Media Release: Australian scientists changing the world recognised with Academy awards

11 March 2021

Outstanding contributions to science have been recognised by the Australian Academy of Science today with 24 current and future stars of science receiving prestigious 2021 honorific awards.

The scientists’ discoveries are changing the world, including revealing the physics of sea-level change, leading the discovery of gravitational waves, harnessing the immune system to fight cancer, answering unsolved mathematical problems and creating cheap, flexible, stable and non-toxic solar cells.

Professor Holmes is recognised for his world-leading contributions to materials science and biology, including plastics that emit light when sandwiched between electrodes connected to a power source—technology that forms the basis of flexible OLED televisions and plastic solar cells.

“Printed plastic solar technology is certainly going to be a technology in the [energy] marketplace,” said Professor Holmes, in a video published today to highlight his award.

“It has the advantage that it’s lightweight, it’s flexible and, in principle, it’s significantly cheaper than the silicon solar cell technology.”

Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture—Professor Andrew Holmes AC FAA FRS FTSE from Australian Academy of Science on Vimeo.

President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor John Shine, said the research of this year’s awardees is at the forefront of science, not only in Australia but around the world.

“While many of these researchers are having direct impacts on our technology and everyday lives, others are pushing the boundaries of basic research – both of which are vital to the advancement of science.

“The Academy is proud to honour such a diverse range of researchers this year, reflecting the people driving Australian science.”

The Academy’s 2021 honorific awards go to: 

Premier honorifics

  • Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture—Professor Andrew Holmes AC FAA FRS FTSE
  • Inaugural Ruby Payne-Scott Medal and Lecture—Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger AC FAA

Career honorifics

  • David Craig Medal and Lecture—Professor Thomas Maschmeyer FAA FTSE
  • Hannan Medal—Professor Mathai Varghese FAA
  • Jaeger Medal—Professor John Church FAA FTSE
  • Inaugural Suzanne Cory Medal—Professor John Endler FAA FRS
  • Inaugural Suzanne Cory Medal—Professor Susanne von Caemmerer FAA FRS
  • Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal—Professor David McClelland FAA

Mid-career honorifics

  • Jacques Miller Medal—Professor Mark Dawson
  • Jacques Miller Medal—Associate Professor Michele Teng
  • Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science—Professor Angela Moles
  • Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science—Associate Professor Cathryn Trott

Early-career honorifics

  • Anton Hales Medal—Dr Nicolas Flament
  • Christopher Heyde Medal—Dr Kevin Coulembier
  • Christopher Heyde Medal—Dr Vera Roshchina
  • Dorothy Hill Medal—Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick
  • Fenner Medal—Associate Professor Eve McDonald-Madden
  • Gottschalk Medal—Associate Professor Francine Marques
  • John Booker Medal—Dr Bishakhdatta Gayen
  • Le Fèvre Medal—Associate Professor Debbie Silvester-Dean
  • Moran Medal—Professor Christopher Drovandi
  • Moran Medal—Dr Janice Scealy
  • Pawsey Medal—Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao
  • Ruth Stephens Gani Medal—Professor Joseph Powell

The awards will be presented in online ceremonies over the course of the year.

Read more about each of the Academy’s 2021 honorific awardees.