Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2011

Changing the world one molecule at a time: 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Ezio Rizzardo and David Solomon

In the coming years when you buy a tyre, lubricant, adhesive, paint, computer or any one of hundreds of other products, there’s a good chance that some of its component materials will have been produced using revolutionary chemical theories and processes invented in Australia by research teams led by Professors Ezio Rizzardo and David Solomon.

Their techniques are employed in almost every university chemistry department, and the laboratories and factories of DuPont, L’Oréal, IBM, 3M, Dulux and more than 60 other companies.

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Puppets break the science language barrier: 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Brooke Topelberg

In 2003, Mrs Brooke Topelberg—only three years out from an education degree and just back from two years’ teaching in inner London—was appointed science coordinator of Westminster Primary School. The school is set in a high immigrant, low socio-economic suburban area in northern Perth. Science was a low priority at the school.

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A part of her students’ lives: 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Jane Wright

Students at Adelaide’s Loreto College have been investigating extra-sensory perception, finding the best way to neutralise spills of household cleaners, and testing the antibiotic effects of Manuka honey. They present their results not just by writing reports, but using talks, videos, role-plays and stories. Their activities are typical of the practical, can-do attitude of their science coordinator, Dr Jane Wright. It’s an attitude she’s also applied in her leadership of her chosen profession.

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