Award: Physicist wins NSW Premier's Prize

Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum
Thursday, 8 October, 2015
Deborah Smith

For his research in theoretical physics, Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum has been awarded a prestigious 2015 NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering.

Professor Flambaum, of the School of the Physics, won the award for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics.

He tackles some of the most challenging theoretical problems in particle physics, astrophysics and general relativity. And his research has led to fresh directions in the search for variations in the fundamental constants of nature and the development of super-precise ionic and nuclear clocks needed for next-generation GPS and autopilot systems.

Professor Flambaum was one of four UNSW researchers who received their awards from the NSW Premier Mike Baird at a ceremony at Government House last night.

The awards, established in 2008 and newly named the Premier’s Prizes this year, recognise the state’s top researchers and teachers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for NSW.

Mr Baird congratulated the 10 winners and thanked them for their hard work and contribution to the state: “This event allows us to honour and celebrate your research efforts, clever ideas and unwavering dedication to your chosen field”.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, who oversaw proceedings, said that acknowledging outstanding research effort was essential for advancing society and the economy.

The NSW Governor, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, welcomed the guests to Government House and said it was an honour to be Patron of the Prizes: “I have immense respect for individuals who devote their lives to solving society’s toughest problems. The men and women we are celebrating here tonight – scientists, engineers and teachers – are perfect examples.”

The other UNSW winners:

Scientia Professor George Paxinos of Neuroscience Research Australia won the award for Excellence in Biological Sciences (cell and molecular, medical veterinary and genetics).

Scientia Professor Mark Bradford of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering won the award for Excellence in Engineering and Information and Communications Technology. 

Professor Christoph Arns of the School of Petroleum Engineering won the award for Leadership in Innovation in NSW. 

Head Science Teacher at James Ruse Agricultural High School Sheila Pooviah and Head Mathematics Teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School Eddie Woo were joint winners of the award for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education in NSW.

University of Newcastle civil engineer Professor Scott Sloan was named NSW Scientist of the Year.

For the full list of winners please visit the website.

UNSW Science media contact: Deborah Smith, 9385 7307, 0478 492 060,