Deakin University researcher sheds light on science

29 September 2010

Deakin University scientist, Paul Francis, is shedding light on science both in the lab and in the classroom.

Dr Francis, a chemical scientist with Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, has received a 2010 Young Tall Poppy Science Award which will see him spending time inspiring young people and educating the wider community about the importance of science.

He is also shining a light, literally, on a number of fields such as forensic science, environmental monitoring and medical diagnosis.

“My research explores the possibilities of chemiluminescence or chemical reactions that produce light. The luminous glow of fireflies and the brilliant blue emission of light from the spray that police use to find traces of blood at crime scenes are two well-known examples of chemiluminescence,” Dr Francis explained.

“This phenomenon can also be used to detect biomarkers of disease, illicit drugs, or traces of chemical or biological weapons in weapons by using instruments that can measure light more sensitively than the naked eye.

“Understanding how these light-producing reactions work is the focus of my research. Hand-in-hand with this work is the development of new, miniaturised devices that will allow these testing to be performed more efficiently at, for example, crime scenes or a patients’ bedside.”

Over the next year, Dr Francis will be involved in a range of outreach initiatives as part of his Tall Poppy Award.

“I am really honoured to have received a Tall Poppy Science Award,” Dr Francis said.

“The philosophy behind the award fits nicely with my desire to spend more time getting young people and the broader community excited about science.

“In previous years I have run science outreach programs and demonstrations in schools, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Through the Tall Poppy campaign, I look forward to not only inspiring young people to consider science careers, but also engaging the public more broadly on science and science issues.”

About the Tall Poppy Campaign
The Tall Poppy Campaign was established in 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science to promote public awareness of Australia’s intellectual achievements. The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are an important part of the campaign and acknowledge the recipients’ research achievements alongside their capacity and commitment to communicate science and its significance to the community. Awardees go on to demonstrate their value as role models by promoting and encouraging an interest in science within the education and broader community sectors through Tall Poppy Campaign initiatives.

News facts
  • Tall Poppy award for Deakin scientist, Paul Francis
  • Award recognises research achievements and commitment to communicating importance of science to the community

Media contact

Mandi O'Garretty
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 2776; 0418 361 890

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29th September 2010