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CSIRO Alumni Physics Scholarship 2020

[Text appears on a white screen: CSIRO Alumni Physics Scholarship, 19 February 2020]

[Image changes to show Dr Scott Martin standing at a podium talking into the microphone]

Dr Scott Martin: Everyone. A very, very warm welcome here to CSIRO Linfield and my name is Scott Martin.

[Camera zooms in on Scott talking at the podium]

I’m the Site Leader here for CSIRO and I had the great pleasure to work with three out of the four of the gentlemen who are remembered by this scholarship. I’d like to particularly welcome Paquita and Vivienne here today. Sadly, Jacqui and Di are elsewhere. I think Di’s in New Zealand and Jacqui can’t make it so… but welcome everyone else who’s here today. Let me start by acknowledging the custo… traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Terramerragal and the Gammeraigal people of the Darug nation and I’d like to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I have a, just a few quick announcements about safety.

[Image shows Scott pointing towards the toilets in the foyer while continuing to talk]

The toilets are out in the foyer. If you just go out of here and turn right, you’ll find them. If you have any sort of emergency, please let me know and we’ll sort that out for you. If there is an alarm, we have the two stage alarm. Firstly, the beeping where you sort of, we gather our things and make preparations to evacuate. And if it does go to a full site evacuation, we go to a rising tone alert and we will exit through these doors and go to the ring road where there’s an evacuation site. There is a, a reception area just out on the left if you need to use a telephone or order a taxi or anything like that you can, you can do that there. If you need anything, please let me know and I’ll try and sort it out for you. Without further ado I’d like to invite Bob Steele the New South Wales President of the CSIRO Alumni to the stage.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Scott leaving the podium and Bob Steele moving to the podium and talking into the microphone]

Bob Steele: Thanks Scott and welcome everybody. This is the 2020 Alumni Scholarship and we’ve been going for six years and I’m very proud of the help that I’ve received from Dr. Scott Martin, Alex Mead and Laboratories Credit Union and CSIRO. They’ve made this scholarship and the other scholarships, you’ll hear from the Credit Union today, alive and a wonderful, a wonderful way to celebrate the lives of these four scientists that we’re here to commemorate.

The Credit Union has a history of providing scholarships and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those smart people that won scholarships this year. But I think there’s a bit of a problem here. I think you’ve had an advantage because your parents were smart as well because they belong to one of the best banking experiences I’ve ever had. And this is not a promotion. This is from a genuine thing. So, Leanne, who’s the chairm… the CEO of the Laboratories Credit Union, thank you very much for providing such a well of talent here today.

[Image continues to show Bob talking at the podium]

Many years ago Susan Smith approached me and said, “Would you like to help out with the CSIRO Alumni?”. And it’s an awkward Alumni and Marcus will help us define it a little bit further, a little bit further on because Alumnis are places of pure education like schools and universities and this one is a, an interesting one because it sits in a, a, research body whose part function is education. So, it is a comfortable position. The New South Wales Alumni is very lucky because we have this very strong relationship with the Laboratories Credit Union. So, many of the Alumni committee members, who I am very grateful for their help, are actually members of the Laboratories Credit Union. They’ve been directors or they’ve been long-term members of it.

So, I’d like to thank them very much. Many years ago Susan approached me about this Alumni and I said yes. And then Scott approached me about the friends and family who wanted to do something to commemorate the loss of these four physicists at CSIRO. And it was pretty soon that Sue had organised a gift, a donation portal. So, anyone that could donate to the scholarship would be able to and get it tax deductible. And it’s in a website called,, I think and that scholarship donation is virtually every penny you put in goes to the actual scholarship recipients, of which we’ve got some here today.

[Image continues to show a close view of Bob talking at the podium]

The committee is entirely voluntary and the, the assessment panel, which I’ll get to in a minute, is also entirely voluntary. So, the next thing was to, OK, so we were starting to get some money in, we have funds, let’s find some physicists in the world. How many are there in Australia? Well, one, two, no, there’s many, there’s hundreds of them maybe, and even more. But how do we actually contact them? How do we communicate with them? And communication is one of the key things I wanted to talk about today. And that is because the communication is key to being able to get your knowledge into the public arena, or into someone else’s mindset. And the scholarship winners, all of them here, are communicators, born communicators I guess, not like myself who struggles from time to time.

But to find them I just put a couple of ads in the local rags. The week before the scholarship was due I didn’t have any applications. So, I rushed out emails to every known physicist I could find on the web and luckily we got a very successful approach. We had… roughly each year we get about 20 applicants. Now comes the hard part. Which one deserves a scholarship?

Luckily I had Warren King, I had Kathy Foley, Emma Mitchell, and Tony, Tony Murphy on the committee and they did the assessment for it. They are time poor people and if you want to know how time poor they are, Kathy’s bio is written up in this month’s Qantas booklet, and I was unfortunate enough to be on one of those planes coming home last week, and I looked in there and to my surprise I found there’s the bio for Kathy Foley. And what part of her day is not filled up? I don’t know but it’s pretty intensive.

[Image continues to show a close view of Bob talking into the microphone at the podium]

So, I’d like to thank them very much for the very, very hard task of finding out the best recipient each year. So, thank you. And I’d also like to thank the physics community for making our task of finding the best scholarship winner so jolly difficult. In fact, if I had my way, and I had oodles of money I’d like to get more than one. But we could talk about that at another committee meeting I’m sure.

So, thank  you very much for your attendance here today and congratulations to the scholarship winners we’ll be getting on to shortly. In the meantime, I’d like to ask Dr Marcus Zipper to come up to the microphone and introduce some of the concepts of CSIRO Alumni, CSIRO and our role here. Thank you very much.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Bob leaving the podium and Dr Marcus Zipper stepping up to the podium and the camera pans down a little]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Can you see me over the lectern? It’s a bit hard sometimes, I’ll go on my tippy toes if that helps.

[Image show Marcus adjusting the microphone and then continuing to talk into the microphone at the podium]

Thanks everyone. I just want to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we’re meeting today and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Thanks everyone for coming. It’s a wonderful day. We have guests from local and interstate and you’ll see one of our, the winner today will be talking from France in his video. So, this has become global, these awards which is fantastic.

I’ve got some notes here because I’ve got a bit of a speech and I’m not very good at remembering things so I do have a few notes, so bear with me. The CSIRO Alumni Scholarship in Physics aims to connect the brightest young physicists or mathematicians to a leading research centre overseas or in Australia. I know some of our previous winners have been to some great countries overseas and done some fantastic things through the scholarship.

Research in physics and mathematics is fundamental for Australia’s future and I don’t think I need to tell you as the audience today that it is. Personally I actually have a little bit of passion in this area. I did a degree in Physics and Materials years ago and it’s what… physics first turned me on to science. I haven’t practiced as a physicist or a materials engineer for a long time now but it’s what first grabbed my attention. I had a great teacher in Year 10 who taught me physics and it just ignited the spirit and my imagination and that’s what’s led me here and I’ve been in science for the last 30 years. So, physics was the door opener for me and I’m always grateful to my love of physics.

[Image continues to show Marcus at the podium talking into the microphone]

The founder of this scholarship know that early experience in leading overseas laboratories greatly benefits the graduate embarking on a research career in Australian science and these scholarships help facilitate that. Today we’re proud to be celebrating the sixth winner of the scholarship, Benjamin Paul Dix-Matthews. Benjamin’s working on coherent optical free space frequency dissemination and is currently in France testing his prototype system in a practical experiment of an optical transmission between two buildings in Toulouse.

His project is a collaboration of the CNES, the French Space Agency, and we’ll hear more about that from him a bit later today. He’s got a video presentation which is long, very long. We’ve decided we’re just going to show you snippets of it and then if you want to watch the whole 20 minutes you’re welcome to go online and it’s very, very, technical heavy and I think you’ll enjoy it if you want to go online.

The CSIRO Alumni have been key in setting up this scholarship and the CSIRO Alumni Network was relaunched last year and now has over 4,000 members across Australia and the world. I actually was an Alumni of CSIRO once. I’ve been back at CSIRO for 14 years now. I say it’s my second tour of duty. I left for about three years and have been at CSIRO previously before that and I was Alumni for three years technically. I don’t think I heard one thing from the organisation, you know, so, and I missed it. I missed it a hell of a lot and I came back because to be honest, I’ve always felt CSIRO is my home. It’s a place I love and the people here are magnificent. But in those three years when I was technically Alumni we didn’t have the great work that Bob and Alex and others do. And so, I think, you know, keeping that link to this organisation for people is magnificent. Thank you.

[Image continues to show a close-up view of Marcus at the podium talking into the microphone]

Through the Alumni Network you can reconnect with former colleagues and make new connections across CSIRO, which I couldn’t do in those three years, universities and other organisations. Our online community is an interactive website where you can find out about events, join discussion groups and hear about activities and opportunities to help build your network. And it’s not just those who have left. We encourage current staff, and I think there’s quite a few in the room today, to connect with the programme, invite them to events, promote collaboration opportunities, ask for expertise, and use the website forums to promote your latest news and success stories.

I’m nearly finished and then we’ll get to the really good stuff. Speakers – as part of the Alumni programme we’re building a vibrant calendar of events and today we have the opportunity to hear about three of our former scholarship winners. We did have four. One of them is sick. It’s not Corona virus, I don’t think is it, God forbid. But we have three and they’re brilliant. I spoke to, I met them earlier today and they’re all fantastic. They’ll talk about what they’ve done and how they’ve used their scholarship funds and where their research has taken them.

So, you’ll hear from three of the previous recipients. They’ll each speak for five to ten minutes and then we’ll have the chance for some questions. We’ll have a little bit of a panel and then we’ll have afternoon tea afterwards, after we also, you know, announce the, fully announce the winner of this year, show a bit of video and then say goodbyes and have some nice food. And that’s fantastic.

So, our first speaker today was going to be Matthew Rendell, the man with Corona virus. He’s not on a boat I hope, one of the terrible boats, I hope, God forbid. He won the scholarship last year. He feels terrible not coming and I understand his presentation will be available online. Is that right? So, if you’re interested. So, we’ll go to our first speaker in reality now which is Naomi Paxton who is our 2018 winner.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus leaving the podium]

I think your slides are all there.

[Image changes to show Naomi Paxton stepping up to a podium on the left of the stage and talking to the audience in the foreground and a slide can be seen in the background]

Naomi Paxton: Hi everyone. My name’s Naomi. I’m here visiting from QUT and I absolutely love coming back to these events after I was awarded the Alumni Scholarship in Physics in 2018. So, many of you who have been to these events before may know a little bit about my research because I talked to you about it last year. But I was just going to give you a little bit of an update on where I am finishing up my PhD in my exciting research field of biofabrication which is 3-D printing body parts.

[Background slide changes to show an animation of a skeleton rotating on a bed and then the slide changes to show a 3-D printer in operation on the screen]

So, I just show this animation to show you what biofabrication is. And this is where we hope in the future we can use medical scanning to create personalised models of patient injuries where they’ve suffered from tissue loss and then we can 3-D print personalised tissue scaffolds that fit these individual patient injuries.

[Image on the slide changes to show tissue scaffolds and the image rotates in a clock-wise direction]

And into these tissue scaffolds we seed the patient’s own cells. So, they can start to grow on that scaffold and start turning into the patient’s own bone tissue in this case.

[Image on the slide changes to show a skeleton again and Naomi can be seen on the left of the stage talking at the podium]

So, when we implant that scaffold back into the patient it’s already regrown the patient’s tissue and then the scaffold itself dissolves over time. So, we are completely healing the bone defect. This is just one of many examples of how bio-fabrication can be used in the future and with a background in physics I play a very niche role in this but I get to work alongside material scientists, chemists, biologists, surgeons and clinicians to make some of these solutions a reality.

