Science academy honours two UQ researchers

22 Jan 2014

The Australian Academy of Science has lauded University of Queensland Emeritus Professor Curt Wentrup for his outstanding contributions to chemical research.

Professor Wentrup, from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, has been awarded the academy’s David Craig Medal for contributions to the field of reaction mechanism.

“How a reaction goes from the reactants – chemicals colliding – and all the way to the product is an important process to record,” Professor Wentrup said.

“My work contributes to the body of knowledge on how reactants turn into products, which helps fellow scientists make informed and useful predictions of new reactions, and this can lead to better products such as more effective antibiotics.”

Professor Wentrup has been the editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of Chemistry since 2008, and has chaired the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Chemistry since 2009

He is a Fellow of the Academy, received an Australian Commonwealth Centenary Medal in 2003, and was awarded a Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in 2014. 

The annual awards for scientific excellence were announced on 21 January and will be presented at the Academy’s annual conference, Science at the Shine Dome, in Canberra in May.

UQ School of Mathematics and Physics researcher Dr Huy Nguyen has been awarded the Academy’s 2014 AK Head Travelling Scholarship for Mathematical Scientists.

The scholarship, worth about $20,000, is awarded to early career mathematical science researchers to help them travel overseas to further their studies and develop new international networks.

Dr Nguyen said his differential geometry research aimed to describe and classify two-dimensional surfaces such as those in soap bubbles or red blood cells, and had wide applications across mathematics, physics and imaging.

He joined UQ after a postdoctoral fellowship overseas.

“The award is a great boost for my research work and will allow me to continue working with my overseas colleagues to further develop our joint projects,” Dr Nguyen said. 

UQ’s place as a global research leader was highlighted last year when five UQ scientists were among the 20 new Australian Academy of Science Fellows selected for 2013.

They are Professor Max Lu, Professor Matthew Brown, Professor David Craik, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Professor Andrew White.

The academy’s awards include The Dorothy Hill Award, which honours the contributions of the late Professor Dorothy Hill, a distinguished Australian geologist who had strong links to UQ as a student, teacher and benefactor.

This year’s Dorothy Hill Award went to Dr Maria Seton from the University of Sydney.