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Dr Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith
Dr Andrew Smith
Principal Research Scientist

Role at ANSTO

Andrew is a Physicist with 23 years' experience in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry [AMS] and 37 years' experience with particle accelerator systems. Andrew commenced work at ANSTO in October 1989 on two projects: the joint Australian National University [ANU]/ANSTO 36CI AMS measurement program and the development of a tandem accelerator facility for AMS at ANSTO. This facility is now known as ANTARES: the Australian National Tandem for Applied Research. Andrew's principal contributions to ANTARES were in the development of the high-intensity, multi-sample negative ion source,the isotope cycling system ('bouncer') and with the ion beam optic modelling of beam line and accelerator compontents.

Between 1996 and 1999 Andrew was leader of the project 'Long-lived radionuclides in Antarctic ice as tracers and chronometers in global climate change studies'. This project involved collaboration between ANSTO, CSIRO, Australian Antarctic Division [AAD] and the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere [NIWA], Wellington, NZ. This collaboration was continued under the 'Historical atmospheric radiomethane' project. In 1997/98 Andrew participated in an expedition to Law Dome, Antarctica, collecting firn air samples for measurement of the 14C of air back to ~ 1942 AD.

Restructuring at ANSTO towards the end of 2002 saw Andrew leading the task 'Radiocarbon signatures of greenhouse gases' in the 'Cosmogenic Archives of the Southern Hemisphere' [CcASH] project, within the Institute for Environmental Research [IER]. In 2005/06 Andrew lead an expedition to Law Dome, retrieving a large diameter, thermally-drilled 'ANSTO' ice core to a depth of 260m (ice age ~ 1615 AD), principally for global climate change studies.

Andrew continues to work on applications of long-lived radionuclides (14C & 10Be) in polar ice sheets as tracers and chronometers and on further development of AMS at ANSTO, particularly in the continuing development of ANSTO's capability to measure 14C in ultra-small carbon samples containing just a few micrograms of carbon and in the measurement of the short-lived radioisotope 7Be. Samples for 7Be studies are taken annually at Law Dome, most recently in the 2011/12 reason. Currently Andrew is leading the task "Ice sheets & microcarbon' in the research area 'Isotopic Proxies of Palaeoclimate' which in turn is included within the "Isotopes for Climate Change and Atmospheric Systems' project.


Accelerator Mass Spectrometry [AMS] (in particular micro-carbon 14C, 7Be and 10Be), accelerator systems, ion beam optics, measurement and applications of 'radiomethane', transport and deposition of cosmogenic beryllium to polar ice sheets.

Qualifications & Achievements

  • BSc Hons 1978 (1st class 2nd division, University of New South Wales).
  • PhD in Physics 1990 (University of New South Wales): 'A system for ion microbeam formation and profile measurement'.
  • Participation in a firn air sampling expedition to Law Dome, Antarctica, in the 1997/98 season.
  • Leading an expedition to Law Dome, Antarctica, in the 2005/06 season and retrieving 7.5 tonnes of ice core, snow and ice samples.
  • Leading an expedition to Law Dome, Antarctica, in the 2011/12 season.
  • Principal Investigator in Australian Antarctic Science [AAS] project #2384 'Historical atmospheric radiomethane' (2003/04-2006/07).
  • Co-investigator in AAS project #0124 'Concentration and isotopic measurements of radiatively important gases in the southern atmosphere' (2003/04-2011/12).
  • Co-investigator in AAS project #1004 'Air sampling and analysis from Antarctic firn and ice' (2003/04-2011/12).
  • Principal Investigator in AAS project #3064 'High resolution studies of cosmogenic beryllium isotopes (10Be and 7Be) at Law Dome' (2008/09-2011/12).
  • Principal Investigator in AAS project #4200: 'High resolution studies of cosmogenic beryllium isotopes (10Be and 7Be) at Law Dome' (2012/13-2016/17).
  • Co-investigator in AAS project #4144 ' Antarctic Black Carbon Records of Past Climate and Fire Emissions' (2012/13 on).

Committee Membership and Affiliations

  • Member AIP (Australian Institute of Physics) since 1977.
  • Member IOP (Institute of Physics, UK) since 2001.
  • Committee member AINSE (Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering) Environment Specialist Committee 2002-2009.
  • Member AQUA (Australian Quaternary Association) since 2009.

Awards & nominations

  • 2009 Nominee for Australian Museum Eureka Prizes 'People's Choice Awards'.
  • 2009 Nominee for NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change Eureka Prize for 'Innovative Solutions to Climate Chnage'.
  • 2010 'ANSTO Star' Award, ANSTO.
  • 2011 'Pride of Workmanship Award', Como-Jannali Rotary Club.