Academics honoured for research

21 January 2014

Two ANU academics have been honoured by the Australian Academy of Science for lifetime achievements in scientific excellence.

Dr Gavin Young of the Research School of Earth Sciences has won the 2014 Mawson Medal and Lecture Award for his outstanding contribution to earth sciences.

Dr Young can be credited with the discovery of the world's oldest fossil six-pack and a giant 360 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct fish near Eden on the NSW South Coast.

The prestigious award commemorates the work of Australian Antarctic explorer and geologist the late Sir Douglas Mawson.

Professor Kurt Lambeck, also from the Research School of Earth Sciences, is the recipient of the Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture, which honours research in the physical sciences.

Professor Lambeck, whose research topics include geophysics and sea level, was named as one of the 12 most influential Australian researchers by Thomson Reuters in 2012.

Two ANU PhD students were also honoured under the Academy's Margaret Middleton Fund, which supports research into endangered Australian animals.

Laurence Berry and Wendy Neilan, both in the Fenner School of Environment and Society, will receive up to $15,000 each to support their field work.

Mr Berry is researching the effect of bushfires on the Mountain Brushtail Possum.

Ms Neilan is researching bird diversity in Australian agricultural regions.

Researchers from ANU received more awards from the Academy this year than any other university.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO congratulated all four researchers on their awards.

"A lifetime achievement award is a true honour. Both Gavin and Kurt have made key contributions to their chosen fields of study in the earth sciences. ANU is proud to have supported them in their research," Professor Young said.

"I am also delighted to hear that Laurence and Wendy have received recognition so early on in their careers. I congratulate them and wish them all the best for their field work."