Queen's birthday honour for laser scientist
DST's Dr Olivia Samardzic, an expert in electro-optic countermeasures, has been awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in the application of science and technology to provide the Australian Defence Force with superior operational capability.
Dr Samardzic is internationally recognized for her research into the use of lasers. She led the development of the Eyesafe Attention Gaining Laser Emitter (EAGLE) technology, a system for safely alerting people that they are approaching a military or police checkpoint, and the Laser Optical Counter-surveillance System (LOCS), a critical system that will enhance the survivability of future land forces.
In addition to her scientific accomplishments, Dr Samardzic was recognised for the defining impact she has had on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community, particularly through activities promoting science to school students.
She founded the South Australian Space School and led it for over 20 years. She has also held leadership positions on the Australian Institute of Physics, and helped in the development of the national physics strategy through her contribution to the decadal plans for physics from the Australian Academy of Science. Her leadership of STEM outreach and engagement is unparalleled within the Department of Defence.
Throughout her career, Dr Samardzic has engaged with the scientific community, nationally and internationally, to form relationships of benefit to Defence and to Australia.