AMOS Morton Medal (formerly the AMOS medal)

Description and history

Bruce Rutherfurd Morton was a professor of applied mathematics at Monash University from 1967 until his retirement in 1991, after academic appointments at University College London and Manchester University.  Previously he had completed his PhD in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at St John’s College Cambridge, where he was supervised by George Batchelor and Geoffrey Taylor.  Bruce’s PhD resulted in one of the most referenced papers in fluid dynamics, “Turbulent gravitational convection from maintained and instantaneous sources”.   He founded a very strong group in geophysical fluid dynamics at Monash, and established an active fluid dynamics laboratory.  His research covered various fluid mechanics topics, including flow from smoke stacks, the flow around bridges and aircraft, and the flow around fires.  Much of his work focussed on the importance of vorticity in flows and its relevance to smoke rings, dust devils, water spouts, tornadoes and tropical cyclones, and he delighted students and colleagues with his practical demonstrations of the importance of vorticity for these phenomena in lectures and seminars.

Bruce regarded oceanography and meteorology as important applications of fluid dynamics, and he profoundly influenced both subjects in Australia and overseas, especially through his students and his mentoring of young colleagues in these fields.  Bruce was a true mentor to his students and young colleagues, taking them into his family for meals and outings, and his group would frequently take the many visitors to his group on trips to Healesville, whatever the weather.  

Bruce was very active in AMOS, strongly promoting the establishment of AMOS centres in each State, to ensure that our Society was a truly national organisation.  In recognition of Bruce’s contribution to geophysical fluid dynamics, his mentoring of a generation of atmospheric scientists and oceanographers, and his strong support and influence on the development of AMOS into a vibrant and national scientific society, AMOS has renamed the AMOS Medal as the Morton Medal.  The Morton Medal, like the AMOS Medal which was awarded since 2000, recognises leadership in meteorology, oceanography, climate and related fields, particularly through education and the development of young scientists, and through the building of research environments in Australia. In particular, the Morton Medal is directed to senior scientists who have made a substantial contribution over many years, advancing the science of meteorology, oceanography and climatology through leadership, mentoring and research management rather than personal research.  The Award will comprise a medal.


2000 - Ian Simmonds - The University of Melbourne
2002 - Lance Leslie - University of New South Wales
2004 - Matthias Tomczak - Flinders University
2006 - Gary Meyers - University of Tasmania
2008 - Andy Pitman - University of New South Wales
2010 - Neville Smith - Bureau of Meteorology
2012 - Ann Henderson-Sellers - Macquarie University
2014 - David Karoly - University of Melbourne
2016 - John Church - CSIRO

Nominations and eligibility

The nomination must address the selection criteria below, include a CV, and no more than three letters of reference that also address the selection criteria.  Nominators should be aware of the AMOS Code of Conduct, which promotes diversity of membership and discipline when making nominations. The Awards Sub-Committee has limited ability to seek additional information and therefore nomination documents must be complete and provide a full and fair account of each candidate.


  1. Previous winners of the AMOS Medal are not eligible to be nominated for the Morton Medal.
  2. Equal weight will be given to all of the Selection Criteria.
  3. This Award will be given every even year.
  4. See the main Awards page for other eligibility requirements.

Selection Criteria

  1. A major contribution to the advancement of the science of meteorology, oceanography and climatology through leadership extending over many decades in Australia, essential
  2. A strong record of mentoring students leading to the development of young scientists, essential
  3. A strong record of research management through the building of research environments in Australia, essential
  4. some evidence of service to the promotion of the AMOS mission, e.g. through membership on committees, office bearer etc. desirable 

Sub-Committee - Morton Medal

Matthew Wheeler (Chair)
Lisa Alexander
James Risby
Neil Holbrook

Awards Committee Contact

Neville Nicholls
Chair, AMOS Awards Committee