News

25 January 2017

As a young boy growing up in Ipswich, Emeritus Professor Ray Frost dreamt of discovery.

“I wanted to study something you can’t see,” he said.

“You can’t see molecules and you can’t see chemical reactions. So I wanted to understand how those things behave and react, what it means, and why it’s important.”

Not only did Professor Frost fulfil his wish - becoming a highly-respected researcher in the field of physical chemistry - but he has also inspired generations of young scientists to take their own leaps into the unknown.

Professor Frost has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2017 Australia Day Honours. The award is for “distinguished service to science higher education as an academic, researcher, and author, particularly in the field of vibrational spectroscopy, and as a mentor for young scientists.”

“I am quite thrilled, it is a great honour and I feel very humbled,” Professor Frost said.

“I have published many papers as a researcher but teaching has provided an opportunity to encourage the next generation to fulfil their potential.”

Professor Frost, whose research interests include the removal of organisms for water purification, said it was essential to nurture future scientists.

“I’ve supervised many students and I really enjoy it. I like to guide them and give them specific goals so they can go on to be successful in their PhDs and their future careers,” he said.

“Teaching is very important at QUT and there is a focus on ensuring students can reach a standard where they can make a real difference as scientists.

“Things like water purification for example are extremely important. With hundreds of millions of people lacking access to safe water, it isn’t something that’s going to become less important in the future, it will be more important.”

After initially training as a school teacher, Professor Frost joined QUT (then QIT) in 1966. He juggled lecturing and a young family while earning an MSc, PhD and Doctor of Science.

He “retired” in 2009 and was awarded the title Emeritus Professor, but still spends three days a week at QUT mentoring students and reviewing a “three-inch thick” stack of papers in his office.

“Those are just the front pages! I must have reviewed thousands of papers during my career,” Professor Frost, who has also been a prolific author of research papers, said.

“I celebrated my 50th anniversary at QUT last year but I haven’t noticed the time go by. I’ve had a fantastic career and it’s not over yet.

“The secret is you have to love what you do and do what you love.”

Other people connected to QUT who were recognised in this year's honours were:

The Honourable Anna Bligh AC (Former QUT Council Member)

Ms Roberta Brazil AO (Alumnus)

Ms Tina Coco AO (Alumnus)

Mr David Barbagallo AM (Staff Member)

Dr Sue-Anne Wallace AM (Former Staff Member)

Mr Robin Fardoulys AM (Alumnus)

The late Dr Peter Parodi AM (Alumnus)

Emeritus Professor Christine Deer AM (Donor)

Emeritus Professor Robert Stimson AM (Former QUT Committee Chair)

Miss Bronte Campbell OAM (Student)

Miss Rachael Watson OAM (Student)

Mr Daryl Hanly OAM (Honorary Doctorate recipient)

Mr Kristian Wale OAM (Alumnus)

Mr Graeme Stratford OAM (Alumnus)

Associate Professor Mark Roth OAM (Alumnus)

Mrs Mary Peden OAM (Alumnus)

Ms Cecily Pearson OAM (Alumnus)

Dr Darryl Gauld OAM (Alumnus)

Ms Gemma Etheridge OAM (Alumnus)

Mrs Gwenyth Cutler OAM (Alumnus)

Mr Ian Jarratt OAM (QUT Committee Member)

Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Duff CSC (Alumnus)

Lieutenant Colonel Daven Pettersen CSC (Alumnus)

Mr Gerald Murphy PSM (Alumnus)

Media contact:
Rob Kidd, QUT Media, 07 3138 1841, rj.kidd@qut.edu.au
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

Emeritus Professor Ray Frost with mentees Dr Frederick Theiss and Suramya I. Rathnayake.