Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Distinguished Fellow, Michelle Simmons, named as winner of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Science Prize

Professor Michelle SimmonsAt a presentation dinner held on the evening of 16 October 2023 at Parliament House Canberra, Distinguished Fellow, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons AO FRS DistFRSN FAA FTSE FAAAS of UNSW Sydney was announced as the winner of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. This award recognises the work of Professor Simmons in creating the new field of atomic electronics, discoveries from which are powering the transition from the digital to the quantum age with the goal of developing the first error-corrected quantum computer here in Australia.

Quantum computing is predicted to solve certain extremely complex problems in seconds that would otherwise take thousands of years. This has the potential to impact almost every industry dependent on data., for example in revolutionising therapeutic drug design, optimising route planning for delivery or logistical systems, and creating better fertilisers. 

Professor Simmons is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication. Technology, headquartered at UNSW Sydney, and is the Founder and CEO of Silicon Quantum Computing, Australia’s first quantum company. She was the 2018 Australian of the Year and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Australian Academy of Science, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW. During her career, she has held two ARC Federation Fellowships and an ARC Laureate Fellowship and has been awarded numerous awards, amongst which is the RSNSW Walter Burfitt Prize in 2013. 

Michelle Simmons discussed her research in an Ideas@theHouse talk in August 2022 titled “Manufacturing at the Atomic Scale”, which is available on the Society’s YouTube channel. Earlier this month, it was announced that Michelle would be the presenter of the ABC’s Boyer Lectures in 2023.  To learn more about the award of the Prime Minister's Science Prize to Professor Simmons, please see the announcement on the Department of Industry, Science, and Resources website and also listen to the interview on ABC Radio National Breakfast on 17 October.

The Council of the Society extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Simmons on this capstone recognition of a truly outstanding research career.

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