Amanda Barnard is a condensed matter physicist working on theoretical and computational nanotechnology. She gained her PhD in Physics in 2003 with a focus on computational modelling of carbon nanostructures. Her research focus is projecting the real world behaviour of nanoparticles, using computer modelling. Since 2009 she has worked as the head of CSIRO’s Virtual Nanoscience Laboratory.
Using computer simulated experiments, Barnard discovered that diamond nanoparticles need to be charged with electricity to be separated. This discovery has great potential applications in drug delivery. The concept is being trialled internationally with a chemotherapy patch that uses non-toxic nanodiamonds to deliver a drug on the skin or inside the body. This technology has allowed for more targeted treatment with smaller quantities of drugs, which results in better outcomes for patients.
Computational modelling of the use of nanomaterials can predict problems or opportunities, and contributes to safer use of nanomaterials. The scale of Barnard’s experiments mean only the National Computational Infrastructure at Australian National University has the capacity to process her simulations.
Barnard’s current projects include nanomorphology, which investigates the structure, shape and phase of materials at the nanoscale, size-dependent phase transitions, and the thermodynamic stability of metal nanomaterials. She is also exploring the social implications of nanotechnology, focusing on consumer decision-making and how a risk and benefit profile affects our willingness to use or purchase a product.
2010: Frederick White Prize, Australian Academy of Science
2009: Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
2009: Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship, Australian Research Council
2009: Mercedes-Benz Australian Environmental Research Award, Banksia Environmental Foundation
2009: Young Scientist Prize in Computational Physics, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics
2009: JG Russell Award, Australian Academy of Sciences
2009: Future Summit Leadership Award, Australian Davos Connection
2008: L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship
2008: Alumnus of the Year, RMIT University
2008: Inaugural Future Generation Fellowship, School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne
2005 – 2008: Extraordinary Junior Research Fellowship, Queen’s College, Oxford, UK
2005 – 2008: Violette & Samuel Glasstone Fellowship, Department of Materials, University of Oxford, UK
2004: Innovation Award (Student Category), RMIT University
2004: University Research Prize, RMIT University
2003 – 2005: Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, USA
More by and about Amanda Barnard
TEDxSydney, Amanda Barnard ‘The New Diamond Age of Nanoscience’, 2010 (video), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLqTxq9amYQ
Amanda Barnard, L’Oreal 2008 Fellow (video), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axZcGNluZNY
Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Amanda Barnard: Testing new technologies in the computer, not the real world, https://grants.innovation.gov.au/SciencePrize/Pages/Doc.aspx?name=previous_winners/PM2009Barnard.htm
‘Using theory and modelling to investigate shape at the nanoscale’, Amanda Barnard, Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2006, http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayArticleForFree.cfm?doi=b513095f&JournalCode=JM
‘How can ab initio simulations address risk in nanotech?’, Amanda Barnard, Nature Nanotechnology, June 2009, http://fbae.org/2009/FBAE/website/images/pdf/nanobiotechnology/risks-of-nanotechnology.pdf
‘Crystallinity and surface electrostatics of diamond nanocrystals’, Amanda Barnard and Michael Sternberg, Materials Science, July 2007, http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayArticleForFree.cfm?doi=b710189a&JournalCode=JM