UNSW - Science

Snapshot of Recent Achievements

The UNSW Faculty of Science is revered for its academic and research achievements. Our people and programs are at the forefront of scientific endeavour and innovation.


School of Chemistry

One of the Faculty’s most senior and distinguished chemistry academics, Professor David Black, was honoured with election to the post of Secretary General of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The ICSU aims to strengthen science globally for the benefit of all humankind. It plans and coordinates interdisciplinary research to address major issues of relevance to both science and society.

Other award winners from the School in 2011 include Professor Les Field, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia, Emeritus Professor Ian Dance, who was awarded the 2011 David Craig Medal of the Australian Academy of Science, and Professor Justin Gooding, who was awarded a Scientia Professorship, the highest recognition of research excellence for academic staff at UNSW.


School of Materials Science and Engineering

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla was named as a winner in the 2011 Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards, selected for the Nokia Business Innovation Award. Telstra says the Awards program aims to celebrate the success of extraordinary women.

Professor Sahajwalla is helping the steel industry combat great environmental challenges. As Director at the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at UNSW, she developed technology to reduce carbon emissions during steel production and recycle end-oflife materials that would otherwise go to landfill. The innovation has attracted science and technology awards in Australia and the United States and has the potential to transform steel production globally.


School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Associate Professor Angela Moles won the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher. Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum said Associate Professor Moles was already acknowledged as a world-class science leader and a rapidly rising superstar in the fields of ecology and revolution: “One would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive research record for someone whose career has just recently begun.”


Australian Museum Eureka Prizes

UNSW had a record-breaking 11 finalists in the running for Australia’s premier science awards, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Associate Professor Tracey Rogers, from the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences, was nominated for the People’s Choice Award for her ground-breaking work on how environmental change is affecting marine predators in the Antarctic. Associate Professor Rogers was also nominated for the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research that Contributes to Animal Protection.

Associate Professor Angela Moles, ARC QEII Fellow in the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences, was nominated for the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher for her work in plant ecology.

Scientia Professor Justin Gooding (School of Chemistry), Professor Michael Gal (School of Physics), Associate Professor Katharina Gaus, Dr Till Böcking, Dr Kris Kilian, and Dr Peter Reece (School of Physics), were all nominated for the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research by an Interdisciplinary Team

Professor Brien Holden, Founder and CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, was nominated for the prestigious Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science sponsored by the CSIRO.

The UNSW Connected Waters Initiative Team, nominated for the Professor Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation which recognises outstanding contribution to water resource management.


Australian Academy of Science

Three researchers from the Faculty of Science have been honoured by being elected to the Australian Academy of Science. Election to the Australian Academy of Science recognises a career that has significantly advanced, and continues to advance, the world’s scientific knowledge.

Professor David Black (School of Chemistry) is “distinguished for his innovative research in organic chemistry and exemplary leadership in science diplomacy for Australian and world chemistry, fostering broad and inclusive interactions worldwide”.

Scientia Professor Staffan Kjelleberg (School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences) is “distinguished for his work in microbial ecology, including bacterial adaptive responses and biofilm biology”.

Scientia Professor Aibing Yu (School of Materials Science and Engineering) is “distinguished for his work in particle science and technology, including methods to simulate and model the motion of individual particles within large populations in flowing systems”.


NSW Government’s 2011 Science and Engineering Award

NSW Scientist of the Year was awarded to Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons who is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. Professor Simmons also won the category for Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy. Professor Simmons has pioneered a radical technology for making electronic devices atom by atom in silicon. Her scientific vision has enabled the creation of the world’s smallest precision transistor.