All ANU theses digitised – the 1980s

25 Feb 2020

To celebrate the digitisation of all ANU theses, we are looking at a selection of theses available through the Open Research repository.

Let's look at some ANU theses from the 1980s!


Dr Mari Pangestu was the first female Chinese Indonesian to hold a cabinet position in Indonesia. She served as Minister of Trade of Indonesia from 2004 to 2011, and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 to 2014.

Dr Susan Barrell is a scientist and meteorologist who was named a 2017 Superstar of STEM by Science and Technology Australia (STA).


Dr Warrick Couch is an Australian astronomer who is a highly influential researcher in this field. In 2007, he was a joint winner of the Gruber Prize in Cosmology for his role in discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe. Dr Couch currently serves as Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory and is the former President of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Dr Gregory Constable is an agronomist and plant breeder. His research into cotton continues to have a significant impact on the scientific study and development of sustainable cotton crops and genetically modified cotton varieties. In 2003, Dr Constable was named ‘Australia’s smartest scientist’ by business magazine the Bulletin.


Dr Melanie Campbell is a professor of physics and scientific researcher, best known for the development of treatments for eye disease and the detection of Alzheimer’s disease, through the combination of physics and biology. 

Emeritus Professor Jon Altman is a social anthropologist who specialises in economic development and policy in relation to Indigenous Australians. In 1990, Altman established the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at ANU. 

John Dademo Waiko is a historian, anthropologist, playwright and politician. John was the first ever Papua New Guinean to earn a PhD, and the first to reach the status of Professor. His book A Short History of Papua New Guinea was published in 1993. Waiko was also the subject of two biographical films – Man Without Pigs and Minister Without Money.


Craig Emerson is a former Australian politician who represented the seat of Rankin, QLD from 1998 to 2013 and held a number of Ministerial portfolios including Trade and Competitiveness, Tertiary Education and Science, and Small Business. His memoir The Boy from Baradine was published in 2018.

Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin is a professor of classics and ancient history at ANU, who has brought the classics to life at ANU for over 40 years. Her research focuses on the Homeric epics as oral poetry. Elizabeth is also the Curator of the ANU Classics Museum.


Dr Stephen Mackwell is a scientific researcher specialising in the study of the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of geological materials. Dr Mackwell served as Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Texas from 2002 to 2016, and was then named the Corporate Director of Science Programs at the Universities Space Research Association. 

Professor Keith Nugent is an award-winning physicist and researcher known for his work on x-ray physics. Professor Nugent is current Deputy Vice-Chancellor at La Trobe University, and will be joining the ANU as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in early 2019.  

Dr Richard Malik is one of the world’s foremost feline veterinarians and researchers. Dr Malik received his PhD in the Department of Pharmacology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU. He currently works as a consultant for the Centre for Veterinary Education, various private clinics and also for the RSPCA.  

Associate Professor Sally McFadden is a neuroscientist and neuropsychologist who specialises in vision science. Professor McFadden was involved in the ground-breaking discovery that myopia is visually mediated as opposed to genetic, and developed a mammalian model of myopia that is used by researchers worldwide.


Professor Jillian Banfield is an earth scientist and researcher noted for her study of microbial communities. She has received many awards for her work including the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science (2011), and has been heading up the geo-microbiology program at the University of California since 2001. 

Honourary Associate Professor Dr Robert Glasser is the former Head of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).  He was appointed as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction in January 2016.

Professor Samuel Makinda is an author, scholar and researcher of international relations, public policy, security and counterterrorism. Professor Makinda is the founding Chair of the Security Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies at Murdoch University.


Dr Sudhanshu Vrati is an immunologist and microbiologist known for his pioneering work into RNA virus replication and vaccine development. In 2003, Dr Vrati was awarded one of the highest honours in science by the Indian Government, the National Bioscience Award for Career Development.

Professor Richard Wainscoat is an astronomer and astrophotographer currently working at the University of Hawaii. Professor Wainscoat leads the Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) search program, which studies asteroids and comets with the potential to come close to Earth, posing impact risks.

Trevor Matheson is a diplomat who is currently serving as the New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia. Before taking this position, Trevor was also the New Zealand Ambassador to Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other positions.   


Professor Roberta Rudnick is an earth scientist and geochemist who is a world expert on the Earth’s continents, specifically the lower continental crust and the lithosphere.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ambassador Dr Brendon Hammer is a senior career officer who is currently the Australian Ambassador to Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Kosovo, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia.

Dr Margaret 'Maggie' Brady is a social anthropologist whose research and fieldwork focus is in Australian Indigenous health, specifically alcohol and other substance abuse. Her award-winning work The Grog Book looks into community development strategies for managing alcohol problems.

Dr Mateete Bekunda is a scientist and agronomist with a focus on the study of soils science. Dr Bekunda is the Chief Scientist for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project ‘Sustainable Intensification of Maize-based Farming Systems of East and Southern Africa’, based in Tanzania.   


Professor Nathan Bindoff is physical oceanographer and one of the world’s leading climate change scientists. Professor Bindoff is one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which help inform world leaders on climate policy. His research focus is on detecting and understanding the causes of change in the oceans.

Kusmayanto Kadiman is an Indonesian politician who served as Minister for Research and Technology under the United Indonesia Cabinet between 2004 and 2009.

Associate Professor Steven Klimidis was a leading Australian academic in the field of transcultural mental health. He was known for his research on the mental health of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The Steven Klimidis Memorial Prize in Clinical Psychology at ANU has been established in his honour.


Professor Sanjay Seth is a social and political theorist, specialising in Indian history and politics, postcolonial theory and international relations. Professor Seth is currently Professor of Politics at the University of London, and has been invited to give keynote speeches around the world.

Professor Melanie Nolan is a historian and academic specialising in the study of labour and gender history. She is currently the Director of the National Centre of Biography at ANU and the General Editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography.   


You can search and browse to find a wealth of research in the ANU Library theses collection.