A personal profile
Alan Mackay-Sim, university professor, renowned scientist and eminent researcher has been the principal investigator of the HSP Research Program since inception in 2008.
Many of you are used to reading his words and seeing his picture in the research updates that have been published on the website four times a year since the start. Even more of you would be aware that he is the 2017 Australian of the Year.
But who is he without the lab coat and outside of the research laboratory? A feature article on Alan appeared in the weekend supplement of Fairfax newspapers in early April. A nature enthusiast, family man and avid bike rider (15 km to and from work every day) the article provides background and depth to the extraordinary, yet normal individual that Alan is.
Here is a taste of what’s in the article:
Suspended from a tree in the wilds of Tennessee, the remains of his hang-glider entangled in the branches above, his lower left leg pulverised and his chest badly bruised from his dramatic fall into the forest canopy, Alan Mackay-Sim felt hyper-alert from the electricity of adrenalin, the clarity of shock. Only the wind was audible, softly rustling the branches around him as he sucked in the forest air, perfumed with poplar and sweet-gum.
… I ask him about his trademark moustache, which he’s had since the early 1990s, when he shaved off a beard. “My wife wouldn’t recognise me without it,” he jokes. “She says that a small mammal could roost beneath my mouth.”
Mackay-Sim, whose double-barrelled surname comes from his paternal grandfather, grew up in middle-class Roseville, on Sydney’s leafy North Shore, the third of four brothers. His mother Lois was a nurse during World War II and later a full-time mum while his father Malcolm ran a hardware importing and distributing business …