Former NSW Governor, leading researchers honoured by Royal Society of NSW

8 May 2015

Former Governor, Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, has received a prestigious award in recognition of her contribution to science.

Dame Marie delivered the 2015 Distinguished Fellows Lecture at the Royal Society of New South Wales' annual black tie dinner in Sydney on Tuesday (5 May 2015).

She was then presented the 2014 Royal Society of New South Wales Medal in honour of her meritorious contributions to the advancement of science, particularly in her field of psychiatry and mental health, and for services to the Society.

The Royal Society of NSW Awards are among the oldest and most prestigious prizes for science in Australia.

Four other awards were handed out on the night.

Professor Robert Park from the University of Sydney was awarded the Clarke Medal for his contribution to plant science. Park is an international leader in plant pathology and genetics. Much of Park's research has focused on rust fungi that infect crop plants in agriculture, and he has made significant contributions to the global effort to control these diseases using genetic approaches, especially in cereal rusts. "By helping to safeguard the world's primary cereal crops, Professor Park is making an enormous contribution to national and global food security, the economic viability of agricultural production, and the ecologically sustainable
use of Australia's natural resources," the Society noted.

Scientia Professor Martin Green AM from the University of New South Wales received the James Cook Medal for "outstanding contributions to science and human welfare in and for the Southern
Hemisphere". Green, who has been described as "the father of modern photovoltaics", is Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics. His research has revolutionised solar cell technology and the associated industry.

Associate Professor Richard Payne was presented the Edgeworth David Medal, which recognises the distinguished contributions by a scientist aged under 35. The Society noted,
"Associate Professor Payne has achieved an extraordinary amount over his short scientific career thus far and this has led to his recognition as one of Australia's leading chemists." Payne's work is focused on using the tools of organic chemical synthesis to engineer new molecules targeted towards specific problems in biology and medicine.

And Linh Tran, a third-year PhD student at the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics at the University of Wollongong, received the Jak Kelly Award. It is awarded jointly with the Australian Institute of Physics to the best PhD student talk presented at a joint meeting with the AIP.