Chris Pigram

by Simon Copland

One of the benefits of being a scientist is that sometimes you get to discover new things and if you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to get them named after you. RSES alumnus Chris Pigram, who is also the current Chief Executive Officer of Geoscience Australia, is lucky enough to have done both. “I’ve had both a fossil and a cicada named after me,” Pigram says. “I found the fossil in some field work I was doing and it was named Linoproductus Pigrami.”

“The cicada is a little different. In some work we did studying the geological history of the island of New Guinea we helped some scientists who were having trouble figuring out how different cicada species came to the island. This resulted in the scientists kindly naming a number of cicada species after geologists involved in the project.” After the excitement of having both a fossil and a cicada named after him, Pigram now places his energy into putting his mark on Government policy and practice.

“I’ve worked in Geoscience Australia for many years now,” he says. “About ten years into working here I was provided with the opportunity to do a PhD at the ANU looking at sea level curves in the Miocene period. It was a fantastic opportunity which allowed me to come back into a leadership role here.” Now, as the CEO of the organisation, Pigram gets to work across a range of Geoscience issues at a top level.

“Geoscience Australia’s role is to be the Government’s advisors on Geoscience matters. We provide information and services for Government across a range of issues from minerals and energy exploration, to natural hazards to ground water management.” “Working in such a diverse portfolio comes with new challenges every day but it is that opportunity to bring science knowledge to an evidence base on national issues that gets me up every day,” Pigram concludes.