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Prof Keith Gordon is this year’s recipient of the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal.
In a career spanning three decades, Prof Gordon has published more than 350 papers in scientific journals which have accrued more than 11,000 citations.
His research lies across a range of areas that broadly span photonics as well as new materials for energy use.
During his career, he has adapted techniques to measure the "excited states" of matter at the molecular level to examine conventional materials more easily.
"Chemistry basically breaks down into two types of people: the people who like to make new things, and the people who like to measure things and model them," he said.
"Making things is really cool and I love working with the people who do that.
"But my strength is how to develop experiments to measure stuff."
The award aims to promote research at Otago and to give recognition to outstanding performance of individual researchers or research teams.
Up to two such awards may be given in any one year.
Acting vice-chancellor Prof Helen Nicholson said Prof Gordon had demonstrated outstanding performance spanning fundamental and applied research since being appointed to the university in 1993.
"Professor Gordon’s publications record speaks for itself, placing him in the top tier of New Zealand researchers.
"He is endlessly curious and open to collaboration, exhibiting creativity and resourcefulness.”