Tony Wells - Class of 1975

Tony Wells graduated from UNSW with a BSc (Metallurgy) in 1975 and returned to complete his MSc in 1986. He is currently employed as a Materials Failure Analyst by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, working on projects such as a failed helicopter clutch, a propeller loss and the on-site investigation of a light plane crash in Perth. Tony talks about his experience at UNSW and beyond:

What was your major?


Why did you choose to do a Materials Science and Engineering degree?

It looked to be an interesting, hands-on technical career in a growing industry.

What was your experience being a Materials Science student?

I enjoyed the learning experience as it went from basics (physics, chemistry, mathematics) to specifics, e.g. mineralogy, primary and secondary metallurgy.

Where are you working now and what is your role?

As a materials failure analyst, I act in a forensic role finding the cause(s) of transport failures (aeronautical, marine and rail) with reference to the safety problem(s) behind their occurrence.

What does your current role involve?

Attending on-site accident examinations around Australia to lab examinations/analysis to report writing and leading investigations. From an aeronautical perspective, our work is as shown on the TV show "Air Crash Investigations".

After graduating, how did your career path evolve?

I began as a trainee metallurgist in the automotive industry, covering mostly heat treatment process control, chemical analysis and failure investigations. I moved to the aerospace industry with new materials and processes, e.g. composites, adhesives, resins. With that wealth of experience, I joined the Bureau.

Do you have advice for school leavers considering studying Materials at UNSW?

Enjoy and make use of the wide variety of knowledge that's implanted in a questioning mind.

Please share any fond memories you have of your time studying Materials at UNSW:

I enjoyed the MATSOC dinners and barbeques, plus the attitude of work hard/play hard. With a smaller school, one wasn't just a name as the lecturers knew you personally.