in Melbourne in 1922. She graduate with a Bachelors and Masters in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in 1948. Millis completed her PhD in 1952 from the University of Bristol. From 1952-1988, she worked in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Melbourne. In 1980, Millis helped set up the Recombinant DNA Monitoring Committee. This committee was replaced in 1987 by the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee, which she chaired until 2001. In 1993, she obtained her Doctorate in Science (Hon) for her research on microbial growth and fermentation in cider, from the University of Melbourne.
James Moody graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with degrees in electrical engineering and information technology, winning the University Medal in both. In 1999 he began his PhD research at The Australian National University (ANU). His research involved strategic management theory and the management of complex projects within the space industry. As part of this research, Moody was the systems manager with the Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems, involved with the building and launching of FedSat, Australia's first satellite for 30 years. He also manages several companies that integrate his interests in space and the environment.
James Morrison was born in 1924 in Scotland. He completed a BSc Hons in Chemistry in 1945, a PhD in X-ray crystallography in 1948, and a DSc in 1958 from Glasgow University. In 1949, Morrison joined the Industrial Chemistry division at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as a research officer. In 1967, Morrison became the foundation chair and later chairman at the Chemistry Department at La Trobe University. He was made emeritus professor in 1989 upon his retirement. During his career, Morrison’s interests in mass spectrometry took him to research at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Utah.
Beryl Nashar was born in 1923 in Newcastle. Nashar was the first Australian woman to be awarded a Rotary Foundation Fellowship which she took in Cambridge and at the University of Tasmania, she became the first Australian to be awarded a PhD in Geology from an Australian university. Initially appointed lecturer in geology at Newcastle University College (part of the then New South Wales University of Technology), Nashar became Foundation Professor of Geology when the University of Newcastle was formed. Four years later, she became the first woman dean of science at an Australian University. Her expertise in educational matters was used by her university, local expert boards and committees, and governments. Professor Nashar passed away in 2012.
After receiving his D Phil from Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität in Berlin and a PhD in mathematics from Cambridge University, Bernhard Hermann Neumann joined several universities before graduating from Cambridge University with a DSc. In 1962, Neumann joined the Australian National University until retiring in 1974.
John Newton was born in 1924 in England. He completed his BA in 1946, MA in 1948, and PhD in 1953, from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. In 1951, he joined the Atomic Energy Research Establishment as a fellow, and later as principal scientific officer. Newton was then appointed senior lecturer and reader in physics at the University of Manchester. From 1956-81, Newton made several visits to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley where he worked on Coulomb excitation. In 1970, Newton became head of the nuclear physics department at the Australian National University. He made a significant contribution in the installation of a new accelerator at the university, and was made emeritus professor in 1990.
Colin Nexhip was born in 1979 in Victoria. He received a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1998. He received a CSIRO Innovation Award for the design of a high temperature laser spectrometer. In 1999, he was awarded a Victoria Fellowship enabling him to travel to ‘benchmark’ his research against other institutions. He continued with CSIRO as a scientist in the Minerals Department, and in 2001, he joined the German Aerospace Research Centre, where he conducted experiments on molten metal alloys in different gravity settings.
Gustav Nossal was born in Austria in 1931 and came to Australia with his family in 1939. He graduated from Sydney University’s Medical School with first class honours and gained his PhD in 1960. Nossal studied medicine at the University of Sydney and was Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research from 1965 to 1996. Nossal is widely known for his contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance. Nossal was knighted in 1977, and was made Companion of the Order of Australia in 1989. He was appointed Australian of the Year in 2000.
Gustav Nossal was born in Austria in 1931 and came to Australia with his family in 1939. He graduated from Sydney University’s Medical School with first class honours and gained his PhD in 1960. Nossal studied medicine at the University of Sydney and was Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research from 1965 to 1996. Nossal is widely known for his contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance. Nossal was knighted in 1977, and was made Companion of the Order of Australia in 1989. He was appointed Australian of the Year in 2000.
