Aussie Joins Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell in Prestigious Group

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By Athena Yenko | April 24, 2014 5:40 PM EST

Australian Quantum Physicist Michelle Simmons was elected member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining the league of Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Ms Simmons will also be joining first U.S. president George Washington, polymath Benjamin Franklin and civil rights advocate Martin Luther King as members of The Academy.

Furthermore, the academy has 200 Nobel Prize winners and 100 Pulitzer Prize winners in its roaster. It only has 10 Australian members.

She will be duly conducted as member on Oct 11, with the ceremony to be held at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Academy is America's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centres, according to its Web site. It gathers world leaders in academics, business and government sectors in its aim to address the problems faced by the global society.

Simons headed a team of UNSW research group which created the world's tiniest working transistor that serves as the most important component of the quantum computer of the future.

Her team also created the world's first atomically precise silicon device which included wirings 1,000 times thinner than the human hair.

"It's tough and very hard work but unbelievably rewarding and exciting. I am incredibly honoured by the recognition from the Academy. We are working to achieve the ultimate in computer miniaturisation - to develop components for the world's first quantum integrated circuit where all elements are constructed on the atomic scale. Looking historically, conventional computers were first developed in 1947. It took them roughly 10 years to get the world's integrated circuit and another five to 10 years the first commercial products," Simmons told SMH.

''We are now mirroring  that. It's really now you can see the end goal for quantum computers. We believe it's transformational work," Simmons added.

At present, Simmons is teaching at the University of New South Wales.

She was awarded the Australian Academy of Science's Pawsey Medal in 2005 and named NSW Scientist of the Year in 2012. She was also named one of Australia's top 10 scientific minds under 45 by COSMOS Magazine.

Sydney Morning Herald listed her among the 100 most influential people.

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