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Young Curtin Scientists clean up at 2014 Premier’s Science Awards

Media release

Curtin University has produced the State’s top young scientists, taking out both the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year and the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year categories in last night’s 2014 Premier’s Science Awards.

Dr Ryan Loxton and Mr Mark Zammit

Dr Ryan Loxton, Senior Lecturer in Curtin’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, won the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year category with his research that uses mathematical techniques to find ways of controlling real-world robotic, electronic and chemical engineering systems.

Dr Ryan Loxton


Mr Mark Zammit, PhD candidate, in the Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, was named the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year, thanks to his work developing the world’s most accurate model for describing the collisions of atoms and molecules.

Mark Zammit


Curtin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development, Professor Graeme Wright said it was exciting to see the University’s young scientists being rewarded for their research.

“It is fantastic to see the next generation of scientists carrying out research that is at the leading edge of significant scientific discoveries, and then for those researchers to be recognised for their work,” Professor Wright said.

“The accolades build on the significantly improved Academic Ranking of World Universities ranking Curtin saw last week, reflecting the University’s strategic focus on increasing research activity and intensity, and also providing a good indication of the quality of research and new talent coming through Curtin.

“The future of science and engineering at Curtin is truly promising, and I look forward to watching the work of these scientists for many years to come.”

Curtin had two other finalists in the Awards: PhD candidate Thomas Russell, also in the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year category and Professor Steven Tingay, Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) in the Scientist of the Year category.

The Premier’s Science Awards recognise the outstanding scientific research and engagement efforts taking place in the State.

Further information on the Curtin winners:

Dr Ryan Loxton – Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Senior Lecturer in Industrial Optimisation, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Curtin University

Dr Loxton’s research focuses on developing new mathematical techniques to optimise industrial processes in areas including robotics, electronics and chemical engineering. He has published over 50 peer reviewed research papers and delivered key-note addresses at several international conferences. He promotes the importance of science and mathematics to students through the Curtin Mathematics Enrichment Program and in 2012 was awarded a WA Young Tall Poppy Science Award. He currently holds three prestigious grants from the Australian Research Council, including an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship.

 Mr Mark Zammit – ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

PhD Candidate, Curtin University

Mr Zammit’s research focuses on modelling the collisions of atoms and molecules for application in fusion technology, materials research, cancer detection and radiotherapy treatment; and he has developed the world’s most accurate model for describing some of these fundamental interactions of matter. He has published nine papers in high impact journals and presented at over 20 national and international conferences. As a passionate promoter of science, Zammit has provided career and education advice to hundreds of students and is involved in a range of voluntary science engagement activities.

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