The Walter Burfitt Prize

The Walter Burfitt Prize consists of a bronze medal.  It is awarded at intervals of three years for research in pure or applied science. The winner must be resident in Australia or New Zealand, and whose papers and other contributions published during the past six years are deemed of the highest scientific merit.  Account is taken only of investigations described for the first time, and carried out by the author mainly in these countries. Nominations will next be sought in 2022.

Nominations for the award close on 30 September in each year in which nomination are sought. The application procedure for this lectureship is described on the nomination form. Each application must comply with the conditions of the award and consist of a completed nomination form together with supporting documentation as specified on the form. Completed nominations should be sent to the email address listed on the nomination form. 

The Walter Burfitt Prize was established as a result of a generous gift to the Society by Dr W.F. Burfitt BA MB ChM BSc, of Sydney, which was augmented by another gift from Mrs W.F. Burfitt when Dr Burfitt died in 1957. The Prize was further augmented in 2004 by a gift from Dr Burfitt's grand-daughter Dr Anne Thoeming.

Walter Burfitt Prize 2022

Susan ScottThe Walter Burfitt Prize for 2022 has been awarded to Distinguished Professor Susan M Scott FAA FEurASc from the Australian National University College of Science. Professor Scott is is an internationally recognised mathematical physicist who has made fundamental advances in our understanding of the fabric of space-time in general relativity, and in gravitational wave science. She has pioneered breakthrough results probing the existence and nature of space-time singularities, the global structure of space-time, and possible initial and final endstates for cosmological models representing our Universe. Professor Scott has also been a pioneer in the analysis of astrophysical signatures in gravitational wave experiments, including the searches for gravitational waves from asymmetric neutron stars and from inspiralling binary systems of black holes and neutron stars. She has played an important role in the development and promotion of gravitational research worldwide, and a leading role in Australia’s participation in the first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015.

Walter Burfitt Prize 2019

The Walter Burfitt Prize for 2019 has been awarded to Professor Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, of the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW Sydney. Professor Kalantar-Zadeh is renowned for his research and development in the areas of liquid metals, atomically thin materials and ingestible sensors. He is a prolific researcher, recognised in 2018 by Clarivate Analytics as a “Highly Cited Researcher”. Over the past six years, his contributions have been frequently first-in-world and have set the agenda for research fields internationally in areas such as two-dimensional (2D) materials, liquid metals and microfluidics, and point-of-care diagnostic systems and sensors.

Year & RecipientYear & Recipient
1929    N.D. Royle (Medicine)
1932    C.H. Kellaway (Medicine)
1935    V.A. Bailey (Physics)
1938    F.MN. Barnet (Medicine)
1941    F.W. Whitehouse (Geology)
1944    H.L. Kesteven (Medicine)
1947    J.C. Jaeger (Mathematics)
1950    D.F. Martyn (Ionospheric Geophysics)
1953    K.E. Bullen (Geophysics)
1956    J.C. Eccles (Medicine)
1959    F.J. Fenner (Microbiology)
1962    M.F. Glaessner (Palaeontology)
1965    C.A. Fleming (Micropalaeontology)
1968    L.E. Lyons (Chemistry)
1971    M.R. Lemberg (Medicine)
1974    B.J. Robinson (Radiophysics)
1977    A. Kerr (Plant Pathology)
1980    H.A. Buchdahl (Physics)
1983    W.S. Hancock (Biochemistry)
1986    B.N. Figgis (Inorganic Chemistry)
1992    G. Paxinos (Psychology)
1995    R.M. Manchester (Astronomy)
1998    A.K. Burrell (Chemistry)
2001    M.W. Parker (Medicine)
2004    B.A. Neilan (Biology)
2007    M. Colless (Astronomy)
2010    R. Shine (Biology)
2013    M. Simmons (Physics)
2016    J. Gooding (Chemistry)
2019    K. Kalantar-Zadeh (Chemical Engineering)
2022    S. M. Scott (Theoretical Physics)



These prestigious awards for excellence in science, engineering, philosophy and the arts, awarded by Australia's oldest learned society, recognise outstanding achievements.

Nominations for the 2022 Awards have now closed.  The winners of these awards will be announced at the Society's Ordinary General Meeting to be held on 7 December 2022. 

Information about the Awards, instructions for making nominations, and links to the nomination forms can be obtained by clicking on the Award name in the drop-down list under the “Awards” menu.

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