Maxime Aubert
Photo: Université Griffith/Justin Mott

Alumnus Maxime Aubert named Scientist of the Year

Radio-Canada presented the 2021 Scientist of the Year award to archaeologist and geochemist Maxime Aubert. He holds a master’s degree (2004) and a doctorate (2009) in Earth Sciences from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). Aubert did his doctoral research under the supervision of Professor Marc Richer-Laflèche, of the Centre Eau Terre Environnement, in collaboration with the Australian National University. Since then, his work has been named in the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2014 and 2020 by the influential scientific journal Science.

In 2021, his findings gained international attention, including a January paper in the journal Science Advances. Aubert and his colleagues revealed the existence of the oldest known figurative paintings in Indonesia. It is an image of a pig, which was painted on the wall of a cave on the island of Sulawesi 45,500 years ago.

In doing so, the research of Maxime Aubert and his team on rock art and the cognitive abilities it demonstrates are advancing the world’s knowledge of the presence of modern man and the emergence of culture. His scientific discoveries have been popularized in National Geographic.

Maxime Aubert is a professor in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He is an archaeologist and geochemist who has specialized in the development and application of analytical techniques to address major questions about human evolution, such as uranium-thorium dating of rock art and hominin fossils. 

Since 1987, Radio-Canada has awarded the Scientist of the Year award to one or more French-speaking personalities whose work has made a difference in their discipline. In 2020, the award was given to the modellers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Radio-Canada feature

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