Breakthrough work on crash-proof computers, the genetics of toxic algae and space-based radar have won recognition for three UNSW researchers at the NSW Scientist of the Year awards.

Professor Brett Neilan, of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, won the Environment, Water and Climate Change Sciences category of the State's premier science awards for his groundbreaking work on the genetics of toxic blue-green algae, which can choke waterways and produce dangerous toxins.

Professor Neilan also won the Land & Water Australia, Professor Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation this year.

Associate Professor Linlin Ge, of the School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems, won the Physics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Astronomy category, for his pioneering work in satellite remote sensing to detect deformations and changes on the Earth's surface.

Associate Professor Ge provided essential information to Chinese authorities during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and also assisted Victorian fire authorities during this year's devastating bushfires in that state.

Professor Gernot Heiser, of the School of Computer Science and Engineering and NICTA, won the Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Sciences category for his recent breakthrough in mathematically proving a computer operating system's bug-free status - ensuring it is immune to crashes and failures.

The overall 2009 NSW Scientist of the Year award was won by Professor Stephen Simpson, of the University of Sydney, for his research into nutrition and its implications for ecology, evolution, agriculture and human health.

Last year UNSW's Scientia Professor Martin Green was named the inaugural NSW Scientist of the Year for his world-leading research in solar cell technologies.

See more information about the awards here.

Media contact: Peter Trute | 02 9385 1933 |