Subatomic physics researcher Professor Anthony Thomas has been awarded the title of South Australian Scientist of the Year.
He received the honour at this year's Science Excellence Awards, an event in South Australia which recognises and rewards outstanding scientific endeavour.
Through his works to reveal the mysteries of matter, Professor Thomas has placed South Australia at the forefront of subatomic physics research.
An Australian Laureate Fellow and Elder Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide, Professor Thomas's skills in the sciences were evident from an early age.
Professor Thomas's interest in physics was captured when a chance visit to Flinders University had him hypnotised by their new laboratories.
"It's funny, because I am a theorist and so that equipment was pretty much irrelevant at the end," he told 891 ABC Adelaide's morning program.
A year later he was awarded the BHP Medal for being the top student in mathematics, physics and chemistry.
Professor Thomas received his PhD at Flinders University and was awarded the University medal in 1971.
What followed can only be described as a whirlwind of accomplishments with Professor Thomas's achievements receiving more than 14,000 citations.
"Science really is a hidden aspect of our society," he said.
"It affects everything we do, from public policy to the things we do every day."
Professor Thomas's studies vary from subatomic particle physics to supercomputers.
He was recently appointed the coordinator of Australian research at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).Unlocking the secrets of existence
The more discoveries in subatomic matter, the closer scientists are to revealing the secrets of the beginning of time, Professor Thomas said.
"You are learning about the laws of the universe that govern the formation of the whole universe," he said.
"The physics that are being explored at CERN at the Large Hadron Collider are the same conditions that existed a billionth of a second after the Big Bang."
By studying the tiniest matters in the universe, Professor Thomas hopes to unlock its greatest secrets.
"Being the first to understand something is what really is exciting," he said.
Originally gaining inspiration through his early teachers, Professor Thomas now finds it in his students.
"Some of them make life worth living, really."