Quantum physicist named Australian of the Year
Canberra: Quantum physicist Michelle Yvonne Simmons has been named Australian of the Year for her work launching Australian “into the space race of the computing era.”
Simmons was honoured at a ceremony in Canberra on Thursday night ahead of Australia Day alongside Australia’s Local Hero, mathematician Eddie Woo, Senior Australian of the Year Graham Farquhar and Matildas striker Sam Kerr, named Young Australian of the Year.
Simmons and her team in 2013 developed the world’s first transistor made of a single atom and the world’s thinnest wire, Xinhua news agency reported.
She is now working on building a quantum computer capable of solving problems that would otherwise take thousands of years in minutes.
“We have proven time and again that Australian researchers have some unique advantages,” Simmons said in her acceptance speech.
“We collaborate across boundaries but we also compete hard. We’re down to earth, we are judged by results and we believe in what is real.
“Our distaste for authority means we think for ourselves. Best of all, we are prepared to give those hard challenges a go.
“I firmly believe there is nowhere else in the world better to do scientific research and challenge what’s possible.”
Eddie Woo was honoured in recognition of his YouTube channel where he regularly posts educational maths videos for more than 10,000 subscribers worldwide.