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Congratulations to Sriram Sundaresan (MacDiarmid Institute funded PhD student), on successfully defending his PhD thesis “Designer complexes for spin crossover, CO2 reduction and surface immobilisation” earlier today (1 October 2021). Sriram (right) is pictured here with his examiners (L to R): Professors Lyall Hanton (University of Otago), Annie Powell (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and James Wright (University of Auckland) and convenor A/Professor Carla Meledandri (seated, centre).

After leaving NZ for a short, well earnt holiday at home in India, he will take up a postdoctoral position with Professor Eva Rentschler (Mainz, Germany), to work on single molecule magnets (SMMs).

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Congratulations to Luca Bondí, pictured here on his first day of MBA study at the MIB Trieste School of Management (Italy) in the last week of September 2021.  Earlier this year, Luca successfully completed his co-tutelle PhD “Towards predictable tuning of spin crossover” at the Universities of Otago and Florence, supervised by Prof Sally Brooker, Prof Federico Totti and Dr Anna Garden. From his time with us he has published 5 papers to date, with a 6th paper close to submission. We wish him all the very best for his MBA study!

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Double congratulations to Fola Akogun: graduating with his PhD “Carbazole complexes as catalysts for hydrogen evolution and CO2 reduction”, and being reunited with his family, wife Goodness and 1 year old daughter Nora, after being separated for one and a half years due to COVID19 border closures. Really great to see you happily reunited after all this time!  Photo: Accra (Ghana) August 2021.

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Congratulations to Dr Sandhya Singh on being awarded a two year JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) postdoctoral fellowship to work on “Supramolecular Radical Organic Frameworks for Sensing and Spintronics Applications” with Dr Jonathan Hill at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan.

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Congratulations to Sriram Sundaresan (centre, pictured with Brookers Bunch) on submitting his PhD thesis “Designer complexes for spin crossover, CO2 reduction and surface immobilisation”. 30 June 2021.

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Congratulations to Dr Sandhya Singh (front left) on taking up a MacDiarmid Institute funded internship at MBIE, Wellington, NZ. Photo of BB mid June 2021.

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Congratulations to Fola Akogun on successfully defending his PhD thesis, “Carbazole complexes as catalysts for hydrogen evolution and CO2 reduction” via zoom on 20 May 2021. Photo: Fola after the oral examination, with the examiners, Prof Annie Powell (KIT, bottom left), Prof Geoff Waterhouse (Auckland, top right) and Dr Jonathan Kitchen (Massey Auckland, bottom right). Convenor Prof Claudine Stirling and supervisor Prof Sally Brooker were also present.

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Congratulations to Abdullah Abudayyeh on having his PhD thesis, “Catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction”, placed on the list of Exceptional PhD Theses in the Division of Sciences, which means that “all three examiners of a candidate’s thesis agree that the thesis is of an exceptional standard in every respect – research content, originality, quality of expression and accuracy of presentation – and is amongst the top 10% of theses examined.”

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Congratulations to Dr Sandhya Singh on graduating with her PhD in person on a lovely autumn day in Dunedin (8 May 2021).

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Congratulations to Luca Bondí (bottom right) on successfully defending his co-tutelle PhD (Universities of Otago and Florence), ‘Towards predictable tuning of spin crossover’, at the oral examination held by zoom with participants from 4 countries, specifically from the cities of Florence (Luca; Prof Federico Totti, co-supervisor, bottom), Rennes (Prof Boris Le Guennic, examiner, top left), Dublin (A/Prof Grace Morgan, examiner, top right) and Dunedin (Prof Lyall Hanton, examiner; A/Prof Nigel Lucas, convenor; Dr Anna Garden and Prof Sally Brooker, supervisors, top middle).

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Congratulations to Abdullah Abudayyeh on successfully completing the oral examination of his thesis “Catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction”, on 14 April 2021. Pictured after the oral from L to R: Prof Sally Brooker (supervisor), A/Prof Nigel Lucas (internal examiner), A/Prof Vladimir Golovko (NZ examiner present via zoom; Canterbury), Abdullah, and Prof Lyall Hanton (convenor).

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Congratulations to Matt Rob (far right), BB PhD student, for winning the ‘peoples choice’ talk prize at the Chemistry Department’s postgraduate student bootcamp at Portobello, Dunedin, 9 April 2021

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Sandhya has completed all requirements to graduate with her PhD. Pictured here, she is putting her hard bound thesis “Spin crossover in iron(II) dinuclear helicates and tetranuclear cages” on Sally’s bookcase – congratulations Sandhya! 11 March 2021. Photo: Sally

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Welcome to our two fourth year chemistry honours project students, Varinder Singh (left) and Alice Noe (right), shown here with Abdullah and Sandhya, as Varinder carries out an electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) test. 9 March 2021. Photo: Sally

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Fola Akogun has submitted his PhD thesis “Carbazole complexes as catalysts for hydrogen evolution and CO2 reduction” – congratulations Fola! 28 February 2021. Photo: Sally

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Congratulations Sandhya! Sandhya has completed her PhD oral, so will soon be ready to graduate. Photo shows, left to right: convenor Prof Claudine Stirling, internal examiner A/Prof Nigel Lucas, Sandhya and Sally, 16 February 2021.

