Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Annual Dinner 2017

    Hurley cropped 2
  Guests of Honour:

  His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d)

  Governor of New South Wales and Patron of the Royal Society of New South Wales

  and Mrs Hurley

peter baume   
  Distinguished Fellow's Lecture:

  "Don't blame the unemployed"

 Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC DistFRSN

 

Award of Medals and Prizes:

Clarke Medal (Geology) Professor Simon P. Turner
Edgeworth David Medal Associate Professor  Muireann Irish
History and Philosophy of Science Medal Em Professor Roy MacLeod
James Cook Medal Professor David Cooper
Walter Burfitt Prize Professor Justin Gooding
Archibald Liversidge Research Lecture and medal Professor Justin Gooding
Poggendorff Award for plant biology and agriculture Associate Professor  Andrew Robson

Date: Wednesday May 3 2017: 6:30 for 6:45 pm
Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney
Cost (including dinner and drinks): $125 Members, $135 Guests and Non-Members, $1,250 for a table of 10, including dinner and drinks
Dress: Black tie
Registration: https://nsw-royalsoc.currinda.com/register/event/34 
Note: places are limited
Final Date for Reservations is Friday April 28th

1253rd OGM and open lecture

 

Beekman

   “Are you smarter than a slime mould?”

   Professor Madeleine Beekman
   Professor of Behavioural Ecology
   University of Sydney

Date: Wednesday 7th June 2017: 6:00 for 6.30 pm AGM, 6:30 pm OGM and Open Lecture
Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney
Entry: $20 for Non-Members, $10 for Members and Associate Members of the Society, which includes a welcome drink.  Dress Code: Business
Dinner (including drinks): $80 for Members and Associate Members, $90 for Non-Members. Reservations must be made at least 2 days before.
Reservations: at:https://nsw-royalsoc.currinda.com/register/event/33
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone: 9431 8691
All are welcome.

In this talk we will investigate if the slime mould, a unicellular organism with no brain or central nervous system, is as smart as we are. And you may be surprised by the answer. Over the last few years the acellular slime mould, Physarum polycephalum (literally the multi-headed slime mould) has emerged as a model system for decision making. This organism, despite its simplicity, is capable of rather complex behaviour. For example, the slime mould is capable of finding the shortest path through a maze, can construct networks as efficient as those designed by humans, solve computationally difficult puzzles, makes multi-objective foraging decisions, balances its nutrient intake and even behaves irrationally. Are the slime mould’s achievements simply ‘cute’, worthy of mentioning in passing, but nothing to take too seriously? Or do they hint at the fundamental processes underlying all decision-making? This talk will address this question after reviewing the decision-making abilities of the slime mould.

Madeleine Beekman is professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW. She previously held prestigious research fellowships such as the Australian Research Council (ARC) Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship (2003-2012), an ARC Future Fellowship (2013-2016), and a Sydney University Senior International Research Fellowship (2006-2010). Madeleine did her PhD in at the University of Amsterdam and was a postdoctoral research at the University of Sheffield before she moved to Australia to join the University of Sydney in 2001. She has been editor of numerous scientific journals and is currently the Deputy Head of School of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Chair of Ecology, Evolution and Environment. Her main model organism besides the slime mould are honeybees.

1252nd OGM and open lecture

 greg organ lion co April

 "The Science of Beer"

   Dr Greg Organ
   Senior Sensory Specialist
   Lion Company


Date: Wednesday 5th April 2017: 6:00 for 6:30 pm
Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney
Entry: $20 for Non-Members, $10 for Members and Associate Members of the Society, which includes a welcome drink.  Dress Code: Business
Dinner (including drinks): $80 for Members and Associate Members, $90 for Non-Members. Reservations must be made at least 2 days before.
Reservations: https://nsw-royalsoc.currinda.com/register/event/31
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone: 9431 8691
All are welcome.

