Winner of the Mike Smith Student Prize 2019-20

The Australian Academy of Science, through its National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science, partners with the National Museum of Australia to award the Mike Smith Student Prize every second year. The prize rewards and recognises the work of students in the history of Australian science or Australian environmental history.

This prize is named in recognition of Australian archaeologist and National Museum Senior Research Fellow Dr Mike Smith, a well-known leader of his field and mentor of young researchers. The first prize cash award of $3,000 is presented to the best essay by a postgraduate or undergraduate student that deals with any aspect of the history of Australian science (including medicine and technology) or Australian environmental history. Entries may also be considered for publication in the Academy’s journal, Historical Records of Australian Science.

The prize is judged by the chair of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science, an editor of Historical Records of Australian Science, and a representative of the National Museum of Australia.

The 2019-20 round winner of the Mike Smith Student Prize is Karen Twigg with her essay, ‘The Green Years: the role of abundant water in shaping rural women’s experience in the 1950s’. Congratulations to Karen and her excellent essay which was highly commended for its creative topic, strong analysis and skilled presentation.

Due to COVID-19 implications, Karen could not be presented with her award at a conference. It is hoped that her award may be presented at a future event.

The judges of this competition thank all those who submitted to the 2019–20 Mike Smith Student Prize; all entries were highly commended for their discussion of interesting topics. The next round of the Mike Smith Student Prize will be in 2021-22, with entries opening late next year.

The judges encourage those thinking of preparing a piece for the next Mike Smith Student Prize to consider events happening now; we are in the midst of an epidemic—how have Australian scientists handled epidemics in the past? However, the judges welcome any topics in the history of Australian science and in Australian environmental history.

© 2021 Australian Academy of Science

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