2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes winners
Congratulations to the 2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes winners.
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Research & Innovation
2015 NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research
The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team, UNSW
Professor David Keith and his team have developed the first global standard for assessing risks to ecosystems. Already illuminating risks to terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in Australia and overseas, this method is laying the foundations for better strategies for averting the collapse of threatened ecosystems worldwide.
2015 UNSW Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
Professor Dayong Jin, University of Technology, Sydney; Macquarie University; and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; Professor Tanya Monro, University of South Australia; University of Adelaide; and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; and Professor Bradley Walsh, Minomic International Ltd and Macquarie University
The diverse impact of Super Dots technologies – from non-invasive cancer diagnosis and rapid pathogen detection to invisible coding for authentication of pharmaceuticals, passports and banknotes – is based on advances in diverse fields: material chemistry, optical physics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational modelling and instrumentation engineering.
2015 Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration
Professor Dacheng Tao, University of Technology, Sydney
Professor Dacheng Tao collaborates with an international network of academic and industry-based peers to help computers better interpret data captured from the real world. Together, the team has invented subspace learning models that meaningfully reduce the complexity of captured data. Their theoretical and algorithmic findings have diverse applications, from video surveillance to consumer electronics.
2015 Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research
Pellegrini and Ebert Team, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
There is no cure for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Current therapies suppress HBV production but must be taken life-long. The Pellegrini and Ebert Team have developed the first therapy to eliminate HBV infected cells, resulting in clearance of the virus in pre-clinical models. The therapy has now entered clinical trials in Australia.
2015 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
Associate Professor Frank Bruno, Dr Martin Belusko and Dr Steven Tay, University of South Australia
Associate Professor Frank Bruno and his team have combined a number of innovations to provide an inexpensive alternative for storing electricity to be used for cooling. These innovations include concepts such as dynamic melting, ’coil-in-tank’ and a low-cost storage medium, all of which can be integrated with renewable energy sources.
2015 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
Associate Professor Michael Biercuk, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Michael Biercuk is internationally recognised for his outstanding contributions to one of the most exciting and impactful disciplines in modern physics: quantum science. He has built a record of transformative discoveries driving the development of a new generation of advanced technologies based on quantum physics, with important practical outcomes.
2015 Defence Science and Technology Group Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security
The Secure Communications System developed by Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security in conjunction with the Australian Government remediates ageing secure communications capabilities. The system aims to build and overcome the challenge of extending classified networks into the mobile arena, improving usability for the end devices and maintaining secure communications.
2015 Rural Research and Development Corporations Eureka Prize for Rural Innovation
Professor David Raftos, Macquarie University
Professor David Raftos works with the Australian oyster industry, finding solutions to increasing problems due to disease and environmental stress. Professor Raftos’ research has led to the most comprehensive understanding of disease resistance in oysters worldwide, with his team now implementing that knowledge in an innovative breeding program to produce disease-resistant, environmentally tolerant oysters.
2015 UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research
Professor Peter Currie, Phong Nguyen, Monash University; and Dr Georgina Hollway, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Professor Peter Currie and his team have identified, for the first time, a mechanism in the body that triggers hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) production. Unravelling the mystery of HSC generation could see it used to cure a range of blood disorders and immune diseases.
2015 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science
Dr Phillip Urquijo, University of Melbourne
Driven by his passion for fundamental research, Dr Phillip Urquijo leads the international Belle II experiment’s physics program and Australian teams to discover new physics phenomena. One of the youngest leaders in this field, his work galvanises over 500 physicists and shapes one of the world’s most important collider experiments.
2015 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science
Professor Michelle Simmons, UNSW
Professor Michelle Simmons' leadership and groundbreaking research program in the development of atomic scale electronics have positioned Australian researchers as world leaders in classical and quantum computing technologies in silicon. Her track record is exceptional and is the product of leading considerable multidisciplinary teams in Australia and internationally.
2015 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers
Professor Marilyn Renfree AO, University of Melbourne
Over three decades, Professor Marilyn Renfree has provided inspirational supervision and long-term career mentoring for young researchers, particularly for women working in the field of life sciences. Her passion for science has a profound, positive and enduring influence on young researchers, shaping the way they conduct themselves in their own careers and in their lives. Professor Renfree is genuinely committed to training and encouraging bright young minds, and her protégés are now making significant contributions to the science community both in Australia and overseas
2015 Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research
Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW
Professor Emma Johnston is a leading authority in the field of coastal ecology. Through a broad range of influential leadership, outreach and advocacy initiatives – from internationally broadcast television series to grass-roots community activities – Professor Johnston has been instrumental in promoting research and greater understanding of Australia’s fragile coastline.
2015 Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism
Dr Elizabeth Finkel, Cosmos Magazine
Male and over 50? Take statins to stave off heart attacks and strokes, say health authorities in the UK and USA. It may sound like a harmless bit of medical advice but it has triggered open warfare among doctors and journalists. A Statin a Day provided a major journalistic challenge in the adjudication between different camps.
Published in Cosmos Magazine, 29 December 2014
2015 New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography
Soft Coral, Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum
Soft corals are more diverse and widespread than hard corals, but much less is known about their overall contribution to coral reef biodiversity. About one-third of the world's soft coral species are found on the Great Barrier Reef, with our limited knowledge of these species an indication of how much we still have to learn. Through his beautiful image, Gary Cranitch highlights this true ‘indicator’ species.
Thorny-Headed Worm, Aileen Elliot, Murdoch University
Seeing amazing life forms, such as this thorny-headed worm (phylum Acanthocephala), has the power to turn a mundane day in the lab into one of sheer brilliance. While dissecting a bland peritoneal cyst from an Eel Tailed Catfish, Tandanus tropicanus, Aileen Elliot was surprised when out popped this incredible little worm. With this image, Aileen gets to share her modern day Darwinian moments of discovery with others and hopes to excite and inspire the next generation of budding parasitologists.
Saltwater Crocodile, Justin Gilligan
Exploring the coral reefs of Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea is like being caught in a literal time warp, where the hours pass by like fleeting moments. For Justin Gilligan, this juvenile saltwater crocodile presented the perfect opportunity for a close encounter on a glistening natural stage. When taking this stunning image, Justin focused on the raised eyes and nostrils and the camouflaged skin – all adaptions this crocodile needs to live a life both above and below the water surface.
2015 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Primary
Georgia (Gigi) S-M., and Ella W., St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, QLD
Detectives Gigi and Ella believe that science is about understanding our world, answering questions and definitely having fun. Their film Cry Stoppers investigates why onions make us cry and gives us some practical tips to stop the tears when confronted with this kitchen culprit!
2015 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Secondary
The Secret of the Appendix, Paige B., Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, VIC
Throughout history, human understanding of the appendix has been limited to the knowledge of painful inflammation that requires urgent surgery. In The Secret of the Appendix, Paige explains that the appendix does much more than we give it credit for, and is a vital component of a healthy gut. It’s time to spread the word about this misunderstood organ.