John O'Sullivan from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) has been awarded the Australian Prime Ministers Special Prize in Science for 2009. The prize recognises his contribution to the development of WiFi. When you use a WiFi network at home, in the office or at the airport, you are using patented technology born of the work of O'Sullivan and his colleagues.
O'Sullivan worked at ASTRON in the early days of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the early observations that inspired his work were made with this telescope. This is one of the many practical examples of the impact of research in radio astronomy on society.
For more information, see the article about the recognition of the prize, as well as an interview with John O'Sullivan.
Wi-Fi is a class of wireless local area network (WLAN) devices. Today, a Wi-Fi device is installed in many personal computers, video game consoles, smartphones, printers, and virtually all laptop or palm-sized computers.
Photo credit: Bearcage Productions