Australian Academy of Science medals

Harry Messel has been a powerful force in science education—from the Physics Foundation to textbooks and his establishment of International Science Schools. He was awarded the Academy Medal.

Simon McKeon is a prominent business leader and philanthropist who has made extensive contributions to Australian science and innovation including chairing the CSIRO Board and the agenda-setting McKeon report into medical research in Australia. He was awarded the Academy Medal.

The life and death of cells: Jerry Adams has advanced understanding of cancer development, particularly of genes activated by chromosome translocation in lymphomas. By clarifying how the Bcl-2 protein family controls the life and death of cells, he and his colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have galvanised the development of a promising new class of anti-cancer drugs. Jerry was awarded the 2014 Macfarlane Burnet Medal.

The secret life of reactions: Numerous chemical reactions take place via so-called reactive intermediates, short-lived molecules that are usually undetectable. But The University of Queensland’s Curt Wentrup can see them using flash vacuum thermolysis with low temperature spectroscopy. His contribution to theoretical chemistry is also helping in the creation of new compounds. Curt was awarded the David Craig Medal.

Revealing the oldest vertebrate fossils: Gavin Young used the fossil record to date the Transantarctic Mountains and went on to map the Amadeus Basin in central Australia, resulting in the discovery of the oldest known vertebrate fossils on the planet. Gavin, from the Australian National University, was awarded the Mawson Medal.

Geoscience is central to the modern wealth of Australia: Neil Williams’ career across academia, industry and government contributed to the exploitation of vast mineral deposits including oil and gas. His leadership of Geoscience Australia has made Australia a leader in the use and application of high quality science to manage natural resource issues. Neil was awarded the Haddon Forrester King Medal.

Green light: Swinburne University’s Min Gu is developing the use of light through nanophotonic innovations which have significant benefits, including low energy consumption big data centres, early cancer detection and environmentally friendly solar cells. Min received the Ian William Wark Medal.

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