Groundwater expert joins elite group

Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology Craig Simmons has joined the prestigious Fellowship of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in its 2021 class of AGU Fellows.

He became one of fewer than 50 Australian scientists across all areas of earth and space sciences after being recognised for his “exceptional contributions to groundwater science and modelling”.

Already a Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), Professor Simmons who joined Flinders University as a 25 year old, fixed-term, Level A Associate Lecturer in 1997 has led the establishment of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training located at Flinders, Bedford Park.

Distinguished Matthew Flinders Professor Craig Simmons is on secondment to the Australian Research Council as Executive Director of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences.

Professor Simmons says he is “truly honoured and humbled by election to the Fellowship of AGU”, also sending “a massive thankyou to Flinders University and my home College of Science and Engineering”.

“The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is the peak and the most prestigious earth sciences organisation globally,” says Professor Simmons, who is on secondment to the ARC in Canberra for another 12 months.

“Since 1962, AGU elects less than 0.1% of its (now some 62,000) international members each year to its fellowship ranks so it’s a very rare and extraordinary international honour.

“The list of groundwater AGU Fellows includes some of the greatest giants and legends of groundwater science. I am truly honoured and humbled to join them.

“With fewer than 50 Australian scientists elected to Fellowship of AGU, I understand this is a first for Flinders and a first for South Australia.”

Professor Simmons says: “Flinders has supported, enabled and encouraged me in each and every step of my career.

“I could not have done any of this without the support of the University and all of my great colleagues and wonderful students with whom it has been a privilege to work and to know. The journey we have enjoyed together has been a blast. And it continues.”

As well as publishing recent articles, including one on how to simulate fault geologic structures in groundwater models, Professor Simmons and the NCGRT team are developing a major new initiative, called the Groundwater Modelling Decision Support Initiative (GMDSI). 

“This is all about groundwater modelling reform and this will increasingly involve discussions and workshops with regulators and decision-makers,” Professor Simmons says.

Professor Andy Baker from the UNSW was also elected a fellow in the latest round. The AGU fellowships will be formally conferred in an Honours Ceremony scheduled to take place at #AGU21 Fall Meeting in New Orleans.

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