Recognising the outstanding achievements of remarkable women
On the evening of the much-anticipated French Presidential candidate television debate, some 60 guests made their way to the Australian Embassy to attend a reception for Professor Michelle Simmons, FAA, L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Laureate (Asia-Pacific).
Ambassador and Permanent Delegate for Australia to UNESCO Angus Mackenzie opened the proceedings, welcoming guests and giving the background of the Awards. He thanked the event sponsor, ABIE member Servcorp, represented by Julia King who then introduced the guest of honour, Dr Michelle Simmons, Professor of Physics at UNSW.
Professor Simmons had the audience spell-bound as she explained the mind-boggling world of quantum computing, its challenges and the fascinating prospects for commercial application. Her team leads the world in quantum computing, an area of physics which manipulates the properties of atoms. It promises to usher in a new era of super-fast computers and the race is on as various countries strive to be the first to develop an operational quantum computer.
Professor Simmons concluded her talk with comments about the importance of explaining the opportunities available to women who study physics. She makes a concerted effort to visit schools and talk to students so they have a better understanding of career possibilities.
Guests were also treated to a few words from the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Rising Talent for 2017, Dr Muireann Irish. Dr Irish’s award is for her work on “Recognizing Alzheimer’s before the first signs of the disease appear” which led to multiple jokes on misplaced car keys.
Bernard Tabary, ABIE President thanked both speakers warmly for their impressive and inspiring presentations saying that it was an exceptional occasion for the guests present to recognise the outstanding achievements of two such remarkable women and certainly a proud occasion to see scientists from Australia obtain the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards.
The event included guests from UNESCO, French industry, government and research communities along with members of Australian Business in Europe-France (ABIE-France). It was co-hosted with the Australian Embassy and generously sponsored by ABIE corporate member Servcorp. Rare in the corporate world, women hold an outstanding 89% of senior level management positions in this global serviced offices company.
At the cocktail which followed, there was animated discussion and networking before guests went home just in time to catch the presidential candidates debate.