Some of you may remember Michael Raupach from the Summer 73 programme in Sydney in Jan 1973. Michael was one of several students from Flinders University who were involved in the Ecumenical Institute/Institute of Cultural Affairs from time to time in the early 1970s. Names some of you might remember: Ian Yates, Becky Roberts/Llewelyn, Marty Cielens, Darrell Thomson, Louis (pronounced Louise) Portway, Michael Rowan. We even spoke of a Flinders University “cadre”, with Methodist chaplain Andrew Paterson as a facilitator – Andrew is back at Flinders now, lecturing on deviance and criminology within the social work department.
I met Michael when he was an undergraduate in Physics at Adelaide University in the early 1970s. He played guitar and wrote songs, one or two of which were recorded by Peter Combe, now well-known for his songs for children. His “institutional church” background was at Beaumont Methodist. He played with Kindekrist, a Christian group of Presbyterian and Lutheran backgrounds which played at Scots Church. He was active in the Student Christian Movement branch at the University of Adelaide. I remember him playing in various liturgies at the combined SCM-Catholic conference in Hobart in January 1974 – this was the conference that welcomed Peter Cook and Dudley Moore as guests – but that’s another story. Michael introduced me to early Elton John (“Tear down the mission” and Cat Stevens, and especially to Leonard Cohen.
Michael completed a BSc(Hons) specialising in mathematical physics. He then went to Flinders University to do a PhD in environmental science, hoping to look at “carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”. He was told it wasn’t an issue (!) so he worked on micrometeorology – the turbulent processes that exchange energy and carbon dioxide at the Earth’s surface. We met for lunch at his home a few years ago -he picked me up in his Prius – he said that his “cred” was in such fluid dynamics, which gave him an entry point to “carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”.
After completing his PhD he married Hilary Talbot. Almost immediately they head off for the University of Edinburgh for postdoctoral studies. In 2010 he became a CSIRO Fellow in recognition of his outstanding and innovative research. Mike made many ground-breaking contributions looking at the global perspective on the storage and cycling of energy, water and carbon. He was highly regarded as a great science communicator. He commands enormous respect from scientific peers around the world.
If you look for his name, and also <Michael Raupach + Hilary Talbot>, you will find more detailed tributes from the scientific community. So far I’ve found items in The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC, and the universities’ online newsletter The Conversation. I hope some of you manage to find more about Mike on the internet.
~~. Frank Bremner