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Rutherford Medal for University biophysicist

Rutherford Medal for University biophysicist

Distinguished Professor David Parry with an electron microscope used in his research.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EMBARGO 10.30pm
Rutherford Medal for University biophysicist

Distinguished Professor David Parry is this year’s recipient of New Zealand’s top science honour, the Rutherford Medal. Former Head of the Institute of Fundamental Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Professor Parry is a world-renowned biophysicist based at the Institute of Fundamental Sciences in Palmerston North.

The award is the fourth in five years to a current or former Massey staff member, following Distinguished Professor David Penny in 2004, former staff member Professor Paul Callaghan in 2005 and former staff member Professor Ted Baker in 2006.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Sciences Professor Robert Anderson says the award is fitting recognition for Professor Parry, a world authority on fibrous proteins – the proteins that make up muscles, connective tissues, hair and skin.

“This latest accolade adds to an astonishing list of awards and appointments, all collectively attesting to Professor Parry’s standing, nationally and internationally as a world leader in his specialist field. In short, his career continues to be a world-class act.”

The Rutherford Medal is presented at the Royal Society Science Awards dinner in Wellington tonight. Other Massey University staff to be recognised include:

• Associate Professor Simon Hall, who received the Fonterra Prize for industrial and applied chemistry. Dr Hall has carried out fundamental research and subsequent commercialisation of a rechargeable nickel-zinc battery. His citation says he has pursued high-quality research and made hard-nosed business decisions. “Few others have followed the brave process of stepping out of the academic environment to enable the commercialisation of significant new findings, provide new employment opportunities and provide new technology developments for both the national and international communities.”

• Emeritus Professor John Codd (posthumously) received the McKenzie award for educational research. Professor Codd had a distinguished record of international publication, his research contributing highly to the sociology of education, philosophy and policy analysis of education.

• Professor Mike Hendy received the New Zealand Mathematical Society's Research Award. Professor Hendy’s innovative mathematical approach to molecular ecology transformed the field, his citation says, and his founding and co-directorship of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology has led to the burgeoning of all aspects of the study of evolution in New Zealand. “His seminal work on the Hadamard transform – used to separate out pertinent signals in evolutionary data – is now an integral part of phylogenetic software internationally and has contributed to the solution of several fundamental problems.”

Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin was awarded the Hector Medal in mathematical and information sciences earlier this year.


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