2013 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes: responses from colleagues and experts

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Below are comments provided by science leaders in Australia. They may be used when reporting on the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

General comments

“The fruits of science have become such an integral part of our everyday lives that society often takes them for granted and pays little heed to the highly creative scientists, mathematicians or engineers whose discoveries led to their development. But the researchers who push the boundaries of the knowable should be as celebrated as our great musicians, artists and explorers – household names like our leading athletes. And the teachers who inspire and train our young people to pursue a thirst for scientific knowledge are crucial to the future of our society and of our planet.

Each of these five remarkable people has both advanced the sum of human knowledge, and inspired many people – both young and old – to engage with science, to question, to learn. On behalf of the Australian Academy of Science, I offer them my warmest congratulations.”

Suzanne Cory, President, Australian Academy of Science


Reaction comments on Terry Speed, 2013 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

“Recognising Terry Speed and his extraordinary contribution to the field of BioInformatics is actually a recognition of the third major revolution in medical research.  Molecular biology followed by genomics and now bioinformatics. Terry is paving the way for Australia’s medical research community to excell on the world stage.”

Michelle Gallaher, Chief Executive Officer, BioMelbourne Network


“NHMRC is proud of having supported the research of Dr Speed and his colleagues, with over $60million dollars since 2001, and we thank him for his expertise in our peer reviews”

Warwick Anderson, CEO, National Health and Medical Research Council


“Terry’s unusual skills in both statistics and genetics have resulted in extremely important analytical tools: without his insights, biologists from many fields would not be able to make sense of the enormous amount of information being generated about how the cells in our bodies function, in health and disease. He is richly deserving of this high honour, and as a colleague at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and on behalf of the Academy I offer him my warmest congratulations.”

Suzanne Cory, President, Australian Academy of Science


Reaction comments on Andrea Morello, 2013 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

“Heartiest congratulations to physicist Andrea Morello on winning the 2013 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year – it’s a fantastic dream to make qubits in silicon, and Morello and others at UNSW are making it a reality.

And of course it’s always so heartening to hear of the fantastic things that science teachers are doing for children across Australia:  congratulations from the Australian Institute of Physics to Ric Johnson in Perth, and Sarah Chapman in Townsvile, as this year’s winners.”

Rob Robinson, President, Australian Institute of Physics


“Dr Morello is turning a long-held science fiction dream into a reality. Future generations will look upon his contributions to bringing quantum computers to reality as a pivotal moment in technological evolution. Congratulations to Dr Morello for his fine achievement.”

Suzanne Cory, President, Australian Academy of Science


Reaction comments on Angela Moles, 2013 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the year

“Dr Moles has challenged the norm and struck out in a new direction, and this pioneering spirit has paid off by opening up new areas of inquiry in ecology. Her work is a great example of how science pushes the boundaries of knowledge, and her relentlessly collaborative approach has achieved results much faster than if she’d pushed on alone. It’s an inspiring story and Dr Moles is well deserving of this honour.”

 Suzanne Cory, President, Australian Academy of Science


Reaction comments on Richard (Ric) Johnson and Sarah Chapman, 2013 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching

“Teachers are so important. Every successful scientist can name an inspiring teacher as instrumental in guiding him or her along the path to a career in research. Sarah Chapman and Richard Johnson embody the values to which every teacher should aspire: energy, inspiration, dedication, a love of learning and of guiding others to learn. They’re not only giving their students – and students in other schools – the gift of loving to learn; they’re also encouraging their students to actively contribute to real world research. Warm congratulations to them both on the occasion of this well-deserved honour.”

Suzanne Cory, President, Australian Academy of Science