BHP Billiton yesterday joined some of Australia’s top high school students, science teachers and research scientists in announcing the winners of the BHP Science and Engineering Awards – the country’s most prestigious school science awards.
According to the news release by BHP, this year’s finalists completed a range of projects including studies into the viability of biofuels, research into applications for honeybee silk protein and an investigation into improving the structural integrity and safety of houses in extreme weather events.
The 2015 top student Awards went to Jackson Huang from Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, whose work focused on understanding the interactions between different heartburn drugs and how they might affect one another, and Dhruv Verma from Victoria’s Scotch College, who developed a simple and innovative solution to monitor the movements of elderly people so that they can remain independent in their own homes.
Both now have the opportunity to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US, which brings together more than 1,000 of the brightest scientific minds from around the globe to compete in one of the world’s largest pre-university celebrations of science.
The top prize in the Teachers’ category was awarded to Philippa Miller of MLC School in Sydney for her contribution to science education in the classroom.
In congratulating the finalists at a ceremony in Melbourne, BHP Billiton’s Head of Technology, Geoscience and Engineering, Bryan Quinn, said that the partnership between BHP Billiton and CSIRO is an important celebration of young, inquisitive and aspirational minds.
“Science and Engineering studies are vital to our industry. It supports the innovation and technology that enhance our productivity, meaning we can extract resources safely and sustainably, seeking always to improve industry best practice,” Mr Quinn said.
“BHP Billiton is committed to ensuring that we have a pipeline of sharp and agile minds to be tomorrow’s problem-solvers, innovators and inventors supported by a high calibre of teaching professionals such as those recognised today.”
CSIRO Board Member, Professor Tom Spurling, also congratulated the winners and said all of the projects were great examples of how the next generation is challenging what we think we know.
“I’ve been really impressed by the variety and quality of the finalists. These young students are tackling issues in high school that researchers are tackling in prominent scientific institutions around the world,” Mr Spurling said.
“They’ve taken on challenges such as cyclone resistance and recovery, pollution and our ageing population. They inspire us with their ingenuity and creativity.”