Barnard wins Feynman Prize

CSIRO nanotechnologist and Staff Association member Dr Amanda Barnard has became the first Australian to win the Feyman prize (theory)  for Nanotechnology.

Awarded by the Foresight Instiute, the prize recognises work that advance knowledge and capabilities in designing, developing and delivering molecular machines and is named after American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman.

“It was a complete surprise,” Barnard said.

“When they (initially) asked for the teleconference I had decided to concede to any request, regardless of what it was, since the Foresight Institute is so prestigious and their people are so well respected.

“I never expected that it was something they would be doing for me – awarding the famous Feynman Prize – rather than what I could do for them.  I’ve been on a whirlwind ever since.”

Her discovery about diamond nanoparticles — that they have unique electrostatic properties which make them spontaneously arrange into very useful structures occurred a few years ago and has “huge potential for assembling nanodiamonds as components of nanoscale machines in the future,” Barnard said.

And as the Federal Budget approaches and CSIRO staff begin action to protect working conditions, Barnard had a message of support for her colleagues and fellow Staff Association members.

“Although it can be hard to see it sometimes, the work we do at CSIRO transcends the political landscape.  Politicians come and go, but CSIRO endures, and our science is proof of that.

“No matter what happens in the future we can always be proud of our research,” Dr Barnard said.

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