[ASC-media] Medals for top scientists

Robyn Stutchbury rstutch at bigpond.net.au
Fri Mar 6 01:05:50 CET 2009


MEDIA RELEASE

Friday 6 March 2009
Medals awarded to top scientists

The Royal Society of NSW today announced the medal winners for 2008.  
Professor Bradley Potts of the University of Tasmania has been  
awarded the WB Clarke Medal and the Edgeworth David Medal has been  
awarded to Dr Adam Micolich from the University of New South Wales.  
President of the NSW Court of Appeal, Justice James Allsop, will  
formally present the Medals in his role as Acting Governor of NSW at  
the Society’s Annual Dinner at the Darlington Centre, University of  
Sydney on Friday 13 March.

The Clarke Medal, first awarded in 1878, was established in memory of  
the Reverend William Branwhite Clarke to honour both his eminence as  
a geologist and his scientific services to the Colony. The Award is  
for distinguished work in the Natural Sciences carried out in  
Australia and rotates through geology, botany and zoology. This year  
it has been awarded to botanist, Bradley Potts, Professor in Forest  
Genetics at the University of Tasmania for his research on the  
evolutionary biology and breeding  of the genus Eucalyptus.

He has undertaken ground breaking work on the role of hybridisation  
as an evolutionary process in eucalypts as well as studying  
hybridisation between plantation and native eucalypts in Australia.  
He has also undertaken significant genetic research to back the  
breeding of eucalypts for both pulp and solid wood products. He has  
worked closely with industry through various forestry Co-operative  
Research Centres as well as undertaking fundamental research through  
the support of the Australian Research Council.

“While great advances in our understanding of our eucalypt gene pools  
have been possible through classical approaches over the last decade,  
with a eucalypt genome currently being sequenced by the US Department  
of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute and released into the public  
domain, we are at the threshold of a new understanding of this iconic  
Australian tree” Professor Potts said.

As one of the most published scientists on eucalypts worldwide, he is  
regularly invited to speak at international conferences and has  
published in prestigious journals such as Science and Nature Reviews  
Genetics.

The Edgeworth David Medal is awarded annually to a scientist under  
the age of 35 for distinguished contributions to Australian science.  
The medal honours Sir Edgeworth David who wrote the first  
comprehensive record of the geology of Australia. This year’s winner  
is 34 years old, Dr Adam Micolich who, as a senior lecturer in the  
UNSW School of Physics, has made significant contributions in several  
fields of physics. He is an outstanding young experimental scientist  
who works in the area of nanotechnology and ultrasmall semiconductor  
structures.

His 2006 discovery that inexpensive plastic film becomes a  
superconductor at low temperatures following exposure to energetic  
metal ions has many potential technological applications. Aspects of  
his research into fractal patterns are considered seminal work.

"In Australia, Adam is one of the leading researchers in experimental  
condensed matter physics of his generation”, says Professor Richard  
Newbury, Head of the UNSW School of Physics. "Internationally, he  
belongs to a small, select group of experimental physicists who will  
set the agenda for the discipline over the coming decades."

Previous winners include palaeontologist and former Australian of the  
year, Tim Flannery, and the world-leading solar cell physicist,  
Martin Green.

For more information and interviews:

Professor Bradley Potts

School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania,

Private Bag 55 Hobart, Tasmania

Email. b.m.potts at utas.edu.au

Phone (03) 62262641

Dr Adam Micolich

School of Physics, University of NSW,

Sydney NSW 2052.

Phone (02) 93856132; Mob 0408 479-432

mico at phys.unsw.edu.au

Released by the Royal Society of NSW

Contact Robyn Stutchbury, phone 02 9427 6747; email:  
rstutch at bigpond.net.au

Robyn Stutchbury
Councillor, Royal Society of NSW

rstutch at bigpond.net.au
1 Carisbrook Street
Lane Cove NSW 2066
Ph/Fax: 612 9427 6747
Mb: 0419 4119 67

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