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Abdullah Abudayyeh has submitted his PhD thesis “Catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction” – congratulations Abdullah! 8 February 2021.

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Luca Bondi has submitted his co-tutelle (Otago-Florence) PhD thesis “Towards Predictable Tuning of Spin Crossover” – congratulations Luca! 31 January 2021.

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Sriram Sundaresan has been accepted into MRSC (promoted from student membership). January 2021.

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Luca Bondi has been accepted into the highly sought after MBA program in International Business at the MIB School of Management in Trieste, Italy (top 2% of MBA programs worldwide, hence he chose to apply there). He was also awarded a 40% merit scholarship. Luca will submit his PhD thesis this month, then complete 3 months on a University of Otago publishing bursary, before taking up his MBA studies in Trieste in September 2021.

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Sriram Sundaresan won a prize for the best ‘chemistry theme’ student talk, “Molecular design for Surface Immobilisation of Spin Switchable Materials using Langmuir Blodgett technique” at the Materials@UC 2020: Overcoming Challenges symposium, University of Canterbury, 19-20 Nov 2020. Photo: 20 Nov 2020.

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OERC symposium 2020 held in the Otago Business School
student presentation winner Abdullah Abudayyeh pictured Sally Brooker (left), Sean Connelly and Michael Jack

Abdullah Abudayyeh won the prize for the best student talk, “Copper catalysts for hydrogen production” at the Otago Energy Research Centre (OERC) annual symposium, University of Otago, 19-20 Nov 2020. Photo: Jane Dawber 20 Nov 2020.

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Varinder Singh is busy carrying out the multistep organic synthesis of a key macrocycle precursor, as he looks to build up stocks of it as part of his summer project in Brookers Bunch. Photo: Sally 12 Nov 2020.

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Congratulations to Sandhya Singh, on submitting her PhD thesis “Spin crossover in iron(II) dinuclear helicates and tetranuclear cages” earlier this week. She is pictured here, along with Sriram, Abdullah, Matt, Varinder and Fola, on her way to ring the University bell (above), a privilege granted to PhD students after submission of their thesis. Photos: Sally. 6 November 2020.

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Congratulations to ex-BB member Dr Nick White who has been awarded a Rennie Memorial Medal by the RACI for excellence in research in Chemical Science by a researcher with  less than eight years of professional experience. October 2020.

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Sriram managed to catch a selfie with Prime Minister Jacinda Adern during her visit to campus today. 7 October 2020.

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Congratulations to PhD student Sriram Sundaresan on being awarded a University of Otago OUSA Gold for “Outstanding member of the Dunedin community”, for his contributions and service to the Dunedin Hindu community and Dunedin Tamil community. 30 September 2020.

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Sally with the Hylink household sized robust electrolyser (produces green hydrogen from water; powered by sun and wind) developed by Robert Holt at Callaghan Innovation, which provides instant hot water for shower, taps and radiators as well as fuel for the BBQ. 25 September 2020.

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Left to right: Sriram Sundaresan and Dr. Lux Selvanesan (President of the Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council) with Aaron Hawkins (Dunedin’s Mayor) before opening the council meeting with a Hindu prayer. 28 July 2020

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Brookers Bunch on June 2020 in the Mellor Foyer (missing Abdullah and Michael). Left to right: Varinder, Sriram, Luca, Sally, Fola, Matt, Rosa. Photo: Sharron Bennett

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Most of the BB team are back at Uni under COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions today, 18 May 2020, hence meeting outside, physically distanced, until we are assigned a new room that is large enough to hold our group meetings in under level 2 guidelines. Left to right: Michael, Abdullah, Fola, Sandhya, Luca, Matt, Sriram (back) and Rosa (front). Photo by Sally.

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Congratulations to BB alumnus, Dr Santi Rodriguez-Jimenez , on being awarded a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to continue working on photoelectrocatalysis in Prof Erwin Reisner’s lab (Cambridge University).

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We welcome two visitors, Prof Dirk Kurth (Wurzburg), visiting academic (Jan-Mar 2020), and Rosa Diego-Creixenti (Barcelona), visiting PhD research intern (Jan-May 2020).

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Congratulations to BB alumnus, A/Prof Paul Plieger (Massey University, Palmerston North) on being promoted to full Professor. 

