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It is not so long ago that if one had the necessary cash, honours could be bought - a knighthood perhaps, a commission in the armed services, a position in the hierarchy of the clergy and so on. Perhaps this remains, albeit in a less organised fashion, for we still see people honoured for their donations to charity. We also see people who seem to be rewarded mainly for doing their job - or for excelling in what they do best in sport or the arts. But there are those who are honoured for efforts which go way beyond the call of duty and reach out to help others.
Our own Wisenet convener, Diana Temple, clearly falls into this category. Certainly she has had a distinguished career from her first degree at the University of Western Australia to her PhD in Chemistry (medicinal chemistry) at Sydney University. She also has an outstanding research record and as a teacher at Sydney University reached the rank of Associate Professor.
For many, teaching, research and some inevitable administration is the sum total of academic commitment. Not so for Diana. She has always, it seems, undertaken that extra chore for her discipline and for her colleagues. Thus she was an elected Fellow of the University Senate, and a member of the Academic Board. And it goes without saying that membership of these bodies, and her position as Head of the Pharmacology Department, meant a great deal of time spent serving on a number of committees.
Recognition in the Australia Day honours list by the award of an AM leaves much unsaid. The citation read, "For service to medical and scientific research, particularly in the field of respiratory pharmacology, as an advocate for the role of women in science and in promoting an understanding of science by the general public". This is mere shorthand to cover her past and ongoing involvement with a wide variety of activities including her devotion to science as a member of the science faculty advisory committee at Wollongong University, her writing and speaking on matters of public health, her teaching in the University of the 3rd Age, and her membership of the editorial board of Lab News.
Some idea of the extent of her extra-curricular activities may be gathered from the list of bodies she has served on or taken an active role with - the NSW Privacy Committee, Family Planning Association, ANZAAS, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council, Hunters Hill Trust, the NSW committee of the National Foundation for Australian Women, Women into Politics, Federal Advisory Committee on Women in Science and Engineering.
To our readers, however, she is surely honoured for her work for WISENET. She began as a foundation member, headed the Sydney team from 1985 and has been National Convener since 1990. This has been a labour of love - and a time consuming one - with work on the editorial committee, co-organising the travelling exhibition, arranging guest speakers from time to time, applying for assistance grants and so. The most recent successful grant application led to the production of "Science Futures" - Wisenetís 1998 careers publication.
Diana is dedicated to the discipline of science and its future healthy growth. She is also dedicated to encouraging women to enter scientific careers and to supporting them in their careers both in non-traditional areas and in general. She has given generously of her time to forward these causes.
I am always impressed with her energy, her enthusiasm, her hard work, her sense of humour, the ease of working with her and, I should add, her persuasiveness. (Why else is an historian so involved with science?) I am absolutely delighted to see this public recognition of a woman who so much deserves it and feel sure that Wisenet members feel the same.