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Biographical entry Selinger, Benjamin Klaas (1939 - )

FTSE, FRACI, FAAFS

Born
23 January 1939
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Chemist

Summary

Benjamin Klaas (Ben) Selinger has been Professor of Chemistry at the Australian National University since 1992. For decades, he has also been a powerful advocate of consumer awareness, protection and education. One of his major contributions to this area was a twelve year involvement with the Australian Consumers Association (late 1960s and early 1970s). Selinger has a long list of publications including the best selling Chemistry in the Market Place (1968c) which is now into its 5th edition. He has won many awards for his contribution to science and science communication and is a Fellow of the Academy of Forensic Science, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Details

Born in Australia to Jewish-German refugees, Benjamin (Ben) Klaas Selinger completed his schooling at Mortdale Public School and Sydney Boy's High. He then underwent compulsory National Service training from 1957 to 1959 and enrolled at Sydney University. He graduated with an Honours degree in surface chemistry in 1960 followed by a Masters degree in electron spin resonance spectroscopy (1961). The next year was spent working as a Teaching Fellow followed by a move to Germany to undertake a PhD at the Technical University of Stuttgart (1962-1964).

Upon returning to Australia, Ben Selinger took up chemistry research posts. However, influenced greatly by his father who was a founding member of the Australian Consumers Association (ACA), his interests were soon diverted to the law and consumer protection. He joined the ACA and helped establish many of the Australian standards for items such as condoms, soaps, sunscreens and sunglasses. Selinger was a great believer in the importance of scientific communication and has written numerous books, over 150 scientific articles and countless media articles. He was also the resident expert for several years on the ABCs radio show Dial-a-Scientist and for decades wrote a regular science and technology column for the Canberra Times.

Ben Selinger has been heavily involved with many professional bodies. His numerous positions include Chair, Industrial Panel on Intractable Waste; member of the NHMRC Food Standards Committee; Executive (for ten years), Canberra Consumers; Commissioner, National Occupational Commission (now Worksafe Australia); Inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Registration Authority for agriculture and veterinary chemicals; and Chair of the Homebush Bay Environmental Reference Group for the Olympic Co-ordination Authority. Selinger presently consults on issues relating to the management of science and technology and is often called to court to provide expert evidence in cases.

Events

1957 - 1959
Career position - National service
1960
Education - Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc (Hons)) completed at the University of Sydney
1961
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Sydney
1962
Career position - Teaching Fellow at the University of Sydney
1964
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at the Technical University of Stuttgart, Germany
1973 - 1974
Career position - National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Food Standards Committee member
1980
Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the Australian National University
1988
Career position - Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (FRACI)
1990 -
Career position - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE)
1991
Award - ABC / Australian Museum Eureka Special Prize for Science Communication
1993
Award - ANZAAS Medalist (Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science)
1993 - 1997
Career position - Inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Registration Authority for Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals
1998 -
Career position - Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University
1999 - 2000
Career position - Chair of the Homebush Bay Environmental Reference Group
2002
Award - Centenary Medal received from the Australian Government

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Books

  • Selinger, Ben, Chemistry in the Market Place, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1978, 454 pp. Details

Online Resources

Rosanne Walker