Dr Organ began with a description of beer’s four ingredients – yeast, water, malt and hops – and the brewing process. To fully enjoy your beer you need to fully utilise your senses and the talk then moved to describing the role of each of the senses. The basics of sensory science were used to illustrate how the senses can be used to gain scientifically valid information through trained tasting panels. The sensory properties of the main flavours of beer were next described together with some of the chemistry involved. The talk concluded with a brief mention of Lion’s marketing campaign “Beer The Beautiful Truth”. During the talk some practical hints as to how to enjoy your beer at its best were included!

Dr. Greg Organ is the Sensory Specialist for Lion. After gaining a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Sydney he worked for two years at the Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University. After this he made a major change in research area and worked for two years on the chemistry and sensory evaluation of wine at the Australian Wine Research Institute, Adelaide. Since then he has been the sensory and flavour scientist for Lion for nearly thirty years. He is responsible for the training, procedures and operation of all of Lion’s sensory evaluation panels. He also does the more complex flavour analytical work for Lion and some research work into the flavour chemistry of beer. He is well known within the Australian and New Zealand sensory science community and has made many presentations to a wide range of groups on beer science.

1251st OGM and Open Lecture

 Ferguson march 2017
  "Creative minds: Artistic and scientific endeavour on polar expeditions 1851 to 1951"

  Richard Ferguson FRGS
  Executive Director
  Craft Australia

 

Date: Wednesday 1st March 2017: 6:00 for 6:30 pm

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Increased specialisation of academic disciplines in the twentieth century has for many lead to the view that Art and Science are at polar opposites when it comes to the value and contribution that art disciplines have made to scientific expeditions. Richard gave an overview of artistic endeavor on early scientific expeditions such as those of Cook / Endeavour 1768, 1771, Baudin / Geographe 1800 - 1803 and Fitzroy / Beagle 1831 - 1836, and how this directly influenced the application of photography on polar expeditions. There is a mounting body of illustrative and taxonomic artistic works being produced as documents of record on scientific and exploring expeditions. The more dramatic and romantic views such as, The Icebergs (1861), created by Hudson River School artist Fredrick E Church (1826 -1900) and Sealers Crushed in Ice (1876) by New Bedford born artist William Bradford (1823 û 1892) are what captured the imaging of the public. The productive mix of art and science was demonstrated through an analysis of over 1,000 images, from three nineteenth century arctic expeditions: William Bradford 1869; Benjamin Leigh Smith 1873, 1880; and George Strong Nares 1875 û 1876. Richard also discussed a re-photographic survey of the Antarctic work of Australian photographer Frank Hurley undertaken over five expeditions between 1987 and 1996.

 

Richard Ferguson has been involved in the cultural, heritage and education sectors for more than 30 years in both Australia and England. His initial tertiary training was at the National Art School, Sydney and later training in visual arts and photography enabled him to undertake original research and Antarctic field work on five expeditions with the Australian Antarctic Division and commercial operators. His particular area of interest is the use of photography on polar expeditions, which was initially based at the Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research at the University of Adelaide, Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge and then the South Australian Museum. This research, curatorial work and collections management gave rise to increasing involvement in the management of a variety of cultural projects at various museums and galleries. These include: Australian National Maritime Museum; Geelong Gallery; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, one of twelve lead National Museums of England; and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Prior to that he was Manager of the Museums Australia Museums Accreditation Program. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1993 for his polar research and fieldwork. He is a member of the Royal Society of Victoria and currently a National Council Member of the International Council of Museums, Australia.

 

 

 

 

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies 2017

Four Societies 2017

 

 "South Australia: A Nuclear State in a Global Solution"

  Rear Admiral, The Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (ret'd.)

  
 

Date and time: Thursday 23rd February 2017, 6.00pm to 8.00pm (reception from 5.30pm)

Venue: International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour

Cost: complimentary for both Members and non-members

Tickets and registration: Engineers Australia

This talk will focus on the challenge to Australia in moving to a reliable, low carbon and lowest possible cost electricity system. Nuclear power is a proven, low carbon energy source and may have a role to play in Australia. South Australia has abundant uranium resources and furthermore, with the combination of geological, political and technical factors, the State may provide a global solution for the permanent disposal of used fuel. The benefits of being a Nuclear State could be game changing.

