10 October 2016

Gostomski awarded Hanson Medal for Christchurch earthquake article

Hanson medal Peter Gostomski
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has presented the Hanson Medal to Professor Peter Gostomski, for his thought-provoking article published in The Chemical Engineer. Gostomski, Head of the Chemical Engineering department at University of Canterbury, New Zealand, received the medal at Chemeca 2016, the biggest chemical engineering conference in Australasia.

The Hanson Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding contributor to IChemE’s magazine, The Chemical Engineer. It is named after a past Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board.

Gostomski’s article, Down but not out, was published in October 2014. It describes the efforts of the University of Canterbury to keep its facilities running following the two earthquakes that hit Christchurch, New Zealand. The first incident hit headlines in September 2010, but the second earthquake struck at the start of a new academic year in February 2011, and affected Canterbury’s chemical engineering department significantly. 

Gostomski said: “It was quite a surprise and honour to win the Hanson medal. It was a privilege for me to describe the tremendous efforts by my colleagues and students during a very trying time.”

Adam Duckett, Editor of The Chemical Engineer said, “It is a remarkable story of perseverance, and cooperation among university departments and the wider community in the face of what was clearly an incredibly traumatic time. While Peter notes that it’s not clear whether a significant amount of planning would have helped the department deal any better with the situation, he offers valuable lessons around safety processes and communication that I expect others will find relevant for their own business continuity plans.”

The medal was presented by IChemE’s President Jonathan Seville, at the Chemeca conference held in Adelaide, Australia in late September. The annual conference is the biggest gathering of chemical and process engineers in Australia and New Zealand.

Nominations for the 2016 Hanson Medal close on 31 October. Those interested in nominating a colleague, friend or peer should visit www.icheme.org/medals for further information.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).