Presenter of the ABC Radio National’s science show, Ockham’s Razor, author, reporter, performer and scientist, Professor Robyn Williams, AM, will be made an Honorary Doctor of the University of South Australia at the August graduations.
The award honours the career contribution to science communication and advocacy of one of Australia’s most respected science journalists.
It will be presented as part of two days of graduation celebrations, where degrees will be conferred for more than 1700 graduates.
Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Prof Williams’ career could have taken many directions, but his love of science has been a constant.
“Some may not realise that Robyn was also drawn to the stage and spent a lot of time while studying for his honours degree in science at the University of London, ‘treading the boards’,” Prof Lloyd says.
“He made guest appearances in several well-known TV shows, including classics of the early 1970s - The Goodies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus and aptly, in Dr Who.
“He came to Australian in 1972 to work as a science reporter at the ABC and has had a long and successful career in radio and TV, contributing to many programs including favourites such as Quantum and Catalyst and Radio National’s Science Show.
“It is a measure of his genuine and enduring contribution to the promotion of science in Australia that he is the first journalist to have been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.”
Prof Williams has served as president of the Australian Museum Trust, Chair of the Commission for the Future and president of the Australian Science Communicators, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Eureka Awards for Excellence in Science Communication and Innovation.
He is the author of more than 10 books including his own autobiography – And Now for Something Completely Different and most recently, a novel, 2007: a true story waiting to happen.
Prof Lloyd says it is in balancing his passion for science and his passion to communicate and entertain, that Prof Williams has best been able to share his love and fascination of science, discovery and endeavour with millions of people.
“That is his gift,” Prof Lloyd says.
Prof Lloyd says that spirit of creativity and scientific curiosity is something the University aspires to create in its centre for public engagement with science and discovery, the Science, Creativity and Education Studio (SciCEd) in the new Health Innovation Building.
“We’ll look forward to welcoming Robyn back to the launch of SciCEd in 2018.”
The University will also award two Fellowships in August.
Former Pro Vice Chancellor for International and Marketing at UniSA and now an international education consultant, Dr Anna Ciccarelli and Bruce Linn, Company Director, Chairman and former CEO in the technology sector will both be made Fellows of the University.
Internationally recognised for her research into work, employment, gender pay equity, and industrial relations, founder of the Australian Work and Family Policy Roundtable and UniSA’s Centre for Work + Life, Professor Barbara Pocock AM will be made an Emeritus Professor of the University.