Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2008

A hero of women and science: 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Ian Frazer

Follow this link to Ian Frazer’s acceptance speech:

Ian Frazer has created four vaccines to fight cervical cancer. Two of them-Gardasil and Cervarix-are now on the market. Both prevent infection with the virus responsible for most cervical cancers. The other two vaccines are in clinical trials and are designed to treat women who have already been infected.

And Ian isn’t finished-he’s already working on the next generation of cervical cancer vaccines. But his greatest challenge is to get the vaccines to where they can do most good, in developing countries where screening programs are not widely available and 200,000 women die every year from cervical cancer.

Only then will his battle against cervical cancer be complete.

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When quality control fails in our immune system: 2008 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

Carola Vinuesa

Nature paper, child, Nature paper, child, Nature paper… Carola Vinuesa has had a busy few years. Her research has revealed key steps in how our immune system produces high quality, long lasting antibodies to fight disease.

And she has discovered what happens when things go wrong: that a single letter change in the genetic code is enough to create poor quality antibodies and trigger autoimmune diseases like lupus, juvenile diabetes and certain cancers.

This 39-year-old researcher’s work at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University is opening up new targets for drug discovery to fight autoimmune disease.

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Holey fibres shine the light on safety: 2008 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Tanya Monro

Optical fibres are the backbone of the internet, carrying vast amounts of data across cities, countries and oceans. Without them global communication would be more expensive and much slower.

Tanya Monro’s research has contributed to their performance. But she thinks that optical fibres can do much, much more for humanity. She’s dreaming of aircraft that know when they’re getting metal fatigue; water plants that react within seconds of cryptosporidium entering the water supply; tractors that know how much fertiliser every metre of the field needs; and wearable sensors that detect certain proteins or viruses.

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Engaging techniques to cultivate scientific curiosity: 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Clay Reid

He wanted to be a funeral director, but he wasn’t old enough. So, to fill in time, Clay Reid went to teacher college, and fell into a career he has made his own.

After twenty years of secondary science teaching, he is highly respected as an inspirational teacher and leader, both in his rural community and in the wider science teaching community.

Clay has been teaching at Clare High School in rural South Australia for the past eight years, and due to his efforts the popularity of science has increased dramatically over that time, as has the school’s overall academic results in science.

What’s special about his teaching? He says, “It’s about engagement, getting kids to turn up to class and expect the unexpected. And it’s about giving every student the opportunity to enjoy science whether they are planning to leave school at year 10 or go on to university.”

For his enthusiasm and dedication to secondary science teaching, Clay Reid receives the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

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Nurturing curiosity: 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Bronwyn_2008Bronwyn Mart

Bronwyn Mart believes that science should have a central role in the primary school curriculum.

“Children are born curious about the world around them. We need to nurture and harness that curiosity from the early years of school. That’s why science matters in primary school. Taught well, it engages students and can act as a vehicle for literacy, numeracy and critical thinking,” she says. “Primary science lays the foundations for scientifically literate children who are able to grow into secondary school science and are more likely to make career choices that embrace science.”

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