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Publication Date: 
October 2018

Transcript

[Music plays and text appears below the Prime Minister’s Prize logo: Professor Kurt Lambeck, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science]

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck’s inspecting a small bone]

Professor Kurt Lambeck

The planet is an amazing body. Wherever you look at it you find records of its history and to decipher that history is one of the major challenges of the earth’s scientists.

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck standing alongside a big screen that has a world map on it]

Our major first discovery was to find that the gravity field of the earth was much more complex than had been understood to have been,

[Camera pans over people seated at tables listening to Professor Kurt Lambeck and then moves to show him seated at a desk working on a computer]

and that it bore a direct relationship with plate tectonics, the movements on the earth’s surface.

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

My next step was really to look at other geophysical observations that would help us interpret that gravity field.

[Image changes to show Professor and a colleague working together, looking at data on a computer screen]

During the Ice Ages these large ice sheets, they stressed the earth very significantly and the earth deformed.

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

When the ice sheets melted,

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck pulling a slide from a plastic sheet and holding it up to the light]

the earth started to relax and started to rebound, that rebound process is still going on today.

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

The surface of the planet is constantly going up and down,

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck standing with an outstretched arm that has a computer generated image of planet earth rotating above his hand]

it is being torn apart, it’s being pushed back together again on different time scales,

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

and that’s what I refer to as the Breathing of the Planet.

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck and colleagues inside a small building operating a large remote which is controlling a robotic arm]

Some of the benefits are going to be in driverless vehicles. We need to keep them on the road, and if the road is shifting in your reference frame then you’re going to be in trouble, so you need to correct for that.

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck and colleague standing together in a laboratory type setting and talking]

It’s important for precision farming, for the soil preservation. It’s important for engineering projects, mining operations.

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

Winning the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is a great honour; it’s a great distinction,

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck walking on a path outside the Research School of Earth Science]

I’m obviously pleased to have been recognised for my work, but I’m also pleased that my field of research has been recognised.

[Image changes back to show Professor Kurt Lambeck, seated and talking to the camera]

It’s an important field.

[Image changes to show Professor Kurt Lambeck and a colleague looking closely at the robotic arm that was being operated by remote control]

What I love most about being a scientist is learning new things on almost a daily basis,

[Image changes to show the camera zooming in on Professor Kurt Lambeck who is leaning against a stair rail]

but also, discovering new parts of the planet, it’s a constant challenge.

[Music plays and text appears below the Prime Minister’s Prize logo: Professor Kurt Lambeck, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science]

Read more

Read more about the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2018.