#spiritofmawson fiasco leader gets award for 'excellence'

The Australian Academy of Science has announced their 2014 HONORIFIC AWARDS FOR SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

The description reads:

Academy Medal: for contributions to science by means other than the conduct of scientific research. Hmmm, that actually seems appropriate, since his tourist affair hardly seemed like “scientific research” Here’s the bio on Turney in the awards section: 


Professor Chris Turneyprofessor-christian-s-turneySchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

University of New South Wales

Professor Turney is an internationally recognised earth scientist and research leader in both climate and environmental change, from the tropics to the poles. By pioneering new ways of combining climate models with records of past climate change (spanning from hundreds to thousands of years), he has discovered new links between variability mechanisms in the Australian region and global climate change.


Source: http://www.science.org.au/awards/awardees/2014awards.html

I wonder if the award was decided before his Antarctic fiasco or if AAS simply has glossed over the recent incompetence?

h/t to Jo Nova

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lurker, passing through laughing
January 21, 2014 8:26 am

Academics are circling the wagons. It is not a pretty sight.

January 21, 2014 8:28 am

Professor Turney is an internationally recognised earth scientist and research leader -he certainly is well recognised but not for the things he would wish.
Shouldn’t that be Antarctic and not Arctic?

David Spurgeon
January 21, 2014 8:31 am

Nobel next?

January 21, 2014 8:32 am

He’s following in the steps of giants, like The Algoreitm and Obamalama. Big award winners both.

Sweet Old Bob
January 21, 2014 8:33 am

Pal review at work again….Awards are double in Pal wok zones…

January 21, 2014 8:34 am

This is typical for the left. Awards to those most incompetent.

January 21, 2014 8:34 am

Challenging the Nobel committee for dominance as the most ridiculous committee in modern and ancient history.

Sweet Old Bob
January 21, 2014 8:36 am


January 21, 2014 8:36 am

Plenty of precedents for this.
Think Gleick, Mann, Ehrlich and many more besides. Make a complete foul up and wait for the ‘honours’ to be awarded.
Prince Chuckles even squeezed a visit to CRU at UEA into his schedule, just after Climategate broke, specifically to offer his support to Phil Jones & Briffa,
Anyway, he is indeed ‘internationally recognised’.
As a complete d*ckhead.

Rud Istvan
January 21, 2014 8:38 am

He needs the award money (all $3K) to help pay for the rescue. Just the AAS doing their bit to help out with this honorific for discovering a new link between variability and global climate change–increasing sea ice.

Peter Miller
January 21, 2014 8:41 am

Turney won the Frederick White Prize of $3,000. So not chance of that money being put to good use towards paying off some of the costs of the Antarctic fiasco.
The last line below suggests playing Clown of the Antarctic is not taken into account, when the prize is being awarded.
“The Frederick White Prize recognises the achievements of scientists in Australia who are engaged in research of intrinsic scientific merit that has made an actual or potential contribution to community interests, to rural or industrial progress, or to the understanding of natural phenomena. Relevant areas of research are mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, and the terrestrial and planetary sciences. The prize of up to $3000 (GST exempt) is awarded biennially to researchers up to 15 years post-PhD in the calendar year of nomination, except in the case of significant interruptions to a research career. The award is restricted to research conducted mainly in Australia. “

Caz Jones
January 21, 2014 8:42 am

What a travesty.

January 21, 2014 8:47 am

An unfortunate outcome is that the wrongdoings of a rather small group of inner circle (the team) scientists are going to stain the image of others who are very objective and diligent.
What we are seeing is a manifestation of what former U.S. President Eisenhower predicted, and it runs through other sciences also. (like medicine)
Esteemed Colleges and Universities are more worried about the number of Scientific papers produced than the quality of education given to the bulk of students. A few select students may do exceedingly well, the rest are the domain of Grad Assistants and often given short change.
I have seen good researchers who are remarkably poor instructors at various locations.

January 21, 2014 8:49 am

Indeed he is internationnally recognized now… 😉

January 21, 2014 8:57 am

These awards are basically pal review. And so common they don’t really mean much. When your critics acknowledge your work in a positive way, then you’ve really accomplished something.

Gary Pearse
January 21, 2014 8:57 am

Had he met with mishap in Antarctica, he definitely would have been a shoo-in for a Darwin Award.

Henry Galt
January 21, 2014 8:57 am

martinbrumby says:
January 21, 2014 at 8:36 am “”””
Yes.The penny dropped for me when, nearly a year ago now, I read somewhere “… brave climate scientist Gleick …” How many oxymorons can these people place into one sentence? Is there a secret competiton going on?
My gob can no longer be smacked (that hard anyway) again. My eyes still hurt when forced to read about such as this though.

