Bright Future for Physics Fellows

Two physicists at RSPE have won ARC Future Fellowships, for researching quantum communication for satellites, and nonlinear nanotechnology.

Dr Chunle Xiong from Quantum Sciences will use his fellowship to address the fundamental challenges of developing quantum communication technology in space

“I am so pleased to receive the fellowship,” said Dr Xiong.

“The project will be a starting point for Australia to explore the applications of quantum technology in space.”

Dr Xiong will perform space qualification of quantum technologies and work towards optimising quantum-key description protocols for space applications.

Dr Alexander Poddubny was awarded his Future Fellowship to work in the Non-Linear Physics Centre.

“I am overwhelmed, this is the first grant of such scale in my life, a great opportunity and also a great responsibility; I will try to do my best,” Dr Poddubny said.

“I am very grateful to Professor Yuri Kivshar, who constantly encouraged and supported me, to colleagues at NLPC and RSPE and of course to the ARC.”

The multidisciplinary project aims to bridge fundamental topological physics with nonlinear nanophotonics and optomechanics.

ANU at large was awarded three Australian Laureate Fellowships including two prestigious named fellowships for world-class female researchers.

Professor Ann McGrath, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History, won the prized Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship for the humanities for a project to create a big picture history of Australia by including epic Indigenous narratives alongside new scientific evidence.

Professor Michelle Coote from the ANU Research School of Chemistry won the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship for science and technology for a project to establish a new approach to chemical catalysis.

Professor Gottfried Otting from the ANU Research School of Chemistry also won a $2.6 million Australian Laureate Fellowship for a project to improve the design of lead compounds in drug development.

ANU also won eight ARC Future Fellowships in the latest funding round, announced by Education Minister the Hon Simon Birmingham.

ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Margaret Harding said ANU success in the latest funding round underlined the University's core strengths and leadership in research and excellence.

"These Fellowships are a great testament to the outstanding staff at the ANU and the transformative research being done at the ANU," Professor Harding said.

"On behalf of the University, I congratulate each of the winners and look forward to the results of their projects."

Professor McGrath's $2.8 million Australian Laureate Fellowship is for a project to develop new techniques for researching the deep human past, and will analyse Australia's epic Indigenous narratives alongside relevant new scientific evidence.

The project will also enable early career scholars to join international networks and be trained in digital research techniques.

Professor McGrath said she was thrilled with the ARC funding.

"Much of Australia's human history is not seen as history at all. This community collaborative project aims to change this, using neglected and new evidence to locate this epic story in its global context," Professor McGrath said.

"It's terrific that the ARC scheme backs new research approaches and directions. This will provide new directions for Australian history."

Professor Coote's $2.3 million Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship will help establish a new approach to chemical catalysis using the electrostatic effects of pH-switchable charged functional groups.

Using a combination of theory and experiment she hopes to establish a game-changing approach to controlling chemical reactions, while training the next generation of chemists in the principles of computer-aided chemical design.

"I am particularly pleased to receive the Georgina Sweet Fellowship and see this as an outstanding opportunity help address long-standing gender inequities in chemistry and STEM disciplines generally," Professor Coote said.

"We are at an exciting point in history where the need for change has finally been embraced, and I am proud be at forefront of developing strategies for effecting this change."

Professor Otting won a $2.6 million Australian Laureate Fellowship for a project designed to have immediate benefits in the design of lead compounds in drug development.

"It was simply wonderful to hear the news. The funding will give me the opportunity to implement new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approaches developed at the ANU over the past one and a half decades for streamlining the discovery of new drug molecules," Professor Otting said.

"It will also bring modern cutting-edge solid-state NMR techniques developed overseas to Australia and provide advanced training for Australian NMR researchers."

As well as the two Future Fellowships at RSPE, awards to ANU researchers went to:

Associate Professor Scott Morrison from the Mathematical Sciences Institute at ANU was awarded a $950,000 ARC Future Fellowship to investigate quantum symmetries, new mathematical objects which allow an algebraic description of topological phases of matter.

Dr Stephanie Goodhew from the ANU Research School of Psychology was awarded $756,000 ARC Future Fellowship for a project that aims to investigate the mechanisms that underline people's capacity to rescale the focus of their visual attention.

Associate Professor Katherine Bode from the Research School of Humanities and the Arts was awarded a $950,000 ARC Fellowship for a project that expects to generate new knowledge of literary culture and digital approaches to research in the humanities.

Dr Qinian Jin from the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute was awarded a $800,000 ARC Future Fellowship. His project expects to develop purely data-driven rules to choose the regularisation parameter and show how they work in theory, and in practice.

Dr Ceridwen Fraser from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society was awarded a $897,000 ARC Future Fellowship for a project that aims to understand   how environmental changes are driving the movement and extinction of plants and animals.

Dr Pu Xiao has been awarded a $681,000 ARC Future Fellowship for a project at the ANU Research School of Chemistry. The project aims to expand fundamental scientific knowledge of photochemistry for 3D printing.

Updated:  21 December 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster