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Leading Curtin astronomer named joint Scientist of the Year 2020

Media release

Curtin University has congratulated John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay on being named  joint Scientist of the Year at the 2020 Western Australian Premier’s Science Awards.

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay
John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay

Professor Tingay, a world-renowned astronomer from Curtin’s Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), won the top award in partnership with Professor Ryan Lister from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, and The University of Western Australia.

Professor Tingay is a former Director of the Murchison Widefield Array project, the precursor telescope for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which will be one of the largest pieces of space infrastructure ever built. He has been at the forefront of some of the fundamental advancements made possible by these projects, including the search for the first stars 13 billion years ago, the discovery of missing matter in the Universe and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Ms Morgan Cox, a PhD candidate and planetary geologist from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was named the joint ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year – sharing the award with PhD researcher Mr Todd Bond from The University of Western Australia.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery congratulated Professor Tingay and Ms Cox for being recognised as leaders within WA’s science community.

“Professor Tingay has made a significant contribution to the field of astronomy and astrophysics throughout his distinguished career and has become an inspiring mentor for both his peers and students. Being recognised as the joint Scientist of the Year is testament to his high-quality research and outstanding leadership,” Professor Cordery said.

“Ms Cox is an aspiring planetary geologist seeking to uncover answers about the evolution of the Earth by analysing evidence of asteroid impacts. This outstanding achievement will serve as inspiration for up and coming researchers who are looking to begin their research careers and we are delighted that she was recognised for her contributions to her field.”

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the Awards recognise WA’s research superstars and Professor Tingay and Ms Cox were outstanding examples of this.

“Curtin has been recognised in the top Scientist of the Year category for the past three years in a row, which is testament to its high-quality researchers and their outstanding contributions to the field of science,” Professor Moran said.

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Phil Bland, who leads Curtin’s Space Science and Technology Centre, was named joint Scientist of the Year at the 2019 annual awards, and John Curtin Distinguished Professor Peter Newman from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute was honoured with the top award in 2018.

The Premier’s Science Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in the State. The Awards cover all fields of science, including natural, medical, applied and technological science, engineering and mathematics.

Further information on the Premier’s Science Awards can be found online here.