Members win science awards

Dr Wojciech Gutowski

CPSU members have been honoured for their excellence in science and journalism in the annual Australian Museum Eureka awards.

Among the winners are:

•Dr Wojciech (Voytek) Gutowski (pictured left), of the CSIRO, who won the award for Commercialisation of Innovation for developing the first true zero-waste coating technology to eliminate wastage in industries that powder-coast products

•Dr John Arkwright , of the CSIRO, who won the Innovative Use of Technology award along with Dr Philip Dinning for their creation of a new medical tool to help treat bowel disorders such as constipation, diarrhoea, faecal incontinence and irritable bowel syndrome

•Dr Jonica Newby of the ABC who, with editor Lile Judickas, won the Science Journalism award for a Catalyst report on male pregnancy called Fatherhood: The Male Pregnancy!

The awards announced on September 6 recognise excellence in the fields of scientific research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism and communication.

Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum, praised Dr Gutowski’s invention which goes well beyond car production and “has the potential to transform manufacturing industries that make painted plastic components for cars, aircraft, furniture and buildings”.

The new technology addressed the problem that wet spray paint does not transfer well on to plastic; in fact, only about 35 per cent of it sticks to the surface. The invention can be applied for coating of exterior and interior components of a vehicle and it’s estimated it will save Australian industry alone courtesy of the substitution of wet paints about $100 million per year.

Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum, described Dr Arkwright and Dr Dinning’s work as “a great example of what can be achieved when we apply known technologies ‘out of the box'”.

The pair have used an innovative catheter to record pressures deep within the colon while the patient is fully mobile and conscious. It will will improve the diagnosis and treatment of gastric disorders that affect 20 per cent of the population.

At the ABC, Dr Newby for Catalyst, interviewed medical researchers who argue that fathers, just like mothers, are subtly primed by their hormones for parenting. They suggest that pheromones cause the changes in the male, and that there is a ‘gene for fatherhood’ which can turn a deadbeat dad into a devoted one. The program also tracks nature’s outstanding father figures such as marmosets (a species of monkey) and prairie voles and reports that they, too, experience weight gain and hormonal swings.

The CPSU and CSIRO Staff Association congratulates these members on their Eureka awards!