Join us for this public lecture at UNSW by Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA FAGU FInstP FRSN.

E/Prof McDougall received the 2022 Prime Minister's Prize for Science and recently retired after 11 years at UNSW Mathematics and Statistics. This lecture will highlight his numerous contributions during his illustrious scientific career.

The lecture will be introduced by Scientia Professor Matthew England (UNSW Climate Change Research Centre and Centre for Marine Science and Innovation).

What’s the ocean got to do with climate change? 

The ocean delivers many valuable services to humankind and to the health of planet earth. Ocean currents move seawater, heat and dissolved gases from one ocean basin to another, and vertically from the sea surface to the abyss. By so doing the ocean acts to mediate the effects of the planet being warmed by the sun in the tropics and being cooled by outgoing radiation in the polar regions.     

But how and why does the ocean absorb heat in one place and deliver it to another? This public lecture will draw on Trevor McDougall’s experience in ocean physics: Trevor graduated with his PhD before El Niño had been discovered, and before global heating was obvious and known to be man-made. 

The public lecture will discuss what we know about the ocean’s role in regulating climate, and what aspects are still very uncertain.  Trevor will summarize his contributions to ocean physics; discoveries that have relied on a combination of physical intuition and mathematics. 

Trevor will also discuss how to conduct original research, and what to do when you are a young researcher and your papers keep getting rejected from leading international journals.  


6.00-7.00pm: Lecture by Trevor McDougall in Colombo Theatre A, UNSW 

7.00-8.00pm: Post event refreshments in Colombo foyer


Colombo Theatre A is located at UNSW Sydney (ref: B16 on the UNSW campus map). Colombo House is just off High Street. 


E/Prof Trevor McDougall


Thursday 29 June, 2023


6.00-7.00pm: Lecture

7.00-8.00pm: Post event refreshments


Colombo Theatre A, UNSW (campus map ref: B16)

About Trevor McDougall

Globally recognised as a leader in the field of physical oceanography, Trevor McDougall is the world’s foremost authority on ocean thermodynamics and has made groundbreaking contributions to modern understanding of the subject. His research focuses on the ocean’s role in climate, ocean mixing processes and the thermodynamics of seawater. Professor McDougall’s major discoveries have positioned Australia at the forefront of ocean physics and climate research.

His work has improved the modelling of the effects of climate change and has led to the discovery of several new ocean mixing processes, and the development of entirely new methods of analysing oceanographic data.

Professor McDougall obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1978. On returning to Australia, he took up a position at the Australian National University on a Queen’s Fellowship and then a role at CSIRO as a Physical Oceanographer.

In 2012, Professor McDougall joined the School of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW Sydney as a Scientia Professor. 

During his distinguished career, Professor McDougall has received a plethora of awards and accolades. These include the 2022 Prime Minister's Prize for Science; his 2018 appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia; the 2017 NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics; his 2015 election as a Fellow of The Royal Society of NSW; the 2015 Australian Academy of Science Jaeger Medal; his 2012 election as Fellow of The Royal Society of London; the 2011 Prince Albert I Medal; and the 1997 Humboldt Prize.