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September 7, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Vic student wins Young Scientist of the Year

Plans to keep him in lab underground

Victoria PhD student Jack Watt has taken top honours at this year’s MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year awards in Auckland.

The 27-year-old was named Young Scientist of the Year for his research into the removal of toxic pollutants from vehicle emissions.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, described Watt’s research as world-leading.

“Our staff and students are immersed in the science capital of New Zealand and are contributing nationally and internationally. John Watt’s work is one example of research excellence that could make a real difference.”

Mr. Watt’s studies focus on nano-size particles of a precious metal called palladium, which removes toxic gases from a car’s exhaust system. 

“His research could result in a cheap and effective way of removing pollution from our streets. A British company is currently examining how suitably the palladium particles can be used” said Professor Walsh.

From a total of five finalists, Victoria had two further winners in this year’s Young Scientists of the Year Awards.

Kerstin Burridge developed textiles that combine wool with gold. Professor Walsh said that her study would have great benefits for the New Zealand textile industry.

Dr Matthew Gerrie’s studies involved using infrared eye tracking technology to improve the accuracy of eyewitness identification of offenders. The research will help reduce wrongful convictions based on inaccurate eye witness identifications from police line-ups.


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