Moira O’Bryan was born in 1966 in Victoria. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1994, after which she was awarded a Mellon Foundation fellowship at the Population Council Centre for Biomedical Research at the Rockefeller University in New York. In 1996, she returned to Australia to lead a research group working on the genetics of male infertility at Monash University. O’Bryan has received several fellowships and is currently a Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash.
Dame Bridget Ogilvie spent a solitary childhood on a sheep property in country New South Wales pondering farm parasitology and was ‘lucky’ to have an Oxford educated father who at the time was regarded as deeply eccentric for sending his daughter to university. Nevertheless, she went on to receive many awards for her contributions to parasitology and medical research, including 24 honorary doctorates!
After receiving a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, June Olley, worked at Torry Research Station in Aberdeen. In 1968, Olley joined CSIRO working at the Tasmanian Food Research Unit. After retiring, Olley became an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania, contributing to a number of scientific papers and a microbiology textbook.
Alicia Oshlack was born in 1975 in Perth. She received a BSc Hons in 1998 from the University of Melbourne, after which she received a PhD for her research on radio quasars. Oshlack’s research interests then moved to using mathematics to look at genetics. In 2003, she joined the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute as a research officer in the Bioinformatics Division. After that she moved to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne as Head of Bioinformatics. In her research, she has worked on gene expression in human evolution and the use of clinical sequencing for disease diagnosis.
Garth William Paltridge was born in 1940 in Brisbane. He completed a BSc with honours at the University of Queensland in 1961 before moving south to Melbourne. Paltridge was awarded an MSc and PhD in 1965 from the University of Melbourne. In 1966, he took up a post-doctoral fellowship at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in the USA. Paltridge moved to the UK in 1967 and became a senior science officer at the Radio and Space Research Station in the UK before returning to Australia in 1968 to the CSIRO Division of Meteorological Physics (eventually re-named the Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research). He began as a research scientist and was promoted over the following eleven years to reach the level of chief research scientist. In 1990 Paltridge became professor and director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies at the University of Tasmania until 2002. He was then instrumental in setting up one of the first Cooperative Research Centres, the CRC for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in 1991. He was director of the Antarctic CRC until his retirement in 2002. He then became an emeritus professor and honorary research fellow at the University of Tasmania and a visiting fellow at The Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Biology.
A leading Australian geophysicist, Mervyn Paterson, pioneered rock mechanics research and instrument development over the past fifty years. During his 31 years at the ANU's Research School of Earth Sciences, Paterson developed instruments to test rock deformation, which lead into Paterson Instruments P/L, Paterson's company which specialised in building scientific instruments.
William James (Jim) Peacock was born in 1937 in Leura. He received a BSc (Hons) in 1958 from the University of Sydney. After his honours year, Peacock won a CSIRO scholarship for further studies and was awarded a PhD from the University of Sydney in 1962. Peacock began working at CSIRO as a visiting research worker in the Genetics section in 1963 and later that year moved to the University of Oregon, where he worked as a post-doctoral fellow and visiting associate professor in 1964. He continued his genetics studies as a research consultant in the biology division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, in 1965. On returning to Australia and CSIRO, Peacock joined the division of Plant Industry. He worked as a senior research scientist from 1965, principal research scientist from 1969, senior principal research scientist from 1973 and chief research scientist from 1977. He was chief of the division from 1978 to 2003 and then became a CSIRO fellow. Peacock was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1976 and served as its president from 2002 to 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Peacock served as Australia’s Chief Scientist.
Sabine Piller was born in 1970 in Austria. She received a MSc in 1993 from the University of Alabama. In 1980, Piller completed her PhD research on an HIV protein from the ANU. Piller worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre of AIDS Research, University of Alabama. In 2000, Piller received the Young Investigator Award from the Centre of Immunology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. Alongside her research, she is a lecturer in the Department of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, and a visiting fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research.
Microbial geneticist Professor Pittard began his working life as a pharmacist and then embarked upon a scientific research career in gene expression. Despite his grandmother’s warning that he was “giving up the substance for the shadow”, Professor Pittard succeeded in providing for his lovely family – even building the roof that was over their heads!
Barry Pogson was born in 1962 in Moss Vale. In 1986 he received a BSc from Macquarie University and completed his honours degree at the University of New South Wales. Pogson worked jointly at Macquarie University and the CSIRO Division of Horticulture for his PhD research and was awarded his PhD in 1992. From 1992 Pogson worked as a postdoctoral scientist on a joint project between the CISRO Division of Horticulture and New Zealand and from 1994 to 1997 he was a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Arizona and then at the University of Nevada. Pogson was an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Arizona State University from 1997 and in 1999 he was appointed to a lectureship in the School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and The Australian National University where he became a senior lecturer there in 2001.
Hugh Possingham was born in 1962 in Adelaide. He completed a DPhil at the Oxford University in 1987 and has held appointments at Stanford University, The Australian National University, the University of new South Wales and the University of Adelaide. In 2000 Possingham took up a joint appointment between the Departments of Zoology and Entomology, and Mathematics at the University of Queensland and in 2001 became the Foundation Director of the University’s Ecology Centre.
Cheryl Praeger was born in 1948 in Toowoomba. In 1970 she received a BSc Hons from the University of Queensland and was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to Oxford University receiving an MSc in 1972 and a DPhil in 1974. She returned to Australia in 1973 to a research fellow position in mathematics at The Australian National University. After 3 years, Praeger moved to the University of Western Australia as a lecturer in mathematics and in 1983 she was appointed to her current position, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. Praeger was the head of the mathematics department at the University of Western Australia from 1992 to 1994 and the inaugural dean of postgraduate research studies from 1996 to 1998.
Rhodes Scholar, Peter Rathjen's research interests include the molecular basis of mammalian development, the differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells, and the use of genetic and ES cell technologies for human therapy. His work has proven to be commercially valuable and forms a basis for the cell reprogramming division of BresaGen Ltd, an Adelaide-based biotechnology company.
Marilyn Renfree was born in 1947 in Brisbane. She received a BSc in 1968 a PhD in 1972 and a DSc in 1988 from The Australian National University. In 1972 Renfree was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Tennessee and in 1973 she was a Ford Foundation Research Fellow at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh. Returning to Australia, Renfree became a foundation staff member at Murdoch University in Western Australia, holding the positions of lecturer from 1974, senior lecturer from 1978 and associate professor of animal biology in reproductive physiology from 1980. Renfree moved to Monash University in 1982 as a senior fellow and a National Health and Medical Research Council principal research fellow in anatomy from 1984. In 1991 Renfree was appointed to her current position, Ian Potter Chair of Zoology and Head of Department, University of Melbourne.
Pamela Rickard was born in 1928 in Sydney. After completing her intermediate certificate at high school, she spent five years working in the library of the Daily Telegraph newsletter and another five years working as a legal secretary. Rickard was awarded a mature-age scholarship to the University of Sydney and received her BSc in 1957 before taking up a teaching fellowship in biochemistry at the University of New South Wales (then the New South Wales University of Technology) where she later received an MSc in 1961. In 1964 Rickard received her PhD from the University College Hospital Medical School at the University of London. In 1964 she returned to the University of New South Wales and spent her working life there. Rickard was initially a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Biological Sciences before being appointed to a lectureship in biochemistry in 1965. She was appointed foundation chair of biotechnology in 1981 and served as head of school until her retirement in 1988 when she became emeritus professor. Professor Rickard passed away in 2002.
After graduating with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Sydney, Sir Rutherford Roberson studied for his PhD at Cambridge University (UK). He received a DSc from the University of Sydney in 1961 and was appointed professor of botany at Adelaide University. In 1969, Robertson joined the ANU as master of University House and became director of the School of Biological Sciences in 1973.
