Australian becomes first woman to win the Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology

Australian nanoscientist Amanda Barnard has become the first woman – and the first person in the southern hemisphere – to win the premier international award in her field, the Feynman Prize.

The award is named after Richard Feynman a renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner from last century: the father of quantum electrodynamics.

Barnard, who is a research scientist at CSIRO Material Science and Engineering, won this year’s prize for her work on diamond nanoparticles. She discovered that that they have unique electrostatic properties that make them spontaneously arrange into very useful structures, with huge implications for improving healthcare.

Already, her diamond discovery has underpinned the development of a potentially life-saving chemotherapy treatment that targets brain tumours, created by the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).

She has also developed a new technique for investigating the shape of nanomaterials including their size, temperature or potential uses in chemistry. This means we can tailor them to make bespoke nanoparticles targeted to specific application areas.

“This prize is definitely a career highlight and I’m thrilled! This would have to be up there as a career highlight for anybody working in nanotechnology,” Barnard told interviewer Jesse Hawley.

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