[Image on the slide changes to show 3-D printers in operation while Naomi can be seen on the left of the stage talking at the podium]

So, we use additive manufacturing which is the more technical name for 3-D printing which is what we use to create these personalised implants. And we can use bioprinting or melt electrode which are very specialised 3-D printing techniques that let us process biologically compatible materials that as I mentioned they can support the cells and new tissues and they’re biocompatible and biodissolvable. So, they dissolve in the body so that we can regrow these tissues.

[The slide on the screen shows two animations of 3-D printers in operation]

But it takes a lot to understand exactly how we can process different materials and how we can use these techniques to not only process the materials but also make sure that those materials have the right biological and mechanical properties for each of our applications that we’re going to use them for.

[Image continues to show Naomi talking on the left of the stage at the podium and the image on the slide changes to show a diagram of the viscosity of materials]

And so, that’s where I get to do a little bit of physics which is great and then inform some of my colleagues of how we can do just a little bit of maths to understand how we can process these different materials to really speed up the process of developing new materials to translate them onto 3-D printing applications.

So, here I developed a very quick model that looks at the viscosity of these materials, how easily they flow under pressure as we’re 3-D printing them and then we can just do a little bit of maths to predict the printing pressure that we need to be able to extrude these materials with different viscosities in the needle length and other parameters with our 3-D printers. And so, now we can very rapidly decide whether the materials that we are generating are 3-D printable or not which is really useful to not only my work in bone tissue engineering but anyone else on the planet using these types of 3-D printers for biofabrication applications.

[Image continues to show Naomi talking on the left of the stage at the podium and the image on the slide changes to show some 3-D printed structures]

So with this work we’ve been able to 3-D print some really beautiful structures. I’ve just put a few pictures in here of these, these biolink materials and you can see that parameter we’re looking at, oh possibly not. We can also 3-D print with Nivea cream which turns out to be a really beautifully 3-D printable material.

[Image shows Scott stepping up to the podium to show Naomi an electronic pointer for the slide on the screen and the image shows Naomi trying it out]

Scott Martin: You might want to use this.

[Image continues to show Naomi standing at the podium on the left of the screen and looking at the slide and then the audience as she talks]

Naomi Paxton: Oh, it actually works. There we go. That’s making a new 3-D printed structure. Now, of course, we’re never actually going to implant Nivea cream in someone but it’s actually just a really beautiful printable material. So, we compare all of our materials that have patient’s own cells in them to what we’ve 3-D printed with our Nivea cream. And we didn’t even have to risk assess it or wear any protection.

[Laughter can be heard and image shows Naomi continuing to talk while the same slide continues to be shown on the screen in the background]

And then you can see on the other side there we’ve combined some materials and so this is what my project was working on when I got to, with the help of the scholarship travel over to Imperial College London. And here we’re combining some different materials, a polymer that’s easily printable with a ceramic material that closely mimics the composition of bone. And so when we combine these into, what I call, SrBGs, Strontium-substituted bioactive glass combined with polycaprolactone we get this really beautiful printable material that’s bioactive and it stimulates bone regeneration.

And so I took samples of this material that had been implanted over to Imperial College London for a few weeks and we were able to do some very advanced analysis and mapping of where the bone… bone regrowth has filled these scaffolds and been able to really beautifully regrow bone tissue which is lovely.

[Image continues to show Naomi talking on the left of the screen at the podium and the slide changes to show an arrow showing a diagram of Naomi’s research]

So, I’m right at the end but I keep showing this slide when I represent my research to my team and that little blue bar gets closer and closer to the end there which is really terrifying. I’ve just finished writing up my thesis and I’m at the end of my PhD journey but just the start of my research journey in biofabrication and I got to translate everything all the way from new biomaterials, using different 3-D printing additive manufacturing techniques, all the way to then testing these and bringing them towards pre-clinical trials so we can get closer to starting to use these in human trials in the future.

[Image continues to show Naomi talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show photos of Naomi and of her colleagues]

So, with that I’d like to thank obviously all of the supporters of my research. I mentioned that it’s a multi-disciplinary research field. We couldn’t do this without the help of all of the different, different teams, the industry supporters, the funders that make this research possible. And of course the wonderful community here that I’ve been very lucky to be a part of for the last few years that was able to support my research going over to Imperial College London and let me expand my network as a PhD student that will hopefully give me some more opportunities wherever I get to go in the future. So, thank you very much.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Naomi leaving the podium and Marcus moving back to the podium and talking to the audience]

Dr Mark Zipper: Thank you. How cool was that huh? Sort of blade runner stuff, fantastic. I will now hand over to Scott Lilles who will give his fantastic presentation.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image changes to show Marcus leaving the podium and Scott stepping up to the podium]

Scott Lilles: Thank you. I’m Scott Lilles.

[Image on the background slide changes to show a photo of Scott, a photo of his project and a river scene]

There we go and I was awarded this scholarship in 2017. Let’s see if I can figure this out. There you go. That was me in 2017 if you were here. This is me now. And I used the scholarship money to travel to the Niels Bohr Institute which is housed in the University of Copenhagen. And the aim for my scholarship was to learn how to use a new experimental technique that we wanted to implement in our labs at UNSW.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium on the left of the stage and the background slide changes to show a diagram of Scott’s project]

So, to begin with I’ll just give you the background that brought on the idea of what I studied for my PhD. I was looking at the spin properties of single electrons and holes in semi-conductors and the aim was to study these single spins to determine if they were suitable for use in quantum computation. This… this picture is a bit technical. It’s a scanned electron microscope image of the devices that I was studying.

There’s a lot going on there. The main point I wanted to make is first of all this scale, there we go this scale back here is 500 nanometres. So, this active region of the device is very small. You can fit about 10,000 of those and you’d only make up one centimetre. These are very small electronic devices. The basic idea is to use these set of… these different colour regions are metal gates. We call them gates but they’re just strips of nano, nano strips of metal and we want to isolate the single charge and then look at spin properties.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium on the left of the stage and the background slide changes to show a Microsoft Quantum Computer logo]

So, the question is what was going on in Copenhagen, why did I want to go there? Copenhagen is really a world leader in the field of quantum computation. They’ve got a lot of money coming in from Microsoft… Microsoft and looking at using the technology to actually build usable quantum computation processes and they’re also as I mentioned experts in the measurement technique known as RF free photometry. RF is for radio frequency and then reflectometry. And this is just, hopefully this picture impresses you to make you realise that this looks very complicated and it’s a tricky technique.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show a diagram]

So, what actually is RF reflectometry, or radio frequency reflectometry? On the basic level what you’re looking at doing is applying a radio frequency pulse, so this is an electrical pulse of say 100 MHz, you send that down a cable and that comes and basically interacts with your spin speed. Now if you have… your spin state, say is your electron spin is coming up, then this pulse will be absorbed and none will be reflected. Now if your electron spin was actually down, what would happen is your pulse would come down and it won’t be absorbed by the spin down speed, rather it will be reflected.

And then you can use the, by measuring the reflected power of your pulse you’ll be able to actually measure your spin speed. If you get a pulse reflected you spin down. If you get no pulse you spin up. The advantage of this technique is the pulses are ultra-fast. So, we can actually get a good signals noise, well in Copenhagen they can get a good signals noise measurement in about ten microseconds of integration time whereas what we were using in the UNSW you need to integrate for about 100 microseconds. So, using this technique we could really speed up our measurement or we could measure for the same amount of time and drastically improve our signals noise.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show photographs of Scott’s project]

So, there’s an obvious question here. If it’s so good why weren’t we doing it already? The reason is it’s quite a complicated circuit to set up. This picture, as I mentioned, is the schematic of all the passive and hardware components that you need. This is pictures I took in Copenhagen of all their cables. So, this section here corresponds to that. There’s lots of things going on here.

To make it even more complicated if you need to implement these, we do our measurements at cryogenic temperatures, so you need to implement this entire circuit on to the stages of a dilution refrigerator. So, I don’t have the floor here because this is about 3m high and this whole region cools the sample down to about 20 milli-k. So, you need to implement all this electronics into this low temperature apparatus. And then it also as I mentioned, the samples are very small. So, all of these things you need to figure out a way to couple them down on to your actual sample which is these two little squares here in this corner, are the two samples that I took to Copenhagen.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium on the left of the stage and the background slide changes to show a sample board]

So, I went to Copenhagen to learn how to do this technique. We took the information that we’d learnt to modify some of the things that we were doing in UNSW and this is an example. This is the sample boards, the boards we were using to hold our samples before I went and then this is the boards after I went and the point is they’re different. In fact this board has a lot more space for the components and things that we how to use while I was there.
[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show a photo of Isaac and a photo of his completed project]

This travel scholarship didn’t just benefit me, didn’t just let me learn, it didn’t help me learn this technique. It let me bring this technique back to UNSW so I could teach it to other people who were working in our group. So, this is an Honours student and his name’s Isaac. He built, him and I built a reflectometry circuit at UNSW and this smile here is a smile of an Honours student who has built something that works. He was quite happy and I submitted my thesis last year and I’m now working as a post-doc in the same group. And this is Ich, Ich Yeong. He’s a PhD student and part of my job now as a post-doc is to supervise Ich as we work on this, work on these systems in UNSW. So, me travelling really helps myself but it’s also helped our group right along.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show various photos of Scott in Europe]

Also, I had a great time. I travelled Europe, like there’s my girlfriend and me went to the Eiffel Tower. We went to the Harry Potter Museum. Anyone familiar with Harry Potter will know what this is.

[Image continues to show Scott talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show the CSIRO and LCU Credit Union logos]

So, yes, thank you to the CSIRO Alumni and the LCU who supported this scholarship. I hope I impressed you with the physics, at least made you think it was worthwhile. The real thing that I benefited from this scholarship was in terms of confidence. I got to go overseas by myself and work with a group of people that I’d never met and I held my own and that really was a huge boost in my confidence at the second year of my PhD. So, thank you.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Scott leaving the podium and Marcus moving back to the podium and talking to the audience]

Dr Marcus Zipper: So, you’ve been all the way overseas because of these two baby samples, right? Four. You didn’t have excess luggage at least.

Scott Lilles: No, they came in my carrier.

Dr Marcus Zipper: So, our last speaker is Brianna Ganly our 2016 winner and she’ll tell you a bit about what she’s been up to. Thanks.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus leaving the podium and Brianna stepping up to the podium and looking at the screen and then talking to the audience]

Brianna Ganly: Hello, so I think I’m actually the most senior scholarship winner here so I can show you a bit more how my career has gone since the scholarship.

[Background slide changes to show a photo of Toronto and text appears on the slide: 2016 Alumni Scholarship in Physics, A trip to Mars via the University of Guelph]

So, I got the award in 2016 and I got the grant to travel to the University of Guelph which is in Canada and it’s just a bit south west of Toronto.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium and the slide on the screen changes to show a picture of the surface of Mars]

The reason I went to University of Guelph is that’s where the team and the Principal Investigators of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer are based.

