Featured News Top award for JCU professor

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Fri, 5 Aug 2016

Top award for JCU professor

Peter Junk receiving the Burrows Award
Professor Peter Junk receiving the Burrows Award

A James Cook University scientist who swapped the idea of chef school for a life of science has won Australia’s top award for chemistry.

Professor Peter Junk has been presented with the Burrows award – an honour based on the candidate’s scientific work in inorganic chemistry over the past ten years and their standing in the international community.

Professor Junk said it was a humbling experience. “I looked back at the previous 26 winners and thought ‘what am I doing in this company?’”

He said he had always been interested in physics, maths and chemistry, but had drifted towards chemistry as his lecturers were particularly good in that discipline. “Originally, I was going to be a chef, but instead now I’m cooking with chemicals,” he said.  

A major portion of the relevant scientific work of the Burrows award winner must have been carried out in Australia and/or New Zealand. The award is presented annually by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).

In delivering the award, the RACI praised Professor Junk as a hugely productive researcher with tremendous international reach and recognition.

The Institute said Professor Junk had produced some 240 journal articles over the last decade, with an extremely high citation rate. It said the work had sparked commercial initiatives such as the development of gas capture materials, and initiation of a start-up company with venture capital investment.


*Professor Junk has made important contributions to synthetic organometallic and main group chemistry leading to applications in organic synthesis and with significant contributions to supramolecular chemistry, and more recently in materials chemistry, green chemistry and medicinal chemistry.

*In particular his long-standing contributions to lanthanide chemistry, particularly low valent lanthanide chemistry place him as a leader in modern lanthanide chemistry. His careful, systematic studies on lanthanoid(II) formamidinates are a testament to that role. He brings a technical precision to his (very challenging) work on highly reactive rare earth chemistry and an enormous breadth of vision to these very novel materials.

Link to pics of Dr Junk: http://bit.ly/2awHUCD


Professor Peter Junk
P: (07) 4781 4433
E: peter.junk@jcu.edu.au