Photo: Wouter Schellart’s geodynamics research into the activity of the Earth’s mantle, including the Mt Etna volcano, earned him the AAS Anton Hales medal for Earth Sciences. Credit: NASA The Australian Academy of Science recognised five individuals for their career achievements in 2013. The search for dark matter was kicked off by Ken Freeman’s discovery that there wasn’t enough matter to hold spiral galaxies like ours together. Continue reading Academy recognition Brooke Topelberg’s students are so keen on science that her lunch-time science club has a waiting list. 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools winner, Brooke Topelberg, with students. Credit: Prime Minister’s Science Prizes/Bearcage
And Jane Wright has been taking high school girls to explore science in the bush for over 25 years.
Both of these passionate professionals have been awarded a Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching.
Continue reading Camping and puppets top science teaching prize Many plastics and polymers—including paints, glues and lubricants—will be transformed in the coming years by the work of Australian chemists, Professors David Solomon and Ezio Rizzardo. David Solomon (left) and Ezio Rizzardo (right) with Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Credit: Prime Minister’s Science Prizes/Irene Dowdy
Their work is integral to more than 500 patents and their techniques are used in the labs and factories of DuPont, L’Oréal, IBM, 3M, Dulux and more than 60 other companies.
Eventually, the pair’s chemical theories and processes will influence hundreds of products.
Continue reading Changing the world one molecule at a time An Australian physicist is unravelling the mystery of how the hot, brilliant stars we see today emerged from our Universe’s “dark age”. Stuart Wyithe’s models of an early universe will be explored by the next generation of telescope. Credit: Prime Minister’s Science Prizes/Bearcage
Theoretical physicist Prof Stuart Wyithe is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the Universe as it was 13 billion years ago, when there were no stars or galaxies, just cold gas.
In the next few years astronomers will learn much more as powerful new telescopes come online.
Continue reading Birth of our hot Universe Prof Graeme Clark changed the way we thought about hearing when he gave Rod Saunders the first cochlear implant in 1978—now he might just do it again. 3-D reconstruction of the left implanted cochlea in the brain of Rod Saunders. Credit: G. Clark; J.C.M. Clark.; M. Clarke; P. Nielsen- NICTA & Dept Otolaryngology, Melbourne University
Back then, Graeme brought together a team of engineers and medical personnel; now he’s trying to reveal exactly how the brain is wired for sound—by bringing together software specialists and experts on materials that can interface with the brain.
“We’re aiming to get closer to ‘high fidelity’ hearing for those with a cochlear implant,” says Graeme, now distinguished researcher at NICTA and laureate professor emeritus at the University of Melbourne. “This would mean they could enjoy the subtlety of music or the quiet hum of a dinner party.”
Continue reading Bionic pioneer explores how we’re wired for sound A chance finding has led to the first new chlorophyll discovered in 67 years, opening up possibilities for biofuel and food crops to use sunlight more efficiently. 2011 Life Scientist of the Year Min Chen. Credit: Prime Minister’s Science Prizes/Bearcage
Continue reading New chlorophyll a gateway to better crops