22 October 2015
Parliament House, Canberra
Address to Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Dinner | Prime Minister of Australia
Well, thank you very much, Christopher, and can I say right at the outset, before I embark on the extravagant praise that is due to Ian Chubb, can I second the remarks that Christopher made about his predecessor in the industry and science portfolio, Ian Macfarlane.
L-R: Graham Farquhar, Ken Silburn, Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, Rebecca Johnson, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister Christopher Pyne, Jane Elith, Graeme Jameson, Cyrille Boyer (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science)
Life on land depends on plants. Every plant balances opening its pores to let in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis; and closing its pores to retain water.
Graham Farquhar’s work has transformed our understanding of the world’s most important biological reaction: photosynthesis.
His models of plant biophysics have been used to understand cells, whole plants, whole forests, and to create new water-efficient wheat varieties. His latest project will determine which trees will grow faster in a high carbon dioxide world.
His work has also revealed a global climate mystery. Evaporation rates and wind speeds are slowing around the world, contrary to the predictions of most climate models. Life under climate change may be wetter than we expected. Read the full article →
Graeme Jameson’s technologies use trillions of bubbles to add billions of dollars to the value of Australia’s mineral and energy industries.
He created the Jameson Cell in the 1980s to concentrate base metals such as copper, lead, and zinc.
And it’s all done with bubbles. Graeme took flotation, a century old technology developed in Broken Hill, and transformed it. A turbulent cloud of minute bubbles are pushed through a slurry of ground-up ore where they pick up mineral particles and carry them to the surface.
The technology found many more applications, most profitably in the Australian coal industry, where the Jameson Cell has retrieved fine export coal particles worth more than $36 billion.
Now, Graeme Jameson is working on a newer version of his technology. The Novacell can concentrate larger ore particles, and save up to 15 per cent of the total energy expended in extraction and processing in mining—reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well. Read the full article →
Cyrille Boyer uses light to make new and complex polymers.
It’s the latest in a series of techniques that have enabled him to create materials which are being applied in areas as widespread as non-stick coatings, anti-fouling technology, precision drug delivery, medical diagnosis and imaging.
His ideas are built on the revolutionary RAFT techniques for which David Solomon and Ezio Rizzardo received the 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. His latest technology uses light and chlorophyll to catalyse the creation of polymers using up to ten building blocks.
He’s using it to create nanoparticles that can carry drugs into the human body to break down bacterial biofilms associated with implants, cystic fibrosis, and sticky ear.
His patented technologies will herald a new era of smart polymers and eventually he believes he will be able to reconstruct complex polymers such as proteins and even DNA. Read the full article →