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The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science awards live streamed from 6pm to 7pm AEDT, Wednesday 28 October.

The video is available on demand.

Transcript

[Music plays and images move through various views of the medallions for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science]

[Image changes to show a single medallion rotating to a facing position and the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and words ‘Australian Government’ can be seen in the top left corner and text appears: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science]

Professor Alan Duffy: Welcome to the presentation for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. Australia’s most prestigious awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation, and excellence in science teaching. For more information on the 2020 prize recipients visit INDUSTRY.GOV.AU/PMSCIENCEPRIZES or follow the Prizes on Twitter at SCIENCEGOVAU. I now call upon Miss Selina Walker, Ngunnawal Leader, for the Welcome to Country.

[Image changes to show Selina Walker talking to the camera and text appears on the left: Welcome to Country: A Traditional Custodian, Ms Selina Walker, Ngunnawal Leader]

Selina Walker: Yuma. Gulangga Djalina Walga. Dharuwa Nguna Dharuwa Ngunnawal. Hello. My name is Selina Walker and this is Ngunnawal country. I'm here to do your welcome to country online. I would like to start by acknowledging any other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that have joined us. Welcome my brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. I would like to extend that to all our non-Indigenous friends that have joined us. I would also like to pay respects to my Elders past, present and emerging and extend that to the Elders on whichever country you are joining us from today. The Ngunnawal community are the traditional custodians of Canberra and the region. You may not be aware that the Ngunnawal nation is made up of several family groups and not just individuals who represent this country. Therefore, as a community, we have an elected body known as the United Ngunnawal Elders Council to represent us along with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elected body of the ACT.

This is important for you to understand and acknowledge for our identity is a collective identity. There are other Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from around the nation, the country and the world who've come to live on Ngunnawal land. I would like to acknowledge and welcome you all. The tradition of welcoming the people to country is a practice that was handed down by our ancestors, old people and Elders from the beginning of time. Before entering another person's country, you would first announce your arrival and not enter until the traditional owner formally welcomed you. The reason for this practice was to protect your spirit whilst in another person's country and to show respect for the country which you are entering. It's wonderful to see that this practice is now recognised and respected. I suppose it's not like entering into someone's home unless you're first invited.

[Image continues to show Selina talking to the camera]

The Ngunnawal people, as within all Aboriginal people, have a great heritage that we would like to share with all Australians from every walk of life. As you are aware, Canberra means meeting place and Canberra has been a place of gathering for many Aboriginal tribes of Australia to come together, to do with important business and also for ceremonial purposes. Our Ngunnawal ancestors believe in the importance of people gathering to build relationships, share knowledge, and to celebrate the gift of heritage and history. We believe it's important for all to recognise our unique history. And to get an understanding that our land is our heritage and how loss of land has disconnected so many Aboriginal people from their spiritual links, cultural heritage, and identity. So on behalf of the Ngunnawal people I'd like to thank you for inviting me here. And I will now finish in the words of my people, the Ngunnawal people.

YUMALUNDI-NGUNNA-YARABI-YENGUE, which means you may leave footprints on our land now, or in other words, Welcome to Country. Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of the event.

[Image changes to show Professor Alan Duffy talking to the camera and text appears beneath: Professor Alan Duffy, Swinburne Astronomer, Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia]

Professor Alan Duffy: Good evening. My name is Alan Duffy, a Professor of Astrophysics at Swinburne University, and Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia, and more relevantly for right now, I’m your host for this year’s special presentation of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. Before we get started I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to Elders, past and present. I’d like to extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are joining us for this presentation. For more than 20 years the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science have been celebrated in the Great Hall of Parliament House but this year, as with so many areas of our lives, we’ve had to adapt to COVID-19.

[Camera zooms in on a close view of Alan talking to the camera]

By moving our celebration online, not only do we ensure the health and safety of our community, we open our celebration up to all Australians, in fact to everyone around the world. It is the kind of attention that science and the scientific community deserves now more than ever. And here together, we will shine a bright light on the remarkable achievements of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recipients. I encourage everyone watching this special event to share your congratulations, praise and support for this year’s prize recipients via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, using the #PMPrizes. To the recipients I want to personally thank each of you for your work. I am once again delighted to take part in recognising your contributions to science and science education.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

I would now like to invite the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Scott Morrison, to speak.

[Image changes to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera and text appears: The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison: It’s terrific to be with you once again as part of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. Can I begin of course by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people here in Canberra, their Elders, past, present and future. And I also want to say thank you to any veterans who are joining us as part of this event, as well as any serving members of our Defence forces, and say thank you for your service.

I know this event is normally a chance to swap that lab coat for something a bit more glamorous and to enjoy an evening together. And I’m sorry we can’t do that this way this year. But while this year is a bit different, what hasn’t changed is my determination to honour the work you do on behalf of all Australians. You’ve dedicated your lives to understanding our world in a bid to make it better. You’ve wrestled with society’s and the natural world’s biggest challenges. And this year, the whole country, including me, has leant on you as we face one of the biggest challenges in living memory, the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Image continues to show Scott Morrison talking to the camera]

Now, at every step, our response right across the country has relied on the best possible science, led by our amazing health experts, but with substantial contributions from the best scientific minds right across our country. Whether it’s modelling an outbreak’s growth, developing a fast and reliable COVID test, re-creating the genetic make-up of the COVID-19 virus, sharing it with the world, creating a COVID-safe economy, or our ongoing search for that vaccine.

Last year when I opened this event I said we were safe and healthy because of the work you do. Little did I know what the next year would bring to make that point all more clearer. Whilst we grieve the terrible losses from COVID-19, we can be very thankful of what we have achieved as a country, the lives that have been saved, the livelihoods that have also been saved. Our efforts are to get to the other side of this, and when we do it will be in no small part because of you, the men and women of Australia’s science and research community.

[Image continues to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera]

We also recognise how much of an impact the pandemic has had on you and the important work you do. That’s why the Budget, a recovery plan from COVID-19, invests $1 billion in additional research funding for our universities. There are increases in our investments through the Research and Development Tax Incentive. And it provides almost $460 million in further funding to the CSIRO to address the impact of COVID-19 on its commercial activities.

This is all about maintaining our critical science and research capability that we know will be just as important in the recovery as it has been during the pandemic. We have a long and proud history of scientific excellence in Australia, from Sir Howard Florey who developed the first reliable penicillin treatment in the 1940s, to the amazing Peter Doherty who cracked the code on how our immune system identifies cells infected with viruses, to Elizabeth Blackburn who uncovered the genetic workings of telomeres.

[Image continues to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera]

And right now our best minds are working to create a vaccine to protect against COVID-19. Australia is playing its part. Our COVID-19 vaccine and treatment strategy gives us a framework to secure early access to safe and effective vaccines and treatments. Around the world there are 42 vaccine candidates that are at the human clinical trial stage. Five of those are being trialled right here in Australia, and you can imagine I’m looking forward to getting the results of those trials.

