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Welly award for world-leading IRL scientist

Media Release

27 November 2009

Welly award for world-leading IRL scientist

World leading physicist and IRL Group Manager, HTS Conductors and Devices, Dr Bob Buckley last night won the Welly Awards Science & Technology category.

The Wellys have recognised Wellington’s top achievers for the past twenty years with past winners including Flight of the Conchords, Peter Jackson and Sir Jon Trimmer.

Bob Buckley the leads the High Temperature Superconductor (HTS) programme at IRL. HTS technology is an emerging field that enables the transmission of electricity without resistance or the loss of energy. This, in turn, will enable the manufacture of lighter, smaller and more efficient machines than can be achieved with existing copper wire technology.

"I am honoured to be recognised in this way. Along with my colleagues at IRL I have been working on developing high temperature superconductivity science and technology since 1987.

“I would like to emphasise the innovative contribution of my colleagues in this development which has been critical to achieving the national and international recognition that we have gained. We are all looking forward to continuing the commercialisation of HTS that I believe will generate significant economic benefit for New Zealand," says Bob Buckley.

He is both an IRL Distinguished Scientist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Over the past 15 years, Bob Buckley has led IRL’s research into the synthesis, discovery and application of high temperature superconductor materials and managed their commercialisation.

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“This is a wonderful acknowledgement of his sustained contribution to New Zealand - and his unflagging belief in the potential of HTS for the country,” says IRL Chief Executive Shaun Coffey.

Bob Buckley studied Physics and Chemistry at Massey University, before completing his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington in 1979. In 1981, he joined what was then DSIR’s Physics and Engineering Laboratory in Lower Hutt (now IRL), where he is still located.

Among his many achievements, Bob Buckley is a co-inventor of Bi-2223, the material used to make high-temperature superconductor wires.

The discovery of Bi-2223 was published in the leading scientific journal Nature in 1988, and today the material provides the basis for a major part of the high temperature superconductor industry world-wide.

Bob Buckley has played a key role in developing New Zealand's strategy for capturing the benefits of its high temperature superconductor discoveries, and was a foundation Director IRL’s spin-off company, HTS-110, and is currently a Director of a Joiny Venture company General Cable Superconductors.

Bob Buckley is also a board member of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and is author of 97 refereed publications and nine patents.

In 2004 he was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand’s prestigious technology honour, the Pickering Medal, to recognise excellence and innovation in the practical application of technology and in 2008 as part of the HTS Roebel cable team, the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Cooper Medal.


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