Leading UWA physicist Emeritus Professor David Blair who played a key role in the discovery of gravitational waves, confirming a major prediction of Albert Einstein, was last night inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame at the Premier’s Science Awards 2018 ceremony.
The Premier’s Science Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Western Australian science community. Award recipients exemplify the outstanding scientific research and engagement efforts taking place across the State.
Professor Blair was recognised for his extensive achievements in experimental physics, focusing on the direct detection of gravitational waves. Professor Blair led a UWA team of researchers that made a critical contribution to the discovery of the first gravitational wave in September 2015. He has also pioneered ‘microwave cavity electro-mechanics’ as well as the use of ‘whispering gallery modes in sapphire’ (for the creation of exceptionally low noise clocks and oscillators).
Also recognised in the Premier’s Science Awards was UWA’s Dr Melissa O’Donnell, a child psychologist at the Telethon Kids Institute, who was awarded Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year and Arman Siahvashi, a PhD student studying engineering at UWA, joint winner of ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year.
Dr O’Donnell specialises inchild maltreatment. Using linked government data, Dr O’Donnell investigates outcomes and risk and protective factors for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Her research informs government policy and practice with the aim of improving children’s outcomes through prevention and early intervention.
Mr Siahvashi’s research on low temperature measurements in hydrocarbons has promising applications in improving the distribution of some of the 37 million tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas that Australia exports each year, worth over $16 billion.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said recipients of the Premier’s Science Awards should be proud of the contribution they have made to advancing global science.
“Our researchers are not only increasing global knowledge, their work is helping improve people’s lives,” Professor Freshwater said.
“These achievements enhance the University’s reputation for delivering outstanding scientific research that is helping solve complex problems and making the world a better place.”
David Stacey (UWA Media and PR Manager) 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716