George Ernest Rodgers was born in 1927 in Melbourne. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a BSc in 1949 and an MSc in 1951. Rogers graduated with a PhD in 1956 from the University of Cambridge on a CSIRO Scholarship and returned to Australia as a research officer in the Division of Protein Chemistry at CSIRO from 1957 to 1962. In 1963 he joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Adelaide as a reader then later as a professor from 1978 to 1992 and has also served as department head from 1988 to 1992. Rogers became an emeritus professor in 1992 at the University of Adelaide and in 1995 until 2000 he was the program manager of the Premium Quality Wool CRC.
Lesley Rogers was born in 1943 in Brisbane. She received a BSc Hons in 1964 from Adelaide University. In 1965, she was a teaching fellow at Harvard University. Rogers received a DPhil in 1971 and a DSc in 1987, from Sussex University. Roger was a teaching fellow at Harvard University, Monash University, and the Australian National University. In 1986, Rogers joined the Physiology Department at the University of New England as a lecturer, and in 1993, was made the Professor of Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour. In 1997, Rogers received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.
Brian Schmidt was born in 1967 in the USA. After studying physics and astronomy, he received a PhD in astronomy from Harvard University in 1993. Schmidt moved to Canberra in 1995 where he worked at the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories. For his work on the accelerating universe Brian Schmidt was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter. Schmidt continues to work at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University.
Roger Short was born in England in 1930. After completing a veterinary science degree, Short received a masters in genetics in 1955 from the University of Wisconsin. Short began a PhD at the University of Cambridge, and in 1962, he was appointed lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies. In 1972, he became director of the Medical Research Council Unit of Reproductive Biology and honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh. Short came to Australia in 1982, where he became a professor of reproductive biology at Monash University. In 1996 Short became a professorial fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.
Maria Skyllas-Kazacos was born in 1951 in Greece. She completed a degree in industrial chemistry, and a PhD in electrochemical studies of molten salts, both from the University of New South Wales. Following this, she spent a year at the Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, researching solar energy. She returned to Australia to take a position as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales, and in 1982, was appointed as lecturer in chemical engineering. Her research team developed the redox battery, which is now being commercialised around the world in a range of energy storage applications.
Slatyer was influencial in Australia's national science milieu. He served as Australian chief scientist, was deputy chairman of the National Greenhouse Advisory Committee (Dept of the Arts, Sport, Environment & Territories) and chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre Program (Dept of Prime Minister & Cabinet). On retiring, Slatyer became a distinguished scholar in residence at the ANU.
John Sprent worked at the Vom Veterinary Station in Nigeria studying Bunostomum phlebotomum (hookworms) in cattle. After receiving his PhD and a DSc from the University of London, Sprent joined university's in Chicago and Toronto before settling at the University of Queensland.
Professor Mandyam Srinivasan's early interest in making transistor radios with his father, led to his training as an engineer, which gave him the grounding needed to take off studying fly vision. His work with honeybees helped unravel how they use their vision to successfully navigate through narrow tunnels and make precise landings, later leading to the development of self-navigating robots.
Fiona Stanley was born in 1946 in Sydney. She received a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Western Australia in 1970. Stanley then moved to London to study, and was introduced to epidemiology, biostatistics and public health, the areas that became her life’s research focus. Returning to Australia, she held senior child health, epidemiology and preventive medicine policy and research roles. It was during this period she also received an MD. In 1990 Stanley was appointed to the position of director, TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, and professor, Department of Paediatrics, UWA.
Richard Stanton was born in 1926. He studied at the New England University College of the University of Sydney at Armidale (now the University of New England (UNE)). Stanton worked for a time with Broken Hill South Ltd before returning to the University of Sydney in 1950. In 1952 he was awarded an MSc and in 1956 a PhD in geology. Stanton took up a National Research Council of Canada two year post-doctorate fellowship at Queen’s University in Ontario and then returned to Armidale and joined the Department of Geology at the UNE. He remained at the UNE until 1986. During his time there he took sabbaticals to Harvard from 1966 to 1967 and Oxford from 1978 to 1980.
Sally Stewart-Wade worked as a plant pathologist for the Department of Agriculture, Victoria. In 1996, Stewart-Wade joined the University of Guelph in Canada, as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2000, Stewart-Wade commenced her present position as research fellow at the University of Melbourne.
