Michelle Simmons

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Michelle Yvonne Simmons
Michelle Yvonne Simmons-physicist2.jpg
Professor Michelle Simmons at the University of New South Wales quantum computing laboratories, September 2016
Born 1967
England, United Kingdom
Residence Sydney, Australia
Fields Physics (quantum physics)
Institutions University of Cambridge
University of New South Wales
Education Durham University
Notable awards Pawsey Medal (2005)
New South Wales Scientist of the Year 2011
Royal Society of New South Wales Walter Burfitt Prize 2013
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow (2013)
Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal 2015
Eureka Prizes for Leadership in Science 2015
Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology 2016
L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science Laureate 2017
Spouse Thomas Barlow, Australian scientist and author
Children 1 (f); 2 (m)

Michelle Yvonne Simmons is a Scientia Professor of Quantum Physics in the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales and has twice been an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and is now an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow. She is the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology [1] and is recognised internationally as a pioneer in atomic electronics and Quantum Computing.[2] She is also Editor-in-Chief of npj Quantum Information, an academic journal publishing articles in the emerging field of quantum information science.[3]


In the 1990s Simmons worked as a Research Fellow in Quantum electronics alongside Sir Michael Pepper at the Cavendish Laboratory in the UK where she gained an international reputation for her work in the discovery of the 0.7 feature and the development of 'hole' transistors.[4] In 1999, she was awarded a QEII Fellowship and came to Australia, where she was a founding member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology.[5] She made the Australia Day address for NSW in 2017 and spoke about the importance of setting high expectations for students. She made it clear that Australians need to set the bar high and tell their students they expect them to jump over it. She said, "It is better to do the things that have the greatest reward; things that are hard, not easy."


External video
TEDxSydney talk about Quantum Computation

Since 2000, Simmons has established a large research group dedicated to the fabrication of Atomic scale devices in silicon and germanium using the atomic precision of scanning tunnelling microscopy. Her research group is the only group worldwide that can create atomically precise devices in silicon—they were also the first team in the world to develop a working "perfect" single-atom transistor [6] and the narrowest conducting doped wires in silicon.[7]

Simmons has published over 350 peer-reviewed journal papers amassing over 6,000 citations, written five book chapters and published a book on Nanotechnology.[8] She has also filed four patents [9] and delivered over 100 invited and plenary presentations at international conferences.[10]

She was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2006.


In 2005, Simmons was awarded the Australian Academy of Science Pawsey Medal [11] In 2006, she became one of the youngest researchers to be elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.[12] In 2011, Simmons was named NSW Scientist of the Year by the NSW Government Office of the Chief Scientist.[13] In 2014, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[14] In 2015, Michelle was awarded the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal, and was the winner of the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science. She was named the L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science Asia-Pacific Laureate in 2017[15] and was subsequently profiled in a short documentary on France24 TV.[16]


  1. ^ Quantum Computing | Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology
  2. ^ (28 February 2012). ABC Science: Meet a Scientist. ABC Science. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on 16 August 2014.
  3. ^ Ross, John (2014-11-05). "Christopher Pyne launches Nature partner in quantum computing"Free access subject to limited trial, subscription normally required. The Australian. Retrieved 2017-06-05. 
  4. ^ Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 135 (1996) - Possible Spin Polarization in a One-Dimensional Electron Gas
  5. ^ Quantum Computing | Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology
  6. ^ Martin Fuechsle, Jill A. Miwa, Suddhasatta Mahapatra, Hoon Ryu, Sunhee Lee, Oliver Warschkow, Lloyd C. L. Hollenberg, Gerhard Klimeck & Michelle Y. Simmons (19 February 2012). A single-atom transistor : Nature Nanotechnology. Nature Publishing Group. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  7. ^ (5 January 2012). Narrowest conducting wires in silicon ever made show the same current capability as copper. phys.org. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  8. ^ Select Publications. University of New South Wales.
  9. ^ Select Publications: Patents. University of New South Wales.
  10. ^ Select Publications: Conference papers. University of New South Wales.
  11. ^ Pawsey medal. Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  12. ^ Professor Michelle Simmons. Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  13. ^ Past Winners - NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer. Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  14. ^ Academy of Arts & Sciences Website Search
  15. ^ Announcement of Laureates of 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards
  16. ^ British physicist Michelle Simmons, the 'quantum queen' (Television production). Paris: France24 TV. 2017-05-08. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 

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