Alex Filippenko, Ph.D., an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers and the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research. He was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, an amazing discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record nine times, he was named the National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced five astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 television documentaries. In 2004, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He was recently selected as one of only two recipients of the 2017 Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award. He enjoys playing tennis, hiking, photography, snorkeling, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, skiing, traveling the world, and spending time with his wife and children. Also, he is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 16 so far.
Martin Green is Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, involving several other Australian Universities and research groups. His group’s contributions to photovoltaics are well known and include holding the record for silicon solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 34 years, described as one of the “Top Ten” Milestones in the history of solar photovoltaics. Major international awards include the 1999 Australia Prize, the 2002 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize the 2007, SolarWorld Einstein Award, and, most recently, the 2016 Ian Wark Medal from the Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Angela Moles is a plant ecologist at UNSW Sydney. Angela studies global patterns in the ways plants grow. One of Angela’s studies, known as “The World Herbivory Project” took her to 75 ecosystems around the world, including arctic tundra in Greenland and Alaska; deserts in Arizona; Central Australia and Israel; tropical rainforests in the Republic of Congo, Panama, China, Mexico and Peru; shrublands in Mexico and California; temperate forests in Argentina, Sweden, Tasmania, Norway, and Oregon; and savannas in South Africa, Australia, and Zambia. At each site, Angela and her team measured how well defended the plants were, and how much of their leaf area was eaten by animals. This study overturned the long-held idea that plants are better defended in the tropics (they are actually better-defended at higher latitudes), and the idea that plants suffer greater losses to animals in tropical ecosystems (plants get eaten a lot everywhere). Since having children, Angela has stopped travelling so much and started working on introduced species. Angela’s group has shown that 70% of the annual plant species introduced to Australia in the last 100 years have changed significantly since their arrival from overseas. A glasshouse study on a beach daisy introduced to Australia from South Africa in the 1930s has revealed substantial differences in growth form, flower size and photosynthetic rate between the South African and Australian forms of this plant, and the two populations do not cross to form strong offspring. We are about to declare the Australian form of this beach daisy to be a unique new species that only occurs in Australia — that is, Australia’s weeds are becoming native! Angela’s work has received many prizes including the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Museum Eureka Award for Outstanding Young Researcher, and a L’Oreal/UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship. Angela is a fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales.
Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is revolutionizing recycling science to unlock the wealth of resources in the many complex and toxic wastes currently destined for landfill. As a materials scientist and engineer and founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, she is producing a new generation of green materials, products and resources made entirely, or primarily, from waste.
Prof Sahajwalla is an internationally respected scientist and engineer. Her research focuses on the sustainability of materials and processes with an emphasis on environmental and community benefits. One of her most celebrated achievements is the invention of a process of recycling plastics and rubber tires in steelmaking, now known around the world as green steel. Veena has published around 300 peer-reviewed papers and delivers keynote and invited speeches across Australia and worldwide.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla became one of Australia’s best-known scientists and inventors through her regular appearances as a judge on the long-running ABC TV series The New Inventors. She continues her community engagement through regular school visits and public talks, her mentoring program for girls in science (Science 50:50) and regular media commentary. In 2017, Professor Sahajwalla has received the 2017 PLuS Alliance Prize for Research Innovation category and became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Jubilee Professorship by the Indian Academy of Sciences. In 2016, she was named one of Australia’s most innovative engineers and in 2015 she was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers and selected as an Honorary Fellow by Engineers Australia. Professor Sahajwalla was also the recipient of the ARC Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2014. She won the Australian Innovation Challenge as well as the GE Eco Innovation Award for Individual Excellence and a Banksia Award in 2012.