Physical Sciences Research Themes

JCU has many world-renowned researchers who undertake cutting-edge research in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. The following research themes are just some of the areas of expertise within our group.

Marine Geophysics

Prof Peter Ridd, Dr James Whinney, Michael Santarossa, Dr Rachael Macdonald

This group focuses on the physical conditions in coastal waters and especially the effect of sediment on the Great Barrier Reef. The group is a engaged in developing advanced instrumentation and the measurement of the effects of sediment from dredging operations. Much of the work carried out is either commercial or research consultancy and includes the sale and rental of in-house built current meters, turbidity sensors, sediment deposition sensors and other equipment.

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Tropical Meteorology

Dr Hakeem Shaik, Prof Peter Ridd

Meteorological conditions in the tropics, in particularly the deep convection associated with thunderstorms and cyclones, is the engine that drive the entire earth weather systems. Using both GCM models the group is studying the development of cyclonic systems and the factors that determine if a low pressure system will form a cyclone or not. In addition the group is also working on the analytical models of the Atmospheric Heat Engine and the way it may alter, or otherwise, due to increased CO2 concentrations.


Weed Killing Robotics

Prof Peter Ridd, Alex Olsen, Dr Owen Kenny, Dr Bronson Philippa, Prof Wei Xiang

Introduced weeds affect enormous areas of Australia and are by any measure the greatest threat the country’s environment. Weeds such as Prickly acacia are also having a large, and ever increasing, impact on the productivity of rangeland grazing industry. In this group robotic methods are being developed with the final aim to automatically kill weeds. Advanced image analysis methods are being used to allow future robots to “see” and recognize weeds of interest.