Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Winter 2016 Issue
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Prestigious award for aeolian researcher

Jo Nield

Jo Nield doing fieldwork in Namibia
Jo Nield (BSc 2001, BE 2001, PhD 2006) came to our attention a few years ago when her out-of-office email message bounced back with the response, ‘I am currently off with a laser scanner searching for dust in the middle of a salt pan in Botswana.’

When Lumen enquired further about her fascinating workplace, Jo said that aside from the occasional lost ostrich, there was not a person around for hundreds of kilometres and her team didn’t receive any visitors to their field sites in the four months they were set up to record data.

Jo has just been recognised for her achievements as an early career researcher with a prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS) award. Currently an Associate Professor in Aeolian Geomorphology at the University of Southampton, Jo has been named as the recipient of the RGS Gill Memorial Award for her early career research into aeolian processes and arid landform development.

“I feel tremendously humbled and honoured to receive this award. I am passionate about aeolian geomorphology and really enjoy exploring interactions and feedbacks between wind and surface patterns through novel field work and computer simulation modelling,” says Jo.

“I have had the pleasure of working with some brilliant colleagues and mentors, and appreciate the support I have received from ten different funding bodies, including the RGS. This has enabled me to undertake research in some incredible and remote environments to improve our understanding of arid landscapes and the processes which shape them."

More alumni achievements

Professor Roderick John Lawrence (B Arch (Hons) 1973) has recently retired from the University of Geneva with an Emeritus Professorial title. Roderick established an international reputation by developing a unique building construction laboratory at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and later became involved in environmental science and housing at the University of Geneva. He has been an invited Professor at the United Nations University since 2014.

Professor H. Deep Saini (PhD (Ag + Nat Res Sc) 1983) has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Professor Simon Maddocks (B AgSc (Hons) 1984, PhD 1987) has been appointed Chair of the Menzies Foundation Board. He is also a Menzies Scholar himself and was one of the first two South Australians ever to be awarded a Menzies Scholarship. He is currently the President and Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, a former member of the Governing Council of the University of Adelaide and a former Chief Scientist in South Australia.

Paul Lehmann (B Arch St 1991, LLB 1993) has been appointed High Commissioner to Nigeria.

Dr Melanie McDowall (B Sc (Hons) 2000, PhD (Med) 2005) from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics was a recipient of the 2016 Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowship.

Dr. Nicole Panizza (B Mus (Hons) 2003) has been awarded two research fellowships at the University of Oxford – with the Rothermere American Institute and the Faculty of Music. Nicole has also been appointed a Research Associate with the Oxford Song Network. These appointments are in support of a five-year research digital archive project — focussing on musical settings of the poetry and letters of renowned American poet Emily Dickinson.

Dr Rajeev Pathak (PhD (Med) 2015) was awarded the American College of Cardiology’s prestigious William W. Parmley Young Author Achievement Award.

Ben Geytenbeek (BSc (Hons) 2015) has been awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship to undertake a PhD in Physics at Cambridge where he will be investigating extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics to explain phenomena such as gravity and dark matter.

What’s new with you?

If you have recently celebrated a promotion or career achievement, a change of job or won a major prize, we’d love to hear about it! Share your good news with your fellow alumni by emailing us. Please include your name, degree and graduation year. Send it to or call +61 8 8313 5800

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