2020 Sir Alan Walsh lecture – Mark Hodge

September 25th, 2020

The lecture series commemorates the achievements of Sir Alan Walsh.

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), CSIRO (including CSIRO Alumni), and the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) started the prestigious invited lecture series on the 60th anniversary of Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS). AAS is a chemical measurement technology invented in 1952 by Sir Alan Walsh at CSIRO in Victoria that revolutionized quantitative analysis.

The work led to the commercial manufacture of AAS in 1962 and to worldwide adoption that is still current today. The method has found important application world-wide in areas as diverse as medicine, agriculture, mineral exploration, metallurgy, food analysis, biochemistry and environmental control, and has been described as ‘the most significant advance in chemical analysis’ in the twentieth century.

The accumulated benefit to Australia by the year 1977 was estimated as in excess of $200 million, including overseas royalties, the setting up of new industry, and the productivity increases in a wide range of enterprises.

Australia’s current $18bn per annum scientific instruments industry was started by this discovery and its translation, specifically to Techtron, Varian, and then Agilent.  The Agilent R&D centre located in Australia employs over 250 scientists and engineers in Mulgrave VIC because of Sir Alan Walsh’s AAS discovery and his personal drive to commercialise the technology through the upskilling of Australian industry.

2020 Award Lecture:

1 October 2020

Mark Hodge (CEO, DMTC – Defence Materials Technology Centre)

The evolution of Defence technology in Australia is characterised by some remarkable achievements and has been underpinned by a culture of innovation for decades.  Delivery of new technology by ensuring “structural flexibility” has played a significant role in ensuring that R&D expenditure, long seen as adding cost and risk to complex Defence acquisitions can in fact serve to mitigate risk and make strong contributions to national outcomes.  Dr Hodge discussed the growth of Australian industry capacity and the inexorable connectivity and integration of industrial innovation in Australia, highlighting delivery of enhanced Defence capabilities, underpinned by excellence in research and innovation. DMTC has transferred more than 350 technologies to industry since its establishment in 2008. Initiatives that develop technologies, education, and supply chains were presented.

Video recording of the event