Skip to content
Curtin University
Note to staff

1 September 2016


Eureka Prize for Fireballs in the Sky

Congratulations to Curtin’s citizen science outreach program Fireballs in the Sky, which was awarded the prestigious 2016 Australian Museum Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science, at a ceremony in Sydney on 31 August.

This is the second significant accolade for the program in just two weeks after it was named Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year at the Premier’s Science Awards on 18 August. The app was also awarded the National iAward for Innovation in Education in 2015.

Led by Professor Phil Bland from the Department of Applied Geology, Fireballs in the Sky encourages people from around the world to learn about fireball and meteorite science and contribute fireball sightings via a smartphone app. More than 89,000 West Australians have engaged with the program and it has received international media coverage.  The app has been downloaded 24,000 times in 88 countries world-wide.

Fireballs in the Sky is the outreach arm of the Desert Fireball Network (DFN) project, which aims to understand the early workings of the solar system by studying meteorites, fireballs and their pre-Earth orbits by capturing the paths of fireballs in the sky from multiple viewpoints.

Professor Bland will travel to the United States this weekend as one of only two Australian scientists to take part in NASA’s billion dollar mission to secure and return to Earth a sample from an asteroid.

All those involved in this exciting project are to be commended for their excellent work. Along with Professor Bland, the Desert Fireballs Network (DFN) research team includes Gretchen Benedix, Jonathan Paxman, Martin Cupak, Martin Towner, Ellie Sansom, Robert Howie, Lucy Forman, Luke Daly, Hadrien Devillepoix, Trent Jansen-Sturgeon and Trudi Kennedy.

I’d also like to acknowledge the collaboration between Curtin Science Outreach, the Desert Fireball Network and ThoughtWorks; and the efforts of the Curtin Science Outreach team, including Emma Donnelly, Renae Sayers and Jay Ridgewell, in promoting public engagement with the DFN.

I would also like to congratulate the Murchison Widefield Array team who were worthy finalists in the Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence International Scientific Collaboration. Congratulations to Professor Randall Wayth and the MWA team. This is a wonderful example of Curtin’s ability to build strong international partnerships.

  1. Linden Hall September 1, 2016 4:35pm

    Truly fabulous stuff, Fireballs Team.You are an amazing example of making science fun and approachable for everyone. We are all so proud to be associated with you (even if only indirectly!).

    The Library Science and Engineering Team

  2. Teri Balser September 1, 2016 5:42pm

    Fantastic!!! Congratulations to the team for making the world a bit brighter and a lot better. Thank you for all you do!

  3. Jo Ward September 1, 2016 5:52pm

    This is a fabulous collaboration between researchers and outreachers … successfully engaging so many in the wonders of science. Well done to you all.

  4. Sheela Krnjajic September 2, 2016 8:44am

    Well done team! Planetary science is indeed a captivating area/topic and hopefully projects like this will encourage and attract more students to the Science area. The website looks great too and full of interesting information.So proud to be part of Curtin!

  5. Phil Bland September 2, 2016 8:45am

    Just want to say a big thankyou on behalf of my team for all those kind words. We really appreciate it. Also gives me a chance to thank all of our support staff colleagues at Curtin – we couldn’t do any of this without your help.

  6. Cynthia Verspaget September 2, 2016 9:51am

    This is by far my favourite program to come out of Curtin research – so much fun, inclusive, and holds not only interest from all areas of the community but also produces some fantastic and highly useful data! Great job you guys, you all deserve the accolades and many more!

Leave a Reply

You are welcome to leave a comment which will be visible to all visitors to this site.
Please log in to post a comment.