2020 Prime Minister’s Science Prize winners

There are some acquainted faces in addition to some new names among the many Prime Minister’s Science Prize winners this yr.

Two of the 5 prizes are awarded for efforts to raised perceive and talk the Covid-19 pandemic.

A workforce of 24 researchers engaged on covid-19 modelling with Te Te Pūnaha Matatini has gained the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.
Photo: University of Auckland

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The 5 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes are New Zealand’s most respected analysis awards. Awarded yearly, they’re price practically $1 million.

An actual workforce effort

The workforce prize, price half one million, has been awarded to a consortium of 24 researchers working collectively within the discipline of complexity science as a part of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence.

In early 2020, director Shaun Hendy noticed that there was a spot in offering the New Zealand Government with the info science it wanted to make knowledgeable selections about responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He assembled a multi-disciplinary workforce that developed a sequence of recent mathematical fashions and ran a large number of various situations to tell the distinctive state of affairs that New Zealand discovered itself in.

The workforce has accomplished modelling work and evaluation on a large variety of areas, together with hospital functionality, contagion charges and certain illness unfold, virus genomic tracing, contact tracing, and vaccination.

The outcomes of this work had been translated to be used by the federal government policymakers and front-line operators and helped inform the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among different actions, this led to the federal government’s ‘Go Hard and Go Early’ mantra that resulted in stringent lockdowns – each the country-wide lockdown starting in March 2020 and the tailor-made Auckland lockdown starting in August 2020.

Hendy and University of Auckland colleague Siouxsie Wiles have each been energetic spokespeople with regards to Covid-19.

Hendy says the workforce’s work just isn’t completed but. He provides “we will be leaving our tools, making them open so they can be maintained in perpetuity, so next time we meet an infectious disease crisis they are there for people to use.”

Queenstown technology teacher Sarah Washbrooke has won the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Teacher Prize.

Queenstown know-how trainer Sarah Washbrooke has gained the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize.
Photo: Supplied

Technology a winner in Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize

Sarah Washbrooke, from Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown, is the primary know-how winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize.

She makes use of a hands-on method to instructing know-how which is so partaking that her college students typically stay unaware of the depth and vary of studying they’re doing.

Washbrooke likes to interact her college students by providing them actual life genuine initiatives. She additionally includes the broader Wakatipu group in setting challenges.

Winning analysis on local weather change and ocean acidification

Victoria University of Wellington marine biologist Chris Cornwall has won the 2020 Prime Minister's Emerging Scientist Prize.

Victoria University of Wellington marine biologist Chris Cornwall has gained the 2020 Prime Minister’s Emerging Scientist Prize.
Photo: Victoria University of Wellington

The 2020 Prime Minister’s Emerging Scientist Prize has gone to marine biologist Chris Cornwall from Victoria University of Wellington.

The focus of his analysis includes calcifying species such because the acquainted pink coralline algae, which is a basis species for each coral and rocky reefs.

He can be considering how properly pāua and kina will cope as growing carbon dioxide absorption within the ocean causes water to slowly acidify.

He says that completely different species reply in another way and expects to see a change within the species composition of reefs over the approaching many years as some species do properly whereas others decline.


Listen to the podcast to listen to modeller Shaun Hendy and disinformation skilled Kate Hannah from Te Pūnaha Matatini, marine biologist Chris Cornwall and know-how trainer Sarah Washbrooke discuss extra about their analysis.

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker has won the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize.

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker has gained the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize.
Photo: University of Otago

Talking about Covid-19

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker’s media marathon on the subject of Covid-19 has been recognised with the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize.

Baker says he developed an idea of Covid-19 elimination and concluded that it was the optimum response technique.

Baker has accomplished greater than 2000 interviews since January 2020, contributing greater than 30 p.c of the full science outputs recorded for the 70 commentators tracked by the Science Media Centre.

He describes the interval at first of March 2020 simply earlier than New Zealand went into lockdown as “the most intense period of my working life”.

Student James Zingel has won the 2020 Prime Minister's Future Scientist Prize.

Student James Zingel has gained the 2020 Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize.
Photo: Supplied

Testing a quantum pc proves prize-worthy for pupil

James Zingel, a former pupil from Bethlehem College in Tauranga, has been chosen because the 2020 Prime Minister’s Future Science Prize Winner.

Zingel’s analysis challenge used a breast most cancers dataset run by means of each a classical pc and a quantum pc. He wished to see which is superior in analysing the info and figuring out the kind of breast most cancers current.

He discovered that the classical pc carried out higher however expects the quantum pc’s skill will enhance in future.


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