Three of our scientists have won awards from the Royal Society of NSW, announced at the society's Ordinary General Meeting on 7 December.
“Congratulations to our three prize winners – the prizes recognise outstanding research across our science disciplines. It’s wonderful to see our scientists celebrated from early-career to mid-career to lifetime achievement,” said Professor Phil Gale, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Science.
The winners will receive their prizes at the Royal Society of NSW’s Annual Dinner on 10 March 2023.
Professor Anita Ho-Baillie, from the School of Physics in the Faculty of Science, and Sydney Nano, has won the Warren Prize, which recognises research of national or international significance by early- or mid-career engineers and technologists.
Professor Ho-Baillie is a pioneer in the development of next-generation solar cells that are key to transitioning to a carbon-free-economy. Focussing on multi-junction solar cells, the aim of her research is to increase their power conversion efficiency towards 40% and 50% when the efficiencies of commercially available silicon solar cells are around 25%.
In addition, her recent breakthroughs in improving the durability of perovskite solar cells are critical steps towards commercial viability.
Despite the early stage of her career, her outstanding contributions to the important field of energy research are recognised around the world. Four times a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher, in 2021 she was named Top Australian Researcher in Sustainable Energy by The Australian and by leading journal ACS Energy Letters, one of 30 leaders in advancing perovskite solar cells and one of 40 Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research in the World.
Dr Tim Doherty, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science, has won the Edgeworth David Medal, which recognises distinguished contributions by a young scientist under the age of 35.
Dr Doherty has made extraordinary contributions in predator-prey dynamics, movement ecology and fire ecology, emerging as a pre-eminent scientist of his generation in developing these fields and in exploring how each is influenced by human modification of the environment.
Dr Doherty’s transformative insights have been achieved by combining field observations and experiments with novel theoretical frameworks and global syntheses, with his findings published in the highest impact journals.
His key contributions include revealing that invasive predators have contributed to more than 50% of bird, mammal and reptile extinctions globally, and conducting applied field research on fire and invasive species that informs conservation policy and management.
Emeritus Professor Stephen Gaukroger, from the School of History and Philosophy of Science in the Faculty of Science, has won the History and Philosophy of Science Medal which recognises outstanding achievement in the history and philosophy of science with preference being given to the study of ideas, institutions, and individuals of significance to the practice of the natural sciences in Australia.
Emeritus Professor Gaukroger continues to publish world-class research. Having held two consecutive ARC Professorial Fellowships, over the last 20 years he has taken on what one reviewer referred to as 'a project of breathtaking ambition' – a detailed probing of the way in which science has shaped European culture and has been shaped by it.
His work gives an authoritative account of the development of mechanics, matter theory, and life sciences, exploring issues such as science and religion, science and European political culture, and popularisations of science.