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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Michelle Simmons

2018
Selina Ou

inkjet print on paper (frame: 124.0 cm x 89.0 cm depth 4.0 cm, sheet: 120.0 cm x 85.0 cm, image: 99.0 cm x 65.0 cm)

Michelle Simmons AO (b. 1967), 2018 Australian of the Year, is a pioneer in atomic electronics and quantum computing. Born in London, she obtained a double degree in physics and chemistry and a PhD in physics from Durham University. In 1999 she was awarded an Australian Research Council QEII Fellowship and emigrated to Australia, where she is Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, and Scientia Professor of Physics at the University of New South Wales. Simmons has pioneered unique technologies internationally to build electronic devices in silicon at the atomic scale, including the world's smallest transistor. As founder of Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, her team is at the forefront of developing a silicon-based quantum computer. Simmons strongly encourages girls to pursue careers in science and technology and is a prominent advocate for the promotion of women to leadership roles at local and international levels.

Selina Ou photographed Simmons at the University of NSW. 'There have been many fantastic photographs of Michelle in her lab, connecting her to her illustrious career as a quantum physicist. With more female role models being called for across society, I wanted to convey not only her professional accomplishments, but also her powerful intellect, warmth, openness and generous spirit – all character traits that underpin her intricate life.'

Commissioned with funds provided by the Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation 2018
© Selina Ou

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Selina Ou (age 41 in 2018)

Michelle Simmons AO (age 51 in 2018)

Subject professions

Science and technology

Supported by

Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation (6 portraits supported)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Jacki Weaver
Jacki Weaver
Jacki Weaver
Jacki Weaver

Flash mob

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow trains her exacting lens on the nine photographs from 20/20.

Michelle Simmons

Eureka moment

Portrait story

Professor Michelle Simmons and photographer Selina Ou.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency