Professor Michelle Simmons, who leads the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology has been named NSW 2011 Scientist Of The Year for her work in research concerning quantum computing. The prize itself is worth some $55,000, and will be awarded to Professor Simmons tonight at the 2011 NSW Science and Engineering Awards held at NSW Government House. The official release quotes Professor Simmons as saying that
Quantum computing is not easy science – it takes many different skill sets. Here at UNSW we can manipulate individual atoms to create the world’s smallest electronic devices. We are international leaders in this field. There is no-one else doing what we are doing and I am proud to lead this research effort."
Professor Simmons is an expat Brit who moved to Australia ten years ago, and notes that she's also happy to be a role model for women in science:
I felt there was an opportunity to do some phenomenally exciting research here. It was the best move I ever made. I think it’s important for women to know they can have a family and a career. It’s not easy, but it is possible and it’s incredibly rewarding"