Alumni Updates

Alexander Makarowsky – Maths modelling and energy

2018 Codan/Playford Trust Engineering Scholarship

In 2019, Alex joined his Playford Trust Scholarship sponsoring company – Codan/Minelab Electronics – where he gained valuable experience in software development and signal processing. At Minelab, he used mathematical modelling to optimise the geometry of metal detector coils. These designs have evolved and are now in Codan/Minelab products.

That same year, Alex was awarded a General Sir John Monash Scholarship – and headed for Oxford University in the UK. He completed a Master of Science in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing there in 2020-2021.

His dissertation explored how advanced calculus techniques can be used to simplify the heat modelling of lithium-ion batteries. Improved battery cooling can greatly reduce the batteries’ rate of degradation, and this could lead to the development of longer-lasting batteries for electric vehicles, laptops and phones.

Since finishing his studies, Alex has worked in the energy sector. At the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), he quantified and analysed risks to power system security relating to large-scale disconnections of rooftop solar. He’s also made contributions to analysing and aggregating the frequency control responses of virtual power plants (VPPs) within Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).

Alex is currently working at Energy Exemplar, a software company founded in Adelaide. As a member of the mathematical modelling and software engineering team, he models power system phenomena such as general expansion planning, and the capacity degradation of grid-scale batteries. He also tackles large-scale optimisation problems such as optimal hydro release policies with uncertain rainfall.




More Alumni Updates

Susan Lee – Environmental pioneer

2006 Playford Trust PhD Environmental Scholarship
I was the first student to receive a Playford Trust Environment Scholarship in 2006. Studies in the environment tend to include a lot of fieldwork and trips away from civilisation, so the scholarship really helped me with these costs!

Lucas (Tuan) Tran – Energy Engineer

2021 Playford Trust/Cooper Energy Petroleum Engineering Scholarship
In 2017, I came to Australia as an international student from Vietnam to pursue a world-class education in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Adelaide. After finishing my Honours degree, I began my PhD project…

Robert Trott – Exoskeleton and physiological measurement

2017 Playford Trust PhD Scholarship
Robbie is now working as a Research Fellow at the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) – a national leader in industry and workplace innovation research – and he’s based at Flinders University.

Bec Pedler – R&D technician, Clean Seas Seafood

2019 Playford Trust Regional Science & Engineering Scholarship
Marine mollusc extracts represent an almost entirely unexploited source of broad-spectrum antivirals against human viruses. My Honours project involved assessing the hemolymph (blood fluid) from the Greenlip abalone and Pacific oyster for antiviral activity against Human Coronavirus…

Joe Kupke – Man of the trees

2018 Playford Trust/TAFE SA Award
At the time Joe received his Playford Trust Award, he was employing just two staff in his arborist business, Adelaide Hills Tree Services. Now there are 10 on the team…

Phiala Shanahan – Professor of Physics at MIT

2011 Scantech/Playford Trust scholarship
In 2020, respected Science News magazine named Phiala one of its Top 10 elite young scientists ‘pushing the boundaries of scientific enquiry’. All of those honoured…

Georgina Duguid – Structural design engineer

2018 Playford Trust Honours Scholarship
Having completed my Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Flinders University in 2018, I am working as a structural design engineer with Mineral Technologies/Downer EDI – the company…

Michael Dello-Lacovo – Space scientist

2014 AusIMM/Playford Trust Honours Scholar
I received the AusIMM/Playford Trust Scholarship for my Honours degree in geophysics in 2014 for the thesis topic ‘heat flow and geothermal energy in South Australia’….

Kate Delaporte – Curator, Waite Arboretum

1996 Playford Trust PhD Scholarship
Kate was only the third student to receive a Playford Trust scholarship. Now she’s Curator of SA’s Waite Arboretum and Senior Lecturer at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide…


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