How science, nature and teachers inspired Australia’s best scientists

May 17, 2017
Image source: supplied

Twenty-one of Australia’s best scientists have been elected to the Australian Academy of Science, a rare and esteemed honour, for their outstanding contributions to science.

The scientists’ ground-breaking discoveries and contributions to research range from improving crop yields, women’s reproductive health and mobile telecommunications, through to our understanding of massive galaxies, the periodic table, and the evolution of Earth.

The group was elected by their Academy peers following a rigorous evaluation process.

Academy President, Professor Andrew Holmes, congratulated the new Fellows for making significant and lasting impacts in their scientific disciplines.

“What is delightful about our latest group of new Fellows is that many were inspired to become scientists at an early age,” Professor Holmes said.

“Professor Dietmar Muller gathered billion-year-old fossilised rocks along Baltic Sea beaches as a child, while Professor Lois Salamonsen read books about the universe.

“Professor Branka Vucetic became fascinated with radio-engineering when her science teacher posed a question that she couldn’t answer at the time, while former Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, would be the first to finish reading tasks set by his primary school teacher so he could go outside and study nature as a reward.

“These stories remind us why it is crucial that as a nation we continue to work together to inspire our next generation of scientists, which is part of our core mission at the Academy,” Professor Holmes said.

The Academy’s total fellowship now includes 524 scientists. The new Fellows are:


Professor Philip Hugenholtz, University of Queensland
Professor Jennifer Martin, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery
Professor Tim Ralph, University of Queensland
Professor Mark Smyth, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute


Professor Dietmar Müller, University of Sydney
Professor John Patrick, University of Newcastle
Professor Branka Vucetic, University of Sydney


Professor Jozef Gécz, University of Adelaide 


Professor Igor Bray, Curtin University


Professor Ian Chubb, Australian National University (Special Election)
Dr Evans Lagudah, CSIRO


Professor Thomas Davis, Monash University
Associate Professor Jane Elith, University of Melbourne
Dr Anita Hill, CSIRO
Professor David Gardner, University of Melbourne
Professor Karl Glazebrook, Swinburne University of Technology
Professor Cameron Jones, Monash University
Professor Melissa Little, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Professor Lois Salamonsen, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Professor Nicholas Wormald, Monash University


Dr John Volkman, CSIRO

Media note:

New Fellows will be formally inducted into the Academy Monday evening 22 May at the Shine Dome in Canberra. Tomorrow, Tuesday 23 May, they will each have 10 minutes to present their life’s work to Academy Fellows. Media are welcome to attend the Academy’s annual flagship event, Science at the Shine Dome and to interview new Fellows.

More information about each new Fellow, including a statement about why they were elected and a short bio, is available on request.

Media contact

Dan Wheelahan. ph: 0435 930 465

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