Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo

Inspiring accomplishments by our women in STEMM

8 February 2019
Meet three University of Sydney women who are breaking down the stereotypes and inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in STEMM.

In the quest for gender equality, United Nations has declared 11 February as the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. A day to inspire girls to choose STEMM related subjects at school and women to pursue a career in a STEMM related field.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 percent of all female students select STEMM related subjects in higher education. Globally, female student enrolment is particularly low in tech (3 percent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 percent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 percent).

Quantum on the edge with Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo

Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo

Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo. 
Photo by Jayne Ion.

In a world-first demonstration of topologically protected biphoton states, physicist Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo has opened up a pathway to use light to develop a new type of qubit, the building blocks for quantum computers.

“What we have done is develop a novel lattice structure of silicon nanowires, creating a particular symmetry that provides unusual robustness to the photons’ correlation. The symmetry both helps create and guide these correlated states, known as ‘edge modes’,” said Dr Blanco-Redondo, the Messel Research Fellow in the School of Physics.

Attempts to unleash the potential of quantum technology using superconductors and trapped ions have shown promise, but they are highly susceptible to electromagnetic interference, making them devilishly difficult to scale up into useful machines.

The use of photons – packets of light energy – rather than electrons has been one proposed alternative upon which to build logic gates that can calculate quantum algorithms.

Quantum on the Edge: read more about Dr Andrea Blanco-Redondo's research.

Tackling the fundamentals of Western Sydney health with Professor Clara Chow

Professor Clara Chow

Professor Clara Chow

Professor Clara Chow, Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre, is adamant that collaboration is the key to improving western Sydney’s chronic health challenges.

“Health is multifaceted,” says Professor Chow, who is also a cardiologist at the University of Sydney’s Westmead Clinical School  at Westmead Hospital.

“It’s affected by many factors, including income, information, education, lifestyle and the environment. Our research focus is on digital health and working with various disciplines and across industries on mhealth (mobile health) technologies, which are a novel, exciting, and expanding field in medicine that will potentially transform healthcare delivery by improving access to treatments that would otherwise require frequent clinic or hospital visits.

"It’s an exciting time to be part of the University’s Westmead campus and its Living Lab strategy, which allows us to work together to create scalable solutions to address real world problems.  Almost half of Australians have chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and in western Sydney these chronic illnesses are more prevalent and its diverse community presents a range of complex health needs and social circumstances that need to be considered in designing treatments.

 “At WARC we are conducting several mHealth interventions, personalized text messages targeting lifestyle measures which are designed to deliver secondary prevention to patients with cardiovascular disease and which target multiple risk factors simultaneously.  We know from our global research that this support makes a real difference to people’s health following treatment for heart disease,” explains Professor Chow.

New centre uses apps to raise health in Sydney's west: read more about Professor Chow's centre 

A beautiful life enabled by technology and opportunity with Thanh Van Dang

Thanh Van Dang telling her own inspiring story at TEDx BaDinh 2017

Thanh Van Dang telling her own inspiring story at TEDx BaDinh 2017

Thanh Van Dang’s inspiring journey from market-seller to entrepreneur shows what can happen when young women are empowered to lead. 

Thanh Van Dang is Founder and CEO of Savvycom, one of 2017’s Top 30 Global Mobile App Developers. She built the company from the ground up and now leads a team of 100 engineers – a significant achievement for anyone but particularly for a woman from the rural provinces of Vietnam.

It’s the kind of success she hopes will inspire others to achieve with hard work and perseverance. Van continues to be one of a few successful women in technology, not only in Vietnam but worldwide.

“Four years living and studying in Australia opened my mind. Back then my goal was to leave poverty, but now I am driven to succeed and to not only support other women, but to create an oasis where women can support each other,” says Van.

A beautiful life enabled by technology and opportunity: read more about Thanh Van Dang's journey

Rachael Di-Masi

Marketing Communications Officer (Science)

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