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2018 Australian of the Year Awards

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Campus Travel would like to congratulate all of the 2018 Australian of the Year Award recipients.

This year’s winners included:

  • Australian of the Year: Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons (University of NSW)

  • Australia’s Local Hero: Eddie Woo (Cherrybrook Technical High School)

  • Senior Australian of the Year: Dr Graham Farquhar AO (Distinguished Professor, Australian National University)

  • Young Australian of the Year: Samantha Kerr (Athlete, Football Federation Australia, member of Perth Glory and the Matildas)

Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons

One of the world’s top scientists, Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons has pioneered research that could lead to a quantum leap in computing. Her work has the potential to reshape the way we live and how we experience the world. Since arriving in Australia from Britain in 1999, Michelle has transformed the University of NSW’s quantum physics department into a world leader in advanced computer systems.

In 2012, Michelle and her team created the world’s first transistor made from a single atom, along with the world’s thinnest wire. The breakthrough means Australia is now at the forefront of what Michelle calls the ‘space race of the computing era’. Michelle’s aim is to build a quantum computer able to solve problems in minutes, which would otherwise take thousands of years. Such a discovery has the potential to revolutionise drug design, weather forecasting, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence and much more.

Australia's Local Hero Eddie Woo    

Eddie Woo is arguably Australia’s most famous mathematics teacher, making maths fun and attracting young people to engage with maths by making it relatable and interesting.
The head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School in Western Sydney (the largest secondary school in New South Wales), Eddie started posting videos online in 2012 for a student who was sick with cancer and missing a lot of school. Before long, he was sharing the videos across the country and beyond.

‘Wootube’ now boasts more than 100,000 subscribers and has attracted more than eight million views worldwide and counting. With infectious enthusiasm, the father-of-three's unique and caring approach to teaching destigmatises mathematics as an inaccessible and difficult subject. Outside his high school classroom, 32 year old Eddie is a volunteer facilitator with the University of Sydney's Widening Participation and Outreach program and has motivated more than 1,400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Senior Australian of the Year Dr Graham Farquhar AO

One of Australia's most eminent scientists, Dr Graham Farquhar is helping reshape our understanding of photosynthesis – the very basis of life on Earth. His work focuses on food security and how the world will feed growing populations into the future. After growing up with a Tasmanian farming family background, Graham has used his love of science to deliver practical benefits to the agricultural sector. His study of mathematics and physics formed the bedrock of a career creating mathematical models of how plants work.
His research addresses agriculture and climate change and aims to solve some of the greatest challenges of our generation. Graham has received a string of accolades during his distinguished career for his research examining how water efficient crops can protect food security in a changing climate. Importantly, he has worked to improve world food security by developing strains of wheat that can grow with less water.

Young Australian of the Year Samantha Kerr

When her dream of playing for the West Coast Eagles was shot down because she was the ‘wrong’ gender in a male-dominated sport, Sam switched to another football code – soccer. By the time she was 15, Sam was representing Australia in the Matildas. Now, aged 24, Sam has held contracts with Sydney FC, Perth Glory and is in her fifth season in America's National Women's Soccer League, recently becoming its all-time leading goal scorer. In 2017, she was named a finalist for FIFA Female Player of the Year. Arguably the best women's soccer player in the world, the West Australian is an engaging ambassador for all women's sport. Her love for the game and her country is infectious. While she celebrates her prolific goal-scoring ability with a trademark backflip, Sam is a well-grounded athlete who inspires young and old with her athletic prowess and sportsmanship.

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