Last updated October 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm
Wednesday October 18 will see the awarding of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science to some of Australia’s best and brightest scientists and science educators, with live coverage by Australia’s Science Channel.
The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are awarded annually to recognise outstanding achievements in scientific research, innovation and teaching. They were first awarded in 2000, replacing the Australia Prizes, and now include four science prizes and two science teaching prizes.
The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is awarded for a significant advancement of knowledge through science and is Australia’s top award for scientific achievement. The renowned Professor Frank Fenner was awarded the prize in 2002, for his work in overseeing the eradication of smallpox and controlling Australia’s rabbit plague. While Dr John O’Sullivan’s research in radio astronomy at the CSIRO, research that formed the foundation of Wi-Fi technology, saw him receive the prize in 2009.
The Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year and the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year recognise exceptional achievements by early career scientists that have the potential to benefit human welfare and society.
The winner of the Malcom McIntosh Prize in 2000 was Professor Brian Schmidt for his work uncovering the accelerating expansion of the universe, the same research which led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011. The 2013 recipient of the Frank Fenner Prize, Professor Angela Moles, was recognised for her pioneering research that helped establish the entire scientific field of ‘Big Ecology’ – the study of ecology at a global level.
The Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation recognises the successful translation of scientific knowledge into a practical, commercial product that has had economic and social benefits. The 2015 recipient Laureate Professor Graeme Jameson AO created the Jameson Cell in the 1980s. Using flotation technology, turbulent clouds of tiny bubbles, the Jameson Cell could collect and concentrate valuable metals such as copper, lead and zinc – adding billions of dollars to the value of Australia’s mineral and energy industries.
The two Science Teaching Prizes, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, are awarded to teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to science education.
The 2015 recipient of the Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, Rebecca Johnson, converted almost a hectare of the Windaroo State School grounds into teaching gardens. These gardens allowed students to create and build real-life examples of the science they were learning in the classroom.
Mr Clay Reid, the recipient of the 2008 Prize for Excellence in Science teaching in Secondary School, developed the Clare High School’s science curriculum in response to student interest and innovatively connected it to the local community through a school vineyard so that students could be introduced to science they would need when they completed their studies.
The winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will be announced at the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra this Wednesday October 18.
Australia’s Science Channel is proud to be a media partner for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2017.