Hendra virus to basket stars – Eureka Prize finalists announced

Charles Tambiah’s unravelling of this basket star is a finalist in the 2014 Australian Museum New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography. Charles Tambiah/Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, CC BY-NC-ND

A climate change researcher, evolutionary biologist and science photographer are among the finalists for the 2014 Australia Museum Eureka Prizes.

The annual Eureka Prizes recognise those who have made significant contributions to research, innovation, leadership, science journalism and school science.

Among the finalists is Steve Sherwood, director of climate change research at the University of New South Wales. Professor Sherwood is recognised for having made significant advances to an understanding of the Earth’s climate and its future impacts on humanity.

“I work to better understand physical processes in the atmosphere, particularly clouds and storms, and their role in governing environmental change,” said Professor Sherwood.

His research is critical for predicting how the world will warm, as well as for understanding how humans are likely to adapt to a changing climate in future.

“I’ve recently found some interesting implications of the basic physics of these processes for future climate change and human adaptability,” Professor Sherwood said. “These results have raised my hopes that we can narrow the key uncertainties around future climate.”

Simon Ho from the University of Sydney was also on the list of finalists for his work on “molecular clocks”.

“Molecular clocks are statistical models that allow us to estimate evolutionary rates and timescales from DNA,” said Associate Professor Ho.

His work has made a large impact on methods for understanding variation in evolutionary rates at the genetic level.

“I’ve worked on methods that allow us to analyse how evolutionary rates vary, and these have improved our understanding of events in human prehistory and the population dynamics of viruses,” he said. “Understanding the evolutionary timescale of life is one of the fundamental goals of biological research.”

Charles Tambiah, a science photographer and science-art researcher at the Australian National University, is another finalist for one of this year’s Eureka Prizes.

“Photography serves critical functions in the sciences – documenting research, visual communication and producing dialogue,” he said. “Photographs cross cultural, language and age barriers, and invite viewers to relate sciences to their own life experiences.”

Winners will be announced on September 10.

Full list of finalists:

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research
• Professor Graham Edgar and Dr Rick Stuart-Smith, University of Tasmania
• The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team, University of New South Wales
• The Mallee Fire and Biodiversity Project Team, La Trobe University and Deakin University (Melbourne)

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
• The AIBL Research Team, CSIRO, National Ageing Research Institute, Howard Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Austin Health and Edith Cowan University
• Professor Justin Gooding, Professor Katharina Gaus and Dr Peter Reece, University of New South Wales
• SEARCH Project, University of Melbourne

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research
• Professor Elizabeth Hartland and Dr Jaclyn Pearson, University of Melbourne
• Hendra Virus Research Team, CSIRO
• Magic Glasses, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australian National University and University of Queensland

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
• DIY Droplet Lens, Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Australian National University
• FREO2, University of Melbourne and DETECT Australia
• Monash Engineering, Monash University

Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
• The Extremes Team, University of New South Wales
• Associate Professor Simon Ho, University of Sydney
• Associate Professor Richard Payne, University of Sydney

Defence Science and Technology Organisation Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
• Tim Lyons, One Atmosphere

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research
• B-cell Team, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
• EarthByte, University of Sydney Professor
• Professor Steven Sherwood, University of New South Wales

Department of Agriculture Landcare Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture
• EverGraze, Future Farm Industries CRC
• Dr John Kirkegaard and Dr James Hunt, CSIRO and Stuart Kearns, Grains Research and Development Corporation
• Professor Richard Oliver, Dr Caroline Moffat, Dr Kar-Chun Tan, Kasia Clarke and Dr Huyen Phan, Curtin University

3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science
• Dr Ravi Bakaraju, Brien Holden Vision Institute
• Dr Adriana Downie, Pacific Pyrolysis Pty Ltd

CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science
• Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, National ICT Australia (NICTA)
• Professor Michelle Simmons, University of New South Wales
• Professor Terence Speed, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

University of Technology, Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers
• Associate Professor Lynn Corcoran, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
• Professor Maree Teesson, Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of New South Wales
• Professor Bob Williamson, University of Melbourne

Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research
• Professor Philip Batterham, University of Melbourne
• Associate Professor Darren Curnoe, University of New South Wales
• Professor Lesley Hughes, Macquarie University

Australian Government Eureka Prize for Science Journalism
• Sally Ingleton, 360 Degree Films
Sonya Pemberton, Genepool Productions
Michael Slezak, New Scientist

New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography
• Alfred manta feeding, Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum
• Wheat through the looking glass, Dr Mark Talbot, CSIRO Plant Industry
• Unravelling a basket star, Charles Tambiah, Australian National University

Highly commended
• Nanoparticle planet, Michael Bradshaw
• Bolt out of the blue, Peter Enright
• The face of a moth, Ralph Grimm
• Flight of the samara, Phred Petersen, RMIT University
• Probing the breast in 3D, Dr Anne Rios, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
• An ancient landscape for modern science, Pete Wheeler, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
• Thorny problems, Richard Wylie, Euakafa Island Research Centre

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize
Primary school category
• What Colour is a Tree in the Dark? Ella Cuthbert, Majura Primary, ACT
• The Sound of Music, Harry Driessen, Croydon Public School, NSW

Secondary school category
• The Mystery of Lichen, Mikali Anagnostis, St Philip’s Christian College, NSW
• Phantom Limbs, Jackson Huang, Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, Qld
• Epigenetics, Jackson McDonald, Varsity College, Qld