And this instrument called the APXS is one of the many scientific instruments that is actually on the Mars Curiosity Rover and all the data that gets sent back from the Rover goes straight to this team first for two years before it’s even released to the public.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium and the background slide changes to show photos of instruments she used in her research]

So, that’s just a schematic of the instruments. So, just a really general description, it’s actually an x-ray instrument. So, it’s an instrument that shoots x-rays into the surface. They interact with the atoms on the surface of Mars and then they send a signal back and they measure the signal that’s coming back and based on that they can tell what the elemental composition of the surface of Mars is. And so I was a PhD student with UNSW and CSIRO at the time and I was using the exact same technique but applying it to the mining industry to tell the mining industry what elements are in their ore and how that can affect the processing of the ore. So, actually the projects aligned really well, both doing the same things. It’s just we were doing it in outback Australia and they were doing it on the surface of Mars.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium and the background slide changes]

So, I went over to this university and just a really brief description of the project. The general gist was, the technique is well known but they’ve sent it to the surface of Mars. We sort of had an idea of what the signal coming back should look like but what the signal that we were getting back didn’t look right. So, I got to go over there, just, it was supposed to be a small project, “Oh we have an issue with the detector. How can we just correct for that and then apply that to the data analysis?”. But as all good scientific projects it actually turned out to be a lot bigger which was great for me as a student.

So, it turns out when you’re doing, because it’s on the surface of Mars you can use whatever source of x-rays you want because there’s no one around. So, there is a plutonium source up there and a curium source and the curium source was sending the x-rays into the surface whereas when I’m working in outback Australia I cannot just get a piece of plutonium or curium and then put it on the surface and get a measurement back. So, we use much safer controlled sources. Because no one ever uses these sources they actually were unaware that the alpha particles coming out of the curium source were affecting the atoms in the sample which was affecting the surface signal that was being measured back. So, that was a discovery of my research project which was very satisfying as a student.

And then when we actually knew that the project continued on where they went over to Europe and got someone with a beam light of alpha particles that actually measured the interactions that were affecting the results. Then they built up a data base. Then I got to go back and we actually used that data base to correct for all the strange signals we were seeing and then when they were corrected for we could actually do the normal data analysis and get much more accurate results of what elements in what compositions were on the surface of Mars.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium]

And that information goes out to the geol… geologists and it’s amazing what they infer from that. They can tell you things about the history of the planet and the different mineralogical systems that are formed for different reasons. But as a physicist I was just happy looking at the x-ray interactions and the particle interactions.

So, the project went quite well and for every student ever the best thing you can get is papers. So, I got two papers out of it. The only issue was as it’s a, a, quite, it’s quite a classified project, was that I wasn’t allowed to be first author but as a student that’s still an amazing opportunity and I got to add two papers which then went into my resume and I finished my PhD not long after these projects ended.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium and the background slide changes]
So, that’s the other thing I sort of just want to go over. So, this was the first opportunity that I had as a student and as a researcher to do something different. I just want to relate how that ended up affecting my career in the long run.

So, because this project was so successful, we got so much data, it was just able to, paper after paper, it actually allowed me to finish my PhD a lot earlier than I would have if I was just working on the one project, having an extra project in there that was quite successful. So, I got my PhD finished within about three years which is pretty, like every student aims for that but it was good to achieve it. And then just with good timing there was a position open at the CSIRO at the time that I was finishing my PhD so I got to be hired as a Research Scientist within CSIRO, which was good.

But luckily being part of the scholarship I’d actually built up quite an elaborate network over there in Canada with the world leading scientists in x-ray analysis. But also while I was in Canada I attended as many conferences as possible because that’s quite hard to do from when you’re in Australia but there’s a lot of conferences in the US and in Europe that you can easily attend from North America. So, I met more people and because I already was working with these people in Canada I had like more of an introduction to introduce myself to people that were way more important than myself at the time.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium]

And to go up there and say, “Hey I’m working with this person, this world leading expert and this person” and then they actually start, a conversation starts. And from there I ended up working on a lot more further international collaborations, some of them with universities in Europe but the biggest one was actually with the National Institute of Stan… Institute of Standards and Technologies in the US, to the INST where they have some of the absolute best world, world leading expertise and equipment in the world. So, those collaborations drove my research even further.

And then from there I was able to present myself to CSIRO as a competent researcher and then I got to be another Team Leader within CSIRO and Project Leader for some industry projects. So, now I have a team of scientists that work with me and I get to set the scientific direction what, how our research is going to go. So I guide different industry projects and what we’re thinking is the next thing that we want to push for. And based off that then I was in a position where I could actually apply for a similar grant to this award. So, this award is the best thing a student can have and CSIRO actually offers an alternative for early to mid-career researchers which is actually almost the same thing.

[Image continues to show Brianna talking at the podium]

They give you travel grants to go overseas and do overseas placements so that’s the CSIRO Julius Career Award and that’s for mid-career researchers up to 15 years post PhD. So, I was lucky that with all the background that I’d gathered after doing this trip to Canada I was able to go and be awarded that award.

So, now I’m in the position where I’m organising my next international placement, hoping that it’s just as successful as the last one and extremely grateful for all the opportunities that I have at the moment. So, thank you.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Brianna leaving the podium and the background slide changes to show the text: Thank you]

[Image changes to show a close view of Marcus at the podium talking into the microphone]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Thank you. I’ll ask the three speakers to come up and you’re going to be on the panel now. Is that right, Alex, we’re up to that part? So, while they’re getting ready, look just join me in thanking them, all three again.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Brianna, Naomi and Alex walking across in front of the podium and Marcus continuing to talk]

I think it’s pretty obvious why they’re all the winners of each of their respective years of these awards. They are really phenomenal pieces of work each of them and I think all three are going to have absolutely illustrious careers going forward. So, now’s the chance for you guys, I’m sure while you’ve been listening to the three presenters you’ve been thinking of questions as you’ve gone along. Now’s the time for you. If you’ve got any questions of the panel they’re willing and ready to take whatever you’ve got. So, you know we welcome questions. Have we got a microphone, have we Alex?

[Image shows Marcus stepping away from the podium and then stepping back to the podium and talking and the image shows a female walking across in front of the podium]

We’ll run around and… we’ll pass it around but put up your hand if you’ve got a question. Can be either technical scientific related or it can just be about their careers, their aspirations, what they’ve learnt, things like that.

