Quantum computing pioneer elected to Royal Society

Friday, 11 May, 2018

Quantum computing pioneer elected to Royal Society

Less than four months after being named 2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons has another significant string to add to her bow, as one of several Australian scientists newly elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Founded in the 17th century, the Royal Society is the world’s oldest independent scientific academy and lists some of the most renowned scientists in history, including Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. Fellowships are the highest scientific honour bestowed by the academy, awarded to individuals who have been judged to have made a “substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science”.

Professor Simmons has been recognised for her contribution to the field of quantum computing and is renowned as a pioneer in atomic electronics. By manipulating matter at the atomic scale, she led the team that created the world’s smallest precision transistor, the narrowest conducting wires in silicon and the first transistor where a single atom controls its operation.

Professor Simmons’ achievements have opened a new frontier of research in computing and electronics globally, providing a platform for redesigning conventional transistors and for developing a quantum computer: a new form of computing with the potential to transform information processing.

Other Australians newly elected to the society include Professor Graeme Jameson AO, Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO, Professor Peter Visscher, Professor Geordie Williamson, Professor Jillian Banfield and Professor Frank Caruso. The new Fellows will be formally admitted at an official ceremony to take place in London, in July.

Image caption: 2018 Australian of the Year and Royal Society Fellow Michelle Simmons.

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