(AFR.com) Dr. Michelle Simmons was named ‘2018 Australian of The Year’ for her revolutionary quantum computing work. She is Centre Director & Work-Package Leader at the Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology at the School of Physics in the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The Centre has access to three major research laboratories at UNSW: the Atomic Fabrication Facility (AFF), Magnet Laboratories and the Semiconductor Nanofabrication Facility (SNF). These facilities are co-located within the Newton building and offer a broad range of nanoscale device fabrication and measurement capabilities.
In this interview, she admits she was more attracted to English and history when she was at school. Simmons’ own professional rise came after she moved to Australia in 1999, having been attracted by the idea of leaving behind the English hierarchy and being able to specialise in her chosen area of academia without needing to know all the right people.
As well as raising the profile of Australia’s push to be at the centre of the quantum computing world, she frequently spoke about the need for girls to pursue careers in science and technology; in her own field only 5 per cent of researchers are women.