Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Summer 2016 Issue
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The golden age of curiosity

Professor Rob Morrison OAM
As one of the faces of iconic television program, The Curiosity Show, Professor Rob Morrison OAM spent 18 years alongside fellow alumnus, Dr Deane Hutton inspiring children to experiment with science using household objects such as matchsticks, rubber bands and mousetraps.

As a scientist, writer, and media personality, Rob has contributed enormously to the promotion and understanding of science in Australia. In addition to The Curiosity Show, he appeared on the New Inventors, Nexus, Science Magazine, and Radio National’s Ockham’s Razor. For ten years he was the science and environment specialist for Channel Ten News and he has written thirty four books on science and natural history as well as co-authoring thirteen more.

He is recognised nationally and internationally as an outstanding science communicator and has been described as a national treasure and a well-loved ambassador for science. He is a freelance science communicator and broadcaster, and Professorial Fellow at Flinders University where he has lectured for 25 years.

Rob recently returned to the University of Adelaide for his Golden Jubilee reunion, celebrating 50 years since he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1965 (he also graduated with Honours in 1966 and a PhD in 1971). He and 116 of his fellow Class of ’65 graduates re-enacted their graduation ceremony in full academic dress at the October event.

In his keynote address Rob looked back fondly on his uni days not so much for the time spent in the laboratory but the many extracurricular activities he engaged in.

“I was the student for whom the terms ‘mediocre’ and ‘should try harder’ might have been invented, but in my defence I have to say that my university days were anything but idle,” he said.

In between classes Rob found time for judo, jazz, intervarsity trips, writing for On Dit and performing in Theatre Guild Productions and Footlights Revues. The Revuers still get on stage with their satirical shows at the Adelaide Fringe: “a bunch of creaky, grumpy thespians refusing to let go of the sheer enjoyment of University life.”

“I didn’t realise then that those extra-curricular experiences would prove at least as influential in my later careers as my academic efforts,” said Rob. “All of us can look back on careers for which this university fitted us very well indeed; we have reasons to be grateful and today offers us a chance to recognise that.”

View photos from the 2015 Golden Jubilee and find out more about reunions at

A class act
At the Golden Jubilee luncheon, Rob Morrison encouraged his fellow class of ‘65 graduates to consider supporting the 1965 Class Gift so that they can have a direct impact on the future of research. Established by the Class of 1961 at their Golden Jubilee reunion, the Class Gift supports excellence in research by providing a supplementary scholarship for an outstanding postgraduate candidate. Thanks to the class of 1964 who donated a total of nearly $30,000, Craig Jones (MSc 2007) was given the opportunity to conduct world-first research in data science and visual computing. 

There’s still time to support the Class of 1965 Class Gift by donating securely online

The class of 1965 looks back fondly

Maie-Anne Barrow and Sandra Reynolds

While recalling their uni days, the Class of ‘65 talked fondly of their memories of lunch on the lawns, eating chips and cheese toasties in the Refectory, glamorous faculty balls and madcap Prosh antics. They were also inspired by brilliant, pace-setting lecturers who made long-lasting impacts on their diverse and significant careers.

"The grandeur and tradition of our graduation ceremony was most memorable and remains the pinnacle of my University education." Dr Brian Duffy, MBBS, D(Obst) RCOG, FFARCS, FFARACS, FRCA, FANZCA

"It was a time of freedom, of spreading my wings. I remember the Science Association, the uni balls, the geology excursions, Prosh Night and sitting in the refectory drinking coffee and eating toasted cheese sandwiches." Maie-Anne Barrow (nee Talmet), BSc 1964, BSc (Hons) 1965

"I captained the University A netball team for three years and we won the intervarsity three times, thrashing all opposition." Sandra Reynolds (nee Worthley) BSc, BSc (Hons), MSc

Story by Genevieve Sanchez


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