But you know, how good would it be? We just want a vaccine for the world, but how good would it be if it’s Australian scientists that are able to crack this and share this with the world. Because if an effective vaccine is discovered we will share it with the world. And I know that’s what you’d want us to do.

That’s what happened when we were able to genetically map the COVID-19 virus down there at the Doherty Institute and University of Melbourne. An amazing achievement for Australian science. Sharing it with the world is what Australians would do because that’s our obligation, globally, morally. And it’s a pledge I’ve made on behalf of all Australians including our scientific community.

[Image continues to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera]

You know, the past several months have seen COVID touch every aspect of our lives and we’ve had to respond in so many ways; protecting lives, livelihoods, economically, socially, protecting people’s mental health. There have been so many actions. And to guide us in all this, of course people in government don’t have all the answers, and so I’ve drawn on the best of Australia. On the onset of this pandemic our Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, established the Rapid Research Information Forum. This forum harnesses expertise of our leading scientific institutions and provides factual, science-based answers on the pandemic for ministers. Without advice from the best minds in our science community we could not have acted as swiftly, or as confidently, or as effectively as we have.

So, I want to take this opportunity to say to all of you who are involved, thank you for your service to our country, and the world more broadly. I particularly want to thank Dr Finkel for his tremendous advice across so many fronts. For his passion, for his knowledge, for his expertise, from the Technology Investment Roadmap, to his work leading the National Hydrogen Strategy. His term as Chief Scientist is finishing soon, and even now he works with us on a digital overlay for contact tracing, working with our states and territories to ensure that their contact tracing arrangements are as good and as digitally enabled as they possibly can be. He’s done our nation a great service and it won’t cease in this role; I have no doubt. We will continue to draw on Alan in so many ways because he’s always been so keen to serve his country with the great gift that he’s been given. I wish him well as he embarks on the next stage of his extraordinary life.

[Image continues to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera]

To our scientific community, thank you for all you’ve done to help Australia respond to this pandemic. To our researchers, thank you for the urgency with which you’ve tackled what 2020 has thrown at you. You’ve burned the midnight oil and it’s appreciated. When I was up at the University of Queensland recently, talking to those leading the UQ vaccine team, I said, “Look if you’re getting a hard time for getting home late because you’ve been working back, tell them you get a leave pass from me.” The work they’re doing, like so many of our scientific community, is just so incredibly important for all of us. Our scientific community will continue to be at the forefront of our response and our recovery also.

My government’s new Modern Manufacturing Strategy, developed by Minister Karen Andrews, is all about building on our strengths. And our science and research and technology sectors are all real strengths for our nation. The strategy will see us connect these sectors with industry, including the aerospace industry, the space industry, which I know Minister Andrews, Karen, is so excited about, and they’re very excited down there with Premier Marshall in South Australia, doing great work.

It would lead to more investment in things like technology commercialisation. It will lead to better collaboration between government, industry and research – a key challenge. Stronger partnerships, which you know are needed. All of this will help create a stronger economy. Australia will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the COVID-19 recession. I know that, you know that. In this Budget, I made one assumption only, really, and that was about the Australian people, and that includes the men and women of our scientific community, their dedication, their determination. We will do it with the science continuing to be at its very best, on the health front, as well as the economic front, keeping us safe, helping us recover, saving lives, saving livelihoods.

[Image continues to show the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talking to the camera]

So, it is tonight, we celebrate your work. We celebrate an Australian community that has been at its very best this year. And necessarily so. The nation has called on you and you have stepped up and I’m incredibly proud, of not what just you’ve achieved, but the way you’ve gone about achieving it. So, on behalf of a grateful nation, I say thank you. And congratulations of course to tonight’s recipients on your outstanding efforts. Of course this year we’ve been very focussed on the challenges of COVID-19, but for so many of those who will be honoured tonight, it reflects your commitment and passion and discipline in the areas that you’ve been working on over a long period of time. It’s all important; it all makes a contribution. And I’m so pleased that despite not being able to glam up tonight, your achievements will still be standing very tall. Congratulations and thank you.

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera again]

Professor Alan Duffy: Prime Minister, thank you for those words. It’s now time to announce our prize recipients starting with the science teaching prizes. These prizes are awarded to teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to science, mathematics, or technology education. Our first prize is the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.

[Camera zooms in on Alan talking to the camera]

This year’s recipient has taught in the Australian Capital Territory since 2003. She is renowned for using her deep knowledge of the curriculum, teaching skills, and understanding of her students, to develop flexible, engaging and quality programs. Her efforts not only benefit Bonython Primary School, where she is the STEM Specialist Teacher, but have far reaching impact across the ACT. Our recipient has developed and leads the STEM Specialist Primary Teacher Network that promotes sharing STEM related teaching ideas and opportunities, and she has been an active member on the Council for Science Educators Association of the Australian Capital Territory for 15 years. These are just two examples of her tireless support of colleagues and the broader education sector across the ACT. Would you please give a rapturous digital applause to the recipient of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, Mrs Sarah Fletcher.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Mrs Sarah Fletcher]

[Images move through tins of coloured pencils, post it notes stuck onto posters posing science questions, and the Bonython Primary School entrance sign]

Sarah Fletcher: My name’s Sarah Fletcher and I’m the STEM Specialist Teacher at Bonython Primary School in the ACT.

[Image changes to show Sarah sitting in a classroom and talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Sarah sitting at a table with a group of students working on an electronic project]

I’ve been teaching for 18 years now and 13 of those years have been as a STEM Specialist Teacher.

[Camera zooms in on Sarah talking to the students and then images move through of Sarah and colleagues working on laptops and talking around tables]

I think the thing that’s set me apart to be recognised in the Prime Minister’s Prizes was the work that I do for teachers with other teachers.

[Image changes to show Sarah talking to the camera]

I created the Primary STEM Teacher Workshop as a response to a questionnaire that I sent out to all ACT teachers.

[Image changes to show a profile view of Sarah talking to the camera]

What I found was that not only did teachers not know what was out there, they didn’t know where to look to find it. And I thought, “I can solve that problem.”

[Images move through of students working on electronic projects around a table, Sarah leaning over the table and helping them, a close view of Sarah talking to students, and Sarah and colleagues talking]

In Australia, we have so many industry providers that go out of their way to make sure that they have fantastic education resources; and my job is to connect teachers with those providers, to connect teachers with teachers.

[Image changes to show Sarah in the classroom talking to the camera and then the image changes to show students working on electronic projects around a table, and then Sarah helping the students]

The ANU Science Enrichment Day is an event that I established when I realised that there’s a lot of confusion among kids about the educational pathway they need to take to attain a career in science.

[Images move through of a close view of the students’ hands working on the electronic project, a view looking down on the students at work, and a profile view of Sarah talking to the camera]

That event invites schools from the Tuggeranong region to nominate students to work through real science problems for a day in a university laboratory, which they just find absolutely, incredibly amazing.

[Images move through of Sarah talking to the students as they work at the table, a close view of a student working on an electronic project, and a group of very young students looking at a snail]

Science in primary schools is such an important thing because that’s when they’re discovering their world around them.

[Images move through of a close view of the child watching the snail on the plate]

It’s like watching a child walk for the first time.

[Image changes to show a student stroking a blue tongue lizard and then the image changes to show Sarah working with students using tins and string to perform a sound experiment]

I get to share in them truly understanding things for the very first time in their lives.

[Camera zooms in on two of the students and then the images move through to show Sarah working with students in the classroom at a desk, and then Sarah talking to the class]

It means so much to me personally to be recognised as a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science for Excellence in Primary Teaching.

[Image changes to show Sarah picking up a snail from a student’s plate and then the image changes to show Sarah talking to the camera]

But more than that, the inclusion of a teaching prize, or two teaching prizes, within the Prizes is a testament to the role that education plays in creating the scientists of the future.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Mrs Sarah Fletcher]

[Image changes to show a close view of Sarah talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion can be seen on the left and text beneath: Mrs Sarah Fletcher]

I’m honoured to receive the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. And I’d like to thank the selection committee for selecting me as this year’s award recipient. I’d like to thank my family. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my parents, my husband Ian, and my children, William and James.

The Science Educators Association of the ACT has played a large role in my development, and I thank Vicki Stavropoulos for encouraging me to join Council. Thank you to my colleagues, both teachers and those within the science industry. Teaching science is so much more rewarding when we can share our experiences. I’ve been fortunate in my career to be in schools which value and encourage innovation. And I’d like to thank both Greg Terrell and Matt Holdway for encouraging me to take risks, innovate, and dream big. My time at the Australian National University was a turning point in my life and I’d like to thank Professor Scott Keogh for believing in me and fostering the passion I have for science today.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my past, present, and future students. Thank you for allowing me to share your exploration and your excitement as you discover and truly understand the world around you.

[Image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion and text beneath: Mrs Sarah Fletcher]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera]

Professor Alan Duffy: Our second science teaching prize is the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools. For 28 years, Willetton Senior High School in Western Australia has benefitted from this recipient’s passion for science, and expertise in applying it to real world problems.

[Image changes to show a close view of Alan talking to the camera]

Our recipient has led students in the construction of a full-sized, solar-powered car, that has now been driven twice across a 1,000 km section of the Nullarbor. He’s established science based extracurricular clubs across a diversity of fields, involving his students in everything from chess to ocean conservation, and he was instrumental in ensuring an observatory was added to Willetton’s new science building.

This makes Willetton the only public school in the state with a fully robotic, 36cm telescope which students can use from home. Where’s my log-in details? Notably his students created 3-D printed replicas of Swan River dolphins, to raise awareness among locals, and tourists of the harm caused by fishing line entanglement.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

It gives me great pleasure to announce the recipient of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, Mr Darren Hamley.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools medallion and text appears beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Mr Darren Hamley]

[Image changes to show the Willetton Senior High School sign, and then the image changes to show students walking past a Willetton Senior High School sign, and the camera zooms in on the sign]

Darren Hamley: My name is Darren Hamley. I’m the Co-ordinator of Gifted and Talented Education at Willetton Senior High School, which is one of the biggest schools in Western Australia.

[Image changes to show Darren Hamley talking to the camera]

I started as a Biologist but I decided to make the change to science teaching and I just haven’t looked back. I love every second of it.

[Image changes to show Darren and another male standing in front of the school buildings talking, and the camera zooms in on their faces]

My Principal asked me to come up with a new idea for the school and I said to him, “I’d really like to start a Gifted Program.”

[Image changes to show a close view of Darren talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show Darren standing at a whiteboard talking to students seated at desks]

And the program began with about ten kids meeting after school and quickly grew into a program now with 360 students and I have 17 staff.

[Image changes to show a close view of a hand writing numbers in a notebook and then the image changes to show Darren looking at a laptop and talking to students]

We do a test of academic potential, rather than a test of academic performance.

[Image changes to show Darren working on a chemistry experiment with students and then the image changes to show Darren looking through a microscope and adjusting it]

So, what we’re after is those students to come in with potential, and to turn that potential into talent.

[Images move through to show a student looking through the microscope, Darren and three students working with a robotic telescope and watching it move, and then Darren talking to the camera]

Willetton has as very, very long history of academic success in science and one of the key indicators is the number of students that go on to choose science subjects post-compulsory.

[Image changes to show Darren talking to the camera]

So, for example we have over 200 students studying physics which is really just unheard of.

[Image changes to show a close view looking up at the underneath of a solar car and then the image shows Darren and a student crawling underneath the car with a long piece of metal]

Probably our main achievement has been solar car. That’s the one that I’m really most proud of. So, I’ve had a group of 13 and 14 year old students that have built a road licensed, solar powered car. We believe it’s one of the first zero emission cars ever built in Australia.

[Images move through to show three students watching Darren reversing the solar car and talking to the students, the car’s steering wheel and controls, and then Darren driving the car forwards]

And I’ve driven this car for thousands of kilometres, twice from Darwin to Adelaide, twice we’ve done a little section of the Nullarbor, and next year we’re hoping to do a trip from Perth to Canberra, which is pretty ambitious, and it should take us about 20 days.

[Images move through of Darren and a student looking at a model dolphin and then the image changes to show Darren talking to the students and demonstrating the dolphin model]

Another initiative with the Gifted Program has been our dolphin research.

[Image changes to show Darren talking to the camera and then the image changes to show pieces of a model dolphin body inside a box]

And the main area we’ve been looking at here recently is how damage to dolphin dorsal fins affects how they swim.

[Image changes to show views of a 3-D printer printing dolphin models]

The students use photographs that I’ve taken to produce 3-D printed models of the dolphins.

[Image changes to show Darren and students testing swimming performance in a clear tube test tank by dropping the model from the top of the tube and watching it sink to the bottom]

And these one-eighth scale models are then used in test tanks to test their swimming performance.

[Image changes to show Darren talking to the camera]

And the ultimate aim of this project is to help raise awareness about how damage to dorsal fins can be caused by rubbish that’s left around our rivers.

[Image changes to show a close view of Darren holding up a potted plant and then the camera zooms out to show a student looking at the potted plant with Darren]

I really love being a science teacher.

[Image changes to show a student and Darren working on an electronic type project together and the camera zooms in on Darren’s face]

The fundamentals of science remain the same but I feel like I’m doing something different every single day.

[Image changes to show Darren and students working on a chemistry experiment]

To be recognised for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science was a great honour.

