24 scientists from a range of specialisations have been announced as new fellows at the Australian Science Academy.
Among those being inducted into the academy this year is Professor Ping Koy Lam from the Australian National University. His research currently focuses on using quantum optics to encrypt data.
"Quantum optics can be used to generate unbreakable encryption to protect sensitive information, to improve computing capabilities and to sharpen the precision of a measurement," he said.
Other notable fellows include University of Melbourne Associate Professor Lee Berger. Her research focuses on frog chytrid fungus, a disease that has threatened frog populations.
"This skin disease is now recognised as the worst disease to impact biodiversity, as it has caused hundreds of amphibian species to decline globally," she said.
Another fellow is Queensland University of Technology Professor Lidia Morawska, whose research focuses on air pollution.
"Breathing is one of the most fundamental functions of the human body," she said.
"My research helped to make regular people aware of this risk [of pollution], and provided guidance on how to prevent and minimise the risk."
Australian Academy of Science president Professor John Shine, AC, said the scientists were elected by their Academy peers "following a rigorous evaluation process".
Scientists are nominated yearly by current Australian Academy of Science fellows. After nomination there is a selection process that goes for months.
For 2020 fellowships, there was a push for fellows to acknowledge scientists from diverse backgrounds, who may otherwise be overlooked.
Forty-two per cent of the scientists who have become fellows in 2020 are women. Over the past five years 32 per cent of new fellows were women
However, overall, women are still a minority at the Academy, with only 90 women fellows out of a total 559.
"The number of women in this year's elected fellows reflects the Academy's work to apply best practice in our nomination and election processes," Professor Shine said.
"We encourage the STEM sector to continue to nurture diversity in all its forms, so that the STEM workforce reflects the composition of our society."