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Five Curtin finalists in prestigious WA Science Awards

Media release

Curtin University has five of the 17 finalists in the Western Australian Science Awards, including two of the four finalists in the running for the WA Scientist of the Year.

Finalists for the 2013 awards were announced by Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett today, with Professor Igor Bray and Professor Steven Tingay shortlisted for Scientist of the Year.

Dr Ryan Loxton and Dr Debbie Silvester are finalists for the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year, while PhD candidate Mark Zammit is one of three finalists for the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year.

Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development Professor Graeme Wright said the high number of finalists reflected the University’s standing as a research institution of international renown.

“Curtin’s Vision 2030 focuses on being a recognised international leader in research and education and today’s announcement by the Premier highlights the progress being made towards this,” Professor Wright said.

“Igor Bray and Steven Tingay are two of the most highly regarded scientists in the State and I’m delighted to see them recognised for research which is of global importance.”

“Igor’s breakthrough research in understanding how atoms interact with each other is used by scientists worldwide. He is also well respected for his promotion of physical sciences to local schools.”

“Steven played a central role in the successful bid of Australia and New Zealand to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope and led the development of its $51 million precursor, the Murchison Widefield Array, which started operations earlier this year.”

Dr Loxton, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has developed a series of algorithms for solving problems in a range of fields, including cancer chemotherapy, vehicle fleet management and hybrid power generators.

Dr Silvester, from the Department of Chemistry, researches the chemistry of toxic gases and explosives in order to design and improve sensors for these materials.

Mr Zammit, a PhD candidate in Applied Physics, is developing a theory that can provide accurate collision data for positron and electron scattering from molecules.

The winners of the awards, along with a 2013 Science Hall of Fame inductee, will be announced at a ceremony on 21 November.

Media contact

Simon White, Media Consultant, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 1931; Mobile: 0401 103 683; Email:

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241; Mobile: 0401 103 755; Email:

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