Amy Chin-Atkins and David Atkins. Photo by Jack Fox.

Amy Chin-Atkins and David Atkins. Photo by Jack Fox.

The science of love

Love story

Amy Chin-Atkins, BSc ’92, PhD ’98, and David Atkins, BSc ’93, EMPA ’18, PhD ’98, began dating when they were studying science.


Our experiences at university shape our lives – in our case these experiences were literally life-changing. We both came to ANU to undertake BSc degrees, and started dating when I was in third year and Amy was doing her Honours at The John Curtin School of Medical Research. We married in the August of the next year, after a year’s engagement.

After the wedding, we both went straight into graduate study for PhDs – me at the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering and Amy at CSIRO’s Division of Plant Industry via the Department (now the Division) of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Graduate study is an intense experience at the best of times, but going through together was very positive. Going back to the lab after dinner was a regular part of both our schedules, and we both understood the necessities of this and could support each other.

We also became immersed in student representation – I was President of the Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) and we both served on various committees. These were heady times, including a stint living in the Chancelry Building as part of the week-long student occupation in 1994, with our microwave oven helping to feed the occupiers. We also hosted a clandestine off-campus meeting at our little flat with the Pro Vice-Chancellor to negotiate the resolution of the student protests.