Academy Fellows elected to Royal Society

May 09, 2018

Six Academy Fellows and one Academy Corresponding Member have been elected to the Royal Society of London.

Professor Geordie Williamson FAA FRS is a mathemitician at the University of Sydney and becomes the youngest living Fellow of the Royal Society. He works in Representation Theory, the mathematical theory of linear symmetry. Professor Williamson has made several fundamental contributions to the field including his proof (with Ben Elias) of the Kazhdan-Lusztig positivity conjecture, his algebraic proof of the Jantzen conjectures, and his discovery of counter-examples to the Lusztig conjecture in modular representation theory. This last result came as a shock to a whole community of researchers, and has since shifted the focus away from old conjectures. For his work he has been awarded the Chevalley Prize of the American Mathematical Society, the European Mathematics Society Prize, the Clay Research Award and the New Horizons Prize in Mathematics (with Ben Elias). In 2018 he will address the International Congress of Mathematicians as a plenary speaker. In 2020 he will lead a special year on Representation Theory at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. 

Professor Frank Caruso FAA FRS is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne. He is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. He received his PhD in 1994 from The University of Melbourne and thereafter conducted postdoctoral research at CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers. From 1997–2002, he was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow and group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. Since 2003, he has been a professor at The University of Melbourne and has held ARC Federation and ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2009 and was awarded the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science in 2013. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers and was on Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list of World's Most Influential Scientific Minds. He is an Executive Editor of ACS Chemistry of Materials and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of ten other scientific journals.

Professor Graeme Jameson AO FAA FRS FTSE is a Laureate Professor of the University of Newcastle, Australia. His special interest is the mechanics of multiphase systems, especially the interaction of bubbles and particles in suspensions. He has a BSc from the University of New South Wales and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, both in Chemical Engineering. His focus is the froth flotation process for the recovery of valuable minerals from finely-ground ores. His researches led to the introduction of a radical new device, the Jameson Cell, for the recovery of very fine particles, and more recently, a new way of recovering coarse particles. He has won numerous awards, including the Ian Wark Medal of the Australian Academy of Science, the Gaudin Award of the US Society of Metallurgical Engineers, and the Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Innovation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the US National Academy of Engineering, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO FAA FRS is an Australian clinician-scientist whose work as a paediatric neurologist and epileptologist has transformed understanding of epilepsy. She has defined many new epilepsy syndromes, and her work led directly to the identification of the first gene for epilepsy in 1995, and many epilepsy genes subsequently. In 2017, she led the first major revision of the classification of the epilepsies in 28 years, the major tool worldwide for the diagnosis and management of people with epilepsy. Her collaborative work has led to a deeper understanding of the biology of seizures and revolutionised scientific approaches to these disorders. Her clinical focus has shed light on the myriad of co-morbidities seen in people with epilepsy, particularly the severe infantile and childhood developmental and epileptic encephalopathies which often carry a poor prognosis. In 2014, she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia and, in the same year, she won the Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science with Samuel Berkovic FRS. In 2012, she was awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for the Asia-Pacific region. She is the founding Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Michelle Simmons FAA FRS FTSE is a UNSW Sydney Laureate Fellow and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. She has pioneered unique technologies to build electronic devices at the atomic scale, pushing the boundaries of global research in classical computing and opening up the prospect of developing a silicon-based quantum computer: a powerful new form of computing with the potential to transform information processing. She has received Federation and Laureate Fellowships, been named NSW Scientist of the Year and awarded the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Science Leadership. Recognised with the Pawsey and Lyle Medals from the Australian Academy of Science she was, upon her appointment, one of the youngest fellows of this Academy. In 2014 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for ‘the creation of the new field of atomic-electronics’ in 2016. Recognised as a pioneer in quantum computing by the American Computer Museum, she is Editor-in-Chief of Nature Quantum Information and was the 2017 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Asia-Pacific Laureate. She is currently the 2018 Australian of the Year.

Professor Peter Visscher FAA FRS is a quantitative geneticist who studies trait variation in populations. He has developed and applied statistical analysis methods to quantify and dissect the contribution of DNA polymorphisms to variation between individuals, thereby demonstrating the pervasiveness of polygenicity and pleiotropy for quantitative traits and risk of common diseases. His research has applications in medicine, evolutionary biology and agriculture. Peter trained in quantitative genetics at the University of Edinburgh and is currently Professor of Quantitative Genetics at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2010.

Professor Jillian Banfield FAA FRS is an earth scientist who studies the structure, functioning and diversity of microbial communities in natural environments and the human microbiome. Her laboratory and collaborators pioneered the reconstruction of genomes from natural ecosystems and community metaproteomic analyses. Through genomics, her group has provided insights into previously unknown and little known bacterial and archaeal lineages, leading to a new rendition of the Tree of Life. She has conducted extensive research on natural and synthetic nanomaterials, exploring the impacts of particle size on their structure, properties and reactivity. Her lab described the oriented attachment-based mechanism for growth of nanoparticles and its implications for development of defect microstructures. She has also studied microorganism-mineral interactions, including those that lead to production of nanomaterials. Jill is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, with appointments in the Earth Science, Ecosystem Science and Materials Science and Engineering departments. She leads the Microbial Research initiative within the Innovative Genomics Institute, is affiliated with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has a position at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science.

The seven are among 50 new Fellows from across the Commonwealth of Nations. They attended a ceremony in London to accept their election, alongside South African engineer and inventor, Elon Musk.

The Fellowship of the Royal Society are the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from or living and working in the UK and the Commonwealth. Each year up to 52 Fellows and up to 10 Foreign Members are elected from a group of about 700 candidates.

© 2018 Australian Academy of Science

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