|Another 'Eureka' moment for Sydney science
10 August 2005
University of Sydney researchers have received awards in the 16th
annual Australian Museum Eureka Prizes which were presented at a gala
prize dinner at Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industries last night (9 August,
Sydney University astrophysicist, Dr Peter
Tuthill shares the $10,000 University of New South Wales Eureka Prize
for Scientific Research for resurrecting a 130 year old imaging
technique known as aperture masking. With a modern makeover on the
world's largest telescope, Dr Tuthill’s approach has delivered the
highest resolution infrared images yet attained, establishing the
ground rules for a new generation of telescope arrays.
field as driven by new technology as Astronomy, it is truly startling
to find a winner in the antiques cabinet like this.' Dr Tuthill says.
‘At the heart of the technique is a metal plate used to mask the
primary mirror of the telescope, only passing a small amount of light
from selected areas. This has the effect of turning the telescope into
a giant zoom lens, capable of resolving detail at scales equivalent to
the head of a pin viewed from 5km away.’
'The experiment has
yielded our first glimpses into some fascinating episodes in the lives
of stars,' Dr Tuthill says. 'These spectacular images include some of
the first pictures stars being born, stars dying, and the enigmatic and
beautiful spiral pinwheels from the massive binary Wolf-Rayet stars.
Astronomers often study things that are incredibly remote and take
millennia to evolve, so it is particularly exciting to zoom in and
watch the cosmos in motion, with dramatic plumes and wakes flung into
space from these stars.
Welcoming the award Dr Tuthill said:
'This is the first time that the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research
has gone to someone in physics. It is just awesome to see physics
recognized in this way as 2005 is the International Year of Physics,
marking 100 years since Einstein's astounding "miracle" year of 1905
when he revolutionized our understanding of the universe overnight.'
Jon Patrick, Chair of Language Technology at the University of Sydney’s
School of Information Technologies received the $10,000 Australian
Computer Society Eureka Prize for ICT Innovation. The award is made for
his development of Scamseek, a language technology computer system for automatic detection of financial scams on the Internet.
is used by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
to target internet fraud. By using unique software technologies, Scamseek
saves ASIC hundreds of hours of manual searching and further enables
them to protect Australian web users from internet fraud, the first
time it was used it identified a multi-million dollar scam running out
Professor Patrick says that Scamseek
is only the beginning. ‘It gives us the opportunity to open a new
industry niche with worldwide market opportunities. Our methods are
applicable to all types of security and policing domains as wells as
commercial applications for monitoring corporate reputation, consumer
opinions, drug reactions and much more,’ he said.
For further information and to request an interview please contact the Media Office on +61 2 9351 4312 or m: 0421 617861
Notes to Editors:
Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are Australia’s most comprehensive
national science awards, recognising scientific and industrial
achievements by acknowledging and rewarding outstanding achievements in
research, leadership and innovation, education and science
- Further information regarding the work of Dr Peter Tuthill is available online at: www.physics .usyd.edu.au/~gekko/
- Further information about the work of Professor Jon Patrick and Scamseek can be found online at: www.cs.usyd.edu.au/~lkmrl/scamseek.htm