Award: Young Tall Poppy stands up to the challenge of science communication

UNSW scientist Dr Matt Baker
Thursday, 17 August, 2017
Gabrielle Dunlevy

UNSW scientist Dr Matt Baker will spend a year sharing his knowledge with school students, teachers and the broader community after winning a NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

In all, UNSW has five winners of the prestigious awards, which recognise commitment to science and a drive to communicate.

The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) will honour the up-and-coming scientists at a ceremony at the Museum of Applied Arts and Science tonight, and name one of the nine winners the 2017 NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year.

“These Tall Poppies join a strong tradition of scientific research and communication here in NSW,” AIPS General Manager Camille Thomson said.

“They are already showing excellent promise and we are excited to see them become the guiding lights of science to future generations of enquiring minds.”

Dr Baker uses pioneering methods in synthetic biology to template and shape the assembly of one of the pinnacles of evolution: the bacteria flagellar motor, an electric motor a millionth the size of a grain of sand can build itself, rotate five times faster than a Formula1 engine.

“Talking about science in the community is a great way to remind yourself what it is all about,” Dr Baker says. “To justify the public funding of our work and to explain why what we do is not only a good use of taxpayer money but also why it is important to push the frontiers of human understanding.”

Read more about the UNSW winners here.