[Music plays and an image appears of a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion above text:
Professor Michelle Y. Simmons AO, FRS, AAAS, FAAS, FAA, FTSE, FINSTP, FAPS, FAIP DIST FRSN]
[Images move through to show a close and then medium view of Michelle Simmons talking to the camera, Michelle and a group of students walking towards the camera, and Michelle talking again]
Prof Michelle Simmons: As a young person I really loved describing the world with English, in writing but then in my early teenage years I realised that you could describe the world mathematically and I just couldn’t believe that suddenly exactly the same thing that you look at you can describe in a completely different way.
[Music plays and images move through to show Michelle and a colleague looking into a scanning tunnelling microscope, and a view looking down on Michelle and colleagues around the microscope]
[Images move through to show Michelle talking to the camera, the UNSW building, and views of a Silicon Quantum Computing sign on the side of a building, and text appears: Professor Michelle Y. Simmons AO]
My name is Michelle Simmons and I’m the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW and I’m also the founder and CEO of Silicon Quantum Computing.
[Image changes to show a close view of Michelle talking to the camera]
For the whole of human history, we’ve known the world is made up of very small components, atoms.
[Images move through to show Michelle seated on a chair talking to the camera, a close view of a scanning tunnelling microscope, and then a diagram of the microscope]
But it really wasn’t until the 1980s that for the first time we saw atoms using a scanning tunnelling microscope.
[Images move through to show a close view of Michelle talking to the camera, views of Michelle and a colleague looking into the microscope, and a small device]
My work has been all about taking that microscope, not just to image atoms but to manipulate them and put them exactly where we want to create new devices that didn’t exist before.
[Images move through to show Michelle and colleagues working on a computer together, a hand placing something into a piece of equipment, and Michelle talking to the camera]
What’s really exciting about this technology is that in 2017 we set up Silicon Quantum Computing which is Australia’s first quantum computing company.
[Image changes to show a close and the medium view of Michelle talking to the camera]
Even more incredible is it’s the only company in the world that can manufacture with atomic precision.
[Images move through to show a view of Michelle and students looking at a bank of computers]
So, our talent to make the whole quantum computer is already here.
[Images move through of Michelle talking to students, a close view of the computer, and close views of various students listening]
Our mission is to build the world’s first error corrective quantum computer but to build it here in Australia.
[Image changes to show Michelle talking to the camera, and then images move through of views of a male working on the microscope]
When we created the company, we actually had the government, university and industry all coming together to help form the company.
[Images move through to show Michelle and colleagues working on the microscope, Michelle holding up a small motherboard, and then a plane moving through the sky]
Every industry that relies on data will be impacted by quantum computing.
[Image changes to show a view looking down on farmland, and then the image changes to show Michelle talking to the camera]
So, whether it’s the airline industry in reducing the fuel costs, whether it’s making more efficient fertilisers for the agricultural industry or even for the medical industry in reducing the time it takes to do drug designs.
[Music plays as images move through of Michelle looking up at the computer, Michelle looking up at a piece of equipment, a close view of Michelle looking up, and Michelle talking to the camera]
To receive the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, honestly, I’m just over the moon.
I guess it’s real recognition of a quarter of a century’s worth of dedicated work to try and build something quite unique, to try and control the atomic world.
[Image changes to show Michelle smiling at the camera, and then the image changes show a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science medallion on the left, the Australian Government Coat of Arms at the bottom right, and text on the right: 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science]