Former Bennerley pupil’s top award

President Professor Suzanne Cory presents former Ilkeston lad Scott Sisson with his Moran medal
President Professor Suzanne Cory presents former Ilkeston lad Scott Sisson with his Moran medal

THE WINNER of one of the most prestigious science awards in Australia has thanked his teachers in Cotmanhay for setting him in ‘the right direction’.

Dr Scott Sisson, 36, has lived in Sydney with his wife and young children for 10 years and since then has risen to the top of his field, scooping the The Moran Medal in Statistical Sciences earlier this month.

The award is given every two years by the Australian Academy of Science – the premier scientific institute in Australia – to recognise outstanding research by scientists under 40 years old.

Scott said he was feeling ‘a combination of proud and humbled, but also encouraged.’

“It is a great feeling to have your hard work recognised,” he said. “Humbled, because many respected researchers have previously received this award.

“It’s also an indication that more good work is expected of me in the future so it implies a mild expectation of greater things, which tends to keep your feet firmly on the ground and motivate you further.”

Scott’s parents Pat and Tony Sisson, originally from Cotmanhay, now live in Smalley.

Pat said: “We are really pleased that he’s had some recognition for his work – we’re both very proud.”

Before studying towards his PhD at Lancaster and Bristol Universities, Scott went to Bennerley School and later South East Derbyshire College’s Heanor campus.

He said: “I have good memories of my school life there. The teachers were very hard working, but yet they always found time to make that extra bit of encouragement to understand why things work the way they do.

“I have particular respect for my maths teacher Wendy Mitchell for really encouraging and motivating me when it wasn’t ‘cool’ to be good at maths, and my class teacher Ian Wilks who always kept me going in the right direction.”

He also had some advice for budding young scientists in Ilkeston.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in how and why things work as they do, to pursue their interests through college, university and beyond,” he said.

“The more talented people out there doing good science the better – you really can make a difference, in addition to having a very enjoyable time in the process.”

Scott’s award, won jointly with colleague at the University of New South Wales, Dr Mark Tanaka, was for work including the modelling of extreme weather events in Australia to make it easier to predict such things in the future.