To us, it’s the stuff of sci-fi movies. For Michelle Simmons, it’s her job.
When she arrived at Durham University in England 30 years ago, Simmons was one of only two women in an intake of around 60 physics undergraduates.
Today, she is known as Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of Australia’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, transforming the University of NSW’s quantum physics department – and giving the world’s largest companies like Google and Microsoft a run for their money.
Simmons is responsible for bringing in millions of dollars into scientific research; her team currently trying to create a silicon microchip able to harness sub-atomic particles to carry out complex calculations.
Now, Professor Simmons, who has been breaking down barriers and proving people wrong for decades, is the recipient of a For Women In Science award — one of five laureates who were chosen from more than 9000 nominated contenders for the prestigious honour.
The program, founded by L’Oreal Paris and UNESCO, honours the women in science making a difference all over the world.