[Image changes to show Darren talking to the camera]

I’ve been working in science for over three decades, and I was absolutely over the moon when I found out that I’d been recognised.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Mr Darren Hamley]

[Image changes to show Darren Hamley talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools medallion on the left and text beneath: Mr Darren Hamley]

Recently I gave a group of my students the task of studying some galaxies using data from the Murchison Widefield Array Telescope. And one of my very brightest students, almost every day, would say to me, “Sir is there any chance we could win a Nobel Prize for this?” And I know he went home every night and talked non-stop to his parents about it. And this basically sums up my philosophy of a good education. I want projects so exciting the kids can’t stop talking about it and difficult enough to really stretch their academic legs.

I’d like to thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Minister Karen Andrews for this prize. I’d also like to thank one our amazing parents, Dr Paola Shivers for nominating me for the prize. Thank you very much Paola. And my incredible education assistant, Yolanda Pereira, who’s been with me for 25 years. Thank you again Yolanda. And I’d finally like to thank my wife, Michelle, and my two daughters, Sarah and Emily, for putting up with me coming home every night talking about dolphins, solar cars, and galaxies. Thank you very much.

[Image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Mr Darren Hamley]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera again]

Professor Alan Duffy: Congratulations once again Mr Darren Hamley. I would now like to invite the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Honourable Karen Andrews, to speak.

[Image changes to show Minister Karen Andrews talking to the camera and text appears: The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology]

Minister Karen Andrews: Hello, it’s great to be with you tonight. Despite COVID forcing us to celebrate differently, we celebrate you no less. Tonight we recognise and say thank you to the outstanding researchers, innovators, and educators who have dedicated their careers and lives to science.

Each of tonight’s prize recipients show us what it takes to make a difference to our world. You push the boundaries of knowledge, you enquire, you experiment, you teach. You see things as they are and imagine how they can be better. That’s science; always questioning, always inquisitive, always striving to improve lives, to improve the human condition, to serve the greater good. And the immense value and importance of science and our scientists has never been greater than it is today.

[Image continues to show Minister Karen Andrews talking to the camera]

COVID-19 has reinforced just how central science is to the world, to our lives, to our very survival. In the midst of this crisis it is the scientists to whom we have turned. I know Australians say thank you. And as Minister for Science, I can assure you that you will always have my support.

And to our recipients tonight, I know that in your daily work you’re respected and even revered by your peers and students. But now on the international stage an even brighter light shines on what you do. You now become role models and a source of inspiration. You personify the possibilities and sheer joy of science. Through your achievements you show the next generation that a life and career in science is something they can aspire to. We must all commit to showing our young people that science is for them. So tonight, on this most unusual of nights, I finish simply with this. Thank you.

[Image shows Minister Karen Andrews smiling at the camera and then the image changes to show Alan talking to the camera again]

Professor Alan Duffy: Thank you for those words Minister. Our next three prizes recognise an exceptional achievement in science that benefits, or has the potential to benefit, human welfare or society. The first of these prizes is the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.

[Camera zooms in on a close view of Alan talking to camera].

Our recipient is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics and its regulation in human health and disease. Over the past decade this recipient has made a range of ground breaking discoveries that have revolutionised the treatment of blood cancers.

His research has laid the foundation for more than 30 clinical trials, across more than 20 countries, providing access to potentially life-extending novel therapies for people with cancer.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

An Associate Director in research translation at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and member of the Centre of Cancer Research at The University of Melbourne. Can you please join me in virtually celebrating the recipient of the 2020 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, Professor Mark Dawson.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year medallion, and text appears beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Mark Dawson]

[Image changes to show Professor Mark Dawson and a colleague walking down a corridor towards the camera]

Professor Mark Dawson: My name is Professor Mark Dawson.

[Image changes to show a view of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre]

I’m a Clinician Scientist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

[Image changes to show Mark talking to the camera]

As a Clinician Scientist I’m both a doctor and a scientist.

[Images move through of Mark looking at a computer, a nurse jotting down notes, fluid being syringed into a pipette, droplets being placed in petri dishes, and Mark looking at x-ray type film with a colleague in a laboratory]

As a doctor I help look after patients with blood cancers, particularly a cancer called acute leukaemia, which sadly remains an incurable disease in the majority of adult patients.

[Images move through of Mark and a colleague in a lab, an image of cancer cells on a laptop screen, a researcher walking into a lab, liquid being syringed, a row of test tubes, and Mark looking at a screen with a colleague]

This fact inspires our scientific research which aims to understand how cancers develop, how they perpetuate, and how they evade the most effective therapies we currently have.

[Images move through of a side view of Mark in conversation wearing a face mask, a model of a DNA strand and a cancer cell, a close view of Mark working on a laptop, and a close view of the screen]

Ultimately my goal, as a Clinician Scientist, is to develop novel drugs that improve the outcomes for patients with cancer.

[Image shows animated models of DNA strands on the screen and arrows appear pointing to part of the DNA and text appears: Sticking]

Epigenetics is the expression of the right genes at the right place and in the right tissues.

[Image changes to show liquid being syringed into a tray, a researcher using the syringe, and then models of DNA strands, and arrows appear pointing to the DNA strand and text appears: Changes to DNA code]

What we have learnt over the last decade is that as cancers develop they develop mutations in genes for epigenetic regulators.

[Camera zooms out on the model on the screen and then the image changes to show a rear view of Mark walking into a lab]

And this results in the abnormal gene expression that underpins and drives cancer.

[Images move through to show Mark walking down a corridor, Mark talking to the camera, a young Mark squeezing liquid in a pipette, and then Mark talking again]

I still remember the time when I looked down the microscope after treating some cancer cells with a new epigenetic therapy and seeing that all of these cells were dead.

[Image changes to show model dead model cancer cells and then the image changes to show Mark holding a piece of film up, and then the image changes to show a close view of a model of a cell]

This really was one of the first fundamental examples that epigenetic therapies may be great anti-cancer drugs.

[Images move through to show a hand operating machine dials, Mark and a colleague walking towards the camera, a researcher taking a sample from a freezer, and a researcher syringing liquid]

Every global pharmaceutical company now has a pipeline for epigenetic drug discovery.

[Images move through of Mark working on the computer, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre sign on the building, and then an aerial view of the Cancer Centre Building]

And we have contributed to this, including in a recent home-grown example where a collaboration in Melbourne has resulted in a global commercial partnership with a pharmaceutical company to bring forward a new epigenetic therapy into the clinic.

[Image changes to show Mark talking to the camera]

I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.

[Images move through of Mark talking to his various team members, Mark talking to the camera, and then Mark and a colleague walking towards the camera]

This recognition is also wonderful for my team and my collaborators to help inspire us to move forward with our scientific vision which is to use discovery science to inform clinical practice.

[Images move through of Mark and a colleague working in the lab and then the image changes to show Mark standing in a corridor wearing a face mask and looking at the camera]

I also hope that my work inspires the next generation of clinician scientists.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year medallion, and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Mark Dawson]

[Image changes to show Professor Mark Dawson talking to the camera and the Frank Fenner Prize Life Scientist of the Year medallion appears on the left and text beneath: Professor Mark Dawson]

I’m incredibly humbled to have been awarded the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year. Let me start by thanking the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology for this honour. Whilst I am the grateful recipient of this award here today, it really is a recognition of the amazing clinicians and scientists that have worked in my laboratory over the years.

I’m also greatly indebted to our collaborators, both in academia and in industry. Their partnership and support have underpinned our success. Along my academic journey, I’ve had a great many clinical and scientific mentors. And of the many giants I have leant on along the way, there are two that deserve special recognition, my father and my mother. Whilst neither of them are clinically or scientifically trained, their unwavering support, over the years, has been the most influential.

[Image continues to show Mark talking to the camera]

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my family. My children, Noah and Jack, who provide me on a daily basis the perspective of what is truly important in life. And to my inspirational wife, Sarah-Jane, who is a brilliant clinician scientist and a wonderful mother and wife. Much of what I have achieved would not have been possible without your help. Thank you.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year medallion, and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Mark Dawson]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera again]

Professor Alan Duffy: Thank you Professor Mark Dawson, and once again congratulations on your recognition. The next prize is the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year.

[Camera zooms in on Alan talking to the camera]

Our recipient is a world leading researcher in the field of thin-film solar photovoltaics, a field that is focussed on the direct conversion of sunlight into electric power. She has advanced a new line of greener solar cells made from sulphide kesterite, an emerging earth-abundant and non-toxic thin-film material, which is changing the way we think about producing renewable solar energy. Beyond the environmental significance of this work, the commercial potential of this recipient’s pioneering technology is reflected in the competitive research grants of over $23 million that her work has attracted within the last decade.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

From UNSW Sydney, the recipient of the 2020 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year is Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao.

[Music plays and image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Malcolm McIntosh Prize medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing]

[Images move through of a hand lifting a sample of yellow liquid in a container from a machine, and then the image changes to show Professor Xiaojing looking at the sample]

Scientia Professor Xiaojing Hao: I’m Xiaojing Hao.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing Hao talking to the camera]

My role at the UNSW is Scientia Associate Professor at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering.

[Image changes to show a side view of Xiaojing Hao smiling]

I’m currently also Australian Research Council Future Fellow.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing working on a computer and the camera zooms in on her face and then the image changes to show the sun shining through clouds in the sky]

The aim of my research is to squeeze more electricity out of sunlight.

[Images move through to show Xiaojing smiling outside of the UNSW Energy Technologies Building, Xiaojing talking, a profile view of Xiaojing talking in a laboratory, and Xiaojing looking at a solar cell]

My research at UNSW has been recognised by our leadership in three thin-film solar cell technologies, including five world record efficiencies for abundant, non-toxic, and stable kesterite solar cells.

[Images move through Xiaojing and a colleague operating a machine, an aerial view of a solar farm, solar panels on a house roof, and an aerial view of solar panels being installed on a roof]

Traditionally we see silicone solar cells in solar farms or on our house roof.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing holding up thin film solar cells and comparing them]

What I’m doing is to integrate our thin-film solar cells with different types of surfaces and it can be flexible stainless steel, rigid glass, or even simply added on to silicone.

[Image changes to show a bank of solar panels and then the image changes to show an aerial view of solar panels on a large roof area]

These thin-film solar cells I’m working on can be used in various aspects of our daily life. We want to see them everywhere because we have solar energy everywhere.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Xiaojing and a colleague in conversation in the laboratory]

Mostly I love the research because I’m a curious seeker of the truth.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing talking to the camera]

From a very young age whenever I saw something I always felt there was a smarter and easier way to do it.

[Image changes to show a close view of Xiaojing operating a machine in the laboratory and then the image changes to show Xiaojing and a colleague operating different machines]

My aspiration of using solar power was seeded at a very young age. When I was five years old I tried using solar energy as a magical power to cook noodles.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing talking to the camera]

I wanted to be an innovator and a detective, so I became a scientist.

[Image changes to show Xiaojing and a colleague in conversation, and then the image changes to show Xiaojing talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a profile of Xiaojing smiling]

To be recognised by the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, I’m really honoured about that one. It’s really good to put our research work under the spotlight and further helping us to promote our research work and research achievement.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao]

[Image changes to show Xiaojing talking to the camera and the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year medallion appears on the left of the screen and text beneath: Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao]

Dear Prime Minister Morrison, Minister Karen Andrews, and friends. It’s a great honour for me to receive Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for the recognition of my work, making electricity from sunlight by using thin-film solar cells, and also for recognition of my field, solar photovoltaic. Solar photovoltaic is critically important, contributing towards saving our environment and our planet. This award is shared with all my research group members.

[Camera zooms in to show a close view of Xiaojing talking to the camera]

My mentor, Professor Martin Green, all my collaborators, and all those at UNSW who have supported this vital work for the past ten years. Special thanks to Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Australian Research Council for their continuous funding support. With their support we can concentrate our efforts on solving important problems facing photovoltaic.

[Camera zooms out to show Xiaojing talking to the camera]

Finally, I would especially like to thank my husband, Yansong Shen, for his endless support, encouraging me to pursue my vision, to push my work to its limits. A special thanks to our children, Emma and Jamie, for being so wonderful and independent, helping us to achieve our goals of family and do academic life. Thank you all.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Malcolm McIntosh Prize medallion and the text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera again]

Professor Alan Duffy: Thank you Scientia Associate Professor, Xiaojing Hao, and once again congratulations on your recognition. The next prize is the Prize for New Innovators. Our South Australian recipient has invented a new class of polymers that stand to provide sustainable solutions to some of humanity’s greatest challenges, namely ensuring clean air, fresh water, and sustainable food production.

[Camera zooms in on Alan talking to the camera]

The new class of polymers has proven effective in a range of real world applications such as removing mercury contamination from soil, retrieving oil after a large scale spill, enabling a non-toxic method for extracting gold from ores, and even facilitating a slow-release fertiliser to reduce nutrient runoff. This technology has already attracted external investment of over $15 million.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

Congratulations to the Research Leader at the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and recipient of the 2020 Prize for New Innovators, Associate Professor Justin Chalker.

[Music plays and image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prize for New Innovators medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Sciences, Associate Professor Justin Chalker]

[Image changes to show morning dew on grassy hill]

Associate Professor Justin Chalker: My name is Justin Chalker.

[Camera zooms in on leaves of a gum tree blowing in the wind and then the camera zooms in to show leaves crunching under Justin Chalker’s boots as he walks along a bush path]

I’m an Associate Professor at Flinders University and our research focuses on sustainable chemistry.

[Images move through to show a side view of Justin walking along a bush path, a rear view of Justin walking, a close view of Justin’s boots as he walks and then a side view of Justin looking at a tree]

My research interests centre on converting waste materials into valuable polymers that protect the environment.

[Image shows Justin holding and looking at leaves on the gum tree]

These materials are useful in a variety of applications.

[Image changes to show Justin in a lab talking to the camera]

They can capture heavy metal pollution such as mercury. They can clean up oil spills. These materials serve as components of slow release fertilisers.

[Camera zooms in on a side view of Justin talking to the camera]

And they can also be used to capture valuable metals such as gold.

[Images move through to show Justin swishing a sample of mercury, a close view of the mercury sample, and then Justin adjusting different gauges on equipment in a laboratory]

The use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining is extraordinarily harmful to both the miners and the environment.

[Image changes to show Justin and a colleague walking towards a river]

More than 20 million subsistence miners use mercury to extract gold from ore.

[Images move through to show Justin and a colleague squatting down and unpacking equipment out of a tackle box, and then a side view of Justin putting on a pair of waterproof waders]

Our team has developed a number of solutions to address this issue.

[Images move through to show Justin walking toward the river, various views of Justin and a colleague taking a water sample, the colleague labelling a sample, and Justin and the colleague in discussion]

We have mercury and cyanide free methods to extract and recover gold in a safer way, and we’ve also developed materials to capture the mercury pollution that has resulted from artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

[Images changes to show a side view of Justin and the colleague packing up the samples into a tackle box and in conversation by the river and then image changes to show Justin talking to the camera]

Clean Earth Technologies has invested heavily in South Australia to get a plan up and running to produce this material.

[Images move through of Justin talking, Justin and a researcher in discussion in a laboratory, a colleague looking at a piece of rubber, and then Justin watching as a colleague works in a laboratory]

They anticipate investing upwards of $5 million over the next five years to support this manufacturing in South Australia, as well as employ scientists and engineers in this technology.

[Image changes to show Justin emptying a bucket of soil into a sample box]

Over the next year our research is focussing on entirely new applications of our key materials.

[Camera zooms in on Justin taking a sample of rubber out and looking at it while in discussion with a colleague in a laboratory and then image changes to show a Justin talking to the camera]

These include new recyclable rubber, new plastics, new types of building materials that can ensure a sustainable built environment.

[Image changes to show Justin standing on a hill and slowly turning while looking out at a sunset view]

It’s an honour to be the recipient of the 2020 Prize for New Innovators.

[Image shows Justin looking at a sunset view and then the image changes to show Justin talking to the camera]

This award is a very humbling recognition of our work to translate academic discoveries into commercial products and services.

[Image changes to show a rock waterfall and then the image changes to show a side view of Justin looking up at the waterfall and around him]

I’m passionate about science and research because of the thrill of the discovery, the hunt to find things out.

[Image changes to show a side view of Justin talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Justin scooping out a sample of sand and adding it to a liquid in a laboratory]

In my field of chemistry I’m particularly attracted to the idea of building molecules and materials that have never existed before and then using them in applications that benefit humanity.

[Image changes to show Justin talking to the camera]

For aspiring scientists I would encourage you to stay curious, explore the world, and enjoy those discoveries. These are the true hallmarks of science.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prize for New Innovators medallion and the text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Associate Professor Justin Chalker]

[Image changes to show Associate Professor Justin Chalker talking to the camera and the Prize for New Innovators medallion can be seen on the left of the screen and text beneath: Associate Professor Justin Chalker]

It is a great honour to be the 2020 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for New Innovators. I’m grateful to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, for supporting this important initiative and showcasing the critical role of science in our society. I would like to congratulate all of the prize recipients. It is an inspiration to learn about your achievements and transformative work in science and science education. I would like to thank our industry partner, Clean Earth Technologies, for their extensive and continuing collaboration.

[Image continues to show Justin talking to the camera]

We are particularly proud of supporting their diverse, commercial activities in safe and sustainable gold mining, heavy metal remediation, oil spill clean-up, e-waste recycling, and precision fertilisers. I thank Flinders University for their extensive support of our research and commitment to facilitate commercialisation of our discoveries. Our achievements would not be possible without this network of support.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and creativity of our research team at Flinders University. It is a thrill to work with you and make discoveries that can have a positive impact on our environment. Thank you.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prize for New Innovators medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Associate Professor Justin Chalker]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera]

Professor Alan Duffy: Thank you Associate Professor Justin Chalker, and once again congratulations on your recognition. We have now reached the final two prizes in our science prizes category. The first is the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, which is awarded for the innovative translation of scientific knowledge into a commercially available product, service, or process that has had economic, social, and, where relevant, environmental benefits.

[Camera zooms in on Alan talking to the camera]

Our recipient has been recognised for his transformative work into how we address two of humanity’s most pressing challenges; the need for more efficient commercial waste recycling; and for boosting the performance of renewable energy storage. To address the first challenge, our recipient’s catalytic hydrothermal reactor converts high value, distillable liquids for integration into existing petro-chemical value chains. This technology unlocks the circular economy for waste materials. While nature takes millions of years to create fossil fuels, this reactor takes 20 minutes or less. It has attracted $100 million of international investment and provided 50 jobs in Australia already.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera again]

The other landmark achievement is this recipient’s creation of revolutionary zinc bromide batteries which promised to make renewable energy cheaper, safer, and more deployable, especially in hot and remote environments. This work is also responsible for establishing Gelion Technologies, a company that has raised $21 million over the last five years, and now employs 25 staff. Incredibly deserved congratulations to the recipient of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, The University of Sydney’s Professor Thomas Maschmeyer.

[Music plays and image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion, and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]

[Image changes to show a rear view of Professor Thomas Maschmeyer walking towards the university buildings]

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer: My name is Thomas Maschmeyer.

[Image changes to show a rear view of Thomas walking towards the entrance to the School of Chemistry]

I am Professor of Chemistry at The University of Sydney, and also Executive Chairman of Gelion Technologies.

[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera and then images move through to show aerial views looking down on a worksite showing tanks and pipes and then looking up at tall pipe structures]

In my area of research, my expertise is catalysis; that is to make chemical reactions go faster as well as being more selective.

[Images move through to show a bundle of plastic waste, plastic waste moving along a rotating tunnel, plastic waste pulp, black liquid pouring from a tap, and plastic bottles moving along a conveyer]

Through my work I’ve been able to help create a world beating technology that is able to refine plastic waste back into useable materials for the circular economy.

[Images move through of a front end loader shifting piles of plastic, a close view of the piles of plastic, and then plastic pieces floating in the ocean]

This helps to address a really pressing problem, that of plastic pollution in our environment, especially in the oceans.

[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera]

The yield of our product is about 30 to 40 per cent higher than of comparable technologies in the market.

[Images move through of a people looking at and discussing a Gelion battery, a row of the Gelion batteries powering a piece of equipment, and then a close view of the Gelion badge]

Another important piece of technology that I’ve been able to create is a energy storage technology based on zinc bromide.

[Images move through of two people talking and looking at a small round disc, and then the image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera again]

Our battery technology is really well suited for Australian conditions. It is able to run at high temperatures in a largely unmanaged system off-grid.

[Images move through of a close view of a blow torch directing a flame towards a small piece of gel held in tweezers, and then the image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera]

This is a solution particularly relevant to off-grid challenges, be they in agriculture, mining, or remote communities.

