[ASC-media] PM's Prizes announced

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Wed Sep 19 12:58:36 CEST 2007

Dear ASC colleagues,


Here - from the PM's Prize dinner is the Prime Minister's announcement
of his Prizes for Science for 2007.


Full citations online at www.scienceinpublic.com




I have great pleasure in congratulating Dr Peter Waterhouse and Dr
Ming-Bo Wang on receiving the 2007 Prime Minister's Prize for Science. 


Their discovery of how to harness a plant's own viral defence mechanism
is a major scientific breakthrough that has put Australia at the
forefront of gene technology.


Dr Waterhouse and Dr Wang were each presented with a gold medallion and
a cheque for $150,000 at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra this


While investigating how plants respond to virus attack, Dr Waterhouse,
Dr Wang and their team at CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra discovered a
new way to control plant genes that effectively gags or silences these


Their discovery has generated more than 100 patents and is being applied
in areas that range from protecting plants from disease to creating
crops that may in future produce better biofuels. 


I also congratulate the other four recipients of science and science
teaching awards. They include two of Australia's most promising young
researchers and two exceptional science teachers. 


The $50,000 Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in
Primary Schools was awarded to Cheryl Capra for her leadership in
teaching and critical thinking. She has led an invigoration of science
teaching and learning, which is paying huge dividends in student
achievement at her school at Albany Hills in Queensland. 


Melbourne teacher Francesca Calati was awarded the $50,000 Prime
Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary
Schools. Participation in chemistry at St Helena Secondary College in
Eltham North has tripled in the last few years thanks to her
introduction of an innovative combination of practical chemistry and
nanotechnology into the classroom.


Tasmanian mathematician and ecologist Beth Fulton has been awarded the
$50,000 Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year. This 34
year-old from CSIRO Marine Research in Hobart has combined her intuition
for maths with a passion for marine biology to create ecosystem models
that are used in Australian fisheries management, and by governments
around the world, to predict and manage human interaction with the
marine environment. 


Perth civil engineer Mark Cassidy has been awarded the $50,000 Malcolm
McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. The 33-year-old has
developed sophisticated mathematical models that have led to
improvements in the capacity of giant oil and gas platforms off the
North West coast of Australia to withstand the stresses of storms, ocean
currents, earthquakes and other forces of nature. His advice is sought
by the designers and builders of the platforms, and his modelling has
led to changes to international safety guidelines.


I congratulate all the recipients of this year's prizes. 


The awards recognise the commitment and achievement of our talented
scientists as well as the important work of our dedicated science
teachers, who are inspiring the next generation of Australian scientists
and innovators.  







Niall Byrne

Science in Public


365 Esplanade, Altona Vic 3018 Australia

Wk +61 (3) 9398-1416

Home +61 (3) 9398-1561

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niall at scienceinpublic.com.au


skype: niall_byrne


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