Rear Admiral, the Honourable Kevin Scarce is the 16th Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and was the 34th Governor of South Australia from 2007 to 2014. He served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1968, retiring in 2004. His appointments included service on HMAS Sydney during the Vietnam War. Kevin also specialised in military logistics and procurement, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral and Head of Maritime Systems at the Defence Materiel Organisation. After retirement, as Head of the South Australian Defence Unit, he led a government team that contributed to ASC winning the contract to build air warfare destroyers for the Australian Defence Force. Kevin was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 1994, the Knight of Grace in the Venerable Order of Saint John in 2007 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008. Rear Admiral Scarce completed a Bachelor of Financial Administrationfrom New England, Masters of Management Economics at the University of New South Wales (Australian Defence Force Academy campus), and a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy at the US War College (National Defense University) in Washington, DC. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Flinders University in 2009 for distinguished service to the public of South Australia and an Honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of New England in 2014. Kevin was appointed on 29 March 2015, as the Commissioner of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

1250th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of New South Wales Scholarship Award Winners for 2017

  Yik Lung (Jeremy) Chan,
  School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

  Andrew Ritchie,
  School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

  Isobel Ronai,
  School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Date: Wednesday 1st February 2017: 6:00 for 6:30 pm

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

The Royal Society of New South Wales Scholarships recognise outstanding achievements by individuals working towards a research degree in a science-related field within New South Wales or the Australian Capital Territory. Each year three scholarships of $500 plus and a complimentary year of membership of the Society are awarded. The award winners give talks about their research at the first OGM and Public Lecture each year.

 

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jeremy chan feb ogm


  Yik Lung (Jeremy) Chan

  School of Life Science,
  University of Technology Sydney

"Effects of maternal cigarette smoke exposure on brain health in offspring”

We do not understand well how maternal smoking and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy can cause lifelong adverse effects in the offspring, especially in their neurological function. Maternal cigarette smoke exposure is a risk factor for the shutdown of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This can lead to several functional defects, including problems with movement, sensation, strength, and thinking, increasing the financial burden of both the family and government. My work aims to understand how maternal cigarette smoke exposure affects brain health, to allow the discovery of therapeutic targets for potential interventions. He described the various experiments he conducted with mice to identify the effects of smoke exposure on behaviour and brain function.

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  Andrew Ritchie

  School of Life and Environmental Sciences
  University of Sydney


“New Ways of Modelling the Ancient Past to Understand Evolution”

Molecular dating, powered by increasing floods of genetic data, is allowing biologists to look ever more closely at the central mystery of evolution – the origin of species. At the same time, the digital revolution has led to the application of biological methods to surprising new types of data – such as the imprints of human history left in the relationships among world languages. To do this, biologists and linguists construct models that interpret genetic and lexical data in the light of our assumptions about the evolutionary process. In this talk, he  described the available models and his findings regarding their powers and pitfalls for analyses of the ancient past.

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Ronai Feb

  Isobel Ronai

  School of Life and Environmental Sciences
  University of Sydney


"Anarchy in the honey bee colony: the genetic basis of worker sterility”

Currently little is known about the mechanisms that underlie worker sterility in the social insects.Studies into a mutant ‘anarchistic’ strain of honey bee identified a promising candidate gene for regulating worker fertility. My results suggest that this Anarchy gene is involved in the regulation of the worker’s ovary via the mechanism of programmed cell death. My findings indicate that a pheromone from the queen honey bee affects the Anarchy gene and triggers the reproductive inhibition of the workers. This is a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of worker sterility in the social insects. In this talk she described some of the fascinating characteristics of bee colony behaviour and the experiments she conducted to show how the worker bees reproductive organs were affected by the Queen's pheromone.

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