Ochre and mobile phones make Tall Poppies

tall-poppyResearch that promises to transform mobile phone communications and to reveal Australia’s ancient ochre trade has placed two Flinders scientists among the finalists in the 2012 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

The Awards, held nationally each year, aim to recognise the achievements of Australia’s outstanding young scientific researchers and communicators.

Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff is using highly sophisticated analytical techniques that draw on chemistry and atomic physics to shed light on the ancient Aboriginal cultural trade in ochre. Her work in the “geochemical fingerprinting” of various ochre types is allowing historical ochre-exchange routes to be traced.

Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen’s humanitarian Serval project has developed software that allows mobile phones to use mesh networks, enabling phone-to-phone communication without the use of towers. The technology will be of special value to poor populations lacking infrastructure, in remote areas, and during disasters.

The winners will be announced by the State Governor, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, at a ceremony at Government House on August 22 as part of National Science Week.

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