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If you thought science was the domain of sterile labs and dull high school lessons, John O’Connor suggests you think again.
In 1984, when a young Dr Scott Sloan paused to reflect on an already-accomplished academic career in civil engineering, he looked around the hallowed grounds of Oxford University and decided a move back to Australia might offer him the chance to "build something".
Clocking up 100 truancy days in his final year at high school did not cause too many ripples on the pond of Professor Jonathan Borwein’s education. At the tender age of 15, he progressed to university with ambitions of becoming a historian.
Structural engineer, Professor Rob Melchers, could not have anticipated that his work on steel corrosion would land him in a biology lab.
"Geography, sir, is ruinous in its effects on the lower classes. Reading, writing and arithmetic are comparatively safe, but geography invariably leads to revolution." So it was said in testimony to Britain’s House of Commons in 1879. Professor Pauline McGuirk carries this quote on her office door at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at the University of Newcastle. She says it is a reminder of the power of knowledge, and the role geography plays in understanding the world we live in.
Imagine spending your days working with contaminated water. Your job is to test multiple water samples until you work out how the water became polluted. You might come across a failing septic system or some bacterial contamination from cattle. Sound like fun? Fortunately Associate Professor Hugh Dunstan and his team love the challenge of solving a problem, and the odd patch of septic tank water does not put them off.
There was research on Professor Bill Hogarth's mind when he took up his appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle in 2002. Since then, as well as managing a large faculty, Hogarth has published 23 papers, contributing to a significant base of more than 100 journal publications over his academic career.
Sitting in his office, surrounded by dinosaur fossils, crocodile skeletons and computer-generated resin bone structures, Colin McHenry talks about his work with the animated manner of a man you might guess spent a fair amount of his boyhood catching lizards.
When 100 researchers around the world pooled their work to successfully trace more than 160 million years of genetic evolution in the platypus, Conjoint Associate Professor Russell Jones knew he had been part of a breakthrough with far-reaching repercussions for scientific research.
Border protection may become simpler and smarter thanks to a new approach to drug and explosive detection being developed by organic chemist Associate Professor Adam McCluskey.
CDSC Director, Laureate Professor Graham Goodwin, uses the recent landing of a spacecraft on Mars to demonstrate the importance of mastering control systems.
It takes a stretch of the imagination to picture the softly spoken Dr Galina Mirzaeva in an open-cut mine working with massive mining equipment. A few minutes of conversation with her quickly reveals she is very at home among the thunderous equipment.