Dr Paul Fraser

Dr Paul Fraser

Dr Paul  Fraser, BSc (Hons) Chemistry (1969) and PhD Chemistry (1972), spent over seven  years at Monash University, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s - times that  would set him up to become one of the world’s most renowned atmospheric  chemists.

“My time at  Monash University was inspirational – you couldn’t help but have a memorable time  there, it was so vibrant,” says Dr Fraser.

An active  alumnus, Dr Fraser has maintained his links with Monash, initially through the Monash  Cricket Club and, in later years, by keeping in close contact with other chemistry  alumni, through functions and sporting reunions.

Surfing at Merimbula  around the age of 18, he met his now wife, Jocelyn, whom he married in  Melbourne in the first year of his PhD. Many Monash chemistry staff and fellow  students attended their wedding. They now have three children - two of whom are  also  Monash  graduates  (Engineering  and  Chemistry) – and four grandchildren.

Once  graduated from Monash, and after successful post-doctoral appointments at  Bristol University and at the ANU, in the area of organometallic chemistry, Dr  Fraser decided on a significant change in career direction into climate change  research at the CSIRO.  Having  secured  a  research  scientist position at CSIRO,  he has remained there ever since, with important sabbatical appointments at the  Universities of Colorado and East Anglia.

Dr Fraser  dedicated his post-academia career to a topic (anthropogenic climate change) that  has, until relatively recently, not attracted the world-wide attention it  receives today. However, despite the recent politicisation of his field, he  remains delightfully  optimistic  about  the  future  of planet Earth and believes  that “the creative human spirit will overcome the problems thrown up by climate  change”.

“I believe we  will be able to achieve significant future reductions in emissions of  greenhouses gases into the atmosphere and that we can provide certainty to  industry leaders about what technology to use to achieve this goal and what  impacts this will  have,”  he  says.

His career  has seen him win a multitude of awards, including the prestigious Eureka Prize  for Environmental Research (1995), and the US EPA Ozone Protection Award (2002).  He gained a CSIRO Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and in 2005 he was elected  a  Fellow  of  the  Australian  Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.  In 2012 the Royal Australian Chemical Institute described Dr Fraser as ‘a  living luminary of Australian chemistry’.

Dr Fraser’s  work has included the establishment of the Cape Grim Atmospheric Baseline  Station in Tasmania in the late 1970s. It is the most important station of its type  in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1978 he founded the Cape Grim Air Archive, the  most  important  archive  of  background  air in the world. He and his team at CSIRO  have discovered several new greenhouse gases in the background atmosphere.

Dr Fraser  recently donated a sum of money to the Faculty of Science Discovery and  Innovation Fund to ensure future science students can continue great work. Dr  Fraser plans to remain with CSIRO until he retires (a few years hence), at  which point he will commence  writing  about  his  family  history - tracing the  roots of his Scottish forebears who imMGEated to Australia in the 1820s  (Jackson) and 1840s (Fraser).