Engineer and innovator honoured for significant contributions to the field

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Engineer and leader in the field of geotechnical rock mechanics, Professor Anna Giacomini, has been honoured with a 2019 John Booker Medal for her exemplary contributions to science and engineering.

Associate Professor Anna Giacomini

Awarded by the Australian Academy of Science, the John Booker Medal recognises outstanding research in engineering mechanics and related fields within engineering and applied mathematics disciplines.

Professor Giacomini is widely renowned for her significant work innovating, promoting and improving safety in mining and civil environments susceptible to rock fall.

Working closely with the University’s Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering and Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources, Professor Giacomini has made world-leading progress in the development of advanced methodologies to map rock fall hazard, and investigations into the efficiency of protection technologies to reduce the associated rock fall risk.

“Our team’s extensive research highlighted the significance of rock fall in New South Wales and the importance of the design of new generation low energy barriers, which I am happy to say are now used extensively for the protection of our major landscape corridors,” Professor Giacomini said.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award, not only for myself but also for the team of amazing young researchers who have been working with me over the years. Professor John Booker was an expert in geo-mechanics so I am particularly honoured to receive an award bearing his name.”

Aside from her research, Professor Giacomini is making her mark as a proud supporter of women in STEMM, having co-founded HunterWiSE, a Hunter-based school initiative designed to engage young women in the STEMM fields early in their education.

“One of the big challenges is to show women all around the world that STEMM careers are not just for men and that a more diverse team can deliver better solutions because they have different perspectives to contribute to solutions to problems," Professor Giacomini said.

“I have the opportunity every day to meet exceptional women who work in the STEMM fields, not only in academia but also in the industry. I think it’s important to pass the message on to the young generation of females that they can do it too.”

Professor Giacomini is one of two recipients of the 2019 John Booker Medal, an achievement awarded to the University of Newcastle’s Professor Shanyong Wang in 2018.

The official ceremony will take place at The Shine Dome in Canberra this May.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.