Dr Herma Buttner

Senior Adviser Research Management and Science Policy
Phone - +61 2 9717 3535
Dr Herma Buttner


Role at ANSTO

As Senior Adviser Research Management and Science Policy, Herma provides advice to the ANSTO Executive. In her previous role (Oct. 2006 - April 2009) she was in charge of the Bragg Institute User Office: being involved in all aspects dealing with beam-time requests and experiments, i.e. proposal submission and database, proposal review (for science, instrumentation, safety aspects, etc.) and finally, realising the decisions of these committees, and then following up new requests and policies. Communication with the users of the neutron-beam facility is a major part of her job. She also plays a prominent role in developing relationships for promotion of science and outreach activities in connection with neutron scattering. She is also editor of the Neutron News.



Herma's expertise lies in the fields of neutron scattering, time-of-flight instrumentation, inelastic neutron spectroscopy, neutron research facilities, science coordination, science communication, crystallography, proposal peer-review, international collaborations, university alliances, dynamics of small molecules in molecular crystals, and quantum rotors.

Following her studies in natural sciences Herma moved into science communication. In 1984, she started at the Institute Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France, as an instrument scientist, and later became scientific co-ordinator, scientific secretary of the institute and head of public relations. She spent various sabbatical periods at other research institutes. Her own research work was concerned with the study of molecular crystals using neutron spectroscopy. In 2000, she moved to TU Delft, the Netherlands, setting up the IDEA League. As Secretary General she managed the various activities of the university alliance (more than 20 working groups) and initiated new activities.

Qualifications & Achievements

  • Editor of Neutron News
  • Secretary General of the IDEA League (alliance of Imperial College London, TU Delft, ETH Zurich, RWTH Aachen and ParisTech) based at Technical University Delft, The Netherlands, 2000-2006
  • Head of scientific support at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France (incl. head of public relations in 1996), 1993-2000
  • Setting up user office at European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, seconded in 1993-1994
  • Adjoint scientific secretary, 1987-1993
  • Instrument responsible for time-of-flight instrument at the Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France, 1984-1987
  • diploma in science communication at Birkbeck College London, 2000
  • Doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) from University of Heidelberg, carried out at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, investigating trace elements in lunar material using a proton microprobe, 1982
  • First degree in mineralogy/crystallography at the University of Munich, 1979

Selected publications

H.G. Buttner. "New concepts for higher-education institutions in the Europe of knowledge." Proceedings of SEEAIR, 5-8 Sept 2006, Langkawi, Malaysia (2006).

H.G. Buttner. "New IDEAs for internationalisation within the knowledge society." Higher Education Management and Policy (HEMP), 17(2), p. 91 (2005),

OECD/IMHE C. Noldeke, B. Asmussen, W. Press, H. Buttner, G. Kearley. "Small rotational barriers for H2O flips in phase III of [Me(H2O)6](ClO4)2 with Me = Mg, Ni and Zn." Chem. Phys. 289, 275 (2003).

H.G. Buttner. "Ideals of the IDEA League." Proceedings 16th OECD/IMHE, General Conference, p. 357 (2002), Paris.

Editors: B. Frick, R. Zorn, H.G. Buttner. "International Workshop on Dynamics in Confinement." Journal de Physique IV, 10, PR7 (2000). Editors: M.R. Johnson, G.J. Kearley, and H.G. Buttner.

"Neutrons and Numerical Methods." AIP Conference Proceedings, Woodbury, New York, Dec. 1998, American Institute of Physics, (1999).

Biological macromolecular dynamics. S. Cusack, H.G. Buttner, M. Ferrand, P.A. Timmins (Editors), Adenine Press, (1997).

Guide to neutron research facilities at the ILL. The yellow book. H.G. Buttner, E. Lelievre-Berna, F. Pinet (Editors) (1997).

G.J. Kearley, H. Blank (previous name) and J.K. Cockcroft. "The hindrance potential and coupling of the NH3 quantum rotor in Co(NH3)6(PF6)2. J.Chem.Phys 86, 5989 (1987).

H. Blank (previous name) and G.J. Kearley, "The rotational hindrance potential of NH3- groups in Ni(NH3)6I2". J.Chem. Phys. 87, 6809 (1987).