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Sally is one of seven Inaugural Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair (Poutoko Taiea) appointments at the University of Otago, Dunedin, 30 September 2019. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

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Congratulations to BB alumnus, Dr Ross Hogue, on being awarded a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to join A/Prof Dennis Hettersheid’s catalysis team at Leiden University.

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Luca Bondi about to present his invited talk to an impressive audience at AMN9, Wellington 11 February 2019.

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Brookers Bunch members at the AMN9 conference, Wellington 10-14 February 2019. Left to right: Sriram, Sally, Luca and Santi (Sriram’s poster is behind us).

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Thanks to my Brookers Bunch team for their stirling efforts behind the scenes in making the Otago Future Fuels (OFF) workshop a big success!! 7-8 Feb 2019.

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Congratulations to Fola Akogun on winning a top student talk prize, judged by Profs Toni Llobet (ICIQ) and Ed Constable (Basel), at the Otago Future Fuels workshop, OFF (7-8 Feb 2019).

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Congratulations to Sriram Sundaresan and Fabrice Karabulut on winning top student poster prizes, judged by a panel of our invited speakers, at the Otago Future Fuels workshop, OFF (7-8 Feb 2019).

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From the Chem department newsletter (14 Jan 2019):

“Congratulations and good luck to Dr Humphrey Feltham.
Research Fellow Dr Humphrey Feltham left the Department last week, to take up a position as metals chemist at Ligar Polymers in Hamilton. Humphrey will be working on polymers that capture valuable materials so that they can be re-used in industrial processes. Humphrey did his MSc (2008) and PhD (2012) at Otago, both with distinction, under the supervision of Professor Sally Brooker. After graduating, he took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship on a MacDiarmid Institute-funded project led by Sally. In 2015, Humphrey became a Research Fellow, and was funded by Marsden and MacDiarmid Institute grants through until 2019, supervised by Sally. Humphrey is an author on 32 papers in peer-reviewed chemistry journals, and has given numerous presentations at conferences and meetings. He has formally co-supervised six PhD students, and informally trained and mentored many other students in the Brooker group. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Humphrey for his thoroughly professional approach and his many strong contributions to the Chemistry Department, the Brooker group in particular.” All the best with your new job Humphrey!!

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Yanhua sent this photo of ex-BB groupees (Left to right: Drs Julia and Marco Klingele, Dr Wolfgang Mohr, Dr Shaun Presow, Dr Markus Weitzer and Dr Yanhua Lan) meeting up in Freiburg pre-Christmas 2018.

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Congratulations to Dr Humphrey Feltham, who departs Brookers Bunch – after 12 years over which time he has become Sally’s ‘right hand man’ – to take up a position in Ligar, Hamilton, in the new year. We’ll all miss you Humphrey, and wish you all the very best with your new job!!   Photo: Sally Dec 2018.

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Sandhya Singh with her first Otago publication; a comprehensive review of spin crossover, featured on the front inside cover of ChemSocRev. Photo: Sally Dec 2018.

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A belated welcome to Leon Escomel, a 6 month visiting research intern, who will then return to complete his MSc at Lyon University, France. Photo Sally December 2018.

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Congratulations to Hannah Davidson who will be starting work in the new year as Science Research Assistant for the NZ Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in Wellington.

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Congratulations to Alice Endersbee and William Pelet on completing their BSc(Hons) project work and reports! Left to right: Alice, Sally, William, Santi and Humphrey. Photo: Fola on 5 Oct 2018.

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Hannah is currently writing her thesis whilst working as an au pair in a beautiful spot in France. She gets to drive the kids round in the family’s spare Porsche Cayenne! September 2018.

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Welcome to Andreas Durrmann, a 6 month visiting research intern, who will then return to complete his MSc at Bayreuth University, Germany. Photo August 2018.

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Congratulations from all of us to Fola and Goodness, on their recent wedding in Nigeria (left = engagement; right and above = wedding day)

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WOW – ex-BB member Dr Matthew Cowan has been named as ‘Silver’ on the IUPAC periodic table of young chemists 

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Hearty congratulations to Dr Stuart Malthus, who returned briefly from his postdoctoral fellowship in the UK in order to graduate PhD in the August ceremony here. Great to see you, especially in all this finery!, and to hear all your news.  Photo: 18 August 2018.

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Welcome to new PhD student Sriram Sundaresan (MSc from University College Dublin). Photo: March 2018

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Welcome to new Honours students, William Pelet and Alice Endersbee, who started work with us on 19 February 2018.

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Congratulations to Stuart on completing all requirements to graduate PhD. Pictured here adding his hard bound thesis to Sally’s bookshelf.

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Welcome to new PhD student Luca Bondi (MSc, University of Florence), pictured here busy working in our laboratory. February 2018.

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Congratulations to Dr Carla Meledandri on winning the PM’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist award. Left with the PM. RIght with Pip, Anna and Sally afterwards. February 2018.