[Image changes to show Bob Steele seated in the audience and talking into a handheld microphone]

Bob Steele: Thanks very much for coming out and giving these talks. I just think it’s brilliant. I’d like to, sort of, quiz you on how important it was for you when you were overseas for, to get access to different equipment?

[Image changes to show a close view of Scott seated on the stage talking into a microphone]

Scott Lilles: Yeah, oh cool it’s working. Yeah so for me that was the main reason that I was going overseas was to get access to this experimental setup that we didn’t have access to in Sydney. So, yeah that, for me I did experimental, basically an experimental physics PhD and one of the main things that can affect your timeline is availability of equipment and if it’s working, if it’s going to break halfway through your experiment, if there’s going to be a thunderstorm that’s going to somehow blow something up, which actually I’ve seen happen. So, yeah, for me that was the main thing and it was very important. Yeah.

[Image shows Scott passing the microphone to Naomi and the image shows Naomi seated on the stage talking into the microphone]

Naomi Paxton: For me it was really great to get access to world class equipment. The lab that I got to visit is extraordinary and they have access to a lot of funding that meant that their equipment was great but it was also about getting access to the expertise and they had a lot of experience with using Raman spectroscopy for measuring biological samples and we didn’t have much of that expertise at QUT and so it was really a knowledge transfer project for me to go and learn both using their really high end spectrometers but then also to learn, learn the technique and then be able to come back to QUT and perform it as well.

[Image shows Naomi handing the microphone to Brianna and the image shows Brianna seated on the stage talking into the microphone]

Brianna Ganly: So, I’ve always been into a… I’ve been a data analysis person and actually while I was over there, one of the reasons I went there is they have a proton induced x-ray mission beam line and seeing as I’d done most of my PhD behind a computer my supervisor thought it would be good to have a bit of a go at it and I did and it was a lot of fun but I’m actually… I agree with you the biggest… while that was a good experience the actual biggest thing I took from it was the expertise, being able to work with the world leading experts in your field and learn how they do things and observe and be involved in that. It was so beneficial.

[Image changes to show Bob Steele seated in the audience and talking into a handheld microphone]

Bob Steele: Thank you very much. That’s a very interesting concept, is that, I think our thinking when we set the scholarship up was that overseas have got the large Hadron collider, they’ve got lots of big gear but what you’re saying is that what you also got out of it, which is something is serendipitous is the ability to network in those very high-powered groups and I think that’s very good. Thank you. Way down the back.

[Image shows Bob standing up and passing the microphone on]

Dr Marcus Zipper: If we can throw the mike through.

[Camera pans back to the stage and centres on Naomi listening seated on the stage]

Male 1: I wanted to ask about 3-D printing. You mentioned as your work comes to the end and then you’ll look at potentially clinical trials. Can you get funding in Australia for those clinical trials or how do you go about moving into that?

[Image shows Naomi talking into a handheld microphone]

Naomi Paxton: Yes, funding is available in Australia for that. Unfortunately we still have a whole bunch of other hurdles until we’re ready for clinical trials. So, some may be starting in a few applications particularly in the dental space potentially by the end of this year or next and there’s a lot of government funding for that. What we’re really faced is, which I’ll mention is, regulation. It’s very, very difficult to try and tell a regulator that we’re going to start manufacturing products and each one is going to be completely different to the last and they’re going to contain the patient’s own biological tissue and to the Regulation Department they don’t really like the sound of that because they like a manufacturer to make everything to standard every single time, a hundred million times. So, that’s definitely something that we need to overcome with 3-D printing or with any personalised medicine strategy as we move towards the clinical trials.

[Image shows Naomi seated on the stage listening]

Male 1: And that’s government funded?

[Image shows Naomi talking into the microphone again]

Naomi Paxton: Yes, so the NHMRC will have funding available for those types of trials as they do for any other clinical trials as well.

Male 1: Thank you.

[Image changes to show Dr Scott Martin seated in the audience talking into a handheld microphone]

Dr Scott Martin: Thank you very much for coming back year on year. I didn’t… I don’t think you think, you recognised when you got this scholarship that you’d get a job for life returning here. So, thank you very much for coming. We really enjoy hearing what you’re up to and how your careers are developing. The remarkable thing as well is that you’re still here in Australia. So, I wanted to ask how you see your research careers and do you think it’s necessary or important to actually aim to be researchers overseas?

[Camera pans back to show Scott Lilles talking into a handheld microphone while seated on the stage]

Scott Lilles: Yeah, thank you. For me I’m at UNSW so it was a train to get here. So, not too hard for me unlike... Anyway so the real question, so as I mentioned I submitted in September last year and I was lucky to be given a post doc contract with the same group I’ve been working at for my PhD. But for me my plan is to travel overseas and work somewhere. For me personally I’d like to live in the UK and take this opportunity to work in the UK. I’ve been told that that is a good option for my career but as I’m just starting on my career I’m not… I’m just going off what I’ve heard. For me, the desire to go overseas to do the research is more of a… I’ve now spent a lot of time here in Sydney doing my research and I’d like to now travel the world and even move into different fields and learn new things.
[Image shows the microphone being passed from Scott through Naomi to Brianna and then the image shows Brianna seated on the stage talking into the microphone]

Brianna Ganly: So, I actually went for the opposite. Everyone told me the same, have to do a post doc overseas and had post doc offers overseas but I made the decision that I wanted to stay as a researcher in Australia because I see a large amount of value in that especially working in the government for CSIRO.

So, I’ve actually managed to make it work by saying, “OK I want to stay in Australia”, but as long, for every researcher you will have the same opportunities as long as you’re good at networking and you keep your international collaborations open. And there’s always a conversation you can have with your line manager to say, “I’m working on these projects that are really beneficial to Australia, Australia is our customer and I’ve seen the benefits of my work to Australia and I always want to continue that on and if I have to do a measurement over at the Synchrotron in the US with this equipment available let’s make that happen to work that backwards to still keep contributing to Australia while still being an international researcher”.