January 21, 2014 8:59 am

He is a crackpot and a conman.

Leo Morgan
January 21, 2014 9:16 am

The bigger the fiasco, the more medals are handed out. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for Rorke’s Drift.

January 21, 2014 9:16 am

Yep. This is like awarding someone the Nobel Peace Prize for something they are thought likely to do. Don’t these clowns realize that they dilute the importance of their awards through this kind of purely political behavior.

Bugs Man
January 21, 2014 9:17 am

I note that the last mention of Prof Turkey (oops – Turney) on the Uni of Exeter web site is dated 2009. Uber-enviro-CO2-hater Julia Gillard became Australia’s Labor Party Leader in 2010. Commodore Turkey (oops again! – Turney) accepted a Prof-ship in Gillard’s fleet exactly when? Was it 2010 perchance?

Mike M
January 21, 2014 9:25 am
January 21, 2014 9:33 am

Homeric. In the Simpsons sense.

January 21, 2014 9:37 am

This is the political corruption of science. Steve McIntyre, in a comment on his most recent posting flatly states that Turney was mendacious in his Nature article. For those who miss the point, mendacious means liar.
Now this. It seems that the climatologists have turned desperado in their attempts to recapture public esteem and get their climate scam out of the ditch and back on the highway. Let’s see who comes to the defense of Turney. So far, no one has at Climate Audit, where Steve’s comment was posted two days ago.

View from the Solent
January 21, 2014 9:43 am

The h/t link to Jo Nova at the end of the post points back to this post recursively. Should be

January 21, 2014 9:46 am

I remember when awards were for doing unique and special work. Now they are a tool to build credentials and mold behavior. So it is entirely logical that prominent screw-ups become a motivating force in an organization to re-build credibility for incredulous behavior.

wat dabney
January 21, 2014 9:50 am

It was either him or the carbon rod.

Mickey Reno
January 21, 2014 9:51 am

We can’t let an embarrassing, nay, shameful counter-narrative stand. We must turn this fiasco into a triumph! Quick, call academe. Call our leftist friends in the media. Call the NY Times. Call Peter Gleick.

Richard Sharpe
January 21, 2014 9:56 am

Participation/Encouragement awards now?

john robertson
January 21, 2014 9:59 am

Actually this is brilliant.
I’m guessing the vote on this “award” was done some time last year, as this is govt run academia.
Then the “man of excellence” goes forth to trip upon his own ego and dishonesty in the icy waters of Antarctic summer.
Would that be chicken egg?
Or Emu?

January 21, 2014 10:02 am

I wonder if the award was decided before his Antarctic fiasco or if AAS simply has glossed over the recent incompetence? ”
Owing to “Bureaucratic inertia”, it was probably decided some time back …

January 21, 2014 10:04 am

Truly sad that science has devolved into the equivalent of the U.S. grade school, where every scientist gets a gold star on his forehead just for playing.
(presuming he’s on the proper team, of course…)

Harry Passfield
January 21, 2014 10:08 am

Ahhhh….the Icing on the cake! How fitting.

January 21, 2014 10:08 am

Was this awarded ironically? They have contributed an enormous amount to science by fouling it up so enormously. I wouldn’t call Mr. Turkey a leader either. Shackelton was a leader, lead his people out of harm; Turkey did not.

Harry Passfield
January 21, 2014 10:20 am

Leo Morgan says: January 21, 2014 at 9:16 am

“The bigger the fiasco, the more medals are handed out. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for Rorke’s Drift.”

Sorry, Leo. Rorke’s Drift was not a fiasco. It was a very brave action. Perhaps you are thinking of the fiasco that preceded it – at Isandlwana?

Harry Passfield
January 21, 2014 10:22 am

phaedo says:January 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

“Was this awarded ironically?”

He’s bloody lucky it wasn’t awarded posthumously!

Frank K.
January 21, 2014 10:22 am

Yet another example of how science has become radically politicized…

January 21, 2014 10:24 am

Awaiting the Mann-style article in a popular periodical lauding Turney’s brave one-man war of logic and science against “climate deniers”. It will fail to mention that the brilliant mind that projects loss of Antarctic ice decades from now could not predict the ice that trapped his cruise of folly (even with readily-available data).

January 21, 2014 10:25 am

Those whom the Gods seek to destroy they first call promising!

January 21, 2014 10:25 am

What is that saying: “A few more victories like this and we’ll be ruined…”
If we’re lucky.

January 21, 2014 10:33 am

Mr. Turkey hasn’t achieved a damned thing to warrant this award.

Professor Turney is an internationally recognised earth scientist and research leader in both climate and environmental change, from the tropics to the poles. By pioneering new ways of combining climate models with records of past climate change (spanning from hundreds to thousands of years), he has discovered new links between variability mechanisms in the Australian region and global climate change.

Show me the achievement??? I didn’t know who he was until he got stuck in Antarctic summer sea ice (that wasn’t supposed to be there). Famous for modeling work! Only in climate science.
Further up on the same page I see someone else who is a least worthy.

Dr Young is an international leader in the field of early fossil vertebrates and the application of paleontology to solving problems in biostratigraphy, biogeography and historical geology. His field work in Antarctica in the 1971 Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expeditions resulted in a new biostratigraphy and age determination for much of the central Transantarctic Mountains, with robust correlations to strata on the Australian mainland. His field work and mapping in central Australia (Amadeus Basin) resulted in the discovery of the oldest known vertebrate fossils on the planet, and many new sites rich in vertebrates that enabled detailed correlations throughout Australia and Gondwana.

Gail Combs
January 21, 2014 10:39 am

Well we now can be sure that “AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE” are a great way for determining who are the best Arse-Kissers. It is the reason I never bothered showing as a horseman after watching the $100 get passed to buy a first prize. (By a well known newspaper family no less.)
Excuse me, i have to go lose my lunch now….

Gail Combs
January 21, 2014 10:44 am

I just looked the kid I rode with up and nearly bust a gut laughing “…assistant United States attorney….” and here I would have sworn the kid was headed straight for jail when I knew the kid as a teen.

January 21, 2014 10:50 am

He is being awarded for his INTENTIONS; that it worked out otherwise is of no matter. He is probably even a martyr in some circles.

January 21, 2014 11:02 am

“Gail Combs says:
January 21, 2014 at 10:44 am
I just looked the kid I rode with up and nearly bust a gut laughing “…assistant United States attorney….” and here I would have sworn the kid was headed straight for jail when I knew the kid as a teen.”
Considering the current state of politics, it could still be true 🙂

M Courtney
January 21, 2014 11:20 am

Leo Morgan says at
Sorry, Leo Morgan (January 21, 2014 at 9:16 am) I agree with Harry Passfield.
Rorke’s Drift was a valiant rear-guard action that demonstrated to the Zulu that winning the war was going to be very costly.
It was proof that Isandlwana was not going to be easy to repeat and so discouraged the waging of a long war.

Leon Brozyna
January 21, 2014 11:22 am

Whilst rotting in the hallowed halls of academia, what better way to be recognized than by an award from an academy of academics.

January 21, 2014 11:30 am

Progressive intellectuals successfully placed junk on pedestals in the art world first, so science seemed an easy mark too, which for a time it was, all alas pegged to the weather in a way that now threatens to topple the whole popular edifice of misdirection that is the contemporary liberal arts, and thus the inertia of the invested still carries them on further into ridiculousness, no different from praise of scribble art and even blank canvases, all taught seriously to new generations of students, still, but not much longer.
“Cézanne is the finest expressions of this decadence. He was truly unable to imitate the masterpieces and all of his admired technique is merely proof of his inability. His apples are made of cement. The paradox is that what is least admirable is most admired: nullity! What a symbol for a period! On the pretext of the academic being detestable, the worst in the class was made a hero! He opens the door to the ethics of sh*t! Newness at whatever costs and art becomes just a latrine! The logic of this search for newness leads to the gratification of total shit of which Cézanne is the high priest.” – Salvador Dali (Dali on Modern Art, 1957)

January 21, 2014 11:33 am

Such awards are like a case of hemorrhoids . . .
Sooner or later, every a**hole gets one.

January 21, 2014 11:46 am

The only award fitting for this …. this …. this … person is “Jabroni of the Year”.
An idea: How about we come up with a “Denialist of the Year” award??

Gail Combs
January 21, 2014 12:12 pm

NikFromNYC says: @ January 21, 2014 at 11:30 am
Progressive intellectuals successfully placed junk on pedestals in the art world first, so science seemed an easy mark too, which for a time it was, all alas pegged to the weather in a way that now threatens to topple the whole popular edifice of misdirection that is the contemporary liberal arts….
I always figures the lot of them, literary as well as artists were intimidated by the greats of history so took their toys and went off to play in a different playground where they could pat themselves on the back and say how great they are.

January 21, 2014 12:16 pm

January 21, 2014 12:20 pm

Upon reading the first line of this post, I immediately thought it was a joke (literally, not figuratively), but not for the reason one might think. As I continued reading the post, I quickly realized it wasn’t meant to be a joke. I then reread the first line and realized my mistake.
Initially I thought the first line read: “The Australian Academy of Science has announced their 2014 HORRIFIC AWARD FOR SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE”
Needless to say, I’m a bit dyslexic.

