A physicist whose PhD focused on ions in solutions, a policy expert interested in the political economy of resource nationalism in Indonesia and an engineer whose PhD looked at the social interactions of people, are the recipients of the 2018 J.G. Crawford Prizes.
Dr Virginia Mazzini, who received her PhD in 2018 for her research on ions in non-aqueous solutions, took the field of ion effects into a new direction. Her research focussed on solvents, other than water, and changing the thought process around ion interactions that had been held for more than 100 years.
Dr Eve Warburton received her PhD in 2018 for her research on political economics, specifically looking at why governments introduce policies aiming to achieve domestic ownership and control over natural resource industries in some sectors, but not others. She later tweaked her question to include how and why resource nationalism expands and contracts unevenly across the globe. The core of her research involved spending months of subtle and persistent fieldwork liaising with stakeholders in Indonesia's business and political elite to come up with a novel thesis.
Dr Mengbin (Ben) Ye's research focused on opinion dynamics, or the way opinions of groups of people evolve as they interact with each other and become aware of external events. Ben's work took into account social network analysis but also used sophisticated mathematical tools in the process.
"Congratulations to our three prize winners whose exceptional work is recognised by this award," says interim Dean of Higher Degree Research, Associate Professor Ann Evans.
"The work of Drs Mazzini, Warburton and Ye highlight the breadth of work conducted at ANU. I expect each of them will continue to make an impact within, and outside, academia as their research pushes boundaries within their fields."
The J.G. Crawford Prizes were established in 1973 to recognise Sir John Crawford's outstanding contributions to the University, both as Vice-Chancellor for five years and as Director of the Research School of Pacific Studies for the preceding seven years. Sir John was also the Chancellor of the University from 1976 to 1984.
Each year, two J.G. Crawford Prizes are awarded to PhD students - one in the natural sciences and one in the social sciences/humanities. A third prize is available for a PhD graduate whose research crosses interdisciplinary boundaries. There is also an award for MPhil degree graduates whose thesis makes an outstanding contribution.
The J.G. Crawford Prizes will be presented to the recipients at the December 2019 graduation ceremonies.
The next round of J.G. Crawford Prizes, for the 2019 cohort, opens in January 2020.