Dr Geoff Naylor was a Senior Principal Research Scientist and Officer-in-Charge of CSIRO Manufacturing’s site in Geelong before retiring in 2013, after nearly 30 years at CSIRO. Geoff grew up in Brisbane and studied science at the University of Queensland majoring in physics and maths. He graduated with honours in 1973 and ventured overseas for further training. He completed a PhD in the UK in 1977 and followed this with two post-doctoral appointments; one at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC, and one at Oxford University UK. His research activities were focused on applying physics to cross-disciplinary problems, initially biophysics (the molecular basis of muscle contraction) and later solid-state chemistry (the structure and properties of novel graphite-based compounds with industrial potential for storing hydrogen and other gases).
Geoff returned to Australia in 1984 to take up a position as lecturer in physics at James Cook University in Townsville. In this brief period in academia (18 months) as well as continuing his existing research interests, he made a significant contribution to one of the Oceanography Group’s outstanding challenges: interpreting ‘over the horizon’ radar echo signals to extract key long range ocean current information. He joined CSIRO in 1985 as a Senior Research Scientist in the then CSIRO Division of Textile Industry.
This was the start of a long career in Geelong specialising in applied textile research with a strong focus on delivering practical/commercial outcomes. Projects included development of the patented Bungaree wool quilt technology commercialised through Pacific Dunlop in the late 1980’s. This project also included the development of an Australian Standard for measuring the ‘warmth’ of continental quilts. Geoff also worked on the measurement of the fibre diameter distribution of Australian wools and understanding the role of fibre fineness in improving fabric skin comfort of wool apparel and fabric performance.
It was in 1996 that Geoff first turned to issues affecting the Australian cotton industry. His first project was a small project funded by the CRDC to develop an accurate and quick method for measuring cotton fibre fineness. The project was supported because Australian cotton mills and shippers were at that time struggling to properly identify and utilize low-Micronaire cotton. Utilizing his expertise in wool fibre measurement Geoff developed the Cottonscan, an instrument that directly measured cotton fibre linear density. The instrument’s patent was licensed, along with the SiroMat patent to BSC Electronics, an instrument maker in Perth WA. The combination of technologies was incorporated into the BSC’s Cottonscope instrument, which is now sold throughout the world.
Geoff spent the next sixteen years closely connected to the Australian and International cotton industry and its research community. He played key roles in the cotton CRCs from the early 2000s and developed close relations with international researchers from the USDA Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans LA, Texas Tech University in Lubbock TX and CIRAD in Montpellier France. He finished his cotton research in 2013 with a sabbatical at the SRRC where he investigated and published work on the influence of length on HVI strength measurement. His sabbatical was sponsored by Cotton Incorporated.