[Image shows Brianna handing the microphone back to Naomi and the image shows Naomi talking into the handheld microphone while seated on the stage]

Naomi Paxton: As I’m coming to the end of my PhD I’m obviously trying to find a job because as of May I don’t have one. But I’m certainly looking at opportunities both in Australia and internationally and while I’m young and have very few responsibilities I think it’s a good time to make use of the ability to go and live somewhere completely random for a little bit of time.

[Image changes to show Male 2 seated in the audience talking into the handheld microphone]

Male 2: How long before I’ll be able to grow a knee replacement using my stem cells in situ for my ancient knees?

[Image changes to show Naomi seated on the stage and talking into the handheld microphone]

Naomi Paxton: Very soon. There’s some amazing research in using biofabrication where we can 3-D print your cartilage cells to be able to repair the cartilage damage that’s possibly led to your bad knees. And I hope that they will be nearing clinical trials in the next, certainly in the next five years.

[Image shows Naomi smiling]

Male 2: Too late.

[Laughter can be heard and the image shows Naomi continuing to talk into the handheld microphone while seated on the stage]

Naomi Paxton: But luckily there’s also a lot of really good research that has made knee replacements a whole lot safer and easier to recover from in the meantime as well.

[Image changes to show Male 3 seated in the audience and talking into the handheld microphone]

Male 3: It’s a question for Brianna is it? Brianna? You mentioned that you’re applying some of those techniques, the x-ray techniques that you had been trying on Mars and so on. You’re in the back blocks of Australia. Can you say a little bit about what successes there’ve been for the mining industry in Australia as a result of this application?

[Image changes to show Brianna seated on the stage and talking into the handheld microphone]

Brianna Ganly: Definitely. So, the biggest one, so we’ve actually developed, we’ve taken the x-ray information and we’ve actually used it for the first time to be able to measure gold content in ore and that is hugely important because gold currently they go in blind.

[Camera gradually zooms in on Brianna as she talks]

They don’t know what’s in the ore so they just process it all not knowing what’s in it. And that is a really environmentally damaging process and it uses a lot of cyanide for processing. Whereas, we’ve now developed at CSIRO two technologies, just within my group, but there’s more that can tell them how much gold is in the ore. So, then they say, “Oh, this ore has no gold. I’m not going to process it”.
And that’s going to save thousands of litres of cyanide that then creates a really toxic environment and also the power consumption for processing ore is extremely high.

So, we’ve had, we actually have techniques that can measure the gold content using x-rays at all different stages of the mining industry including when it comes out of the ground in bulk format where there’s a lot of work there using high-energy x-rays for gamma activation to be able to say, “Hey this ore is worth processing, this ore is not”. And then during processing we also monitor it and say, “Hey stop putting the cyanide in, you’ve got enough, you’ve got all the gold out, just calm down”.

And so, it’s, I, and I got to firsthand go to mine sites and be involved in the installations and also see the results come back and see the money that’s been saved and the chemical and the environmental effects firsthand which is a great opportunity.

[Image shows Brianna listening]

Male 3: And is the mining industry investing in this [44.37] CSIRO, particularly this work?

[Image shows Brianna talking into the handheld microphone while seated on the stage]

Brianna Ganly: To a degree yes. I mean in their own different ways.

Male 3: They’re all very active at taking.

Brianna Ganly: They are. Well, they have to pay for it. So, we work with them. They can either be a customer or we can spin a technology out into a start-up company and then that start-up company works with them and CSIRO owns part of that. Or, there’s also a lot of joint grants where you and the mining company and CSIRO, you go together. You all put in, in cash and in kind, and together you work on the problem. Like there’s many different funding avenues to help Australian industry and I’ve only seen positive, positive examples and positive responses. So, I think it’s really great.

[Image shows Brianna listening]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Right, one more question, the gentleman down on the right.

[Image changes to show Male 4 seated in the audience reaching out for the handheld microphone and then talking into the microphone]

Male 4: When you talk about going overseas is language a problem, particularly you went to Copenhagen, or even the lady who went to Canada? The question it’s still much the same. Is the… not being a scientist, is English the scientific language?

[Image changes to show Scott holding the microphone and talking while seated on the stage]

Scott Lilles: Yes. So, for me, actually this was the first time I’d travelled to a non-English speaking country. There was a thing on the first day when I got there and I’m looking around at everything in the grocery store and it’s all in Danish and I don’t know how to pronounce the symbols but in Denmark everyone speaks English, even the cash registers. But that wasn’t really your question. The question was in terms of the science and at the University of Copenhagen everyone was speaking English. There was a very multi-national group of people there. Actually, I think I only worked, in the group, there was a huge group, I didn’t work with everyone. But of the people I interacted only one was a Dane. So, the rest were from Italy, England, Germany, just everywhere and so English was the language of communication. English is the language of, the things we write and everything, so you are quite lucky to speak English as a first language.

[Image shows the microphone being passed from Scott to Naomi to Brianna and then Brianna shaking her head and the camera pans back to Naomi and then back to Brianna again]

Brianna Ganly: I’m good.

Dr Marcus Zipper: Brianna you didn’t have to learn Martian or anything did you?

[Image shows Brianna talking into the handheld microphone while seated on the stage]

Brianna Ganly: I actually found the biggest problem was when you were writing scientific papers. It’s what language of English US versus UK your word processor’s set to and we all go for a new, everybody makes changes, and then you give it to the next person. They go back and all their words come up with the big red lines and then they make the changes and they give it back to you and we go back and forth. But, being in Canada there was a lot of foo… different foods and different words that I didn’t know about and it was a lot of fun and it’s actually easier to make friends when you can just ask them and say, “What in the world is this food?” and you bond over that kind of journey and it was a great experience.

