Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2006

2006 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Mandyam full sizeMandyam Veerambudi Srinivasan

An automatic landing system for an aircraft is expensive and complex. And it is just one of many systems that would be required to make a truly robotic aircraft.

But a bee can take off, find targets, fly through tunnels, navigate home, and land without any of that complexity. It uses a minute brain of about a million nerve cells, which is the size of a sesame seed and weighs just a tenth of a milligram.

Mandyam Srinivasan – known to all as Srini – has dedicated his research career to understanding just how bees work. [continue reading…]

2006 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

James full sizeJames Whisstock

If proteins are the molecular building blocks of our bodies, then proteases are the demolition team – cutting up used proteins and breaking down damaged cells.

But who is in charge of the demolition team? In many cases it’s a group of molecules collectively known as serpins. When they don’t do their job properly, devastating diseases such as liver cirrhosis, thrombosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can result.

James Whisstock is a serpins guru.  He and his team are using x-ray crystallography, synchrotron light and other tools to piece together how serpins do their job – and what happens when they don’t.  Along the way he is finding new opportunities for drug discovery. [continue reading…]

2006 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Naomi full sizeNaomi McClure-Griffiths

Where do we live? And what’s the neighbourhood like? Astronomer Naomi McClure-Griffiths has set about answering these questions with the help of “The Dish”, the 64-metre Parkes radio telescope.

Her research has dramatically reshaped our knowledge of the structure and evolution of our galactic home – the Milky Way.

It turns out that we don’t really know what our galaxy looks like. The familiar images of our galaxy are really little more than guesses. [continue reading…]

2006 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Anna full size1Anna Davis

Anna Davis began teaching at Casimir Catholic School in Marrickville in 1998. Since her arrival, results across Year 12 science courses have improved by 17% and students now achieve above the state average.

For Anna, it is the culmination of 16 years of teaching and turning her own passion for science into words, thereby helping students in some of Sydney’s more challenging schools achieve beyond their and their community’s expectations.

She has contributed to the education of countless students who have benefited from her innovative teaching plans, ideas and materials, and her inspirational leadership and mentoring of other teachers. [continue reading…]

2006 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Marjorie full sizeMarjorie Colvill

Marjorie Colvill has a clear idea of the perfect science class. It is one in which students set up their own investigations and make their own discoveries – and she has the proof that it works. From kindergarten and primary, to student teachers – she has taught them all. Not only that, Marj is now looking forward to building on her initial research, which indicates that good primary science teaching also enhances literacy!

With nearly 30 years devoted to education and science, the Tasmanian teacher has spread her passion for science from the classrooms of the state’s primary schools to the lecture halls of its university, at the same time finding time to hold a range of positions within the state’s Department of Education. [continue reading…]