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 April 28, 2014
Pioneer Physicist and BESydney Ambassador Elected To American Academy of Arts & Sciences

 Business Events Sydney's (BESydney) Ambassador, Scientia Professor of Physics Michelle Simmons, has joined the likes of Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. BESydney congratulates Professor Simmons on this achievement.

Professor Simmons is a world leader in the field of quantum computing and is the Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and was last year awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship.

There are currently only 10 Australian Foreign Honorary Members of the Academy. For Professor Simmons, the rare distinction of being elected to join more than 250 Nobel laureates and leaders from academia, business, the humanities and the arts came as a "complete surprise".

"I am incredibly honoured to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This is such an exciting time for quantum computing internationally and our research here at UNSW is at the forefront of this global effort," she said.

Professor Simmons was awarded a QEII Fellowship in 1999 and came to Australia from the University of Cambridge to be a founding member of UNSW's Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology.

Since 2000, Professor Simmons has established a large research group dedicated to the fabrication of atomic-scale devices in silicon using the atomic precision of scanning tunnelling microscopy. Her team has developed the world's thinnest conducting wires in silicon and the smallest transistors made with atomic precision.

Over the past decade, her list of achievements and accolades has continued to grow. In 2005, she was awarded the Australian Academy of Science's Pawsey Medal and, in 2006, became one of the Academy's youngest fellows. COSMOS magazine named her one of Australia's top 10 scientific minds under 45 and she was also listed among the Sydney Morning Herald's 100 most influential people. In 2012, she was named New South Wales Scientist of the Year.

Professor Simmons has published more than 300 papers in refereed journals and has presented over 80 invited and plenary presentations at international conferences.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the United States and a leading centre for independent policy research. Since its founding in 1780, it has elected leading 'thinkers and doers' from each generation, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The induction ceremony for the class of 2014 will take place on 11 October at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.