World-leading physicist and Australian National University professor Chennupati Jagadish has been elected as the next president of the Australian Academy of Science.
The nanotechnology pioneer will be the 20th president in the national science organisation's history and the first Australian of Indian heritage appointed to the coveted position by his peers.
His expertise in the field of nanotechnology, the science of extremely small things, has led to the publication of more than 700 international papers since he arrived in Australia in 1990 to work at the ANU. He now leads the university's Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group.
Professor Jagadish has supervised 65 PhD students, is currently supervising a further 12, and has mentored 50 post-doctoral and other fellows in his 30-year career in Canberra.
The role of academy president will have him champion the cause of scientific excellence while leading the organisation in providing advice to the Australian Parliament.
He will replace biochemist and molecular biologist Professor John Shine, who has held the position since 2018. The academy's home, the Shine Dome, was renamed after the outgoing professor in 2000 in recognition of a $1 million donation he made to help restore the iconic Canberra building.
Professor Shine said the new president would be a strong voice for emerging scientists and young researchers.
Through an endowment fund established by himself and his wife, Vidya Jagadish, Professor Jagadish has provided opportunities for researchers from developing nations to visit the ANU during the summer break and work with leaders in their fields.
"I started my life in a very small village in India and I benefited from the generosity of many teachers and many other great people," he said.
"The hope is our endowment will open doors for others to develop links and networks in the hope they will see that the future is bright for them."
Professor Jagadish takes on the role of president at the same time the academy is reporting young scientific researchers have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
He said while the past two years had been difficult for researchers locked out of labs and prevented from travelling, 2022 offered hope to those whose work had suffered.
"The pandemic has had a huge impact in terms of students being able to come and join us, with many waiting for visa approvals or border approvals to be able to get here," Professor Jagadish said.
"Of course, our research has continued and we're looking forward to 2022 being a better year for everyone doing scientific research."
Professor Jagadish said collaborating with researchers both domestically and internationally was critical to the advancement of all science in Australia.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said he couldn't think of a better advocate and voice for Australian science than Professor Jagadish.
Professor Schmidt said the nanotechnologist was a world-leading and globally respected researcher whose discoveries were being applied in incredible ways.
"Jagadish is also an incredible mentor who has nurtured the next generation of scientists Australia and the world needs. In Jagadish, Australian science and scientific research is in incredibly safe and inspirational hands," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: