Astrophysicist Dr Stas Shabala was recently awarded the Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year award.
Dr Shabala, 27, from the UTAS School of Physics, said he was surprised he was the winner of the TEMCO Science and Technology category, as well as winning the top honour.
“It’s one of those things, you don’t think you’ll come close to winning. It was a really nice surprise,” he said.
“It’s great that a scientist can get an award like that. It means scientists are viewed as doing something quite relevant and at the end of the day that’s what we strive for.”
Dr Shabala completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in astrophysics and cosmology.
He followed this up with a research fellowship at Oxford University, after which he returned to UTAS, where he is an ARC Super Science Fellow in the Astrophysics and Environmental Geodesy groups.
The Shabalas are a well-known family at UTAS.
Stas’ father Sergey Shabala is a Professor in the UTAS School of Agricultural Science and TIAR, his mother Svetlana is a Research Fellow in TIAR and his younger brother Alex is a UTAS graduate and the 2009 Rhodes Scholar. Alex is currently studying at Oxford.
“Mum and dad set the bar pretty high,” Dr Shabala said.
Dr Shabala said as a boy he was fascinated with finding out how things worked.
“I was one of those annoying kids who took cars apart.”
“The reason I went into physics was to find out what makes everything tick,” he said.
“I wanted to find out how the world worked and physics is a good extension of that.”