2024 Leon Kane-Maguire Public Address

Intelligent Polymer Research Institute celebrates Leon Kane-Maguire

Intelligent Polymer Research Institute celebrates Leon Kane-Maguire

2024 annual public address featured reminiscences of Professor Kane-Maguire’s contribution to IPRI

The annual Leon Kane-Maguire Public Address was held last week at the University of Wollongong (UOW) Innovation Campus in honour of the late Professor Kane-Maguire

While the event will continue next year, this year was the last time it will be hosted by the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI).

Held each year since 2012 (except for 2020 due to COVID), it celebrates the life of UOW researcher Professor Kane-Maguire, his wicked sense of humour, the communication of science, and the mentoring of the next generation of researchers.

Professor Kane-Maguire was a specialist in the field of conducting organic polymers and helped establish IPRI in 1990 with Director Professor Gordon Wallace.

A highlight of the night was the presenting of the Leon Kane-Maguire Prize, donated by the Kane-Maguire family and awarded each year to the School of Chemistry honours degree student who achieves the best-weighted average mark for Chemistry and Nanotechnology subjects over all the years of their degree.

This year’s winner, Tasiana Reza, was presented with the award by Professor Kane-Maguire’s wife Barbara Kane-Maguire. Tasiana completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in 2023 with a WAM score of 93 percent in the HONS 400 subject, and is now enrolled in a PhD at UOW under the supervision of Dr Sinead Keaveney and Associate Professor Chris Richardson.

“It was truly an incredible honour to receive the Leon Kane-Maguire Prize as this is such a prestigious award,” Tasiana said.

“As an aspirational young researcher, this has definitely been encouraging and has only motivated me to persevere and continue with my PhD journey and research, and hopefully someday be able to contribute something worthwhile to the scientific community.”

As it was the final year that IPRI would host the event, the 2024 event featured a special joint presentation by current and former UOW Professors Gordon Wallace, David Officer, Geoff Spinks and Julie Steele, all of whom knew and were involved with Leon and his work over the years.

The talk, ‘The IPRI Story: Towards Hybrid Humans (a Twisted Tale of Triumph and Tragedy)’, saw each presenter give their take on their previous research and the role it played in bringing them all together, as well as Professor Kane-Maguire’s input and how it helped shape IPRI. This included the development of wearable sensors, artificial muscle and the bionic bra.

“Effective interdisciplinary research requires a convergence of a range of technical skills,” Professor Wallace said.

“But that convergence is not enough. A culture of collaboration and collegiality that engenders a level of trust that ensures integration of these skills is also required. That culture is part of the legacy Leon left with us.”

The Leon Kane-Maguire Public Address will continue to go ahead next year but will no longer be hosted by IPRI at the Innovation Campus.