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University of Sydney scientists shortlisted for Eureka honours


12 August 2011

Professor Ben Eggleton is in the running for the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.
Professor Ben Eggleton is in the running for the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

Seven individuals and a team from the Faculty of Veterinary Science have been named as finalists in the 2011 Eureka Prizes, commonly referred to as the Oscars of Australian science.

Presented annually by the Australian Museum, the Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of scientific research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism and communication.

The 2009 winner of the Eureka People's Choice Award, Associate Professor Kathy Belov, has been nominated once again, this time as part of a group shortlisted for the Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

Associate Professor Belov and her colleagues from across Australia - known as the The Devils' Advocates - are collaborating across disciplines to try to save the Tasmanian Devil from with extinction from a contagious cancer.

Belov, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, discovered one of the key reasons the disease has affected the devils so badly is the lack of genetic diversity within the devil population.

Associate Professor David Moss, from the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science, has been nominated for the Eureka Prize for Innovation in Computer Science.

Moss has been recognised for his breakthrough work incorporating light onto silicon computer chips. His research will be critical to overcoming many of the energy and bandwidth bottlenecks for on-chip and chip to chip communications, and will play a key role in enabling silicon photonic chips.

Professor Manfred Lenzen, Dr Christopher Dey and Dr Joy Murray, from the School of Physics, have been jointly nominated for the Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change.

Their work involves adapting economic theory to estimate the impacts of our actions by using mathematics, large scale data handling, high performance computing and integrated science.

They head up the Integrated Sustainability Analysis team, a multi-disciplinary research group that has developed a model to calculate all supply chain interactions in economies, from local to global scale, and simultaneously link them to greenhouse gas emissions and other important indicators such as land, energy and water use.

(Clockwise from top left) Dr Christopher Dey, Professor Manfred Lenzen and Dr Joy Murray have been jointly nominated for the Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change.
(Clockwise from top left) Dr Christopher Dey, Professor Manfred Lenzen and Dr Joy Murray have been jointly nominated for the Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change.

Research by a Faculty of Veterinary Science team in Professor Paul McGreevy's lab into the practice of horse whipping in the racing industry has earned them a place as finalists in the Scientific Research that Contributes to Animal Protection category.

Estimates from the Australian racing industry's own data suggest racehorses suffer more than a million whippings annually. While the industry seeks to justify whip use by claiming it enhances performance and safety, Professor McGreevy's team's data demonstrate that whipping tired horses in the name of sport is difficult to defend.

Professor Ben Eggleton, Director of CUDOS, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Photonics, with over 130 researchers from seven Australian Universities, is in the running for the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

Professor Eggleton is a world recognised scientist at the forefront of the exciting field of photonics and optical physics.

The judges chose him for his outstanding record of multidisciplinary research leadership in Australia and the US, and his ability to develop and lead breakthrough science and technology and translate discoveries into commercial realities.

Professor Rick Shine, School of Biological Sciences, is shortlisted for the Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. Professor Shine is one of Australia's foremost researchers in ecology and evolution, and is one of this country's most widely heard science communicators.

His websites, media appearances and magazine articles have replaced myths with fact, and transformed the public debate about cane toads.

The prizes will be presented at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion on 6 September, where $240,000 in prize money will be awarded across a range of categories.


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Media enquiries: Ben Wilson, 9114 0748, 0402 128 073, ben.wilson@sydney.edu.au