NCI congratulates the four current users who have been elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science in this year's acknowledgement of Australia's top scientists. Professor Debra Bernhardt of The University of Queensland, Professor David Karoly of CSIRO, Professor Catherine Stampfl of the University of Sydney and Professor James Whelan of La Trobe University have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to science.

NCI's highly integrated scientific computing facility enables great research outcomes in fields from physics to plant science, and from chemistry to climate dynamics. Each of these newly elected Fellows uses high-performance computing to conduct their world-class research. NCI supports scientists to create new knowledge and develop critical insights.

Professor Debra Bernhardt (née Searles) is well-known for her contribution to deriving the Evans-Searles Fluctuation Theorem. This work showed that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be derived mathematically. Professor Bernhardt says this is her "…greatest achievement… it can allow us to understand things that we couldn't previously."

Her research uses theoretical and computational science to understand the behaviour of matter, aiming to apply such understanding to the design of materials, including for energy storage and conversion.

Professor David Karoly is world leader in climate dynamics and communication of climate change science. He has applied his understanding of the behaviour of the atmosphere and the variability of the climate to detect and attribute extreme climate events.

Previously involved in the Assessment Reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he is a leader in communicating the urgency of addressing climate change to political and household decision makers.

Professor Catherine Stampfl is a theoretical condensed matter physicist investigating the atomic and electronic structure of solids. She uses High-Performance Computing to gain understanding of matter behaviour and to predict new and improved materials for technological applications.

She is currently working to theoretically predict new materials and catalysts to determine if they can convert carbon dioxide into fuels or other chemicals.

Professor James Whelan is a cell biologist and plant scientist who has studied mitochondria in plant cells discovering that they are more than a metabolic hub. Discovering the master regulator of the mitochondrial stress response is his greatest achievement, "…we're now in a position to understand how plants make a decision between growing, and responding to stress."

His research on plant metabolism will help to optimise the growth of crops and increase sustainable food supply.

You can learn more about all the 2019 Fellows from the Australian Academy of Science.