Aussie STEM Stars Book: Creswell Eastman

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Creswell John Eastman AO is the Clinical Professor of Medicine at Sydney University Medical School, Principal of the Sydney Thyroid Clinic and Consultant Emeritus to the Westmead Hospital. Eastman is an endocrinologist and has directed or conducted research and public health projects into elimination of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) in Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, several Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, China and Tibet and Australia. For his work in remote areas of China, he has been dubbed the ‘man who saved a million brains’.

In 2013 Eastman expressed concern that IDD may be affecting Australian children's ability to perform at school and reiterated that view in 2016. While the initial focus was mostly on indigenous children, he recently expanded it to include all children.

Creswell Eastman was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia in 1994 for his contributions to Medicine, particularly in the field of Endocrinology, and was awarded the Premier’s Gold Service Award in 2002 for development of the NSW Forensic DNA service laboratory.

Look inside the book

168 pages
Ages: 9+

Did You Know:

  • He worked with sheep to develop an extremely sensitive test for thyroid hormones that meant newborn babies could be screened for thyroid disorders using only a tiny sample of blood.

  • Was the Head of Endocrinology when Westmead Hospital was built.

  • From one research project in a small and remote village in Malaysia providing iodine in their water supply, Cres and his team improved the health of thousands of people. The project in Sarawak was the start of Cres’s international fieldwork that would eventually impact on millions of lives. 

  • Cres’s research helped explain how iodine deficiency caused problems for unborn children. 

  • In 2003 an Australian filmmaker named, Kate Riedl, made a documentary about Cres’s work titled, ‘The Man Who Saved a Million Brains’. Cres was a little embarrassed by the title. He’d only agreed to the documentary to raise awareness of the importance of iodine—he didn’t want it to be all about him.

    But the title was also accurate. Cres’s unwillingness to give up or to ignore other people’s suffering meant that millions of people in Tibet and China as well as other countries were saved from brain injuries.

About Aussie STEM stars series

An inspiring and unique series for children aged 9-13 years that celebrates Australia’s leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The Aussie STEM Stars series tell the inspirational stories of our (often unsung, even unknown!) STEM heroes quietly making a huge contribution to humans and the planet.

Each book is written by an award-winning children’s author and follows the real-life stories of some of Australia’s world-leading researchers and inventors.

Themes explored include childhood, school, family, formative experiences, what inspired them to pursue their chosen path, how they persevered in the face of challenges, and what they contributed in their chosen field to Australia and the world. 

The past few years has shown us that science is more important than ever as we look to our inventors and innovators to solve the contemporary problems facing us all. So let’s inspire the next generation to go on that journey too.


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