Allan Chivas

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Professor Allen Nutman, Head of School – Earth & Environmental Sciences Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Allan Ross Chivas as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 14 December 2017.

Deputy Chancellor, I present Allan Chivas.

As a geologist and geochemist, Professor Chivas has made significant contributions to the understanding of Earth-surface processes at the younger end of the geological time scale. His work has defined new geochemical and isotopic tools and methodologies, both conceptually and by advances in analytical methods, which are now extensively applied worldwide.

Born and raised in Sydney, Allan attended Knox Grammar School where, with the guidance of inspirational high school teachers, he excelled in Science. His tertiary studies were completed at the University of Sydney where he attained a Bachelor of Science (with 1st Class Honours) in 1972 and a PhD in 1977.

Professor Chivas’ early career as a geologist saw him hold several positions in mineral exploration, based in Australia and the South-West Pacific Islands. Upon completing his PhD, he undertook overseas post-doctoral positons with the United States Geological Survey at Menlo Park in California in1977 and the Centre for Petrology and Geochemistry at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in1978. Professor Chivas returned to Australia 1979 where he pursued a highly successful 16-year career with the Environmental Geochemistry Group in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University. This research group (for which Allan was largely responsible) became widely recognised as one of the pre-eminent geochemistry centres in Australia.

In 1995, Professor Chivas joined the University of Wollongong as the Foundation Professor of the then newly formed School of Geosciences. His brief was to amalgamate the pre-existing Departments of Geology and Geography, and to establish environmental geochemical research. Under his direction, the School grew to be the second largest Earth Science School in the country and secured over $15 million in grants from the Australian Research Council. He was pivotal in the establishment of major research infrastructure, including the acquisition of four mass spectrometers and several gas chromatographs. Through his inspirational leadership the School flourished, further enhancing UOW’s national and international research reputation.

Professor Chivas’ service to the University during his two-decade tenure included outstanding contributions to teaching and research. He supervised 18 PhD students to graduation and is widely published, with 189 peer-reviewed articles and 11 papers in highly-cited journals, including “Nature” and “Science”. His work has attracted approximately 4,000 citations and is commonly used in standard and more general text books. Professor Chivas was also active in undertaking important governance roles within the University including serving as Chair of the Faculty of Science Research Committee, as well as leading several international scientific research programs.

Other activities in Professor Chivas’ rich career have included being appointed Treasurer (1999-2006) and subsequently President (2007-2011) of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA); being appointed a Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia in 2001; and being elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2010. He is also an active member of several societies including the Geochemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union; and is a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society, London.

Allan cites the successful establishment of the School of Geosciences of as one of his major life achievements; and given the ongoing success of the (now) School of Earth & Environmental Sciences 22 years later, it is indeed an accomplishment of which he can rightly be proud.

Deputy Chancellor, for his distinguished contributions to the fields of Geology and Geochemistry, and his exceptional service and dedication to this University, it is a privilege and pleasure to present Allan Chivas for admission as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.