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The Stars come out for WA Science Awards

ICRAR Director Professor Peter Quinn led the accolades as the 2012 Scientist of the Year with ICRAR’s Deputy Director Professor Steven Tingay picking up the title of Science Ambassador of the Year.

Professor Quinn is a world-renowned astrophysicist who has conducted pioneering research in galaxy formation and dark matter using large astronomical facilities, high performance supercomputing and data intensive technologies.

As the founding Director of ICRAR, Professor Quinn has built up a research organisation of more than 100 staff and students, attracting some of the best researchers in the world to Western Australia. His effort to create ICRAR, plus his role as deputy chair of the ANZ SKA Coordination Committee – the committee that guided the strategy and development of Australia’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – has played a central role in the success of the Australian campaign.

Speaking live from Germany via Skype, Professor Quinn spoke of the spin-off benefits in industry and education that will come as a result of being involved with the push to build the world’s largest radio telescope.

“Science is now being recognised as one of the things that Western Australia should be proud of, and we should be showing the world what a great scientific community we are,” he said.

Professor Steven Tingay is the Deputy Director of ICRAR and Director of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) project. Over the last ten years he has led the development of software and hardware that has upgraded Australia’s suite of radio telescope facilities. The MWA, a $50m low-frequency radio telescope, will observe radio emission from the distant and early Universe and is scheduled to launch next month in the remote Murchison region of Western Australia.

Professor Tingay said it was an honour to be the inaugural winner of the science ambassador category and to promote Western Australia to the rest of the world through his work.

”Science ambassadorship is about spreading the message that science and the scientific process are important and bring social and economic benefits.  As scientists it is our responsibility to communicate science to the public and our policy makers, and to bridge the gap between academia and industry,” said Professor Tingay.

ICRAR was also nominated as a finalist in the Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category for developing an innovative distributed computing project called theSkyNet. The initiative connects thousands of publicly owned computers located around the world to create a powerful network capable of processing radio astronomy data for scientists.

The WA Science Awards were established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of the State’s science and innovation community.

The State Government initiative, administered by the WA Department of Commerce, recognises and rewards excellence across science research, engagement and education, and promotes the importance of science and innovation in Western Australia.

The 2012 WA Science Awards winners were announced at a gala dinner attended by WA Premier Colin Barnett and WA Science and Innovation Minister John Day at the Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Further information is available at the Western Australian Science Awards.


Professor Peter Quinn
Director, ICRAR
Email: peter.quinn@icrar.org
Mobile: +61 (0) 414 185 052

Professor Steven Tingay
Deputy Director, ICRAR
Director – Science and Operations, Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy
Email: steven.tingay@icrar.org
Mobile: +61 (0) 425 771 856

Kirsten Gottschalk
Media Contact, ICRAR
Email: kirsten.gottschalk@icrar.org
Mobile: +61 (0) 438 361 876

Pete Wheeler
ICRAR Outreach and Education Manager
Email: pete.wheeler@icrar.org
Mobile: +61 (0) 423 982 018