January 21, 2014 12:20 pm

“I remember when awards were for doing unique and special work.”
That fits Turney quite well, remember he was Leader/Co-leader of the PAGES2K consortium which broke new ground in scientific methodology, by first inventing a new supposedly splendid method for selecting proxies and then…er….forgot to actually apply it to the data in the paper wher it was announced (Gergis et al. with Turney as part of the et al.). That was indeed a unique and special piece of work.

January 21, 2014 1:01 pm

Just goes to show that the award is worth nothing. Just like the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lars P.
January 21, 2014 1:05 pm

Well of course he deserves that. With his help now millions have seen the difference:
– how was the area when Mawson navigated there 100 years ago and landed on the coast
– and where did they had to land now and travel tens of kilometres over multiyear ice to get to his landing point:
Without his contribution, how many people would have realised that?

January 21, 2014 1:31 pm

The Australian Academy of Science was behind a truly atrocious propaganda piece a few years ago, in fact, it was very similar to the hate piece put out by the Royal Society, which was then watered down and moderated into the latest and far more pleasant 2010 summery of the science, but only after the rest of the fellows realized their entire society had been misrepresent by a minority over zealous alarmists.
An appropriate analogy for Turney’s adventure would be an expedition to the top of mount Everest by a geologist, or perhaps a professor who is an expert in moon rocks getting sent to the moon, or maybe a vulcanologist trekking up the side of of mount fuji with a bunch of camera happy Japanese tourists, either way its no place an inexperienced, over confident professor who put lots of gullible peoples lives at risk for his own gain.
Yeah, sure, give him a medal, and while your at it, tag him with a GPS locator for everybody sake.

January 21, 2014 1:39 pm

“Hide the decline!”

Lil Fella from OZ
January 21, 2014 2:12 pm

WUWT will have to create some awards. Like some to honour those who service for good. Then for those who contribute rubbish for destruction some drongo awards for the likes of T…… I am sure we will all be really good at voting!

Peter Miller
January 21, 2014 2:28 pm

I just realised what the expression “hide the decline” really means.
It means a few years ago alarmists realised they desperately needed to ‘hide the decline’ in the morality of the scientific establishment, especially in regards to ‘climate science’.
The alternative was the widespread realisation that alarmist scare stories were being sponsored by immoral pseudo-scientists.
And what would that mean?
Answer: No more government grants and the consequential collapse of the Global Warming Industry.

January 21, 2014 2:33 pm

The BBC just published this article: “Why did Antarctic expedition ship get stranded in ice? By Andrew Luck-Baker, on board the Aurora Australis. It contains a detailed account of what happened before the ship got stuck. A quote:
“The teacher in me cringes at the logistics,” said one of the paying members of the expedition.
Another said the expedition was run like a “boys own adventure” and expressed concern over what she believed was a lack of thorough briefing on safety procedures throughout the Antarctic leg of the expedition.”

King of Cool
January 21, 2014 2:34 pm

Agree with others above in the fact that Rorke’s Drift is not a good example to use as a comparison of handing out a swag of Victoria Crosses in one action to the bestowing of one science award for some obscure feats of scientific “excellence”.
Even though there was criticism of so many VCs being awarded (“it is monstrous making heroes of those who shut up in buildings at Rorke’s Drift, could not bolt, and fought like rats for their lives which they could not otherwise save”) and it has been seen as a distraction from the defeat at Isandlwana – there is no doubt that there were some real heroes at Rorke’s Drift.
There is also no comparison between the unassuming Lieutenant John Chard, an engineer with no combat experience who suddenly found himself in charge of a small garrison of 140 including sick and wounded with 3-4000 ferocious Zulus advancing AND Professor Chris Turney, known only to me for his escapades on ice. Perhaps some-one can enlighten me on his feats of excellence.
However, I do agree that there could be many other good examples from WW1 as some-one in the JoNova blog pointed out.
It will no doubt be interesting to see how the Prof reacts to his new award when according to the ABC he addresses the media later to-day:
But I do like his twitter remark: “Just arrived in Hobart. Great to be in Oz. It’s warm!”
Only relatively Prof. At the moment it is only 13deg C and the forecast is for it to reach the exact January long term average.

