RSAA astronomer wins nation’s top science prize

1 November 2012
RSAA Professor Ken Freeman has been awarded the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for almost 50 years work shaping and changing the human view of galaxies and the universe.
Best known for his discovery of dark matter in the universe, Professor Freeman also founded one of the most exciting fields of study in astronomy today, galactic archaeology.
Professor Freeman, an astronomer at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, is regarded internationally as Australia’s most renowned astronomer.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young congratulated Professor Freeman on his award and said the University was extremely proud of his achievements.
“Professor Freeman’s work has added immeasurably to our understanding of the universe. He has played a pivotal role directing the course of astrophysical study, in Australia and internationally, over the past four decades,” he said.
“Many of the leading astronomy projects being undertaken today are a result of his research.
“Importantly Professor Freeman is also an outstanding teacher and mentor. Many aspiring astronomers have benefited from his expertise and enthusiasm.
“The recognition afforded to Ken by the awarding of this prestigious prize is richly deserved.”
Professor Freeman is the third academic from the ANU to win the PM’s Prize for Science since its introduction in 2000. In 2006, Professor Mandyam Srinivasan won the award for his research into bee vision and cognition, which has led to the development of pioneering computer vision systems. In 2002, Professor Frank Fenner was recognised for his achievements eradicating smallpox and controlling Australia’s rabbit plague.
Other 2012 prize winners are Eric May, Mark Shackleton, Michael van der Ploeg and Anita Trenwith.