ANU nanotech pioneer to lead Science Academy

Photo: ANU Media/Stuart Hay Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish
25 November 2021

A leading nanotechnology and physics researcher from The Australian National University (ANU), Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish, will be the next president of the Australian Academy of Science.

He is the first Australian of Indian descent to take up the role and will commence in May 2022.

The Australian Academy of Science is one of the nation's leading science organisations and provides independent and authoritative scientific advice to the Australian Parliament and public.

ANU Vice-Chancellor and Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt said Distinguished Professor Jagadish was the perfect person to lead the Science Academy.

"In Jagadish, Australian science and scientific research is in incredibly safe and inspirational hands," he said.

"He is not only a world-leading and globally respected researcher whose discoveries are being applied in incredible ways; he is passionate about science and the powerful role it has in making our lives and our world better.

"Jagadish is also an incredible mentor who has nurtured the next generation of scientists Australia and the world need.

"I cannot think of a better advocate and voice for Australian science. I congratulate the Academy on this outstanding appointment and Jagadish on his thoroughly deserved honour."

Distinguished Professor Jagadish's research focuses on the science of extremely small things, including some of the world's tiniest lasers that are thinner than a human hair. He has been recognised for his services to physics and engineering with the highest honour in the Australia Day awards

His work has led to the creation of lightweight flexible solar cells, methods to split water to create new clean energy sources, and treatments for people with dementia. His pioneering research in the field of meta-optics, the manipulation of light, is unlocking the tech of tomorrow, including holograms on our phones, superfast light-based Wi-Fi and driverless cars that keep us safe.  

Distinguished Professor Jagadish said he was humbled by his election as president and the chance to lead the Academy.

"I never imagined when I came to Australia with a two-month-old baby and two-year contract 31 years ago, that one day I'd be elected a Fellow of the Academy and then go on to lead the organisation," Professor Jagadish said.

"I look forward to being a champion for the cause of science and scientific excellence.

"As a nation, we must adequately invest in research and development to meet national and global challenges, such as climate change and future pandemics."

Outgoing Academy president Professor Shine said he was delighted Professor Jagadish had been elected as the next president of the Academy. 

"Professor Jagadish is highly regarded as a scientist and understands the importance of Australia's international scientific engagement, having research collaborations in 30 countries around the world himself," Professor Shine said.