Professor Elizabeth Tynan PhD is Head of Professional Development at the JCU Graduate Research School.  She teaches academic writing, editing and critical thinking skills to HDR candidates. She works closely with all JCU HDR candidates to help them maximise their ability to communicate their research, as well as guiding them through the Professional Development requriments of their degree. She also has an adjunct appointment at the College of Arts, Society and Education.

Professor Tynan is a prominent researcher of the history of British atomic weapons testing in Australia, and her first book on the topic (Atomic Thunder:  The Maralinga Story) won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian History and the CHASS Australia Prize for a Book in 2017.

Her latest book, The Secret of Emu Field: Britain's Forgotten Atomic Tests in Australia, was published by NewSouth Publishing in May 2022.  This is the first book-length account of little-known British atomic tests in the South Australian desert.  The third book in the atomic tests trilogy, an account of the British atomic tests held at Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia, will be published by NewSouth in 2026.

Professor Tynan is a former journalism academic with a background in both print and electronic media, specialising in science writing and editing. She worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a reporter and subeditor, and was later Sydney correspondent for New Scientist.

She is co-author of the Oxford University Press textbook Media and Journalism: New Approaches to Theory and Practice, which was published in three editions.  She is also co-author and co-ordinating editor of the OUP text, Communication for Business, released in October 2013.  This textbook won best Tertiary (Wholly Australian): Teaching and Learning Resource in the Australian Publishing Association Educational Awards in September 2014.

Her PhD in history of science/science communication from the Australian National University examined aspects of the British nuclear tests in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s

Note to prospective HDR candidates looking for an advisor: Prof Tynan is currently considering projects connected to the history of the British atomic test program in Australia.

Her 2016 book Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story was published by NewSouth Publishing. Atomic Thunder won the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Australia Prize for a Book on 10 October 2017 and the Prime Minister's Literary Award (Australian History) on 1 December 2017.

Her 2022 book The Secret of Emu Field: Britain's Forgotten Atomic Tests in Australia has been described as "fastidiously researched and brimming with detail", while her atomic weapons research was described by The Australian as "...one of the most significant projects being undertaken in the study of Australian history".

Listen to Afternoon Light podcast

Listen to Late Night Live with Phillip Adams interview about The Secret of Emu Field

Read her most recent article in The Conversation

Listen to Conversations on ABC radio on Atomic Thunder


  • BC3101: Genes, Genomes and Development (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5101: Advanced Genes, Genomes and Development (Level 5; TSV)
  • Research Education Advisory Committee
  • Advisor training workshops
  • Open Access publication and Open Access Advocate HDR competition sponsored by GRS and the JCU Library
  • Pre-Entry Language Assessment (PrELA) and Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) for HDR candidates
  • Australian history
  • British nuclear tests in Australia, at Monte Bello, Emu Field and Maralinga
  • Australian atomic history
  • Research education
  • Academic writing and support for HDR candidates who have English as an Additional Language
  • Professional development for HDR candidates
  • Writing, editing and critical thinking for HDR candidates
  • Communication skills for HDR candidates
  • 2010 to present - Member of Research Education Advisory Committee (and predecessors), JCU (Townsville)
  • 2014 to 2018 - Member of Library Advisory Committee, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2006 to 2008 - Lecturer in Journalism, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2001 to 2006 - Lecturer in Journalism, University of Tasmania (Hobart)
  • 1997 to 1999 - Lecturer in Journalism, JCU (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2017 - Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian History
  • 2017 - Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Australia Prize for a book
  • 2017 - RAI Prize, awarded by the Provost of the JCU Division of Research and Innovation, for outstanding service
  • 2007 - Faculty Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, JCU School of Arts and Social Sciences.
  • 2004 - University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement for establishing Edge Radio in Hobart.
  • 2023 - University of Western Australia Institute of Advanced Studies fellowship to attend the Southern Deserts Symposium

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Other research outputs

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by Prof Elizabeth Tynan from 2010 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Investigating the natio-cultural distinctiveness of Australian popular music and the dynamics of needs fulfilment in Australian singers and audiences (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The role of anthropomorphised flagship species in motivating community involvement in wildlife conservation (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

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