Caroline Tiddy, University of South Australia geoscientist associate professor, has been named a Superstar of STEM for her work in developing new sensor and geotechnical exploration technologies.
Tiddy was among 60 scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians recognised nationally by Science & Technology Australia to celebrate the country’s most inspiring women and non-binary people working in STEM.
The focus of Tiddy’s research is on developing more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to explore for essential metals and to improve decreasing rates of discovery of mineral resources.
“Have you ever considered where the elements essential to building green technologies such as photovoltaic cells in solar panels come from? The answer is mining,” Tiddy said.
“Copper is needed to build these cells, but global copper reserves will deplete by 2045. We need to find more of these metal deposits, which is a task akin to finding a needle in a mountainous haystack.”
Tiddy, who holds a Master’s and PhD in geoscience from Monash University, is based in the Mineral Exploration Cooperation Research Centre (MinEx CRC) within the Future Industries Institute at UniSA.
“I want to challenge and change the misguided perception of geoscientists as ‘environmental vandals’ and reconcile the disconnect between mining and the supply of metals that are critical in building green technologies,” she said.
“Geoscience is a fascinating career, encompassing so much more than rocks and volcanoes. It embraces the wonders of our planet and helps explain the natural resources we use and how water and ecosystems are interconnected.”
Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic congratulated the STEM superstars, describing them as “ideal role models” to inspire the next generations of diverse young Australians into STEM.
“The need to boost diversity in our science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector is urgent,” Husic said.
“There are huge skills shortages that can be addressed if we put our mind and collective effort to it, which means we have to draw deeply on our nation’s expertise from all corners of the community.”
Science & Technology Australia chief executive officer Misha Schubert said the program gives women and non-binary talent in STEM crucial skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media.
“We know it’s really hard to be what you can’t see,” Schubert said.
“That’s why this program is helping to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician looks like.
“Superstars of STEM is powerfully shifting the dial on diversity in Australia’s science and technology sectors, helping to shape our future economy.”
This feature first appeared here.