The ABC has announced Professor Michelle Simmons AO FRS FAA FRSN FTSE will deliver the 2023 Boyer Lecture series.
Professor Simmons’ series of four lectures with the overarching theme, The Atomic Revolution, will explore quantum physics, manufacturing at the atomic scale, women in science, and why Australia is perfectly positioned to build the world’s first error corrected quantum computer.
Professor Simmons is the CEO of Silicon Quantum Computing and the Director at the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales. She was the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Nature Quantum Information.
Professor Simmons is a pioneer in atomic electronics and a global leader in quantum computing. Her achievements include developing the world’s first single-atom transistor, the world’s narrowest conducting wires, the ability to encode and read information on single atoms and the world ‘s first integrated circuit made with atomic precision.
Professor Simmons believes we are in the midst of the “space race of the computing era.” Along with her team, she is aiming to build a quantum computer capable of solving complex problems – that would otherwise take thousands of years – in minutes. Such a computer has the potential to revolutionise drug design, weather forecasting, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence and more.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose said: “I am delighted that Professor Simmons will deliver this year’s Boyer lectures. She is an inspirational scientific leader and will discuss the revolution in atomic-scale manufacturing that is underway here in Australia, and the implications for building an Australian quantum computer.”
Professor Simmons has lived in Australia since 1999. “I came here in the belief that this country would be an idea place undertake audacious, big-picture technological research. I was right,” she said.
About Professor Michelle Simmons
Michelle Simmons was born in London and attended the UK’s Durham University, where she studied for a double degree in Physics and Chemistry (1985–1988). In 1992 she was awarded a PhD in high efficiency solar cells. Following a successful research position at the Cavendish where she was recognised for her work on the “0.7 structure” and for the study of metallic states in very pure transistors, she was awarded a QEII Fellowship in 1999 and moved to Australia, where she became a founding member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology. She has since been awarded two Federation Fellowships and a Laureate Fellowship, the Australian Research Council’s most prestigious awards of this kind.
Professor Simmons is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the UK Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and of the Australian Academy of Science.
She has been awarded the Bakerian Medal from the Royal Society in the UK, the American Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the George R Stibitz Computer and Communications Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum and was named Asia Pacific 2017 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate. She was the 2018 Australian of the Year and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2019.
The Boyer Lecture series, named after former ABC Chairman Sir Richard Boyer, is a series of lectures from a prominent Australian invited to express their thoughts on major social, cultural, scientific or political issues. The first lecture will screen live on ABC TV and ABC iview on Thursday 19 October at 8pm. ABC RN will broadcast the four lectures weekly from Sunday 22 October at 9.30am.
For more information:
Laura Todd, ABC Communications
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