Noel received his Churchill Fellowship in 1988, and used it to visit leading commercial, government and academic research and applications laboratories in France and England. He made a number of long-term international contacts, as well as gaining invaluable experience that helped him in his position in charge of the Organic Mass Spectrometry Facility in the Central Science Laboratory at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry have huge applications in the fields of natural product chemistry (especially aroma and flavour compounds) and forensic science.
Since then he has been engaged in a wide range of collaborative research projects with colleagues at UTAS. These included working on essential oils, insect (moth, wasp, ladybird, earwig) and mammalian (possum, echidna, fox) pheromones, jackjumper ant venoms, plant hormones, pigments and phenolic compounds, drug metabolism studies, forestry research and fatty acids in fish (to name just a few). These studies have resulted in almost 200 research papers, some of which have become very widely cited articles. At the end of 2016 he will retire from his position as Principal Research Fellow at UTAS, where he supervises the use and the interpretation of data from a suite of scientific instruments worth around $2 million, and will then take up an honorary position as an Adjunct Professor.
Noel recently won two prestigious national awards in the field of analytical chemistry: the Lloyd Smythe Medal of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 2012 for his work in analytical chemistry, and the Morrison Medal of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry in 2013 for his outstanding research in this field.
Outside of work he enjoys travelling in Australia and overseas, playing the piano, choral singing, cryptic crosswords, collecting beautiful miniature crystallised mineral specimens (by shopping on-line), live theatre and concerts, and dining and sharing good wine with friends.
Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016)