This incredible scientist has just been honoured for her groundbreaking work.

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.

Professor Michelle Simmons at the L'Oreal/UNESCO For Women In Science awards. (Image: Getty)

Since the awards were established in 1998, more than 2,500 women around the world have been recognised for their research and received funding to support their careers.

For Simmons, being a woman has never been a barrier in pursuing a career in quantum physics, but she understands the need for women to be taken seriously in the largely male-dominated field.

"Most people’s image of a scientist remains that of an older man with wacky hair and a white lab coat," she told The Australian.

"There are not many stories or images of younger female scientists and what they actually do. Focus on the research and the outcomes, that’s what I encourage students, male and female, to do."

Listen: We meet the woman with a one-way ticket to Mars. (Post continues after audio.)

This is a sentiment that was echoed in the award-winning scientist's 2017 Australia Day speech, which received attention for bringing to light the 'feminisation' of the high school science curriculum.

"In my experience, there is a big cost in this type of [feminisation] thinking," Simmons said in her address to the nation.

"When we reduce the quality of education that anyone receives, we reduce the expectations we have of them... My strong belief is that we need to be teaching all students - girls and boys - to have high expectations of themselves."

Simmons has received 100,000 euros ($140,000) to continue funding her important work.

00:00 / ???