Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2007

Protecting the engineering giants of the ocean: 2007 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Mark Cassidy landscapeMark Cassidy

Mark Cassidy is battling immutable forces of nature – storms, ocean currents and earthquakes – that threaten to topple the giant oil and gas platforms off the North West coast of Australia.

From his geophysics laboratory at the University of Western Australia, he models the way the feet of these giant platforms push into the mud on the ocean floor. And his models work. His advice is sought by the designers and builders of the platforms and his modelling has led to changes to international safety guidelines. The 33 year-old civil engineer is also one of Australia’s youngest professors. [continue reading…]

Nanotechnology in the classroom: 2007 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Francesca Calati landscapeFrancesca Calati

Participation in chemistry at St Helena Secondary College has tripled in the last few years. The secret? An innovative combination of practical chemistry and nanotechnology introduced into the classroom by Francesca Calati.

Francesca is the programme manager of Accelerated Curricula and Nanotechnology at St Helena, a government school in the Melbourne suburb of Eltham North. She realised that many of the school’s students didn’t ‘get’ chemistry. So she developed a practical chemistry course that engages the students and makes chemistry more relevant to them. Then, recognising the increasing importance of nanotechnology as a new enabling science, she developed a comprehensive programme in nanotechnology that bridges science and art. [continue reading…]

Teaching children healthy scepticism: 2007 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Cheryl Capra landscapeCheryl Capra

Cheryl Capra couldn’t pursue her passion for physics and astronomy as a career. Instead she turned to science teaching and, over a 40 year career, has taught at primary and secondary level and been involved in curriculum development.

But it’s in primary teaching at Albany Hills State School in Brisbane that she’s made her greatest impact. “Our students’ science studies extend from their classrooms and beyond this campus to our entire planet, even to the orbiting International Space Station and the cold, dark, unimaginable distances of the cosmos,” she says. [continue reading…]