Robert (Robin) Stokes was born in 1918 in England. Stokes earned a BSc in 1938, MSc in 1940 and DSc in 1949 from the Auckland University College and a PhD in 1950 from the University of Cambridge. During the war (1941-45) Stokes worked as a chemist and chief chemist at the Colonial Ammunition Company, New Zealand. He then moved to Australia as lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Western Australia. In 1948 Stokes went to the University of Cambridge as an Imperial Chemical Industries fellow before returning to the University of Western Australia as a senior lecturer and reader in chemistry from 1950 to 1955. In 1955 Stokes’ definitive book Electrolyte Solutions, which he co-authored with Professor Robert Robinson, was first published. Also in 1955, he moved to the University of New England, as the foundation professor of chemistry, a position which he held until his retirement in 1979 and was made emeritus professor from 1980.
Jonathan Stone gained his B MedSc from the University of Sydney in 1963 and his PhD in 1966. Following numerous positions held overseas, Stone joined the University of NSW, becoming personal chair in Astronomy in 1985. In 1987 he was appointed Challis Professor of Anatomy at the University of Sydney and, in 2003, was appointed Director of the Research School of Biological Sciences at the ANU.
Robert Street was born in 1920 in Yorkshire. He received a BSc (Special) from the University of London in 1941 and worked at the Air Defence Research and Development Establishment during WWII. In 1944 he received an MSc and in 1948 he received a PhD from the University of London. After the end of WWII, Street was appointed an Assistant Lecturer in Physics at the University of Nottingham and in 1954 he became a senior lecturer at Sheffield University in 1954. In 1960, Street became the foundation Professor of Physics at Monash University. He earned a DSc from the University of London in 1966 and was appointed as Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences at The Australian National University in 1974. From 1978 until his retirement in 1986 Street was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia.
Gregg Suaning was born in 1963 in San Francisco. He received a BSc in 1986, and a MSc in 1986 from California State University. Upon completion of his MSc, he worked as a mechanic engineer at Rexnord Incorporated, and as a technical staff member at Watkins-Johnson Company. In 1992, Suaning joined a team working on the second generation cochlear implant. Suaning joined the University of Newcastle in 2002 as associate professor of mechatronics engineering. He then completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales in 2003, where he became an associate professor in 2007. In 2014, he was appointed honorary professor at the University of Sydney.
John Swan completed a diploma in applied chemistry at the Royal Melbourne Technical College, and received a BSc from the University of Melbourne in 1947. He went on to complete a PhD from the University of London, after which he returned to Australia to join CSIRO as a chemist. In 1953, he received a Fulbright scholarship to research the synthesis of the hormone, oxytocin, at Cornell University Medical College. He then joined Monash University as a professor of organic chemistry, and later as dean of the Faculty of Science where he remained until his retirement. In 1994 he was awarded a DSc from Monash and was also appointed as an emeritus professor.
In 1948, George Szekeres joined the University of Adelaide as lecturer, then senior lecturer and reader in mathematics. He took up the first chair of pure mathematics at the University of NSW (1963), where he stayed for the remainder of his career. Although retired, Szekeres continued publishing original papers when, in 1976 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of NSW.
Ross Taylor was born in 1925 in Ashburton. In 1948 he received a BSc and in 1951 an MSc Hons, both from the University of New Zealand. In 1954 Taylor received a PhD from Indiana University and from there he went to Oxford University, setting up a spectrograph laboratory. In 1958, he took up an appointment as senior lecturer in geochemistry at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1961, Taylor moved to The Australian National University as senior fellow in geophysics and was appointed as a professorial fellow in the Research School of Earth Sciences, in 1962. In 1969 and 1970 he was responsible for carrying out initial chemical analyses of lunar samples brought back to Earth by Apollo 11 and 12. Taylor's work with lunar samples led to his interest in the evolution of the Moon. More recently, he extended this interest in planetary origins to look at the evolution of the solar system.
