University of Otago geologist Prof Ewan Fordyce and
philosopher Prof Alan Musgrave were yesterday presented with
national awards for research excellence at a Royal Society
event in Auckland.
The Hutton Medal for earth sciences was awarded to Prof
Fordyce for "his seminal contributions in New Zealand
vertebrate palaeontology, particularly for whales, dolphins
"By demonstrating that the Southern Ocean was a critical
location for the evolution of these marine animals, Prof
Fordyce has placed New Zealand at the forefront of
international research in the field," the Royal Society of
New Zealand citation noted.
Prof Fordyce and his colleagues have made a series of
trailblazing discoveries of ancient marine mammals in North
Otago and South Canterbury, highlighting the area's status as
an international hot spot for ancient marine mammal
And he has helped establish the Vanished World Centre at
Duntroon, and an associated Vanished World Heritage Trail in
the Waitaki Valley.
Prof Fordyce said gaining the medal was "deeply satisfying".
The Humanities Aronui Medal was awarded to Prof Musgrave
FRSNZ, for his "enduring and profound influence as a
philosopher of science whose influence has ranged widely
across the humanities and social sciences".
He was primarily interested in the nature of scientific
knowledge and the history of science, having published
several highly acclaimed books and edited five highly
influential and much-quoted scholarly volumes.
Prof Musgrave had been "struck dumb" after being awarded
Otago University's highest research honour, the Distinguished
Research Medal, in July. He had also been surprised about
receiving the humanities award but said it was "very good to
get this kind of recognition".
Otago University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne yesterday
congratulated both men, who had made "superb, internationally
influential contributions to their respective fields over
The country's highest science and technology honour, the
Rutherford Medal, was awarded to Auckland University chemist
Prof Margaret Brimble for her world-leading contributions to
the synthesis of bioactive natural products. She is the
second woman to be awarded the Rutherford Medal in its
21-year history, after Prof Christine Winterbourn, of Otago
University's Christchurch campus, won it last year.
Prof Brimble was also awarded the MacDiarmid and the Hector
• Other awards: Pickering Medal, Prof David Williams; Mason
Durie Medal, Prof Russell Gray; Sir Charles Hercus Medal,
Prof John Fraser; Pou Aronui Award, Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, all
Auckland University; Thomson Medal, Dr Richard Furneaux,
Industrial Research Ltd; Callaghan Medal, Prof Shaun Hendy,
IRL, Victoria University of Wellington; Jones Medal, Prof
Robert Goldblatt, Victoria University of Wellington; the Dame
Joan Metge Medal, Prof Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Waikato
University, and Prof Janet Holmes, Victoria University of
Wellington; Cooper Medal, Dr Mark Poletti, IRL.