Top Sydney academics have Eureka moment
18 August 2010
Two University of Sydney researchers have won 2010 Eureka Prizes - one of the nation's most prestigious science awards - in recognition of their outstanding scientific contributions.
Dr John Forge, Research Associate at the University's Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, won the Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics for his book, The Responsible Scientist: A Philosophical Inquiry, which examines the social, moral and legal responsibilities faced by scientists.
The prize is awarded for the investigation of theoretical or practical ethical issues published in a book, monograph, or a series of related articles, which contributes to the understanding and development of ethical standards.
Dr Forge argues scientists do carry a moral obligation for their research, whether they are engaged in applied or pure science, and where the end use is unknown.
Honorary Professor Bruce Sutton from the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources shared the Eureka Water Research and Innovation Prize with Associate Professor Greg Leslie, from the UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology at the University of NSW.
Their project, the Reverse Osmosis Capable Drip Irrigation System, lets plants draw water through salt filters in irrigation pipes at their roots, using tiny amounts of energy naturally created by evaporation at their leaves.
Described as the most significant irrigation innovation based on theoretical science in at least a decade, this work may soon be providing a lifeline for farms across Australia. It means that in future droughts it may be possible for farmers to efficiently tap into groundwater that would otherwise have remained out of bounds.
The winners received their awards at a prestigious ceremony last night attended by more than 800 of the country's top scientists, politicians and celebrities in the Randwick Pavilion at Sydney's Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Seven University scientists were also finalists in the Eureka awards. They include:
- Professor David Celermajer from the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for the Leadership in Science Prize. A distinguished medical scientist, Professor Celermajer's greatest strength has been in nurturing the careers of young medical graduates.
- Associate Professor Paul McGreevy from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, for the Animal Protection Research Prize. Having previously drawn attention to the problems emerging from pedigree dog breeding, Associate Professor McGreevy's research has shown the relationship between breed standards and genetic disorders in dogs.
- Associate Professor David Moss from the School of Physics for the Innovation in Computer Science Prize. Associate Professor Moss has invented a laser optical source with multiple wavelengths that can be used to transmit information optically over existing silicon (CMOS) integrated circuits.
- Professor Manfred Lenzen, Dr Christopher Dey and Dr Joy Murray shared a finalist nomination in the Innovative Solutions to Climate Change Prize. Working as the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) Team, they have adapted input-output theory to estimate the impacts of our actions on greenhouse gas emissions.
- Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths, an Honorary Associate in the School of Physics, was shortlisted for the Eureka Prizes People's Choice Award 2010 for scientific research. As a senior post-doctoral fellow at CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility, Professor McClure-Griffiths has created a map of hydrogen in the Milky Way which gives insights into how the galaxy was created.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes turned 21 this year and continue to reward excellence in scientific leadership and research, science in schools and science communication. For the first time, the awards also included prizes for Early Career Research, Outstanding Medical Research Translation, Innovation in Computer Science, and Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge.
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