Four Young Tall Poppies for Sydney University

24 October 2008

Four outstanding University of Sydney researchers received New South Wales Young Tall Poppy Science Awards at a special reception at NSW Parliament House on Thursday 23 October.

The prestigious Young Tall Poppy Science Awards identify and acknowledge outstanding young Australian researchers, as part of the Tall Poppy Campaign created by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

The awards recognise and celebrate Australian scientific and intellectual excellence and aim to encourage younger Australians to follow in the footsteps of the outstanding achievers who win the awards. Award winners are engaged in an education program to foster a stronger interest in science in schools and the broader community.

Two University of Sydney Faculty of Science researchers won 2008 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for NSW: Professor Bryan Gaensler, from the School of Physics, and Dr Peter Rutledge, from the School of Chemistry.

Professor Bryan Gaensler studies the static and crackle of the radio waves produced by stars and galaxies to study magnetic fields in the universe. Bryan's research examines the role magnetic fields in space play in the evolving universe and involves the development of new equipment and technology which has wide applicability in other areas. He has received eight major awards and fellowships including Young Australian of the Year (1999) and the NASA Long Term Space Astrophysics Award. Bryan has given many public addresses including the 2001 Australia Day Address to the Nation and hundreds of lectures for school students and the general public.

Dr Peter Rutledge applies the tools of chemistry to tackle important medical and environmental challenges such as combating super bugs, improving technologies to detect and clean up toxic pollutants, and studying key biological processes used in the industrial manufacture of antibiotics. Peter's research crosses many areas of chemistry including developing new antibiotics and designing new catalysts. Peter has won many awards and scholarships during his career including the President's Award for Research from the University College in Dublin, Ireland. As the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's Nyholm Youth Lecturer, Peter has presented chemistry lectures to hundreds of Year 10 students in NSW.

Two other University of Sydney researchers won 2008 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for NSW:

Dr Kathy Belov, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, studies immunity, health and disease in native wildlife such as Tasmanian devils, wallabies, platypuses and koalas. She has found a direct link between loss of genetic diversity and the emergence of a new disease in the devils.

Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers, from The George Institute for International Health, conducts studies to measure injury in motor vehicle accidents and contributes to effective injury prevention programs, with a focus on young drivers.

The 2008 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards were presented by University of Sydney Chancellor and Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, and the NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research, the Hon Tony Stewart MP.

Selected for their achievements and passion for communicating science, the Young Tall Poppy winners now have the opportunity to take their research to school students around the country as part of the Tall Poppy Campaign.

The NSW/ACT Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are principally supported by the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research as part of Science EXPOSed. The NSW Tall Poppy Campaign is also supported by Macquarie University and the NSW Department of Education and Training, with national support through the Department of Health and Ageing.

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 21560d28165b117b365b54072c21361f025f0f02065c361b