After completing a degree in metallurgy at the University of Melbourne, Dr Cocking began working at Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group (then DSTO) in the area of high temperature alloys to develop a new type of thermocouple that is now used as a standard device for measuring high temperatures in many applications worldwide. She then participated in a program that resulted in extending the life of hot-end gas turbine blades in the engines of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft.
The success of the latter program led to her appointment as Visiting Scientist at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. She returned to Australia to work on submarine propulsion systems and established a research program into air independent propulsion systems.
Following the emergence of defects in the Collins class submarines during trials after its construction, Dr Cocking was asked to coordinate DSTO’s involvement in the ‘Fast Track’ program set up to remedy these problems. At this time, she also established research programs in the areas of hydrodynamics and unmanned underwater vehicles.
Dr Cocking’s contributions to science have been recognised nationally and internationally through:
* Election as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering
* An Institute of Marine Engineers Harry Lees Award
* International Metallographic Society best paper awards
* A DSTO award for excellence.
Her past involvements outside DST Group include the Course Advisory Board of RMIT, and the Board of the Australian Maritime Hydrodynamics Research Centre.
She is currently the Australian National representative of The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) on Materials Technology, and a technical committee member for organisation of the Maritime Systems and Technology conference.