[Images move through to show tweezers picking up small pieces of gel from a petri dish, researchers talking, Thomas talking to the camera, and tweezers picking up a gel membrane from a petri dish]

Due to the efficient gel design, our battery is inherently safe and has lower operating costs than its competitors.

[Images move through of a researcher placing equipment on a benchtop, Thomas talking to the camera, a close view of coloured liquid in a test tube, Thomas talking to various researchers, and Thomas looking at a whiteboard with other researchers]

These two technologies have led to the creation of two companies, Licella and Gelion, who together have attracted more than $120 million of investment, and have led to more than 70 jobs being created in Australia.

[Images move through of Thomas walking through a laboratory, Thomas talking to the camera, and Thomas walking along the university verandah towards the camera]

What I love about science and research, especially as a chemist, creating a new molecule is exhilarating, but then creating a new process that goes global is breathtaking.

[Image changes to show a close view of Thomas writing on a whiteboard]

It is wonderful to have been recognised by the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation.

[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Thomas walking along an outdoor paved courtyard area]

I think it really sends a message that innovation in Australia is having an impact on a global level.

[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera again]

On a more personal level, it is of course wonderful as an immigrant, to be recognised in this manner by my adopted country.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion, and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]

[Image changes to show Professor Thomas Maschmeyer talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion on the left and text beneath: Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]

I’m deeply honoured to receive the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation and thank the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. As an immigrant, this recognition is a particular joy.

Heartfelt thanks to The University of Sydney where I started out in 1987. You built the foundation. It has been an absolute privilege to work with all the teams that have made this possible. It is really their achievement that is being celebrated tonight. I thank them very much. I would also like to thank the co-founder and CEO of Licella, Len Humphreys, who with Kim Sides and Donald Hector, is also Founding Director of Gelion. You have all helped an academic realise his dreams and more. Many thanks also to my nominator, Andrew Holmes, and all my supporters here and overseas.

[Image continues to show Thomas talking to the camera]

Last but not least, I would like to thank my wife, Natalie, and my two boys, Richard and Peter. You have been infinitely tolerant, supportive, and loving. None of this would have happened without you. Let’s use Australian innovation to create a better tomorrow.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion and the text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera]

Professor Alan Duffy: Thank you Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, and once again congratulations on your recognition. Now we come to the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, which is awarded for significant advancement of knowledge through science. Past recipients of this prize have been responsible for some of this country’s and the world’s greatest discoveries and achievements.

[Camera zooms in on Alan talking to the camera]

This year’s prize goes to a team from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, also known as OzGrav. The team is recognised for its ground-breaking validation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity that predicted the existence of gravitational waves propagating in space-time. Put simply, this team has made a critical contribution to the first direct detection of gravitational waves. After decades of pioneering work and innovation by the team, as part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory scientific collaboration, the first gravitational wave was detected in 2015. The impact of this discovery has been immense. It has opened up parts of the universe that were previously unknown to us, such as how black holes form and then grow, to understanding how elements like gold form from colliding stars.

[Camera zooms out on Alan talking to the camera]

Our Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for 2020 goes to Emeritus Professor David Blair of The University of Western Australia, The Australian National University’s Professor David McClelland and Professor Susan Scott, and The University of Adelaide’s Professor Peter Veitch. Please make space-time tremble with your applause at home.

[Music plays and image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Emeritus Professor David Blair, Professor Susan Scott, Professor David McClelland, Professor Peter Veitch]

[Images move through of Professor Susan Scott writing on a clear board, Emeritus Professor David Blair pointing at a beam splitter, and various views of Peter Veitch and David McClelland at work]

[Image changes to show Professor David McClelland talking to the camera and text appears: Professor David McClelland]

Professor David McClelland: Our team represents many Australian researchers and graduate students who have made an extraordinary contribution to the first detection of gravitational waves.

[Image changes to show a gravitational wave pattern on a computer screen and the camera zooms out and the image changes to show Professor Peter Veitch talking to the camera and text appears: Professor Peter Veitch]

Professor Peter Veitch: Gravitational waves have never been detected before. They’re a new type of signal that is being produced by the universe.

[Images move through to show Peter and a colleague looking at a worktable of mirrors and the camera pans in a clockwise direction, and then a gravitational wave pattern on a computer screen]

When we analyse those signals we can find out things we cannot discover any other way.

[Image changes to show Professor Susan Scott taking a Quantum Gravity book from a library shelf and looking at it and then the image changes to show Susan talking and text appears: Professor Susan Scott]

Professor Susan Scott: This is a story that took 100 years.

[Images move through of a close view of Susan talking to the camera, a room full of experimental equipment, and Susan talking to a colleague working on a computer]

Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of General Relativity in 1915 and predicted the existence of gravitational waves from that theory.

[Images move through of a close view of Susan talking to the camera, Susan and a colleague in conversation, and a computer generated image of two black holes colliding]

After a century, we finally managed to directly detect those waves from the collision of two very big black holes.

[Image changes to show a view of two black holes colliding and merging into one giant black hole surrounded by millions of stars and then the image changes to show David Blair talking to the camera and text appears: Emeritus Professor David Blair]

Emeritus Professor David Blair: Once we thought that black holes probably existed

[Images move through of a LIGO beam splitter, a diagram of the splitter, and spinning gravitational waves with two points of light merging into a single point as lines move across the screen]

we started to develop technology that would be able to detect these immense explosions of gravitational energy that are created when black holes collide.

[Image changes to show Peter talking to the camera]

Professor Peter Veitch: Gravitational wave detectors use high-power laser beams.

[Images move through to show a row of mirrors in a gravitational wave detector, Peter wearing a pair of goggles, various mirrors on the workbench, and Peter talking to the camera]

Unfortunately, the mirrors in the detectors absorb some of the laser beams and they get hot, which distorts the laser beams, and makes the detector less sensitive.

[Images move through of a close view of the mirrors, and then a diagram of a beam splitter showing the distortions from the mirrors]

Our contribution was to develop technology that could measure these distortions, thereby allowing the system to remove them, and that improves the sensitivity and the stability of the detectors.

[Image changes to show David McClelland talking to the camera and the camera zooms in on David as he talks and then the image changes to show David and colleagues in conversation]

Professor David McClelland: We used Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to calculate what the signal would look like that we’re trying to observe.

[Images move through to show close views of equipment, David McClelland and colleagues looking down at the mirrors on the work table, a diagram of black holes colliding and a measurer below]

That signal, for a detector based on Earth, would be something that moves mirrors a hundred times a second by an amount which is one million billion times smaller than a human hair.

[Images move through of David McClelland and colleagues looking at the mirrors on the work table again, and then a close view of David talking to the camera]

The precision measurement techniques we developed have many possible applications, including earthquake early warning, Earth observation from space, and navigation.

