Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Second Diocesan Old Girl Wins Coveted Rutherford Medal

For immediate release

November 22, 2012

Second Diocesan Old Girl Wins Coveted Rutherford Medal


The only two women who have ever won New Zealand’s most coveted science and technology award, the Rutherford Medal, are both Old Girls from Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls.

Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, from the University of Auckland’s Department of Chemistry, received the Royal Society of New Zealand’s 2012 Rutherford Medal on Wednesday, a year after Professor Christine Coe Winterbourn became the first woman to win the award since it was introduced in 1991.

Professor Brimble, a medicinal chemist who designs new chemicals for the treatment of disease, received the medal in recognition of her world-leading contributions to synthesising bioactive natural products and novel peptides.

When Professor Brimble received the medal and two others at a New Zealand Research Honours Dinner in Auckland, Science Innovation minister Steven Joyce said her contribution to science in New Zealand was “truly immense”.

A day after receiving her medal, Professor Brimble, who attended Diocesan School from 1972 to 1978, credited her alma mater for teaching her to aim high and persevere.

“Dio has obviously produced some of New Zealand’s top female scientists. I think it is probably because the school encourages its students to aim high and persevere – you certainly need perseverance to be an academic scientist these days,” she said.

Schools like Diocesan played an important role in educating New Zealand’s future scientists by providing the solid foundations upon which tertiary educators could build.

“It is important that Diocesan's pupils do get to engage with scientists and be shown that pursuing science as a career is rewarding and something that can also lead to many other careers. I often say that doing research teaches you about decision making as you are constantly faced with difficult decisions as to how to progress your research.

“Look at Diocesan’s principal Ms Heather McRae. She started out as a graduate in Chemistry and Biochemistry and now she is one of New Zealand's top educators.”

Professor Brimble, whose daughter is enjoying sciences in Year 10 at Diocesan, studied Chemistry at school but also loved Maths and languages including French and Latin.

“I picked up Stage 1 Physics at university and have had to learn Biology on my own through collaborating with biologists. I had to leave the class in Form 3 when they dissected rats –

that is why I stuck to Chemistry and did not do medicine.”

Royal Society president Sir David Skegg said the fact that Professor Brimble had not only won the Rutherford Medal, but also the Hector Medal, for excellence in Chemistry, and the MacDiarmid Medal, for science of potential human benefit, testified to the excellence and importance of her achievements.

In 2007, Professor Brimble was the first New Zealander to win the L'Oreal-Unesco Women in Science Asia-Pacific Laureate in Materials Science, an honour celebrated in newspapers around the world.

As chair of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at The University of Auckland, principal investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, director of Medicinal Chemistry for Neuren Pharmaceuticals and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rutherford Foundation Trust, Professor Brimble's work has proven to be significant academically and commercially.

Professor Winterbourn, who also attended Diocesan and is now a biochemist and director of the free radical research group in the Pathology Department at the University of Otago in Christchurch, received the Rutherford Medal in 2011 for her ground-breaking research into free radicals.

The Government created the Rutherford Medal in 1991 to acknowledge those who have made exceptional contributions across a lifetime of research to Science and Technology in New Zealand in research and the promotion of public awareness and understanding of science.

Following the creation of the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes in 2009, the Rutherford Medal is now awarded by the Royal Society, along with a $100,000 prize provided by the Government.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Air NZ Teams Up With All Blacks For Men In Black Video

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. More>>

ALSO:

World Champions: BRADAS Of Identity Company Take On The World And Win Gold

This is only the second time since NZ has qualified for the HHI world finals that NZ has taken home a GOLD medal in this division. REQUEST Dance Crew being the only other NZ crew to achieve this. New Zealands only other medal this year was Silver for the Royal Family in a very close final in the Megacrew division. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Contrary To Popular Belief - Lloyd Geering

Many older Dunediners like myself, and indeed older Presbyterians and others throughout the country, will remember the controversy aroused by the articles and speeches of Professor Geering, Principal of Knox College Theological Hall in the late 1960s... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news