Outstanding contributions to science recognised

The outstanding contributions to science of three Monash University researchers have been recognised by the Australian Academy of Science today, awarding them with prestigious 2018 honorific and lifetime achievement awards.

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Recognised among 18 of Australia’s leading scientists were Professor Douglas MacFarlane, who was awarded the David Craig Medal for lifelong achievement, Associate Professor Alex Fornito received the Gottschalk Medal and Dr Paul Lasky received the prestigious Pawsey Medal.

Professor Douglas MacFarlane FAA FTSE, School of Chemistry
Professor MacFarlane’s discovery and research on ionic liquids (salt compounds that are liquid at or around room temperature) has resulted in major advances in solar cell and battery storage technology. His research group has also pioneered the use of ionic liquids in new pharmaceutical products which have opened up new treatments, including a topical treatment for skin cancer.

Associate Professor Alex Fornito, School of Psychological Sciences
Associate Professor Alex Fornito’s research aims to understand what the extraordinarily complex network of nerve cells connected by trillions of fibres means for human brain function, and how disruptions of brain connectivity can lead to mental illness. His innovative research combines brain imaging with techniques from psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, genetics, physics and mathematics to map and model the brain.

Dr Paul Lasky, School of Physics and Astronomy
Dr Paul Lasky has dedicated his career to furthering our understanding of the most exotic regions of the universe. He is an active member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that, in 2016, transformed the very foundations of astrophysics by announcing the first detection of gravitational waves—tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime—coming from two colliding black holes over one billion light years from Earth.