News & Events

ACT celebrates its Young Tall Poppy Scientists


Advances for air traffic operations, plasma physics, plant defence mechanisms and youth mental health – four outstanding young scientists were celebrated on 17 August 2011 at the ACT Young Tall Poppy Science Awards held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

Read the Media Release here

In the news – read the Canberra Times article here

Dr Sameer Alam – Australian Defence Force Academy, University of NSW
Simulation and Modelling of Air Transport
ANU Medal for the ACT Young Tall Poppy of the Year
Dr Alam has developed the Air Traffic Operations and Management Simulator (ATOMS). This simulation environment incorporates variables to predict and provide optimal flight paths that will enhance overall capacity and efficiency, reducing fuel as well as air and noise pollution. Introducing these new procedures, growth in air travel can be achieved by making operations more efficient. Sameer took part in various outreach activities during Fresh Science Week in 2008. He has also taken opportunities to present his work to aviation industry stakeholders such as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Boeing, Air Services Australia, Eurocontrol France and NASA.

Dr Cormac Corr – The Australian National University
Plasma Physics
Plasma – the fourth state of matter – plays a critical role in advanced technologies such as TV-displays, mobile phones, solar-cells, aerospace applications, high-efficiency lighting and biomedicine. It also has great potential to provide the cleanest form of electrical power through fusion energy, with negligible CO2 emissions and producing little long-term waste. Dr Corr’s research aims to supply new information on the interactions between plasma and its surrounding environment to achieve better engineering outcomes and provide real time monitoring solutions for fusion and technological applications. Cormac has initiated novel ways to increase the understanding of this difficult research area to both scientific and non-scientific audiences. He designed and teaches the third year plasma physics course at the ANU, a course that he has also tailored for delivery to various institutions and interest groups.

Dr Gonzalo Estavillo – The Australian National University
Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology
Dr Estavillo’s research into plant defence mechanisms will help us further understand how plants are able to survive adverse conditions such as very hot and dry seasons. His results are now being used by industry to develop crop plants that will grow well in the extreme conditions predicted to become more common in the future. Gonzalo developed a new set of experiments for 2nd year students at ANU called ‘Plant Detectives’ which helped increase enrolments. During 2009, he participated in nation-wide interviews for Win TV News, ABC radio and Australian print and web media outlets including the Townsville Bulletin, Adelaide Advertiser, West Australian and Nine MSN.

Dr Liana Leach – The Australian National University
Mental Health – Psychiatric Epidemiology
The impacts of mental illness are widespread, including costs to individuals, families, workplaces and the Australian economy. Dr Leach’s research seeks to identify the major work and family life stressors that cause the development of depressive and anxiety disorders in young Australians aged 18-35. She investigates the mental health impacts of common stressful life events that affect many people. Liana believes that the communication of research findings to government and the community is critical to help reduce the burden of mental illness in Australia. She volunteers for World Mental Health Day and is an ambassador for the Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research.