One of the University's foremost geoscientists, Emeritus Professor Mervyn Paterson, has died at the age of 95. His 'Paterson apparatus' is still used today for research relating to the severity of earthquakes.
Professor Mervyn Paterson played a significant role in establishing the reputation of the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) as a world-class research institution. His impact on the School, as well as the Department of Geophysics, is still widely felt.
Mervyn invented the 'Paterson apparatus', a device designed to measure the strength and deformation of minerals and rocks when exposed to tectonic stresses and to temperatures up to 1,000°C. In 2017, the ‘Paterson apparatus’ celebrated its 50th birthday. It is still used today for research relating to the severity of earthquakes.
His election to Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science, the Mineralogical Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and award in 2004 of the AGU’s lifetime-achievement medal are a powerful acknowledgement of his research achievements.
Mervyn Paterson’s impact on the earth sciences research community remains strong and his commitment to mentoring students was well known. ANU PhD candidate, Christian Renggli remembers Mervyn as brilliant, kind and supportive.
“I fondly remember conversations with him about music and many other topics at the RSES morning teas,” Christian said. “It was a joy to see him at many concerts in Canberra. My thoughts are with his family and many friends.”
Former RSES Director, Emeritus Professor Ian Jackson remembers Mervyn’s commitment to supporting young researchers.
“From the ANU perspective, Mervyn’s generosity as a donor is highly significant – at the time of his death, he was the School’s leading living donor,” said Ian Jackson. “Each year the Mervyn and Katalin Paterson Fellowship, fully funded by Mervyn’s donations, sends RSES students overseas to experience international conferences and visit other renowned universities.”
» read Professor Mervyn Paterson's obituary, written by Emeritus Professor Ian Jackson, RSES
ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Sophie Lewis, says she travelled on a Paterson Fellowship to Canada and the USA in the early stages of her PhD.
She described it as a "career changing opportunity" allowing her to build networks overseas.
"[It] completely changed my thesis focus, and expanded my thinking."
To ensure that Mervyn's impact on the geoscience community continues, ANU welcomes gifts in memoriam to the Mervyn and Katalin Paterson Fellowship.
For further information and to discuss your gift, please speak with Tim Langford, Development Manager, College of Science via phone 02 6125 6710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .