Three out of 21 national new Fellows elected to the Australian Academy of Science today are from The University of Western Australia.
Every year the Academy, representing Australia's leading research scientists, honours a small number of Australian scientists for their outstanding contributions. The UWA scientists are:
Winthrop Professor Hans Lambers, Head of the School of Plant Biology, who is an expert in plant mineral nutrition and the physiological basis of variation in plant growth and productivity. His work has revealed the mechanisms by which plants function and grow in different and challenging environments. His interests include the phosphorus nutrition of Australian native plants and the uptake and use of phosphorus by plant crops. One of his books on plants has been translated into Chinese and Persian. He hopes his work on Australian native plants, which thrive in poor soil, will lead to a more sustainable agriculture in WA;
Winthrop Professor Stephen Powles, who is also in the School of Plant Biology, is Director of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative. He is renowned for foreseeing the problem of herbicide resistance and pioneering herbicide resistance science nationally and internationally. As well as his fundamental research, Professor Powles works with the farming community and industry to develop ways to overcome herbicide resistance and to encourage sustainable cropping across Australia; and
Winthrop Professor Michael Tobar, wholeads the Frequency Standards and Metrology Research Group based in the School of Physics. An Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, he aims to build instruments with world-class precision and performance that can be used in applications including in space, and which can be used to test one of the founding theories of modern physics: Einstein's Theory of Relativity. "Many developments today - the Global Positioning System, optical fibre communications and mobile phones - are based on high-quality clocks and oscillators," he said. "We aim to improve these devices."
The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy and present summaries of their work at the Academy's three-day celebration in Canberra on 2 May.