Astrophysicist honoured for excellence
Renowned physicist and vocal advocate of nuclear energy - Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Keay - will tomorrow be honoured by the science community for his lifelong contribution to science communication and service to physics.
He will receive the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) Award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia. Only five of these prestigious awards have been presented in the past 12 years.
Associate Professor Keay said he welcomed the honour that recognised his 40 plus years of research and service to the fields of physics and astronomy.
"Physics is a fundamental science dedicated to the study of energy, matter, space and time. It is a privilege to know that my work has made a lasting impact on my peers in this vital field," Associate Professor Keay said.
The award recognises Associate Professor Keay's enduring commitment to science communication, including his longstanding role as Book Review Editor for the AIP's journal.
As a professional science communicator, Associate Professor Keay spent many years providing expert comment on astronomy to the community with a regular column in The Herald. He was one of the closest observers of the Apollo 11 launch, providing reports for The Herald and NBN television.
In 1979, Associate Professor Keay was responsible for developing the model that explained the sounds we may hear when fiery meteors enter the earth's atmosphere. This discovery gave rise to the field of geophysical electrophonics.
His research and service to astronomy was recognised in 1997 when a minor planet was named in his honour - Minor Planet 5007 KEAY. He also received an Unsung Heroes of Australian Science award from Australian Science Communicators in 2005.
Since his retirement from the University in 1993, Associate Professor Keay has engaged in the nuclear energy debate as a speaker and writer on the subject.
"There are so many unsubstantiated claims and much hysteria about nuclear energy. I have taken an active role to help keep the debate balanced so that people understand both the dangers and benefits of nuclear energy.
"As Australia considers the use of nuclear energy generation instead of depleting precious stores of fossil fuels, it is vital that people have the facts without distorted propaganda."
Photo opportunity: Dr Cathy Foley, President of the Australian Institute of Physics, will present Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Keay with the award at 11am on Wednesday 29 October in room PG11, Physics Building, Newcastle campus (at Callaghan).
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