- Degree type: PhD
Catalyst host Graham Phillips' urge to convey his excitement about science goes back to his days as an eight-year-old boy when he showed people the chemistry lab he'd assembled under a table in the family garage. Graham ordered his own chemicals from a local company, Selby's, and mixed them in test-tube racks using a small book on experiments.
Graham's passion for science took him through Monash and a PhD in applied maths and astrophysics, which explored the role of magnetic fields in the formation of stars, and then on to research at the CSIRO. But he realised that what he really wanted was to communicate scientific work.
"I always enjoyed talking to people about my research and explaining scientific stuff – it's about having people understand the thrill of it, and getting to delve into all these areas of science."
Graham started writing for various newspapers including publications with a broad readership such as The Sunday Telegraph. Describing it as "bringing science to the masses", this meant learning to balance scientific content and accuracy with the need to make the material easy to understand and relevant to a general audience.
A career on television presenting science followed, after a guest appearance on Midday with Ray Martin when he explained the science involved in fire-walking by doing a live demonstration in the studio. Since 2001, Graham hosted the Science program Catalyst, and now produces and reports on news stories on the latest scientific developments and research.
"There's always something new," Graham said of the program. "That's what keeps me going."