Griffith graduate among Nobel Prize predictions

CSIRO scientists Dr San Thang, Dr Ezio Rizzardo and Dr Graeme Moad
In Nobel contention, from left, Dr San Thang and his CSIRO colleagues Dr Ezio Rizzardo and Dr Graeme Moad

A Griffith University science graduate has been named among predicted contenders for this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Dr San Thang is one of a team of three CSIRO organic chemists named by multinational media and information company, Thomson Reuters, in its annual Nobel-class Citation Laureates.

Since launching the citations in 2002, Thomson Reuters has correctly predicted 35 Nobel Prize laureates.

Dr Thang and his colleagues, Dr Graeme Moad and Dr Ezio Rizzardo, have been included for their development of new plastics and polymers that have applications in fields including solar energy, medicine, paint and cosmetics.

Known as RAFT (Reversible Addition-Fragmentation Chain Transfer), IBM, L’Oreal and Dulux are among about 60 companies throughout the world to have taken up the technology.

Dr Thang completed his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in organic chemistry at Griffith’s former School of Science — now the School of Natural Sciences — in 1983 with the late Professor Roy “Gus” Guthrie. He followed it in 1987 with a PhD in organic/polymer chemistry, also from the School of Science.

Dr Thang joined the CSIRO in 1986 before moving to ICI in late 1987. He rejoined the CSIRO in 1990.

Earlier this year, Dr Thang, Dr Rizzardo and Dr Moad received the esteemed ATSE Clunies Ross Award, which recognises the outstanding application of science and technology providing economic, social and/or environmental benefit to Australia.

The Nobel Prize laureates will be announced from Saturday, October 6, with the Chemistry prize announced on October 8.