Professor Paul Burn has been named a 2012 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Paul Burn has been named a 2012 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
2 April 2012

A Queensland-based professor whose work inspired international interest in organic semiconductors has been named among a fellowship of Australia’s top scientific minds.

Professor Paul Burn of The University of Queensland Centre for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE) was one of 21 Fellows to be admitted to the Australian Academy of Science for 2012. He was the only Queensland-based scientist named this year.

Every year the academy honours Australian scientists for their outstanding contributions to science in both Australia and internationally.

Professor Burn, whose work discovering light emitting polymers and dendrimers has led to a worldwide interest in ‘organic semiconductors’, said the fellowship was not only a great honour, but provided an opportunity to meet with people from different scientific disciplines.

Academies provide the forum to foster the meeting of scientific minds, which can open the door to new scientific ventures, he said.

Professor Burn joined UQ as an Australian Research Council Fellow in 2007 and co-founded COPE with Professor Paul Meredith. The centre has since grown to a team of over 40 including chemists, physicists, materials scientists and engineers.

“These days big science requires teams of people with expertise in their own disciplines,” he said.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration has always been a part of my research.”

The centre investigates plastic (organic) materials that can be used as the active layers in a range of applications including solar cells, light-emitting diodes for displays and lighting, transistors, and sensors.

Devices using such ‘plastic optoelectronics’ technology have huge commercial potential, he said.

“There are opportunities for home grown technologies. We don’t want to be importing next generation technologies if we can avoid it.”

Professor Burn has a BSc (Honours) and PhD in Chemistry from Sydney University. He undertook post-doctoral research at Cambridge University and was the Dow Research Fellow at Christ’s College in Cambridge.

In 1992 he took up a lectureship in organic chemistry at Oxford University and a tutorial fellowship at University College, Oxford.

The new Fellows will be admitted to the academy at Science at the Shine Dome on May 2 in Canberra at the academy’s annual three-day celebration. There, they will present summaries of the work for which they have been honoured.

The Australian Academy of Science is largely modeled on the Royal Society of Science in London and was founded as scientific body independent to the government.

A full list of the new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science is available here.

Media: Janelle Kirkland at UQ Communications (07 3346 60561 or