Sex and evolution

Research shedding new light on the battle of the sexes has earned Professor Rob Brooks one of the Australian Academy of Science's highest accolades for an early-career researcher.

Rob Brooks 2 inside

One of them is shedding new light on the battle of the sexes and the other is helping Australian industry come to grips with its own powdery products, but two UNSW researchers do have something in common: their excellence has been recognised with major awards from the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Rob Brooks, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, has won the Academy's Fenner Medal, which recognises outstanding young researchers in biology (excluding biomedical sciences). It is the second time the award has gone to a UNSW scientist. Professor Brett Neilan won the medal in 2005.

Professor Brooks is a recognised international leader at the intersection of four vibrant fields: evolution, genetics, ecology and behaviour.

"Males and females tend to maximise their evolutionary fitness in very different ways," Professor Brooks said. "As a result, sex-dependent selection drives the evolution of sex differences in most, if not all, traits. If my research career has one overall goal it is to understand the evolution of these differences, including the evolutionary consequences of sex differences."

Professor Aibing Yu, of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering, has won the academy's Ian Wark Medal and Lecture for applied research.

Professor Yu is a world leader in the field of particle/powder technology, especially particle packing, particulate and multiphase processing, and the simulation/modelling of particulate systems.

The awards were presented this week at a ceremony in Canberra.

Read the full story at the Faculty of Science newsroom.

Media contact: Bob Beale, UNSW Faculty of Science | 0411 705 435 |