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Universe awaits for award-winning astronomy student

Media release

Curtin University post-graduate astronomy student Thomas Russell has today been named ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year at the Premier’s Science Awards.

Mr Luke Musgrave, Thomas Russell and Honourable Donna Faragher
Mr Luke Musgrave, Thomas Russell and Honourable Donna Faragher

Celebrating an outstanding postgraduate student who has demonstrated a commitment to science at an early stage, the award recognises Mr Russell’s great promise in reaching the highest levels of excellence.

At the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, Mr Russell researches black holes, one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe, under the supervision of Dr James Miller-Jones, Dr Roberto Soria, Dr Peter Curran and Professor Steven Tingay. He is studying how black holes extract and recycle energy from in-falling matter; an extremely efficient source of power that shapes the formation of stars, the evolution of galaxies and the distribution of matter in the Universe.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the award recognised Mr Russell’s passion for his discipline and his commitment to undertaking the highest quality research to address questions of fundamental importance to our understanding of the universe.

“Thomas Russell is a very deserving recipient of this award, not only has he delivered high quality research, but he embodies the Curtin University mission ‘To change minds, lives and the world through leadership, innovation and excellence in teaching and research’,” Professor Terry said.

Mr Russell accepted his award at the official ceremony at the Perkins Institute for Medical Research and said it was honour to have been a finalist and to have won the award.

“I really enjoy the research and outreach work that I do, so to be recognised for it is an added bonus, especially when there are so many students doing great work in science in Western Australia,” Mr Russell said.

“I hope it will help to promote not only physics and astrophysics, but science in general to any aspiring young people.”