After 43 years of dedication, Dr Gary Bold finally feels he is "getting the hang" of university teaching.

The University of Auckland physics lecturer was awarded the Prime Minister's supreme prize last night at the 2004 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards. The award carried a prize of $30,000 and Dr Bold was one of 12 academics from nine tertiary institutions presented with awards.

The former rock'n'roll band frontman, who frequently quotes Shakespeare during lectures, said he had been "grappling" with university teaching since he began at the Auckland campus 43 years ago.


Regular contact with the country's best and brightest young minds helped to keep him young: "Teaching these people over the years has been an amazing privilege."

Dr Bold has taught every course in the physics department, all courses in geophysics, signal processing and network theory. He has taught classes of one and classes of 300.

He has devised and revised experiments and designed the curriculum for many second- and third-year physics courses.

At 66, Dr Bold said he tried each year to adapt and improve his teaching techniques.

Professor Tom Barnes, deputy vice-chancellor (research) at the university, said Dr Bold would be remembered as one of the country's great teachers.

The awards celebrate excellence in tertiary teaching, promote good teaching practice, and enhance career development for tertiary teachers.

Awards worth $210,000 were presented at the ceremony, which was held at Parliament and attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark.