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Celebrating the brightest young minds in science

Bragg Prize

Last week the three UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing winners got together in person – at the awards night for the prestigious science competition

The uncertainty of science, Indigenous science and the science of social media – are the fascinating and timely niche areas explored in the winning essays of this year’s UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing.

High school students around Australia were invited to submit 800-word essays in response to the 2022 theme – What is Science, and why do we need it?.

Three winning essays were selected from dozens of seriously impressive entries – and the brains behind them were celebrated last week at a formal awards ceremony hosted by held on the UNSW campus in Sydney.

Celebrating science

Bragg judge Ivy Shih hosted an inspiring panel session ahead of the presentations. Image: Cassandra Hannagan

The celebrations included a book launch and presentation by Dr Norman Swan, followed by a 20-minute panel discussion between the Bragg Prize winner and runners up, led by editor Ivy Shih.

Hosted by the newly appointed Dean of UNSW Science Professor Sven Rogge, the formal proceedings were a rare opportunity to see the brightest minds in science all in the one room.

“It was such an honour to receive this award,” said student prize winner Olivia Campbell. “After spending hours writing, and weeks sitting with my thoughts, I’m just so gratified that my work is out there being heard.”

In her response to the theme “What is Science and Why Do We Need It?”,the  Presbyterian Ladies’ College student explored viral science – and its effect on our health.

“Absolutely brilliant,” stressed Macarthur Girls High School teacher and Bragg 2022 judge Bradley Thomas. “I loved the way the essay manoeuvred through the evidence and highlighted the important role of science and scientific knowledge in our ever changing world.”

Olivia credits the Bragg Prize for being the push she needed to explore her passions. Image: Cassandra Hannagan

Runners up Jasmin Wu and Kaya Kimla boasted equally impressive entries – both joining Olivia on stage during the ceremony.

“Now, I’m finally able to imagine a future for myself where I’m a real scientist, or a writer, or maybe something at the intersection,” said Olivia.

What is The Bragg Prize?

An initiative of UNSW PressUNSW Science and Refraction Media, the UNSW Bragg Prize for Student Science Writing is designed to encourage and celebrate the next generation of science writers, researchers and leaders.

The Bragg Prizes are named for Australia’s very first Nobel Laureates, the father-and-son team of William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg. Check out the competition page for the 2023 theme at the start of Term 1 2023.

2022 Student Winner & Runners Up

  • Olivia Campbell, Year 9 Presbyterian Ladies’ Collge, VIC (Winner) – Viral science
  • Kaya Kimla, Year 7 Kirrawee High School, NSW (Runner Up) – The two-way science
  • Jasmin Wu, Year 10 St George Girls High School, NSW (Runner Up) – On certainty


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Love science and writing? The UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing opens for entries April 29.