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Awards for two inspirational young scientists

News story

Two researchers from Curtin University have been awarded prestigious 2012 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for Western Australia.

Researchers Dr Ryan Loxton and Dr Michael O’Leary were two of six recipients of the award which recognises young scientists doing outstanding research in their field and actively engaging and educating the community about their work.

Dr Loxton of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics was recognised for his research in the field of optimal control and optimisation, which uses mathematical techniques to find ways of controlling real-world systems in an optimal manner, such as determining the best times for shrimp harvesting in aquaculture and determining optimal operating schedules for switching power converters in industry.

Curtin researcher Dr Michael O’Leary (centre) accepts his award from selection panellists Professor Jo Ward and Professor Ian Puddey.

He has also been a teacher for Curtin’s mathematics enrichment program for primary and high school children, and is involved in many school visits to the University to educate and engage students in mathematics.

Dr O’Leary of the Department of Environment and Agriculture was recognised for his research into reef island formation and change, to better resolve how islands will respond to rising sea levels.

He has communicated research about climate change and rising sea levels to public audiences across the globe, participating in public forums and providing expert evidence for climate change policies and reports.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development, Professor Graeme Wright, commended the pair for not only striving for groundbreaking results in their fields, but for being willing to reach beyond the science community and engage the general public.

“Whether it is climate change or mathematical systems, these winners of the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are helping everybody’s understanding of complex science that is so critical to today’s society,” he said.

“And with their full careers still ahead of them, there is no doubt we will see many more inspirational research outcomes.”

The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, take place in every state and territory annually. The WA division is supported by Curtin and other WA universities.

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