[Images move through of a painting of two hands almost touching with two wires in front with electricity sparking between, and a black 3-D spiral with two pinpoints of light rotating in front of it]

Professor Susan Scott: Ultimately we want to go back to almost the beginning of time with gravitational waves.

[Image shows the two pinpoints continuing to rotate and the image morphs to show gravitational waves moving around with the rotating pinpoints]

We hope to study how supernovae explode.

[Image changes to show a very bright light in a starry sky, and then the image changes to show a close view of a neutron star, and then the image changes to show Susan talking to the camera]

We want to probe the nature of the densest material in the universe inside neutron stars,

[Images move through to show Susan and a colleague in conversation, Susan and a colleague in conversation in a workroom, and then a computer generated image of two black holes rotating]

and we fully expect total surprises of phenomenon in the dark side of the universe that we currently have no knowledge of.

[Image changes to show Peter sitting at an office desk and talking to the camera]

Professor Peter Veitch: To be a great scientist often requires 99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration. You need to be resilient.

[Image changes to show a close view of Peter talking to the camera]

You should not give up. Keep going, and even if you make a mistake you should recognise that often you learn more by the mistake than by getting it right the first time.

[Image changes to show a close view of Susan talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a slightly further out view of Susan talking]

Professor Susan Scott: The pioneering work of our team over the last quarter of a century ensured that Australia played a leading role in the first direct detection of gravitational waves. Australia is now in a position to be a powerhouse in the emergent field of gravitational wave astronomy.

[Image changes to show David Blair sitting in a chair talking to the camera]

Emeritus Professor David Blair: It’s wonderful to receive the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

[Images move through of David Blair talking, Susan and a colleague, David McClelland and a student watching two metal balls spinning under a glass dome, and David McClelland smiling]

It’s a tribute to all of the students and all of the scientists who have participated in this amazing quest

[Images move through of Peter and a colleague wearing goggles and talking, Susan writing on a clear board, David Blair talking, and then David Blair smiling]

that has lasted for so long and finally been rewarded with the detection of gravitational waves.

[Image changes to show a gravitational wave pattern on a computer screen]

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion and the text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Emeritus Professor David Blair, Professor Susan Scott, Professor David McClelland, Professor Peter Veitch]

[Image changes to show Emeritus Professor David Blair talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion can be seen on the left and text appears beneath: Emeritus Professor David Blair]

Our team is absolutely delighted to be the recipients of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. On behalf of all of us, I want to thank the Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, and the Australian Government for their continuing recognition of the overwhelming importance of science to all of our lives. We’re also deeply indebted to the Australian Research Council who supported our research for many decades, and recently supported the founding of our wonderful Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery.

My special thanks go to my brilliant students and colleagues, who struggled with extraordinarily difficult research projects that allowed us to develop our exquisite measurement technologies. This includes enormous contributions from outstanding international students, especially those from China and Europe.

[Image continues to show Emeritus Professor David Blair talking to the camera]

The prize is a tribute to The University of Western Australia that educated three of us, and supported my research for more than 40 years, through the physics department, our superb technicians, workshops, and support staff. The West Australian government and innumerable people interested in educating future generations, enabled us to create our Gingin research facility, the Gravity Discovery Centre, and the Einstein-First Project, that has enabled our story of discovery to be told to young people.

[Music plays and the image shows David Blair turning over his notes and then continuing to talk to the camera]

We didn’t do this on our own. My deepest thanks must go to our international collaborators, especially those in the LIGO project, who embraced our participation in this wonderful quest. Finally, but most important of all, I thank my family who have participated in the quest to discover gravitational waves, and tolerated me for so many years. Thank you.

[Image changes to show Professor David McClelland talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion can be seen on the left and text appears beneath: Professor David McClelland]

Professor David McClelland: I am truly honoured and humbled to receive the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. I thank the Australian Research Council and The Australian National University for the great support it has given me over 30 years. I express my deep gratitude to my early ANU mentors, Hans Bachorr and John Sandeman, and current colleagues, Dan Shaddock and Jong Chow.

I’ve had the privilege to lead a great team at the ANU of researchers and graduate students, many who have made significant contributions. They are all worthy recipients. But I particularly acknowledge Dr Bram Slagmolen who has been with me for 20 years, and Dr Robert Ward who I’ve worked with for eight years. Their contributions have been central. Finally, I thank my wonderful wife, Rachel, and my beautiful children and grandchildren. You kept my life balanced and grounded. I am truly, truly a fortunate person.

[Image changes to show Professor Susan Scott talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion can be seen on the left and text appears beneath: Professor Susan Scott]

Professor Susan Scott: I am honoured, humbled, and incredibly thrilled to be a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. I feel like I’ve been on an absolutely epic journey for three decades, with General Relativity Theory, black holes, and gravitational waves. The detection of gravitational waves in 2015 was a pinnacle of my career.

My heartfelt thanks go to my family, with a special mention of my daughters, my friends, my colleagues, my research group members past and present, and The Australian National University, for their incredible support throughout my journey so far. My hope is that I can inspire young people, and especially young women, that they can successfully pursue exciting and valuable careers in science. We need you.

[Image changes to show Professor Peter Veitch talking to the camera and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion can be seen on the left and text appears beneath: Professor Peter Veitch]

Professor Peter Veitch: I am immensely honoured to be awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. The detection of gravitational waves was a huge effort and I should like to thank many people. My mentors, Professor Jim Hough, and Professor Jesper Munch, who showed me how to be a good scientist. Professor Munch started the Optics Group at The University of Adelaide in the early 1990s and has been a key contributor to this research until his recent retirement. My colleagues at The University of Adelaide, particularly those in the Optics and OzGrav research groups, and the graduate students, who have allowed me to participate in their successes. Finally, my family whose love and support has allowed me to realise my dream.

In closing, we should like to thank once again the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology for this award. It represents and celebrates not just Australia’s key role in the direct detection of gravitational waves, but the groundwork required to make Australia a powerhouse in exploiting the gravitational wave window to the universe.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion and the text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Emeritus Professor David Blair, Professor Susan Scott, Professor David McClelland, Professor Peter Veitch]

[Image changes to show Alan talking to the camera]

Professor Alan Duffy: Congratulations again to Emeritus Professor David Blair, and Professors David McClelland, Susan Scott, and Peter Veitch. And of course please give another digital round of applause for all of our prize recipients, the Prime Minister, and the Minister for making this virtual 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science one to remember.

Please do continue celebrating and congratulating our recipients online using the #PMPRIZES. I’ll be there, excitedly sharing my thoughts about our incredible recipients and their work which is creating a healthier world and a brighter future for us all. It has been my absolute pleasure to be your host. Stay safe, stay smart, and go science!

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion and text appears beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science]

[Image changes to show new text: Thank you for joining the celebration! Twitter: @SCIENCEGOVAU #PMPRIZES , Facebook: @INDUSTRYGOVAU, Visit us at INDUSTRY.GOV.AU/PMSCIENCEPRIZES]

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