Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australian Chemists Make an Impact

By Jenny Bennett

Australians have featured prominently in lists identifying the most cited chemists of the past decade.

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2011 is the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011). It marks a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. The year also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Madame Marie Curie, and is a fitting opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women to science.

Published to mark the International Year of Chemistry, a list of the Top 100 Chemists in the world in the past decade has been compiled by scientific data company Thomson Reuters. These rankings were based on the highest citation impact scores for chemistry papers published by individual chemists between 2000 and 2010. Probably the most useful measure of impact is the number of times a published paper is used and thus cited by other researchers in their subsequent published papers.

Ranked number 18 in this record is Dr Ezio Rizzardo of the CSIRO, the only Australian chemist to make this list. During this period, Rizzardo published 52 papers, and had an average of 91 citations per paper. His most significant work describes a new way of making polymers.

Polymers are chains of molecules that are the building blocks of materials used in a staggering array of everyday things, including plastics, adhesives, paints, engine oil additives and water purification membranes. Rizzardo’s process is called the RAFT...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.