[ASC-list] Peter Pockley

Kylie Walker Kylie.Walker at science.org.au
Mon Aug 12 03:43:47 UTC 2013

Peter will be missed by the Australian Academy of Science. He was a faithful attendee at many Academy events, and never failed to attend and cover our annual Science at the Shine Dome meeting. And to tell us when our newsletter needed subbing!

Peter was the first and only journalist to be awarded the Academy's highest honour, The Academy Medal. His citation for that medal might assist those writing obituaries: http://www.science.org.au/awards/awardees/academy-medal-awards.html


Kylie Walker  Director, Communications and Outreach

Australian Academy of Science  Ian Potter House, Gordon Street, Acton ACT 2601  |  GPO Box 783, Canberra ACT 2601
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From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Guy Nolch
Sent: Monday, 12 August 2013 1:23 PM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Peter Pockley

Peter has been a wonderful mentor for me since the time I first started out as a trainee editor on the ANZAAS journal Search.

My first encounters with him involved an ongoing fight with technology as he tried to submit his copy from Sydney via modem. It never worked and we had to retype his copy off the fax, at least for the first year. While he was understandably "prickly" in those telephone encounters, when I first met him at an ANZAAS Congress I found him much warmer.

He was a stickler for detail, with each submission a running battle to keep him to length as he tried to fit in every fact and quote. Even his final blog in May, a three-parter in conjunction with Stewart Fist, was somewhat longer than anticipated!

Peter fought the good fight for science, and will be sorely missed. I've quickly put together an obituary at australasianscience.com.au<http://australasianscience.com.au> and would appreciate any additions, clarifications, dates etc., as well as online comments for posterity.

Guy Nolch
Editor, Australasian Science
Box 2155 Wattletree Rd PO
VIC 3145 Australia

Phone: 61-3-9500 0015
Fax: 61-3- 9500 0255
Web: www.australasianscience.com.au<http://www.australasianscience.com.au>
ABN 46 006 591 304

On 12/08/2013, at 12:51 PM, Toss Gascoigne wrote:

Sad news indeed.

For several decades Peter flew the flag for science funding and science communication.  He was one of the best-informed journalists, and scientists everywhere have much to thank him for his relentless questioning of politicians and policy-makers.  He must have felt lonely in the Budget lock-ups, pouring over science and research funding figures when those around him had other concerns.

Peter was passionate about science communication, a great friend of ANZAAS, and was one of the leaders in an attempt to start a science communicators' group in the mid-1980s.  That group didn't get off the ground - his timing was unfortunate, being 7 years before the popularisation of the internet and easy email access - but the seeds of an idea were planted and ASC came into being in 1994.

He flew the flag for Australian science in international circles, at AAAS meetings in the US and BA meetings in England.

And then of course there was his pioneering work with ABC's Science Unit and the Science Show....

Peter wasn't always the easiest person to work with, prickly at times, and totally fearless in what he said.  This led to some monumental battles, one over the proper place for ASC in its early days and how it should complement the work of other groups with long-established histories, notably ANZAAS. Things were resolved in the end, and he became a friend and supporter of ASC.

When the history of science communication in Australia is written, the significant role Peter played will gain a proper recognition.

Toss Gascoigne
Toss Gascoigne and Associates
56 Vasey Cres

P. 02 6249 7400
M. 0408 704 442
E. director at tossgascoigne.com.au<mailto:director at tossgascoigne.com.au>
W. tossgascoigne.com.au<http://tossgascoigne.com.au/>
Skype. tossgascoigne

ABN:  31 068 557 522

Begin forwarded message:

From: Susannah Eliott <Susannah at smc.org.au<mailto:Susannah at smc.org.au>>
Subject: [ASC-list] Sad news re Peter Pockley
Date: 12 August 2013 11:52:44 AM AEST
To: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>>

Dear ASCers,

Peter Pockley passed away peacefully yesterday. Many of you will know Peter as the very early founder of the ABC Science Unit in the 1960s. Indeed we could call him the father of science communication in Australia and a true pioneer. He mentored many Australian scientists and science communicators over decades (including me) and was an established writer and broadcaster in his own right. He is survived by his wife Jenny, daughter Kate and two grandchildren.

The scicom landscape won't be the same without him!


Dr Susannah Eliott
Chief Executive Officer

Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)
Street address: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, ADELAIDE SA 5000
Postal address: PO Box 237, RUNDLE MALL SA 5000
Ph: (08) 7120 8660 | Mob: 0424 676 136 | susannah at smc.org.au<mailto:susannah at smc.org.au> | smc.org.au<http://www.smc.org.au/>

The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for journalists, working to improve links between the news media and the scientific community. We aim for a better informed society with greater access to evidence-based science. The national centre is supported by a wide variety of sectors with each contribution capped at 10% of total running costs. For a full list of current supporters visit our website.

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