Materials News March 2019

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  • Mar

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Welcome to the March 2019 edition of the newsletter of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney - The top ranked Materials Science and Engineering School in Australia. 

We are always keen to also hear from our Alumni and receive contributions to the newsletter. If you would like to share some news with us or write your profile please contact us at


Welcome from the HoS

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2019 and my first as Head of School.  It is a great honour to lead the School into the future and I have been truly humbled by the fantastic support from so many students, staff and colleagues.

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Vale Sir Rupert, our inaugural Head of School

In Februrary, Emeritus Professor Sir Rupert Myers KBE AO passed away on his 98th birthday. Sir Rupert was UNSW’s second Vice Chancellor in the period 1969-1981 and his passing is also a sad loss to our very own School, where he joined in 1952 as the Foundation Chair of Metallurgy.


#1 Materials School in Australia – again!

In the 2019 QS World University Rankings, released in February 2019, the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney was once again ranked the #1 Materials School in Australia.


Alan Crosky appointed Emeritus Professor

Alan Crosky has been appointed an Emeritus Professor on his retirement from the School in April 2019. In addition to a raft of notable achievements, Alan has made huge contributions in service to the School, Faculty and University through leadership in education and (at a local level) to marketing and outreach to students.

ARC Research Grant Awards Success

The School is very pleased to reveal the success of the following staff in obtaining research grants in the recent announcement from the Australian Research Council.

IMC19 Wins IAPCO Collaboration Award

The International Association of Professional Conference Organisers (IAPCO) have awarded the 19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19) the winner of the “2018 IAPCO Collaboration Award”. This globally recognised industry award reflects credit on their PCO colleagues (Arinex) and the super-hardworking IMC19 local organising committee, which included our very own Paul Munroe (co-chair) and Laura McNally!

New Alloy to Solve Lead Problem in Drinking Water

Dr Kevin Laws and his collaborators have created a lead-free brass alloy for use in plumbing that makes drinking water safer. The breakthrough alloy, which the group has named ‘bright brass’, has been designed to retain all the advantages that lead provides to brass for its manufacturing but without the toxicity.

UNSW to lead initiative driving waste and recycling innovation for NSW

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla played a major role in securing $1.5m in State Government funding, whereby UNSW Sydney will establish and lead the new NSW Circular Economy Innovation Network.

Topological Defects could be Key to Future Nano-Electronics

An article published in the leading journal Nature Materials by FLEET CI Prof Jan Seidel outlines emerging research into different types of ‘defective’ order, i.e. topological structures in materials, and their potential highly interesting applications in nanotechnology and nanoelectronics.

Materials Australia NSW Branch – Student Presentations event

Materials Australia NSW ran its annual student presentation awards event at UNSW in December. Six presentations and 5 posters were presented by hand-picked undergraduate and coursework students from UNSW, USyd and UoW.

IMC19 Wins MEA Association Event of the Year Award

Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) have awarded the 19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19) the winner of the 'Association Event of the Year' award - which is an incredible achievement given ‘event’ means anything from the Invictus Games to Sydney Fashion Week!


PGSOC Start the Year with Great Events

This term, the School's postgraduate student society, PGSOC, has arranged plenty of activities geared at building essential skills for postgrad life such as public speaking, meditation and different cultural celebrations including Chinese New Year and Australia day, with more to come.

MATSOC Welcome Back BBQ

MATSOC’s annual welcome back BBQ was bigger and better than ever. Despite the much earlier start thanks to UNSW3+ trimesters, students were out in full force lining up before the hotplates were even turned on! It was a great day with many students enjoying the sunshine, catching up with each other’s holidays and meeting new first years.

L'Oreal Girls in Science School Visit

The School took part in the L'Oreal Girls in Science event, hosting 60 female students from 6 Sydney High Schools; Chester Hill High School, Glenwood High School, MLC, Airds High School, St Benedicts Catholic College and Baulkham Hills High School.

Ferroelectrics Summer School

The second Ferroelectrics Summer School (UNSW-SSF ‘18) was held from 10th - 14th December 2018, attracting PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, young scientists and senior researchers.

Work Experience at MSE

The School hosted work experience groups from a number of local schools, with some of the budding scientists asking great questions displaying quite impressive prior knowledge and understanding of foundational Materials Science and Engineering principles!



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Alumni Profile: Alan Xu, Materials Scientist – Radiation Damage, ANSTO

“Being one of the top 50 universities in the world, I could not think of a better place than UNSW to begin my career as a materials scientist.”