ANU researchers awarded top science prize

Thursday, August 30, 2018 — Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) are among this year’s winners of Australia’s leading science awards, the Eureka Prizes.

The RE100 group, led by Professor Andrew Blakers, Dr Matthew Stocks and Bin Lu from the ANU Research School of Engineering, was awarded the Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

The RE100 group’s research is challenging the barriers to renewable energy in Australia.

Their research shows Australia can transition smoothly to 100% renewable electricity while retaining reliability of supply. The team discovered 22,000 sites that are potentially suitable for cost-effective pumped-hydro energy storage, which can be used to help build a secure and cheap Australian electricity grid with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Dr Mohsen Rahmani, from the Nonlinear Physics Centre at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, won the  Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.

Dr Rahmani, an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Fellow, has developed a new class of nanoscale surfaces that are 500 times thinner than a human hair. Those surfaces offer a wide range of potential applications, including new night-vision technology, adjustable mirrors and lenses, and ultra-sensitive biochemical detectors. 

His nano surfaces have transformed the capabilities of today’s miniaturised consumer devices, and several organisations are interested in commercialising his work.

 Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt congratulated the RE100 group and Dr Rahmani on their success, saying it was a fitting reward for years of hard work.

“This is a well-earned recognition and an example of the extraordinary depth of research that is taking place here at ANU. I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in these projects,” Vice-Chancellor Schmidt said.

“It was particularly encouraging to see so many ANU researchers nominated for this year’s Eureka Prizes across a range of science fields.”

ANU had 10 researchers, either individually or as part of a team, nominated for Eureka Prizes in 2018.

It was the University’s highest number of nominations since the awards were established almost 20 years ago.

Presented annually, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research & innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.

ANU alumni David Haynes and visiting researcher Andrew Robinson were awarded the Public Awareness of Science Prize for their tech start-up QuestaGame.

The winners were announced at an awards dinner in Sydney on 29 August.

For media assistance, contact the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979 or at <media@anu.edu.au>.

Dr Mohsen Rahmani. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU
Dr Matt Stocks, Professor Andrew Blakers and PhD candidate Bin Lu from the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science. Image: Lannon Harley, ANU