Geoff McNamara trained in optics and worked as an optical mechanic and optical dispenser as well as a TAFE teacher for many years before channelling his passion for science into a new career as a science teacher. He is passionate about bringing scientists into the classroom: “We have so much talent in Australia in terms of science, engineering and technology’ he says “I want the students to meet these people, and to show them that ‘this is what you could be doing in a few years’ time’”. For higher-achieving science students Geoff developed Academic Curriculum Extension (ACE) Science, which he has been running at Melrose High School since 2008. This extension program connects students with working scientists and engages them in a wide range of real-world science investigations. ACE Science has been so successful he is now offering it to other schools. His most recent achievement is the creation of the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope (MSATT) at Mount Stromlo Observatory.
For his contributions to science teaching and inspiring students in science—wherever their further studies and careers may take them—Geoff McNamara was awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
Along the way, Geoff has also been a prolific author of science information and published over 100 articles in Australian and international science magazines and wrote books on gravitational waves, dark matter and pulsars, two of which he co-authored with astronomers.