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David Price

Fellow of the University

Citation delivered by Mr Harold Hanson AM, Chair of the Honorary Alumni Chapter, University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of David Michael Price as Fellows of the University of 5 December 2013.

Chancellor, I present David Price.

As a young man at the beginning of what would be an illustrious career, David migrated to Australia from the UK and settled at the ANU, where he set up and operated the very first luminescence laboratory in Australia. Known by its acronym “TL”, thermo luminescence is the process by which certain minerals release previously absorbed radiation when they are heated. David spent several years researching and refining radioactive tracing techniques, running his laboratory, dating archaeological and geological materials through the use of TL and publishing papers about the technique.

David is Australia’s leading technical expert in sedimentary thermo luminescence dating, and has played a truly significant role in the development of TL technology and the refinement of its application. Research conducted by David and his team at the ANU became known as the “Australian Slide Method”, which rapidly became the standard approach for TL dating worldwide.

In 1986 at the invitation of UOW, David and his entire TL team moved to Wollongong, providing the University’s then Department of Geography with the technical expertise that propelled it to becoming Australia’s leading research group in Quaternary science. The laboratory continues to attract considerable interest from research institutions both within Australia and internationally, resulting in collaborative projects in areas as diverse as the northern Sahara in Tunisia and the Mississippi River in the United States.

Closer to home, another of David’s research projects attempts to throw light on the possibility that Portuguese sailors may have sailed the south coast of Australia more than 500 years ago. While ancient maps exist to support this theory, there has been much speculation. Expeditions funded by the Portuguese Government and others in 2003 and 2007 have uncovered pottery shards and other items on the southern coast which, when TL dated, may hold the key to unlocking this mystery.

David has developed his academic career the hard way – through technical training and hard work. While he has not had the opportunity to study for or submit a thesis for a higher degree, David’s outstanding contribution to his discipline and to the University’s research reputation, both nationally and internationally, is evidenced by more than 120 publications and research papers which he has authored or co-authored. David’s research output and his support for innovative projects were recognised in 1992 when he was awarded one of the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Outstanding Service.

As well as his significant contribution to research, David has always made time for students, whether assisting them in the department or in a pastoral care role. David has been strongly involved in the work of the Illawarra Committee for International Students, hosting international students and engaging in hospitality programs to assist them to feel at home in the Wollongong community. David’s longstanding dedication to international students and cultural exchange has resulted in wedding invitations from former students in China, Japan, the UK, India and Sri Lanka!

David has played an important part in the history of the University both academically and culturally and, in turn, UOW has provided David with a venue to continue his research, the space to engage with trusted colleagues and enquiring students and – perhaps most importantly – the opportunity meet his wife Jacqui who has been a significant mentor and guide. Jacqui, we thank you for your continuous support and patience shown with the hours David has kept during his career – he promises not to stop in at the lab this evening!

Chancellor, for his outstanding contribution to research at the University and for his unfailing support of his colleagues and our students, it gives me great pleasure to present David Price for admission as a Fellow of the University of Wollongong.

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