The Pearcey Oration is presented each year by an eminent expert.

The oration is an opportunity to explore, in depth, critical contemporary issues arising from the introduction and adoption of new and advanced technologies into our society.

H on Wednesday 6th September at Melbourne Connect, 700 Swanston Street, Carlton, the 2023 Pearcey Oration, the most significant technology oration in the nation, was delivered by 2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons AO. Michelle is CEO and Founder of Silicon Quantum Computing and Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology in Sydney.

She is internationally renowned for creating the field of atomic electronics and for pioneering new technologies to build computing devices in silicon at the atomic scale. Australia is a global leader in quantum computing and Michelle’s team is leading the global race to develop a quantum computer in silicon.

Michelle, has received over 30 globally recognised awards over her career to date. She has been recognised by the American Computer Museum as a pioneer in quantum computing, awarded the US Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and was named the 2017 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Asia-Pacific Laureate in the Physical Sciences.

In 2018 Professor Simmons was admitted as a Fellow to the Royal Society of London. She was the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Nature Quantum Information, Chair of the American Physical Society Division of Quantum Information in 2021, and in 2022 she was awarded the Royal Society’s prestigious Bakerian Medal for seminal contributions to our understanding of nature at the atomic-scale.

The Quantum Revolution: Australia leads the world into the new age of computing – again!!

Down-scaling has been the leading paradigm of the semiconductor industry since the invention of the first transistor in 1947, producing faster and smaller computers every year. However, device miniaturization has now reached the atomic limit, set by the discreteness of matter.

With the increasing volume and complexity of data, the desire for ever increasing compute power continues to grow with intensified research in alternative approaches for creating logic devices of the future. In this talk Professor Simmons will describe the emerging field of quantum information.

During her Oration, Michelle will focus on the development of a silicon-based quantum computer using a globally unique approach pioneered in Australia to build processors atom-by-atom.

Michelle will discuss how her team is leading an international race to manufacture prototype processors in Sydney and challenge the belief that high-end, high value products cannot be manufactured from our shores.

Dr Trevor Pearcey put Australia at the very forefront of the digital computing age when he built CSIRAC in 1947-49. Now, Professor Simmons is launching Australia into the age of quantum computing with the potential to dominate this core capability for the 21st century.

Michelle shared her passion and vision for a future of Australia enabled and driven by advanced technology.

Michelle has generously made a copy of the text of her Oration available here.

The Pearcey Oration was the flagship event of the Victorian Government Digital Innovation Festival and is a flagship event of the Melbourne Connect Innovation Week.


The 2023 Pearcey Oration was supported by Melbourne Connect and was live-streamed as part of Innovation Week.

The Pearcey Foundation is a proud DIF Victoria partner and the Pearcey Oration was a feature event of the #DIF2023 Festival which ran from 23 August to 6 September.