Tiny Research wins Tall Awards

2018 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners

They’re working on a small scale to make a big impact in their respective fields. This year, photonics and nanotechnology experts in the Faculty of Sciences have won South Australian Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Each year the Tall Poppy Awards recognise individuals who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science and who demonstrate great leadership potential.

Main photo: Congratulations to our researchers Cameron Shearer and Benjamin Sparkes, centre right and far right; pictured with University of Adelaide colleagues Lewis Mitchell and Katharina Richter, left, who have each won 2018 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards. Dr Sparkes went on be awarded the overall SA Tall Poppy of the Year for 2018.

2018 South Australian Tall Poppy Science Award winner Ben Sparkes

2018 South Australian Tall Poppy Science Award winner Ben Sparkes

Dr Ben Sparkes

Dr Ben Sparkes is developing a quantum memory device to boost the maximum distance of quantum cryptography, to lead to an absolutely-secure means of global communications. He works within the Precision Measurement Group in the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, as a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow.

As a passionate advocate for generating excitement about physics, he is the co-founder of  a ‘Laser Radio’ outreach activity, where high school students construct a device which transmits audio signals over a laser beam using basic electronics components. This activity teaches students practical hands-on skills but, more importantly, it aims to communicate the fun and excitement about science, and photonics in particular.

From the shortlist of 10 Young Tall Poppies, Dr Sparkes was selected as the SA Tall Poppy of the Year for 2018.


2018 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award winner Cameron Shearer

2018 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award winner Cameron Shearer

Dr Cameron Shearer

Dr Cameron Shearer’s research aims to improve renewable energy technologies through the use of new and better materials.

Since joining the School of Physical Sciences as a Research Fellow earlier this year, he has been working on new materials which use sunlight to convert water into hydrogen, another clean and renewable fuel source which could replace petrol and gas.

Dr Shearer communicates his research on a fortnightly science podcast Publish, Perish, or Podcast, and has been published in The Conversation and appeared on the children’s science show, Scope.


Tagged in Research, School of Physical Sciences, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - IPAS, Chemistry News, Physics, Awards

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition