University of Sydney academics among 100 most influential people

10 December 2010

Five academics from the University of Sydney are included in a list of Sydney's one hundred most influential people, published in the Sydney Morning Herald's 'sydney magazine'.

Professor of Education Peter Goodyear, Dr James Curran, Senior Lecturer in Information Technology, Associate Professor Kate Curtis, Postdocoral Fellow in Trauma Care, Professor of Physics Bryan Gaensler and Hugh Durrant-Whyte from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics are featured.

The annual list "celebrates Sydneysiders who have made significant contributions in their field".

Professor Peter Goodyear was this year awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship, the first for a researcher working in the field of education. His current focus is on strengthening the University's Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition, which he co-directs.

The Centre was created in 2004 as a focus for the University's research in learning technology and the learning sciences and supports cross-disciplinary collaborations with experts in IT, engineering and science.

As Professor Goodyear explained to sydney magazine he will "receive $2.7 million over five years to aid his research into how people learn, especially in situations where digital technology and collaboration online are involved."

Dr James Curran is Director of The National Computer Science School at the University and has received a $362,000 grant from the Australian Research Council. As described in the article he will use it to parse one trillion words from the web in order to contribute tools to help "search, sort and understand the mass of information online".

This year Dr Curran also received the Engineers Australia's Excellence Award for Education and Training and together with Dr Tara Murphy received a citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) for their outstanding commitment to first year IT teaching.

Associate Professor Kate Curtis joined the University of Sydney in 2008 when was awarded a Sydney Nursing School post-doctoral fellowship to study trauma care.

The 100 Influential People list praises Professor Curtis's research, recommending that a trauma patient be assigned a trauma nurse specialist throughout their hospital stay, as having improved trauma patient care throughout NSW.

Professor Curtis's other projects have examined the financial cost of major trauma patients to trauma centres and the impact of a dedicated trauma admitting service on patient outcomes. She is the Trauma Clinical Nurse Consultant at St George Hospital and has been heavily involved in organising large disaster management and injury prevention symposiums and emergency and trauma nursing seminars.

Professor Bryan Gaensler has developed innovative new spectropolarimetric techniques, and has then used them to derive detailed three-dimensional maps of large-scale magnetic fields in the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds and in distant galaxies

As a by-product of studying astrophysical magnetism, Professor Gaensler has also made the stunning discovery that the Milky Way is twice as thick as was previously thought.
Professor Gaensler has recently been awarded the highly prestigious Pawsey Medal awarded annually by the Australian Academy of Science for outstanding Australian research in physics by scientists less than 40 years of age.

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, was elected this year as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world's oldest continuously running scientific academy.

Durrant-Whyte has achieved worldwide acclaim for his contribution to robotics. His research has seen robotic technology move away from traditional indoor applications, taking robots into unstructured 'field' environments in applications such as mining, underwater and farming.

He established the University's Centre for Field Robotics in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

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