Professor Blackburn, 57, who is based in San Francisco, has been awarded the $337,000 US Gruber Genetics Prize. Last month, she won the prestigious Lesker Prize, which is considered to be a pointer to a Nobel Prize. Professor Blackburn was sacked from President Bush’s Council of Bioethics last year because of her support for embryonic stem-cell research.

Elizabeth was born in Hobart and grew up Launceston. She and her sisters went to Broadland House Church of England Girls Grammar School. Since then, Broadland has amalgamated with Launceston Church of England Boys Grammar School and the school is now the co-eduational, Launceston Grammar School.

On matriculating from Broadland, where she did her entire schooling, she enrolled at Melbourne University in a Bachelor of Science and studied biochemistry. She the went to Cambridge University in England, where she got a PhD and embarked on a stellar career.

Margaretta Pos

At a time when there is national debate over the standard of mathematics and science teaching in Australian schools, it is wonderful that Elizabeth Blackburn, who was educated in the Tasmanian school system, is widely tipped as a contender for a future Nobel Prize for her ground breaking research in molecular biology.