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Home / Science / Prime Minister science awards go to scientists speeding the internet and keeping GPS accurate – Science News

Prime Minister science awards go to scientists speeding the internet and keeping GPS accurate – Science News



A geophysicist whose work has helped to plan space missions and paint a better picture of sea-level rise has been awarded the prize of the Prime Minister of Science.

Professor Kurt Lambeck Received the $ 250,000 Prize in the Parliament Building for a Huge Body

In the 1960s, his early work on describing the Earth's gravity field helped to better plan space missions.

"That was at the time the satellite business started," said Professor Lambeck of the Australian National University

"It was quite natural to see how these satellites could be used for mapping … and then, of course, all these interesting geophysical results came out, and I think at this point I became more of a true scientist than an engineer

"I really switched from a space technologist to a geophysicist."

When he looked deeper, It was obvious that the Earth was changing. The gravitational field was linked to plate tectonics ̵

1; the movements of the continents on the Earth's surface.

The next phase of his research helped explain how our planet changes over time Sea level, the movement of the continents, and even the orbits of satellites.

"There is a whole spectrum of variations that go from seconds to the age of the earth."

Professor Lambeck began to understand what that spectrum of variations looked like.

The study of Earth's ice ages helped – and contributed to our understanding of

"The glacier history is one of the elements in this spectrum"

"Antarctic-sized ice sheets [once] sat over North America for example and They do not support the kind of burdens that are associated with them, so they sag beneath them and the crust subsides. "

As the ice melted, the earth's crust began to rise again – very, very slowly, in processes that continue today. 19659002] Over time, the country's position relative to the sea changed. Part of this could be due to the rise in the Earth's crust, while part of it could be due to changes in the volume of the ocean.

"This is the critical contribution we make."

Research has helped shape discussions about sea-level rise due to global warming.

"When the remaining ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic melt, sea levels will rise again, and what we do is set the scene for discussion," he said.

"Satellites were built to measure these current deformations, especially to see what happens to Greenland and the Antarctic – but these signals are contaminated by the past [for example glacial rebound from the ice ages]." We can provide the mechanisms to This is happening today, and how much of what is happening today is due to the melting of the ice sheets or the warming of the oceans.

Ensuring the Accuracy of GPS-based Applications

Professor Lambeck's research has also helped inform the GPS systems We rely on smartphone navigation apps, high-tech mining activities, and precision farming. [19659002] "Agriculture is increasingly driven by semi-automation," he explained.

  • Complete list of winners:
    • Prize of the Prime Minister for Science ($ 250,000) – Professor Kurt Lambeck AO, to our understanding of our Planets change
    • Prime Minister's Innovation Award ($ 250,000) – The Finisar team for the development and commercialization of technologies that form the foundations of science Global Internet
    • Frank Fenner Award for the Life Scientist of the Year ($ 50,000) – Dr. Lee Berger, for rescuing frogs and discovering new threat scenarios
    • Malcolm McIntosh – Award for Physical Scientist of the Year ($ 50,000) – Associate Professor Jack Clegg, for the production of flexible crystals and new separation technologies.
    • Prize for New Innovators ($ 50,000) – Dr. Ing. Geoff Rogers, for his steerable guidewire to improve the treatment of heart
    • Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Science Education at Elementary Schools ($ 50,000) – Brett Crawford, for creating an environment in which every teacher at his school is scientifically active.
    • Prize of the Prime Minister for Excellence in Secondary Education ($ 50,000) – Dr. Ing. Scott Sleap, for the creation of the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence.

"Tractors are equipped with GPS receivers so that they can repeat exactly the same plowing tracks every year, but the surface of the earth shifts among the satellites." […] 7 or 8 inches shifted, and that is damaging to the ground. "

Th The Earth's displacement has similar implications for the accuracy of GPS systems that could one day control driverless cars.

And if you're on GPS Systems that are instructed to inform a vehicle of more than 100 km / h, have access to accurate data can be a matter of life or death.

"This has really created the need for a very, very accurate reference system we know where each point on the Australian continent or indeed is actually at one-centimeter accuracy, "he said.

" And that's what's been in Australia over the last few years developed for ten years. "

Professor Lambeck helped create a network of about 100 GPS stations, radio telescopes, and laser tracking systems tracking this accuracy in Australia.

" My role in that was essentially nonexistent he said. "

Professor Lambeck – who has ever tried to retire the prize, said he would continue his research" for a few years. "

]he said government support for science was "absolutely necessary" to create the national ability to develop evidence-based facts to support their policies.

" If you look at [at the other awardees] … you have some very smart people here who did wonderful things Applied Areas and the basics research.

Boosting Internet Speed ​​and Capacity

The evening's second major award was presented to four Australian scientists and engineers whose companies have helped revolutionize the speed and capacity of the Internet. [19659002] Andrew Bartos, Ph.D. Simon Poole, Dr. Glenn Baxter, and Dr. Steven Frisken of Finisar received the Prime Minister's $ 250,000 prize for innovation to create a device that today accounts for about half of global Internet traffic.

Many people are not & # 39; "I know Mr Bartos said the internet and cell phones are mostly fiber-optic."

"It has been like this for many years – but it was clear to us by the year 2000 that the fiber and the light in the fiber were not being used efficiently enough," he said.

Mr. Bartos and his colleagues recognized that light could be used more efficiently in the fiber, and could be switched more efficiently, there was potential for major improvements in speed and capacity.

The result was a light-bending switch – with prisms, liquid crystals, and silicon – capable of processing one million high-resolution video streams simultaneously.

"We had the challenge to convince people of our approach It was worth it," said Bartos.

"But in the last four or five years it has become the dominant technology in the industry, and now it's out of the question."

Technology has also played a role, with people in less developed countries accessing high-speed Internet that was previously affordable.

"That's one of the most beautiful things … in a sense, it's democratizing or spreading the availability of the Internet," said Bartos.

"We are very pleased that both the developed and less developed worlds have benefited – because there are not so many technologies that everyone has access to."

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