Assoc Prof Rowena Ball

Associate Professor
Mathematical Sciences Institute
Research School of Chemistry

I am an applied mathematician and physical chemist with broad research expertise in nonlinear and complex dynamical systems. My ARC Future Fellowship is entitled - “The charXive challenge and the clean coal quest: thermokinetic principles and methods for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide." The next 50 years will be the era during which the world's fuels must be decarbonised. Endex thermoreactive principles, which I co-invented in the mid 1990s, are providing a novel technology for separating carbon from fuels and flue gases. I am developing a suite of Endex decarbonation technologies in collaboration with an industry partner, Calix Ltd, and with collaborators from Imperial College London, the University of Leeds, and CanMet Energy. Endex principles also underpin carbon capture from the atmosphere and have been used by nature for millions of years: the mechanism behind thermal decomposition of biomass is an Endex thermochemical oscillator that governs the distribution of carbon between the global solid black carbon reservoir and the atmospheric CO2 reservoir. My research is elucidating this mechanism. 

Research interests

The origin of life, Nonlinear and complex dynamical systems, Indigenous science, Endex thermoreactive systems, Thermochemical instabilities, Exergy analysis, Entropy generation analysis, Carbon sequestration via charcoal, Global carbon cycles, Railways and trains, Country pub lunches.

  • Rowena Ball, 2015. STEM the gap: Science belongs to us mob too. Australian Quarterly (Ed. Grant Mills) vol. 86, Jan–Mar 2015, pages 13–19.
  • Rowena Ball (2014). Women’s careers: Out with the linear pipeline and in with the new nonlinear paradigm. Text of invited address given at the International Women’s Day Award ceremony at University House, ANU, 7 March 2014, posted at
  • Ball, R. and Gray, B.F. (2012) Thermal instability and runaway criteria: the dangers of disregarding dynamics. Preprint at Summary: Two published examples of incorrect and dangerous thermal runaway criteria are exposed. Stability theory has been used by chemical engineers to assay reactive thermal hazard for sixty years - why has this knowledge been completely ignored by the authors of those works? They claim to specify thermal 'safety' criteria but, to the contrary, they are seriously putting human lives at risk.
  • R. Ball, P. Fennell, (2012) Second law analyses of Endex and conventional calcium looping reactors. (Working paper)
  • Ball R (2011). Oscillatory thermal instability - the Bhopal disaster and liquid bombs. Invited chapter for a forthcoming book "Nanotechnology Research and The Millenium Development Goals", editor Thomas Faunce, to be published by Pan Stanford.
  • Ball, R (2011). Oscillatory thermal instability and the Bhopal disaster. Accepted 08 June 2011 by Process Safety and Environmental Protection, preprint available at
  • Ball R and Gray BF (1995,1996) Reactor system design, Australian Provisional Patents PO0176 and PN3208.