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Brookers Bunch enjoying a 10-pin bowling night to farewell Ross and Stuart both of whom are heading to the UK to take up postdoctoral fellowships. Photo Sally February 2018.

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Following the award of the 2017 Burrows Prize by the RACI, Prof Sally Brooker has been interviewed for the RACI careers website:

https://www.raci.org.au/jobs-careers/career-profiles 

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Sally joins the Editorial Board and invites all NZers to contribute to a special NZ issue of Chemistry an Asian Journal (IF 4.08; deadline 30 Nov 2018). The NZIC benefits financially for each NZ paper published, so doing so is a win-win!

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Congratulations to Stuart Malthus on securing a postdoctoral fellowship (2018) with Dr John Brazier at Reading University and the Diamond Light Source in the UK, on the research project: “Targeting the weakest links in DNA for selective structural recognition”.

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Congratulations to Dr Ross Hogue on securing a postdoctoral fellowship (2018) with Dr Kathryn Toghill at the newly renovated Chemistry Department, Lancaster University, UK, on the research project: “Synthetic chemistry for redox flow batteries”.

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A recent interview of Sally has appeared in Materials Today (12 Jan 2018):

https://www.materialstoday.com/amorphous/news/special-look-at-materials-down-under/

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Congratulations to Santi (left) and Ross (right) on graduating with their PhD’s from the University of Otago at the 16 December 2017 ceremony.

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Ross Hogue (supervisor: Prof Sally Brooker) wins the prize for the best student talk at the 11th Otago Energy Research Centre (OERC) Symposium, Hutton Theatre, Dunedin, 23-24 November (2017) for his talk “Producing hydrogen from water and sunlight using molecular cobalt catalysts”

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Check out the Royal Australian Chemical Institute interview of Sally  “Meriting Professorship” for RACI careers website (2017):

https://www.raci.org.au/jobs-careers/career-profiles  

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Sally receiving the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) Hector Medal for outstanding work in chemical, physical or mathematical and information sciences (2017)


Vice Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne presenting the Hector Medal to Sally


From left: Professor Hayne, Sally, DVC(External Engagement) Professor Helen Nicholson and DVC(Research) Professor Richard Blaikie


Sally and the Brooker’s Bunch

Sally and Humphrey

Closeup of the Hector Medal

Photo Credit: Sharon Bennett

Earlier Prof Richard Blaikie (DVC Research at Otago) accepted the Hector Medal on her behalf at the annual RSNZ Awards Dinner

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Sally meets with German President, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and NZ Minister for Research, Science and Innovation, Dr Megan Woods  (Nov 2017)

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Santi Rodriguez-Jimenez adds his hard bound thesis to Sally’s collection, so is ready to graduate (Nov 2017)

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Three new PhD students have started in Brookers Bunch over the last 3 months: Sandhya Singh (MSc from IISER Mohali, India), Sunday Folaranmi (known as Fola) Akogun (MSc from Lanzhou Jiaotong University, China), and Abdullah Abudayeh (MSc from Bradford University, UK). Photo (left to right): Sandhya, Abdullah and Fola
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Ross Hogue’s thesis has been placed on the Sciences Divisional List of Exceptional Doctoral Theses

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Ross Hogue hands over his hard bound PhD thesis so is ready to graduate

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RSNZ Hector Medal

2017 RSNZ Hector Medal awarded to Sally and her team

2017 RSNZ Hector Medal awarded to Sally and her team – Otago Daily Times article

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Santi Rodriguez-Jimenez successfully completes his PhD oral exam (18 Sept 2017)

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Ross Hogue successfully completes his PhD oral exam (13 Sept 2017)

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Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM), for services to science, investiture by the Governor General (29 Aug 2017)

Close up of MNZM medal

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Sally receives the 28th Inorganic Chemistry Award of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), the Burrows Award, from Professor Phil Andrews (21 July 2017)

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Sally Brooker is appointed as a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)

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Ross Hogue submits this PhD thesis

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Sally Brooker and Hannah Davidson on Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World

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Santi Rodriguez-Jimenez is runner up for the Murray Prize for the best student talk at SANZ-O-MAG2 magnetism workshop

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Hannah Davidson wins a poster prize at the SANZ-O-MAG2 magnetism workshop

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Hannah Davidson wins the MESA 3 minute movie competition

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Sally awarded the University of Otago’s Distinguished Research Medal for 2015 (Media Release – PDF) (Otago Bulletin – pdf)

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Sally’s Radio NZ interview with Alison Balance (Dec 2013)

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Dr Nick White’s Killam postdoctoral fellowship at Prof Mark MacLachlan’s lab (UBC)

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New dual source Agilent X-ray diffractometer installed (Jan 2013)

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Humphrey Feltham’s Single Molecule Magnet is featured on the Bragg centenary stamp sheet (2012)

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