ANU trio in the running for prestigious science prize

29 September 2020

Three researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have been named among the finalists for Australia's top science prizes.

In 2020, there will be 17 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes awarded in total.

Professor Michelle Coote is a finalist for the third straight year, as part of The Invisible Catalyst Team.

The group's been shortlisted for the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

Their work has shown that electric fields can be used to manipulate chemical reactions. This discovery could enable greener and safer methods for fabricating materials, from drugs to plastics.

Professor Coote says she's always been interested in finding new ways to manipulate chemical reactions.

"Whether that was using new tools to study them, which was how I started out, or using alternative energy sources to trigger them. If we can make chemical reactions more efficient, it is a first step to sustainability," Professor Coote said.

Associate Professor Steve Madden is part of a team that's among the finalists for the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.

Associate Professor Madden is involved in a long running collaboration between the ANU Laser Physics Centre and the University of Sydney around on-chip optical processing of microwave signals, which could play a key role in 5G and other future wireless technology.

"Together we hold a long string of world first results that cannot be achieved with conventional electronics," Associate Professor Madden said.

Professor Sarah Legge is co-leader of the Cat Ecology, Impact and Management Team, a finalist for the Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research.

The group from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program has been recognised for their work on understanding and managing the impact of cats on Australian wildlife.

The 2020 Eureka Prize winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday 24 November.

You can find more information about the prizes here: https://australian.museum/get-involved/eureka-prizes/.