AINSE Senior Research Fellow
School of Chemical & Physical Sciences
Rachel Popelka-Filcoff’s research program uses radioanalytical and spectroscopic methods for the application to cultural, environmental and forensic questions. Her work is to the first comprehensive characterisation of Australian Aboriginal natural mineral pigments on cultural heritage materials, including ochre, by several advanced analytical methods. She also analyses uranium materials by a variety of methods for international nuclear forensics projects, and has worked on several classes of diverse materials for forensic and environmental projects.
A significant portion of her research is based at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), as well as collaborations with other forensic and cultural heritage institutes and universities. Rachel holds a BA in Archaeology and Classics from Washington University in St Louis (USA), a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Missouri (USA) as an NSF Research Fellow, and completed a National Research Council postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, USA).
Rachel has received awards for her research including the South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year in 2012, which recognises the top early career researcher in the state. In 2015 she was recognised in the League of Remarkable Women in Science. She has also had her research profiled in several scientific and general media outlets such as Cosmos Magazine, Chemistry in Australia, and Chemistry World, and radio and television interviews.
Rachel is the President of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, and is on the editorial board of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. Rachel recently finished her term on the executive committee for the Early and Mid Career Research Forum for the Australian Academy of Science, and was recently appointed the Secretary of the Analytical and Environmental Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
B.A. Archaeology and Classics, Washington University in St. Louis (USA) 1999
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Missouri (USA) 2006
Flinders University Re-Entry Fellowship (2014)
South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year (2012)
Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE), Research Fellow
Vice Chancellor's Awards for Early Career Researchers (Flinders University)
Modern Trends in Activation Analysis Young Scientist Travel Award
National Research Council, Research Associate Fellowship (USA)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (USA)
University of Missouri-Columbia Preparing Future Faculty Fellow
Society for Archaeological Sciences-R.E. Taylor Student Poster Award
American Nuclear Society James Vogt Graduate Fellowship in Nuclear Science
University of Missouri-Columbia Stevens Graduate Fellowship
ARC LIEF, Project LE130100115 (2012) Prideaux et al., Confocal microscope for high-resolution microtopographic analysis of surfaces in historical, forensic and polymer sciences. $180,000
AINSE Research Fellowship
Radiation Safety Officer, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
President, Society for Archaeological Sciences (2016-2018)
Executive Committee, Australian Academy of Science Early and Mid Career Research Forum, 2014- 2016
Committee Member, Royal Australian Chemical Institute Radiochemistry Division (December 2014-present)
Secretary, Royal Australian Chemical Institute Analytical and Environmental Division (2016- present)
Organizer of the Early Career Group for the Faculty of Science and Engineering and School of Medicine at Flinders University (December 2009-2016)
The focus of my research is in radioanalytical chemistry, or the application of nuclear and radiochemical analytical methodologies. My primary research interests are in archaeological science, forensics and environmental studies.
Archaeometry is a multidisciplinary field that centres on analysing the chemical and physical characteristics of ancient materials and artifacts to answer archaeological questions. Such research studies include questions concerning ancient material technologies, elucidating ancient economies and trade routes, and discovering artefact provenance and technologies. One of our primary projects in the group focuses on the characterisation and analysis of Australian ochre to understand its composition and exchange.
My projects are in partnership with colleagues at Flinders University, ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), South Australian Museum, Artlab, PIRSA and others.
Analytical methods in my laboratory are applied to research questions in the areas of:
The techniques used in my group include:
: Forensic Chemistry
: Analytical Chemistry
; Cultural Heritage Analysis and Chemistry (Curtin Uni)
: Anaytical Chemistry
I am also participating in the CSIRO "Scientists in Schools" Program with Rose Park Elementary School.
|Phone:||+61 8 82015526|
|Location:||Physical Sciences Building (312)|
|Postal address:||GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia|
For more information, see rs.popelka.filcoff.com