Since 1916, CSIRO has been responsible for scientific and commercial developments. Some, like Aerogard and Softly®, are now household names. Over the years, CSIRO has made a difference to people’s lives through practical science and innovative ideas. Innovations such as plastic banknotes to reduce counterfeiting, WiFi technology to connect computers without wires and the anti-flu drug Relenza®, are used around the world.
CSIROpedia explores some of CSIRO’s greatest innovations and discoveries across the decades and provides brief biographies of the people responsible. It focuses on achievements that have been recognised by major honours and awards or research that has had significant commercial outcomes or benefit to society.
Wherever possible the stories have been written by the scientists who did the research. Earlier stories have been drawn from two valuable resources: ‘Surprise and Enterprise: Fifty years of Science for Australia’ by Andrew McKay and the Australian Academy of Science’s biographical memoirs of deceased Fellows. You can read more about the website in the CSIROpedia flyer (please note this document may not be compatible with assistive technologies).
CSIROpedia was conceived, compiled and edited for the first 10 years (2007-2017) by Colin Ward, a former Deputy Chief and CSIRO Fellow. This collection will continue to grow documenting important milestones in CSIRO’s history. If you have any of this material in either your Business Unit or personal collections, contact us.
The criteria for inclusion as Achievements or People are as follows: The People whose biographies are included in this web site are significant figures in CSIRO’s history, whose contributions to national and international science have been recognised by honours and awards such as:
- The highest National honours (knighthoods and ACs),
- Election as Fellows of international or national societies/academies (FRS, FAA,)
- Major international or national prizes such as the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science or the Japan Prize,
- The most prestigious awards given by national Societies and Academies (but not the minor awards)
- CSIRO medals such as the Chairman’s-medal and the Sir Ian McLennan Award.
Selected Achievements included in this web site are:
- the scientific activities behind the nominations that led to major honours and awards as mentioned above (e.g. Pulsar surveys and the discovery of the double pulsar; the discovery of the flowering Locus C and its control of the initiation of flowering in plants)
- significant achievements that have led to major industrial outcomes such as a major Product (the anti-influenza virus drug Relenza®; high security plastic banknotes); Process (Atomic absorption spectroscopy; RAFT polymerisation; LANDTEM); or System (Interscan aircraft landing system, Wireless LANs and the development of WiFi; and the method for switching off unwanted genes by RNA interference (RNAi).
- sustained research programs that have contributed greatly to world knowledge and led to international reputations or solved a major international/national problem (Iodine deficiency in human populations, Leucaena toxicity in cattle; the eradication of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; establishing how Influenza virus epidemics and pandemics emerge).