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Dr Paul Scully-Power
, 2005

by Evert Ploeg

oil on canvas (frame: 184.4 cm x 108.3 cm, support: 183.0 cm x 106.5 cm)

Paul Scully-Power AM (b. 1944), oceanographer and remote sensing expert, flew on the space shuttle Challenger in 1984, making scientific observations of the earth's oceans. Born in Sydney, where he gained his doctorate of science in applied mathematics, he won international renown for his discovery of the phenomenon of spiral eddies. Having begun his career in the Oceanographic Section of the Royal Australian Navy, he went on exchange to the US Navy and became involved in the NASA space program. Later, he worked for the US Navy, NASA, the Pentagon and the White House. Returning to Australia, he became Chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Chancellor of Bond University. He has received innumerable awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Medal, Laureate of the Albatross, Order of the Decibel, and the Oswald Watt Gold Medal. His biography, Oceans to Orbit, was published in 1995.

The scroll in this painting refers to an oceanic spiral eddy that Scully-Power discovered while in orbit on the Challenger. The Nereus badge, depicting the Old Man of the Sea, was designed by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for him to wear on the expedition. His cufflinks commemorate his honour as a Freeman of the City of London.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with donated funds 2006
Accession number: 2006.35