30/10/2007 - 22:00

Blair wins top science gong

30/10/2007 - 22:00

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University of Western Australia physics professor and expert in gravitational science, Professor David Blair, has been named as the 2007 Western Australian Scientist of the Year.

Blair wins top science gong

University of Western Australia physics professor and expert in gravitational science, Professor David Blair, has been named as the 2007 Western Australian Scientist of the Year.
Announcing the award, Premier and Science and Innovation Minister, Alan Carpenter, said Professor Blair was an avid contributor and supporter of The Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin.

“Professor Blair has been instrumental in creating the Gravitational Wave Observatory, a prototype for a detector that can identify gravitational waves that will help us to make sense of the universe,” Mr Carpenter said.
“WA has been identified as the best location on earth to house the observatory and Professor Blair is collaborating with specialists from around the world.”
WA’s status as one of the world’s best locations for astronomy has led to the state being short-listed for the world’s largest radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array.

Australia is competing against southern Africa to be the base for the $1.8 billion international radio astronomy project, which would be built in the Mid West.

Professor Blair received a $100,000 prize in the Premier’s Science Awards, which is the richest of its kind in Australia.

The premier announced in August that the total prize pool for the awards had been increased to $350,000, awarded to six winners in scientific research and teaching.

“The state government wants to reward our science community for their vital work in science, research and innovation and encourage them to continue their important work and the awards help us do this,” Mr Carpenter said.
“Science and innovation are, and will continue to be, major drivers of the global economy well into the future.”
Mr Carpenter has been an enthusiastic advocate for science and research since becoming premier, arguing that it will play an important role in helping to sustain and diversify the state economy.

He used the awards to also announce a $42 million funding deal over five years for Scitech Discovery Centre.

“This funding will allow Scitech to continue to deliver high-quality science programs and exhibitions for the entire Western Australian community,” Mr Carpenter said.
“Scitech Discovery Centre is a state icon and is essential in encouraging the younger generation to choose science as a career option, as well as providing professional development opportunities for teachers throughout WA.”
The premier also announced that Nobel Prize winners, Professor Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren, had been made the inaugural inductees to the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.
Previous winners of the scientist of the year award include Royal Perth Hospital neurologist Professor Graeme Hankey, one of the world’s leading doctors in stroke research, and physician Professor Simon Mallal, who has been recognised internationally for his work in HIV research.

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