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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Michelle Simmons, 2018

Selina Ou

inkjet print on paper (frame: 124.0 cm x 89.0 cm depth 4.0 cm, sheet: 120.0 cm x 85.0 cm, image: 99.0 cm x 65.0 cm)

Michelle Simmons (b. 1967), 2018 Australian of the Year, is a pioneer in atomic electronics and quantum computing. Born in London, she obtained a double degree in physics and chemistry from Durham University and a PhD in physics. As a postdoctoral Research Fellow in quantum electronics at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, she gained international recognition for her work on the discovery of the ‘0.7 feature’ and in the development of ‘hole transistors’. In 1999 she was awarded a QEII Fellowship and emigrated to Australia, where she is now Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. Her honours include the Australian Academy of Science’s Pawsey Medal (2005) and Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal (2015), the NSW Scientist of the Year (2011), the Australian Museum’s CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science (2015), and the US Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for her work in ‘the new field of atomic-electronics, which she created’ (2016). She has been recognised by the American Computer Museum as a pioneer in quantum computing, is Editor-in-Chief of Nature Quantum Information and was named the 2017 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Asia-Pacific Laureate in the Physical Sciences. An ARC Laureate fellow, she has twice been an ARC Federation fellow and is an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, as well as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society in London. Currently Scientia Professor of Physics at the University of New South Wales, she strongly encourages girls to pursue careers in science and technology and is a prominent advocate for the promotion of women to leadership roles at local and international levels.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by the Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation 2018

Accession number: 2018.50

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Selina Ou (age 41 in 2018)

Professor Michelle Simmons FAA FAAAS FInstP Dist FRSN FRS FTSE (age 51 in 2018)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Jacki Weaver, 2018 John Tsiavis
Jacki Weaver, 2018 John Tsiavis
Jacki Weaver, 2018 John Tsiavis
Jacki Weaver, 2018 John Tsiavis

Flash mob

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow trains her exacting lens on the nine photographs from 20/20.

Michelle Simmons video: 5 minutes 56 seconds
Michelle Simmons video: 5 minutes 56 seconds
Michelle Simmons video: 5 minutes 56 seconds
Michelle Simmons video: 5 minutes 56 seconds

Michelle Simmons

Eureka moment

Portrait story

Professor Michelle Simmons and photographer Selina Ou.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.