Elizabeth Marchant Truswell was born in 1941 in Kalgoorlie. After completing her BSc in 1962 at the University of Western Australia, she worked as a consultant to Western Australian Petroleum. Truswell received a British Commonwealth Scholarship in 1963 and went to Cambridge University where she was awarded a PhD in 1966. In 1969, she returned to Australia to again work for the Western Australian Petroleum. In 1971 Truswell was a postdoctoral research scientist at Florida State University in the USA and in 1973 she moved to Canberra to take up a position with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, now Geoscience Australia (GA) where she remained until 1996. Since leaving GA, Truswell has returned to an earlier interest in art and in particular to an exploration of the interaction between art and science. She has exhibited works at the Canberra School of Arts.
Stewart Turner joined The Australian National University as Foundation Professor, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Research School of Earth Sciences. He established the connection between the physical processes in the ocean and liquid rocks, and authored Buoyancy Effects in Fluids. Turner continues his research as Emeritus Professor and Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University.
Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe was born in 1929 in Kashmir. He was awarded a BSc from the University of New Zealand (then called Canterbury University College) in 1951 and after a year of working at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, he returned to study at the University of New Zealand, receiving a MSc Hons. In 1955 Tyndale-Biscoe moved to Pakistan where he taught biology in a college. He returned to Australia to study marsupial reproduction at the University of Western Australia and finished his PhD in 1962 before taking up a lectureship at the Australian National University in Canberra. Tyndale-Biscoe moved to the CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology in 1976 as the head of the marsupial biology group and later he was director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Biological Control of Vertebrate Pest Populations.
After graduating from the University of Tasmania with a BSc and a MSc, Alan Buchanan Wardrop studied for his PhD at the University of Leeds. After receiving a DSc from the University of Melbourne (1958), he returned to the University of Tasmania as professor of botany (1964). He became foundation professor of botany at La Trobe University, and emeritus professor on retirement.
John Robin Warren was born in Adelaide in 1937. After studying medicine, a chance turn of fate led Warren to pathology in which he specialised. While at the Royal Perth Hospital Warren first observed bacteria in stomach sections associated with peptic ulcers. Warren began to work with Barry Marshall in 1981 and together they were able to demonstrate that the bacteria Warren observed (now called Helicobacter pylori) was the causative agent in peptic ulcers, enabling a cure to be developed. Warren and Marshall were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005.
Douglas Waterhouse was born in 1916 in Sydney. He received a BSc and MSc from the University of Sydney and in 1938 he established a career at CSIR (now CSIRO) where he remained until his retirement in 1981. Throughout his career Waterhouse made significant contributions to the blight of Australian sheep farming, the sheep blowfly. During the Second World War he researched extensively on controlling malaria outbreaks affecting soldiers in Papua New Guinea. During the early 1950s and 1960s Waterhouse received a DSc and became Chief of the CSIRO Division of Entomology. Dr Waterhouse passed away in 2000.
Nicole Webster was born in Ormskirk, UK in 1973. Webster completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in 1995 and a PhD in 2001, both at James Cook University in Queensland. Her PhD thesis investigated the microbial ecology of a Great Barrier Reef sponge, focusing on the stability of the symbiotic associations over different areas and under different stresses. Webster’s first postdoctoral fellowship was with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in 2001. Webster was subsequently awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Canterbury and Gateway Antarctica (2001-05). This research focused on utilising microbial communities as indicators for human-induced stress in the Antarctic marine environment. In 2006, Webster accepted a position as research scientist at AIMS where she continues to study microbial-sponge symbiosis as a sensitive marine model of environmental stress.
Gretna Margaret Weste was born in 1917 in Dumfries. She completed a BSc in 1938, MSc in 1939 and a PhD in 1968 at the University of Melbourne. Weste became a leading Australian plant pathologist, with expertise in jarrah dieback. She published over 100 research papers and provided advice to national and regional parks with dieback problems. Weste was Senior Associate in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne and, after her retirement, continued to work there on a voluntary basis supervising postgraduate research students and lecturing to final year undergraduate students. Gretna Weste passed away in 2006.
Guy White was born in 1925 in Sydney. In 1945 White received a BSc (Hons 1) from the University of Sydney and an MSc in 1947. He attended Oxford University in 1947 on a CSIRO Overseas Scholarship and graduated with a PhD in 1950. White then returned to Australia as a research officer at the CSIRO Division of Physics. In 1953 he worked at the National Research Council in Ottawa as a post-doctoral fellow and later as an associate research officer from 1955. In 1958 White worked at CSIRO as a principal research scientist, a senior principal research scientist in 1962 and then chief research scientist in 1969. During 1965-1966 he visited the Bell Laboratories as an invited visiting scientist and the Universities of Oxford and Leeds as a senior visiting scientist in 1976. At his retirement in 1990, White was made an honorary fellow of the CSIRO Division of Materials Science and Engineering.
Born in a Yorkshire mining village in 1958, Fiona Wood was one of just twelve women admitted to the St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School, London in 1978. Wood worked at hospitals in London before coming to Australia in 1987. A plastic surgeon, Wood worked with Marie Stoner to develop a spray-on solution of skin cells, an entirely new and more successful method for burns treatment. Wood’s expertise in burns treatment came to the world’s attention in 2002 in the wake of the Bali bombings, and she continues her research and teaching.
Roy Woodall was born in 1930 in Perth. He completed a BSc Hons from the University of Western Australia, and a MSc from the University of California. Woodall worked with the Western Mining Corporation as a geologist and director of exploration from 1953 to 1995, when he became a non-executive director of the company. Woodall’s research has contributed to the discovery of important mineral deposits, including the Kambalda Nickel Field, uranium at Yeelirrie, and the copper-gold-uranium deposit at Olympic Dam. He has received many international awards and Academy medals for his scientific achievements.
In 1984, Ann Woolcock was appointed Personal Chair of Respiratory Medicine and founded the Institute of Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. In 1989, she co-wrote, the world's first national guidelines for asthma management, the Australian Asthma Management Plan.
Patricia Woolley was born in 1932 in Berlin, Western Australia. After obtaining a BSc in 1955 from the University of Western Australia, she worked there as a research assistant. This is when she developed an interest in dasyurid marsupials. In 1966, Woolley completed a PhD at the Australian National University. In 1967, Woolley worked as a lecturer and associate professor at La Trobe University. She began searching for the Julia Creek dunnart, Sminthopsis douglasi, a species thought to be extinct, and caught the first live animals in 1992.
Howard Worner was the youngest ever recipient of a DSc from the University of Melbourne. He began his career at the NHMRC, followed by a professorship and deanship at the University of Melbourne. He was a founding Director of the Microwave Applications Research Centre at the University of Wollongong. An avid collector, Worner's mineral collection is held at Wollongong University.
Jane Wright was born in 1954 in Canada. She received a BSc Hons in 1976 from Queen’s University in Canada. She went on to study beetle biology, and was awarded a PhD from the University of California for her research of a parasitic wasp. In 1984, she joined CSIRO Entomology, where she spent time controlling dung-breeding flies and detecting insects in stored grain products. In 1997, she was made head of the department where she worked until her retirement in 2009. Since then, she has been an honorary fellow at CSIRO, leading a project to introduce more dung beetles in Australia.
Jean Youatt was born in 1925 in China. At the internment camp in China during 1941-1945, she received a school certificate from Oxford University. In 1949, Youatt received a BSc from the University of Melbourne and later a MSc. Youatt then went to the University of Leeds where she received her PhD in 1954. After working with a US Army unit on research into new viral diseases in Malaya, Youatt returned to Australia to the University of Melbourne. In 1962 Youatt became a lecturer in chemistry at Monash University. During a study leave in Seattle in 1968, Youatt became interested in the fungus, Allomyces. Youatt spent 1987 in Aberdeen and in 1990, she retired and moved to Monash University where she continued her research.
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