A $2 smartphone microscope and floaties for choppers: Australians rewarded for excellence in science
Last night the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes winners were announced at an Award Dinner held at Sydney Town Hall. A total of 15 prizes were given for outstanding contributions to Australian science. With so many fabulous entries it was difficult to pick the winners.
“I’m extremely impressed by the amazing scientific work happening around our country,” Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay said. “I want to extend an enormous thank you to all the sponsors and supporters of the Eureka Prizes for helping us continue to reward excellence in Australian science.”
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards. The Eurekas have been rewarding science since 1990—celebrating 25 years in 2014.
Full media releases for each prize winner are available at australianmuseum.net.au/eureka.
The 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes:
- Sonya Pemberton of Genepool Productions won the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Science Journalism for her investigation of community confusion about vaccines in the documentary Jabbed—Love, Fear and Vaccines. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Lesley Hughes from Macquarie University was awarded the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research for her extensive work communicating and improving understanding of climate change. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Maree Teesson, Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, was awarded the University of Technology, Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers for her mentoring of researchers in the field of substance abuse and mental health issues. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Tim Lyons from One Atmosphere was awarded the Defence Science and Technology Organisation Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia for his invention of a lightweight helicopter buoyancy device that inflates within a second to save lives following a helicopter crash at sea. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Terry Speed from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research won the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science for his leadership in the field of bioinformatics: high‑quality number crunching that’s crucial to cancer research. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Mark Talbot from CSIRO was awarded the New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography with his image Wheat through the looking glass, capturing the birth of a seed using a scanning electron microscope. Watch the video. Read the release. This image, two other finalists, and seven highly-commended photographs, are available for publication.
- Harry Driessen, a sixth-grader from Croydon Public School in NSW won the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize for his video The Sound of Music, which explains what sound waves are, how we hear sound and how musical instruments work. Read the release.
- The University of Tasmania’s Graham Edgar and Rick Stuart-Smith won the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research, for harnessing the efforts of 200 divers around the world to create the Reef Life Survey, a unique and freely available global data set documenting the health of the world’s reefs. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Adriana Downie from Pacific Pyrolysis won the 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science for her championing and communication in the field of slow-pyrolysis technology—converting plant waste products into biochar, a soil improver with potential to mitigate climate change. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Jackson Huang, a year-12 student from the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology won the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize—Secondary for his video Phantom Limbs, an explanation of a puzzling neurological disorder and the complexity of the human nervous system. Read the release.
- The Water Use Efficiency Initiative team—CSIRO’s John Kirkegaard and James Hunt, and Stuart Kearns of the Grains Research and Development Corporation—won the Department of Agriculture Landcare Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture for developing more water-efficient grain-farming methods: allowing grain farmers to add more than 50 per cent more wheat yield from the same water supply. Watch the video. Read the release.
- CSIRO’s Hendra Virus Research Team in Geelong won the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research for creating the first vaccine and effective human treatment against Hendra virus and developing skills and resources that are being applied against Ebola. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Tri Phan from the Garvan Institute and the Australian National University’s Steve Lee won the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology for their patented invention of a $2 microscope that transforms smartphones into mobile laboratories. Watch the video. Read the release.
- Simon Ho from the University of Sydney was awarded the Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher for his enormous contribution to evolutionary science through his work on ‘molecular clocks’, which help biologists explain how quickly different organisms evolve. Watch the video. Read the release.
- The University of Melbourne’s SEARCH (South-eastern Australian Recent Climate History) team won the University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research for their success in mapping a thousand years of Australian climate history. Watch the video. Read the release.
- The B-cell Team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research won the University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research for unravelling the workings of the rare, specialised cells in our blood that create antibodies to fight infection and disease. Watch the video. Read the release.
In recognition of its commitment to scientific research, last night at the 25th anniversary of the Eureka Prizes, the Australian Museum awarded its inaugural Australian Museum Research Institute Medal to Dr Richard Major. The medal is presented to an individual staff member, senior fellow or team from the Australian Museum for outstanding science and communication of their research outcomes.
For media enquiries please contact the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes media team: