11 December 1998

Lightning dangers underestimated, says researcher

The recent lightning-related death of a West Australian horse and jockey demonstrated the potential dangers of outdoor events during thunderstorms, according to a University of Queensland researcher.

Recognised world leader in high voltage engineering and lightning protection, Professor Mat Darveniza said many people still underestimated the dangers of lightning.

"With a very active season of thunderstorms predicted for Australia, people should take safety precautions during their summer holidays and during outdoor activities," he said
"Even though the lightning safety rules are publicly available, each thunderstorm year, a number of people pay the penalty for ignoring the simple rules for lightning safety.

"In America, some recent legal cases involving lightning injuries indicate that reliance can no longer be placed on the lightning-as-an-act-of-God defence.

"These cases suggest that organisers of outdoor events have a clear responsibility to people participating in those events during thunderstorms, such as those engaging in recreational activities out of doors on another's unprotected property.

"I believe this issue is of relevance to Australia."

Professor Darveniza, a professorial research fellow of the University's Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department, heads Lightning and Transients Protection Pty Ltd, the consulting company he formed in 1995, and is writing a book on his lightning protection work.

He is active in national and international expert committees on lightning, high voltage and insulation and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Professor Darveniza is chairman of EL24, the Standards Australia technical committee responsible for lightning protection, and represents Australia on International Electrotechnical Commission TC81.

Last year he developed a portable lightning protection device through his work in the University's high voltage laboratory and was awarded a Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education from the IEEE.

Media contact: Professor Darveniza (telephone 07 3365 3775 or 07 3378 4610).

f moving to Sydney in 1986, has never abandoned his strong commitment.

He has written a number of books about Fraser Island and Cooloola, and has become a leader of the national and international conservation movement. In 1988, he began an ecotourism business specialising in Australia's World Heritage areas.

For more information, contact Mr Sinclair (telephone 02 9817 4660).

litate as well as control the transition to democracy," she said.

o At the 6.15pm ceremony, University of Queensland Senator Joan Yardley will address students while Ron Higham, a partner in leading accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers in Brisbane, will address graduates at the 8.15pm ceremony.

o Ms Yardley (telephone 07 3833 3666 at work or 07 3374 2445 at home) is chair of Clemenger/Concept in Queensland and has had a long career of management and ownership in the marketing and advertising industry. She is currently a member of the University's Senate, a member of the National Film and Literature Review Board, a Director of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research Trust and serves on the Brisbane Water Advisory Board.

o Mr Higham (telephone 07 3257 8779 at work) graduated from the University in 1982 with a masters degree in financial management, and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is now the national leader of the firm's valuation practice and recently spent two years with its London office specialising in valuation work. Mr Higham has a close association with the University's Commerce department. He was the executive in residence in 1997 and was appointed this year as an Adjunct Professor of Finance, assisting development and delivery of a postgraduate course in valuations.

o Bachelor of arts graduate Anousha Victoire will deliver the student valedictorian address at the 4pm ceremony, bachelor of business (management) graduate David Trevor-Roberts at the 6.15pm ceremony and postgraduate bachelor of commerce (honours) graduate Kellie Gread at the 8.15pm ceremony.

o The different conversational styles of men and women were the subject of a PhD by Dr Jennifer Peck. She will graduate at today's 4pm ceremony. Her thesis found men prefer to hold the floor, speaking for an average of three-and-a-half minutes, frown on interruption and compete for expert status. Women, on the other hand, cooperate with each other to tell a story, finishing each other's sentences, making more encouraging noises than men and often even talking at once. To complete her thesis, Dr Peck analysed more than 30 hours of conversations pruned from six years of recording people's interactions in coffee shops, university offices and at home. Dr Peck said the differences between men and women's conversational styles were not inbuilt but rather socialised or taught at a young age. For more information, contact Dr Peck (telephone 02 6773 3220).

For more information, contact Media and Information Services (telephone 07 3365 1120 or mobile 0412 261 529).

or of arts graduate Olivia Truslove for helping her learn about changes to the University's Library. Mrs Gould, who has lived in Brisbane most of her life, was born in Toowong and grew up in the Brookfield area. Leaving school at Junior standard, she completed five senior subjects at evening classes while working a 40-hour week to gain entry to University. She can be contacted on telephone 07 3372 5366.

For more information, contact Media and Information Services (telephone 07 3365 1120 or mobile 0412 261 529).