Swinburne University of Technology Professor Geoff Brooks has won the prestigious 2023 Bessemer Gold Medal from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) in the UK.
The Bessemer Gold Medal was awarded to Geoff for his outstanding services to the steel industry, specifically for his contributions to improving scientific understanding of the steelmaking process and making it more sustainable.
He will be presented the medal during the 2023 IOM3 Awards Day on December 7 at the Institute’s London headquarters.
“I am so grateful to my many collaborators and students, who without their help and hard work I could not have won this award,” he said.
“I also reflect on the journey I have been on. I remember struggling as a teenager and sneaking through the equivalent of VCE at the time.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would become internationally prominent in my field.”
Innovation and world-class research
Geoff has been a Professor at Swinburne since 2006 and has published more than 250 papers on fundamental aspects of steelmaking, aluminium production, and materials processing in general.
He currently coordinates research for the Extraterrestrial processing program at Swinburne and is a program leader in the ARC Steel Innovation Hub.
With colleagues, he has shown it is possible to predict and optimise the speed of reactions taking place above 1600 Celsius in steelmaking.
This understanding can be used to improve the quality of steel and lower greenhouse emissions.
Leading the 'green steel revolution'
Swinburne have been leaders in the ‘green steel revolution’ for several years, with many talented academics working on innovative strategies to reduce the environmental impact of steelmaking.
Recent PhD alum Dr Nirmal Madhaven has also received an award from the IOM3, winning the 2023 Adrian Normanton Medal.
Supervised by Geoff and Professor Akbar Rhamdani, his PhD paper ‘General mass balance for oxygen steelmaking’ has been recognised as the best technical paper on the topic of steelmaking or casting.
In 2019, Suneeti Purohit won the AMP Amplify Ignite competition for her initiative to revolutionise the steel processing industry with solar power.
“For every tonne of steel we make, we produce twice the amount of carbon dioxide,” said Suneeti.
“I’m trying to lower the amount of carbon emissions in steel production by up to 50 per cent, which will make a significant difference to the planet.”
(Left to Right) Researcher Ben Ekman and Professor Geoff Brooks in the Simpson High Temperature Laboratory
Through a generous gift in memory of one of Australia’s leading furnace engineers, Robert “Bob” Simpson, provided Swinburne the funds to establish the High Temperature Laboratory in the Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC).
The lab has been key to developing a sustainable materials industry through the development and optimisation of recycling processes and the containment and processing of waste generated from metal and materials production.
In the decade since the establishment of the Simpson High Temperature Laboratory, researchers have won many major awards both locally and from international organisations.
The award legacy
The Bessemer Medal was established and endowed to the Iron and Steel Institute in 1874 by one of the giants of the industrial revolution, Sir Henry Bessemer.
Previous winners include Queen Victoria (1899), Andrew Carnegie, who led the expansion of the American steel industry (1904), influential BHP director Essington Lewis (1944), basic oxygen steelmaking inventor Robert Durrer (1957), and former Swinburne Dean of Engineering John Beynon (2015).
“Many of my scientific heroes have won the medal, as well as several captains of industry,” Geoff said.
“I am humbled to be on the same list as giants in my field.”