Eminent Japanese physicist honoured

May 16 / 181

Kyoto Prize recipient Professor Toyoki Kunitake, has been honoured at a materials science conference celebrating thirty years of Japanese-Australian research.

Professor Kunitake from Kyushu University is the principal collaborator in Japan for the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre (PFPC) – an ARC Special Research Centre, with collaborators from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science and School of Engineering. 

The PFPC focuses on particulate fluids, which have implications in water treatment, waste management and tissue engineering.

University of Melbourne Professor Tom Healy said, “We are honoured to celebrate the well-deserved recognition of our colleagues Toyoki Kunitake and Kazue Kurihara who started this very important and long-standing collaboration between Japan and Australia."

Professor Kunitake received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in 2015 for discovering synthetic bilayers and creating a new chemistry field based on molecules that automatically align themselves.  

His research was recognised as one of the most useful concepts in the materials science field. It will lead to new technologies for energy conversion and storage, and the biodelivery therapies for chronic diseases. 

Professor Kazue Kurihara received the Society of Japanese Women Scientists Award in 2014 for her research on the surface interactions between biological molecules, electrolytes, confined liquids and how best to measure them.

PhD student Jessica Vovers said, "Professor Kurihara has worked hard to improve the situation for women in science in Japan. It's very exciting that she's increased opportunities for female scientists."

University of Melbourne chemical and biomolecular lecturer, Dr Anthony Stickland says "particulate suspensions are everywhere so this research area is immense. These collaborations can really drive progress and getting us together at this conference is vital to developing relationships."

PFPC Director and Deputy Dean of the School of Engineering, Professor Peter Scales believes that events like this Advanced Materials: Scientific & Engineering Challenges Conference maintain strong relationships with our research collaborators.

“Our next steps include the exchange of students and researchers between our two countries so we can learn from each other to generate excellent science,” he said.

Story by Gillian Aeria.

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