January 21, 2014 3:15 pm

Frank says:
January 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Escape plan
Investigations are bound to examine whether the escape strategy the Captain had was put in jeopardy by the less than perfectly executed operations taking people between the ship and the Hodgeman islands, some 8km away, and managing them there.
In a report he has compiled in consultation with other senior expedition personnel, Greg Mortimer has identified several weak points in the ice-side logistics. These were the responsibility of the expedition team, not Captain Kiselev.
“There was a delay of a couple of hours on extracting people from the ice on the Hodgeman Islands and getting them onto the ship to leave the area. The delays may or may not have led to us getting stuck,” said Greg Mortimer.
“During the period of people being on shore at the Hodgeman islands, the Russian captain said the ice is starting to close around us at which point we hit the evacuation button.”
This was at about 14:30 ship time (01:30 GMT) on 23 December, according to Greg Mortimer. Despite the captain’s mounting frustration and anger over the situation, the Shokalskiy was ready to leave almost four hours later, at 18:15 ship time (05:15 GMT). Greg Mortimer agrees that this was an excessively long time.

January 21, 2014 5:03 pm

If y’all had looked at the papers and work for which Turney was honored before you commented you might have reached the conclusion that the award was well deserved.

January 21, 2014 5:13 pm

There is a very interesting article in the sydney morning herald today. Basically says
When the button was pressed to evacuate that more people got driven to antartica.

January 21, 2014 6:18 pm

The BBC report is interesting, but the smh report is more interesting.for some reason the
BBC, did not report that passengers actually heard the return order being given and ignored.
This is the gist of the Sydney morning herald report.

January 21, 2014 6:34 pm

Peter Miller says:
January 21, 2014 at 8:41 am
‘….The prize of up to $3000 (GST exempt) is awarded biennially to researchers up to 15 years post-PhD in the calendar year of nomination,’
‘ Royal Holloway, U. of London
PhD, Quaternary Science
1994 – 1997 ‘
So it would seem the nomination was 2012.

January 21, 2014 6:41 pm
Steve from Rockwood
January 21, 2014 6:46 pm

To get a medal before you’ve even examined your data. Kind of like Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize (in the hope that he would be peaceful in the future).

January 21, 2014 6:49 pm

Chris Turney certainly deserves an award………….for self promotion.
It may be that he is a clever bloke and has done some good science.
Unfortunately he is also very enthusiastic about telling us all about how clever he is ..
At the very least he seems to have convinced the management of the Australian Academy of Science that he is a clever chap

Steve from Rockwood
January 21, 2014 6:54 pm

Dr Norman Page says:
January 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm
Ahmed M; Anchukaitis KJ; Buckley BM; Cook ER; Smerdon JE; Asrat A; Umer M; Borgaonkar HP; Braida M; Stenni B; Büntgen U; Neukom R; Chase BM; Christie DA; Lara A; Curran MAJ; Moy AD; Cvan Ommen T; Diaz HF; Esper J; Fan Z-X; Gaire NP; Ge Q; Shao X; Gergis J; González-Rouco JF; Goosse H; Grab SW; Nash DJ; Graham N; Graham R; Grosjean M; Wanner H; Hanhijärvi ST; Korhola AA; Kaufman DS; McKay NP; Kiefer T; Von Gunten L; Kimura K; Krusic PJ; Lézine A-M; Ljungqvist FC; Lorrey AM; Luterbacher J; Werner JP; Masson-Delmotte V; McCarroll D; Prieto MR; McConnell JR; Sigl M; Morales MS; Mundo IA; Villalba R; Mulvaney R; Nakatsuka T; Sano M; Nicholson SE; Oerter H; Palmer JG; Phipps SJ; Turney CSM; Rivera A; Severi M; Shanahan TM; Shi F; Solomina ON; Steig EJ; Thamban M; Trouet V; Verschuren D; Viau AE; Vinther BM; Wagner S; Zorita E; Wahl ER; White JWC; Yasue K, 2013, ‘Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia’, Nature Geoscience, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 339 – 346, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1797
Seriously, he’s writing papers with his football (soccer) team – maybe even the league. Since when did scientists author papers with over 50 co-authors?

Steve from Rockwood
January 21, 2014 7:30 pm

So you can now win a Victoria Cross for being rescued. The bar is lying on the ground.

January 21, 2014 10:51 pm

+1 for a Nobel prize.

Hot under the collar
January 22, 2014 11:03 am

Was the award for discovering ice?

Bazza McKenzie
January 22, 2014 3:13 pm

I’m frankly angry at the attempt by these goons to coopt the heroism of Mawson and his party. Mawson and colleagues braved terrible conditions and suffered real privation, without any easy out. They put their bodies and their lives on the line. Turney’s diletantes carefully avoided exposing themselves to any tough conditions and raced for the exit (at the expense of other people) as soon as the situation became inconvenient. These people are a self-indulgent disgrace.

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