Dame Anne Salmond wins Rutherford Medal

Auckland academics received the Rutherford Medal and four other Royal Society Research Honours medals at a ceremony in Dunedin in November.

Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond
Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond

New Zealander of the Year, Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond from the University’s Maori Studies Department has been awarded this year’s Rutherford Medal for her ‘eminent work on Maori social structures and interactions with the European world, and on European exploration and engagement in the Pacific.’

The 2013 MacDiarmid Medal goes to Professor Neil Broom from the University’s Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, ‘for developing novel experimental approaches that have led to major improvements in bioprosthetic heart valve function, and new insights into joint tissue structure and osteoarthritis, and intervertebral disc prolapse.

Emeritus Professor Harold Marshall (School of Architecture), was awarded the 2013 Pickering Medal, ‘in recognition of his innovative research-based acoustical designs for concert halls and the profound effect these designs have had on the design of performance spaces for music, worldwide.

The 2013 Thomson Medal goes to Adjunct Professor, Dr Peter Lee (UniServices), for his outstanding contribution to commercialisation of scientific research in New Zealand, achieved most prominently as CEO of Auckland UniServices Ltd, but also through his wide variety of contributions nationally.

The 2013 Callaghan Medal for science communication goes to Dr Siouxsie Wiles from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences for her vital contribution to raising public awareness of the value of
medical science to human health and well-being worldwide.

Dame Anne Salmond is the pre-eminent New Zealand social scientist of her generation and the first social scientist to win the Rutherford Medal.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon says: “This is an outstanding achievement for Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond to become the first social scientist to receive the Rutherford Medal. She is an internationally leading academic whose contribution was earlier recognised with her selection as New Zealander of the Year. The Rutherford Medal is a crowning achievement and recognises her valuable contribution to social science in New Zealand.”

Her work has made a huge impact and is seen as providing an understanding of cultural engagement that respects the contribution of all participants and explains complex interactions in a way that is persuasive and compelling.

Internationally, she is New Zealand’s best known social scientist with a reputation for scholarly, original and imaginative anthropological re-creations that have earned her rare accolades of membership of scientific associations in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Her contribution to science policy, advice and governing bodies of science agencies and institutions has been outstanding.

The New Zealander of the Year Award to Professor Salmond this year is testimony to the impact that her scientific work has had in the community.

She is one of a small number of social scientists whose work can be truly said to have shaped thinking about the structure and nature of social and cultural relationships in New Zealand and the wider Pacific. Her international reputation as a social scientist has been further enhanced with prestigious fellowships and keynote addresses.