PM's Science Prize to Uni of Adelaide Professor

Professor Tanya Monro

Professor Tanya Monro
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Thursday, 16 October 2008

University of Adelaide physicist Professor Tanya Monro has been awarded one of the five Prime Minister's Science Prizes for 2008.

Professor Monro has created a new class of optical fibres with innovative potential applications in medical research, defence, industry and environmental science.

She has been awarded the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year which recognises outstanding research of global importance by early-career scientists. This was awarded on Thursday night by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science & Research, Senator Kim Carr.

Professor Monro is Director of the Centre of Expertise in Photonics within the University of Adelaide's School of Chemistry and Physics and, at just 35, is already regarded as one of the world's leaders in optical fibre technology. Earlier this year she was awarded one of the 2008 Australian Research Council Federation Fellowships.

This new class of optical fibres, containing air holes and made from soft glass, is broadening the role of optical fibres from communications to areas such as diagnostics - detecting trace quantities of chemicals or biomolecules - and a variety of medical and defence applications.

Professor Monro said she was "absolutely thrilled" to receive what she regarded as the highest recognition possible by this stage in her career.

"It's recognition that the research I and my fabulous team are doing is of world-class quality and importance," she said. "We are not just concentrating on a narrow area of science. What we are doing is bringing together a range of expertise to solve specific problems with great potential benefit for industry, health and the environment."

Professor Monro's work has received support from both state and federal governments, as well as the Defence Science & Technology Organisation.

She is a member of the South Australian Premier's Science & Research Council, a founding steering member of the Royal Institution of Australia, and member of the 2008 community consultation panel for the Defence White Paper. In 2007, she was awarded the 'Women in Physics Lecture' by the Australian Institute of Physics and, in 2006, a Bright Spark Award for Australia's Top 10 Scientific Minds under 45 by Cosmos Magazine.

She obtained her PhD in physics from the University of Sydney, for which she was awarded the Bragg Gold Medal for the best physics thesis in Australia in 1998, and was also awarded an Eleanor Sophia Wood Travelling Fellowship.

In 2000, she received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton in the UK. She came to the University of Adelaide in early 2005 as the inaugural Chair of Photonics.


Contact Details

Professor Tanya Monro
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics
Director, Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing; ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, FAA, FTSE, FAIP
School of Chemistry and Physics, The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3955
Mobile: 0400 649 369

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084