In Good Company Taking Science to Reality

In Good Company Taking Science to Reality

What an inspiring start to the year – finding myself among the incredible minds listed in the ABC Science Shows 'Top 100 Australian Scientists'! There are really 10,000s of amazing scientists in our nation, but I can see a thread and a humbling view of those who actively communicate and apply their knowledge to society.

Despite the irony that science often goes unheard when it's needed most, these scientists are not just identifying problems; they do not waiver in the face of "nobody is listening". Thank goodness for the Nationally Treasured mouthpiece of science on the ABC Science Show, Robyn Williams.

I'm fortunate to know several individuals on this list, and I can vouch for the fervor with which they uncover, discover, test, interpret and action their knowledge of the world and the universe. It takes a unique blend of brainpower, muscle power, focus, and simply dogmatic, practical determination, including digging in ditches – qualities exhibited by every scientist on this prestigious list. Something that few appreciate is the backbone of science.

Take, for instance, my collaborators Fiona Wood and Gordon Wallace. They both take the complexity of science and practically bring it from the lab bench to the patient, navigating knowledge domains to make sense of information that may seem disjointed on its own.

Consider Michelle Simmons, who translates the complexity of quantum computing into a tangible hope for a practical future. She envisions eliminating 3% of greenhouse gas emissions by addressing the capture of nitrogen for fertilizers through quantum solutions. It can hardly get further between abstract to the practical than that!

Discovering that Australia can claim eminent scientist Dr. Basil Hetzel, who linked iodine deficiency to brain defects in children, highlights the profound impact of scientific findings on public health. It's intriguing to think that our ability as modern humans to efficiently extract iodine from coastal foods could be an evolutionary advantage, distinguishing us from Neanderthals.

The late Will Steffen and his colleagues modeled the delicate balance of our existence on Earth, underscoring the urgent need for environmental sustainability. Let us believe that the lifelong endeavours of people like Will are rewarded with hope.

Susan Scott, through her work on colliding black holes, and Brian Schmidt, a Nobel laureate and discoverer of dark energy, bring the deepest wonders of the universe closer to home. Although that is still mighty far away in my mind.

This list takes us from the quantum scale to our own existence and beyond to the unknown, showcasing Australia's rich scientific landscape. Kudos, Australia – you truly have a 'Hot 100'! Let's keep up the iodine, listening to the ABC Science Show poscast and archives, and continue celebrating the brilliance that propels us forward.

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