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UniSA research fellow showcases "Aussie" Synchrotron on a world stage

by Michèle Nardelli

Inside the Australian Synchrotron. Photograph courtesy of Nancy Mills, Australian Synchrotron.Adjunct senior research fellow at UniSA Dr Ivan Kempson will be representing Australia at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this month to present on some of the exciting work being undertaken with the Australian Synchrotron and showcasing its capabilities.

Selection to represent Australia at this meeting is one of the highest honours for a physicist according to Dr Kempson.

“The IAEA is for a physical scientist, what the International Courts in the Hague are for lawyers, so this is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” he says.

Dr Kempson was nominated for the role by the Australian Nuclear Counsellor of the Mission to the UN.

The focus of the meeting will be “Applications of Synchrotron Radiation Sources for Compositional and Structural Characterization of Objects in Cultural Heritage, Forensics and Materials Science” and Dr Kempson’s own experience with the synchrotron in his work to unlock the mysterious death of horse racing legend, Pharlap (arsenic poisoning), is just one example of the power of the synchrotron in forensic science.

“The synchrotron is providing enormous benefits for Australian and international research,” he says. “Due to detector technology developed here by CSIRO, the Australian Synchrotron is the envy of many scientists around the world.”

He says the synchrotron has given the nation a turbo charge for research into toxicology and pharmacokinetic investigations which have particular relevance to forensic investigations of acute exposure to toxic metals.

“Researchers from UniSA such as Drs Sarah Harmer-Bassell, Enzo Lombi, Euan Smith, David Beattie and Professor Andrea Gerson are driving some really exciting research and exploring experimental ideas using the cutting edge technology available with the synchrotron,” he says.

Dr Kempson is now working full-time in Taiwan and continuing to collaborate on research with colleagues at the Ian Wark Research Institute

The IAEA is the world's centre of cooperation in the nuclear field. Established as the world´s Atoms for Peace organization in 1957 within the United Nations family, the Agency works with its member states and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

Headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Austria, it reports annually to the UN General Assembly. More information about the meeting is available online.