Professor Peter May
BSc(Hons) Cape Town, PhD St Andrews

School Dean

About me

I am Professor of Extractive Metallurgy and, until 2012, the Dean of the School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences.  My research centres on how metal ions and other substances react in water, an area which has broad practical importance and that consequently attracts considerable world-wide attention.

At Murdoch, I lead a strong team working in hydrometallurgy and physical chemistry, two research areas of strength which have both been ranked as a 5 in the recent ERA (Excellence in Research Australia) assessment exercise, the highest ranking possible.  My studies focus both on the fundamental chemistry of aqueous solutions, and on applied problems of global importance, including those concerning industrial processes (e.g. alumina refining), the environment (e.g. ocean acidification) and medicine (e.g. kidney stone formation).  I was also Chief Investigator in some large cyanide waste management projects supported by a broad range of companies from the minerals industry.

I have developed a frequently-cited modelling software package called JESS (Joint Expert Speciation System) that uses large databases of existing information in the field of solution chemistry, together with new experimental measurements, to resolve important gaps in knowledge.  I have supervised over 30 PhD students, have over 200 publications in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals and have held many Linkage grants from the Australian Research Council.

Research areas

Aquatic chemistry and its medical, environmental and industrial applications.

Thermodynamic modelling and computer simulation in solution chemistry



Current projects

Chemistry and Transport of Trace Elements in Bayer Liquors

Joint Expert Speciation System

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Darren Rowland – Improved Numerical Modelling of Multicomponent of Aqueous Electrolyte Solutions 

Michael Hill – Chemical Speciation of Urine and Implications for Kidney Stone Formation