[Camera pans back to show Naomi smiling and then the image changes to show Marcus moving back to the podium and clapping and then the image shows Scott, Naomi and Brianna leaving the stage]

Dr Marcus Zipper: OK. You guys are free I think now. You can sit down. Thank you very much, inspirational.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus talking at the podium]

So, I’d like to welcome up to the microphone now Leanne Barnes from the Laboratories Credit Union to present the LCU Awards. Thank you very much Leanne.

[Image changes to show Leanne Barnes standing at the podium and talking into the microphone]

Leanne Barnes: I’m really blown away by you guys. That was just amazing. Every year I’m so pleased to be involved in this scholarship programme and just, you blow my mind with… it makes me so happy to think that, you know, this country is producing such talent and such smart young people. And it’s the same with the LCU Scholarship. Every year we’re just astounded by the level of achievement of the young people. So, it’s a really great pleasure for me to be here today on behalf of Laboratories Credit Union to present our Tertiary Scholarship Award in conjunction with the CSIRO Alumni.

Just to give you some background about LCU. We were formed in 1954 specifically for the staff of CSIRO in New South Wales and we’re really extremely proud of the ongoing relationship that we’ve maintained with CSIRO over the years. In 1990 the Board of LCU launched our Tertiary Scholarship Programme and since then over 300 recipients have received in excess of $265,000. So, this is our sixth year of LCU involvement with the Alumni and it’s just amazing to hear from the previous winners. And we also congratulate Benjamin on winning his award this year.

[Image continues to show Leanne continuing to talk at the podium]

I’d like to thank Dr Zipper who hopefully will present our awards. So, for our awards the recipient of the, with the highest ATAR each year. The award is named the McDonald Clark Award and this is in recognition of two of our past directors, Mr Ian McDonald and Mr Trevor Clark, who were instrumental in launching the scholarship programme and who were also instrumental in creating LCU a long time ago.

[Image changes to show Leanne standing in the corner of the stage talking and then handing an award certificate to Marcus who is on the left of the podium]

So, the winner of the, this award is Megan Collins and she’s undertaking a Bachelor of Midwifery and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus moving to the centre of the stage and presenting the award to Megan Collins and then posing for a photo]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Congratulations.

[Image shows Marcus walking back to the podium and Leanne talking and handing Marcus an award certificate]

Leanne Barnes: And our next recipient is Danya Balakrishnan who is going to be undertaking a Bachelor of Double Law at the Uni of New South Wales.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus presenting the award to Danya and then posing for a photo]

[Image shows Marcus stepping back to the podium and Leanne continuing to talk and giving Marcus another award certificate]

And we also have Jackson Beasley who’s doing a Bachelor of Engineering Honours at Uni of New South Wales.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus handing the award certificate to Jackson and posing for a photo]

[Image shows Marcus stepping back to the podium and Leanne continuing to talk and giving Marcus another award certificate]

And I’m not sure whether we have Sylvia here? Oh, there she is up the back. Come on down. Sylvia Panaretto is doing a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus handing the award certificate to Sylvia and posing for a photo]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Congratulations. You don’t have to keep that.

[Image shows Marcus stepping back to the podium and Leanne continuing to talk and giving Marcus another award certificate]

Leanne Barnes: And we have Jessana Barker who’s doing a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Sydney.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus presenting the award to Jessana, Jessana stepping away and then coming back to have a photo with Marcus]

Dr Marcus Zipper: Thanks.

[Image shows Marcus stepping back to the podium and Leanne continuing to talk and giving Marcus another award certificate]

Leanne Barnes: And finally he’s not on our list but we have William Russell who’s doing a Bachelor of Ancient History at Macquarie Uni.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus giving the award certificate to William]

Dr Marcus Zipper: As long as you get my face it’s alright.

[Image shows Leanne continuing to talk and then shaking hands with Marcus and leaving the stage]

Leanne Barnes: So, congratulations to all.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image changes to show a close view of Marcus standing at the podium talking into the microphone]

Dr Marcus Zipper: The only person that’s not in the room is the guest of honour. We’ll announce the winner, we’ve announced that it’s Benjamin, we’re going to show his video, some of it at least. And it also says here on my run sheet the award is on display. I thought I’m meant to have a picture of me and the award or something, I’m not sure but anyway. So, this is a long video. So, like I said, we’ll show the beginning and a part of the end and then you are… if you want to hear all the science, the fantastic groovy science go online and you can watch the whole thing but…

[Image changes to show a view of Marcus and Scott near the podium on the stage and the background slide can be seen showing the video of Benjamin Dix-Matthews talking]

Benjamin Dix-Matthews: I’d like to start by thanking you for awarding me this scholarship and award and I’d like to apologise that I’m not there to give this speech in person as I’m already over in Toulouse getting started on some experiments. It’s a huge honour to be awarded this scholarship and it makes me very proud to have been awarded it. So, far this scholarship has allowed me to do one week of research in CNES, the French Space Agency.

[Image on the slide changes to show a photo of Benjamin at the Space and Rocketry Museum]

Space and Rocketry Museum. So, this is me at that Space and Rocketry Museum on Saturday which just happens to be my birthday. So, I’d like to thank you for allowing me, giving me the scholarship and allowing me to do such fun science and be in such a fun place on my birthday and just in general. It’s been a fantastic experience during the first week and I’m sure that next week is going to be just as amazing. So, thanks for listening.

[Audience applause can be heard and the image shows Marcus stepping back to the podium and talking and the background slide changes to show text: CSIRO Alumni Physics Scholarship, 2020 winner, Benjamin Dix-Matthews]

Dr Marcus Zipper: That wraps up the official part of it. Thank you all once again. I think it’s been magnificent. I’ve been inspired by today’s speakers and winners and the past winners. So, please join us outside for some food and drink and safe travels. Thank you.

[Audience applause can be heard and text appears on a white screen: CSIRO Alumni Physics Scholarship 2020, Support our future scientists and make a donation to the scholarship fund,]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s National Science Agency]

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