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National Environmental Award for UTAS Chemist

Published 20 Dec 2013

Central Science Laboratory's Dr Ashley Townsend has been selected as the Royal Australia Chemical Institute’s (RACI) 2013 Environmental Medallist.

UTAS' Dr Ashley Townsend has been selected as the Royal Australia Chemical Institute's (RACI) 2013 Environmental Medallist, in recognition of his sustained and outstanding contributions to environmental chemistry in Australia over the past 10 years.

Dr Townsend's research centres on the use of mass spectroscopic analytical techniques to determine elements of environmental relevance. Specifically, his research interests include developing monitoring procedures and analytical strategies for environmental assessment, the analysis of samples at low levels from local and other pristine wilderness areas, and the study of anthropogenically impacted regions. His recent research has included detailed chemical analysis of water, snow and ice samples from antarctic regions, and the use of fingerprinting methods to trace the source and fate of lead in marine sediments.

Dr Townsend is Deputy Director of the UTAS Central Science Laboratory (CSL) and Senior Research Fellow in the field of Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, overseeing the CSL's High Resolution ICP-MS facility. The CSL is a central UTAS unit that provides academic advice, support, and teaching in atomic and molecular analysis and several different forms of microscopy.

Ashley Townsend has written or co-authored more than fifty research articles, serves on the editorial or advisory boards of four international journals, and is regularly invited to present at international conferences, most recently to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, speaking about the use and application of nuclear and natural isotopes aiding our understanding of processes and changes occurring to the world’s marine environment.

"This is a great honour for me personally, but also reflects highly on the many outstanding people that I have had the privilege of working alongside at UTAS, as well as from other agencies such as AAD, CSIRO and the State Government. UTAS has some amazing analytical instrumentation and is fortunate to have outstanding staff in the CSL able to get the best from it" Townsend said.

Dr Townsend will be presented with the RACI 2013 Environmental Medal at a conference hosted at the Australian National University in Canberra, from 11-13 Dec.