Distinguished Fellows - The Royal Society of NSW

Distinguished Fellows of the Society

The honour Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales is awarded to internationally-distinguished contributors to science, art, literature or philosophy.  The number of Distinguished Fellows is limited to 25 at any one time.  Distinguished Fellows are entitled to use the postnominal DistFRSN.


Professor Michael Archer AM FAA DistFRSN

Michael Archer Michael Archer is a distinguished biologist and palaeobiologist. Born in Sydney, he moved to the United States and trained as an undergraduate in geology and biology at Princeton University and gained consecutive Fulbright Scholarships for palaeontological research at the Western Australian Museum from 1967 to 1969. He completed a PhD in Zoology at the University of Western Australia in 1976. A vertebrate palaeontologist and mammalogist, he was Curator of Mammals at the Queensland Museum from 1972 to 1978 and then moved to the University of NSW, where he was appointed Professor of Biological Science in 1989. He became Director of the Australian Museum in Sydney in 1999 until he returned to the University of NSW in 2004 as Dean of the Faculty of Science. He has recently returned to a position of Professor in the Faculty.

He has authored several major works which reflect his scientific achievements. These include Fossil Mammals of Australia and New Guinea, Riversleigh and Predators with Pouches. His interest in social developments is seen from his involvement with the Children's Creative Workshop Advisory Board, the TAFE Advisory Board, the World Wildlife Fund Scientific Advisory Board, and as trustee of the Australian Geographical Society.

In 1990 Professor Archer won the inaugural Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008.

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Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO DistFRSN

Marie BashirUpon her graduation in medicine, Bashir took up a posting as a junior resident medical officer at St Vincent's Hospital and then to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children. After first living in Elizabeth Bay, Bashir and Shehadie moved their family to Pendle Hill in Western Sydney, where Bashir worked as a General Practitioner. However, wanting to assist people suffering from mental illnesses, Bashir eventually decided to take up postgraduate studies in Psychiatry.
From 1990 to 1992, she served on the New South Wales Women's Advisory Council. In 1993, she was appointed as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney and, in 1994, as the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the Central Sydney Area. This was a time of major reform in mental health service delivery, which contributed to substantial change in the provision of public sector mental health services. She served until 2001. In her university role, Bashir was instrumental in developing collaborative teaching programs between colleagues in Vietnam and Thailand with Australian psychiatrists, chairing the University of New South Wales Third World Health Group (1995–2000) and supporting various financial and social support programmes for International students.

In early 2001, Bashir was appointed Governor of New South Wales, making her the state's first female governor and the first governor of any Australian state of Lebanese descent.

Marie Bashir has given extraordinary and pre-eminent service to the administration, public life and people of New South Wales, to medicine, particularly as an advocate for improved mental health outcomes for the young, marginalised and disadvantaged, to international relations, through the promotion of collaborative health programs and as a leader in tertiary education.

During her term as Governor of NSW, she was Vice-Regal Patron of the Society.

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The Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC DistFRSN

The Hon Em Prof Peter BaumeFrom 1974-91 Peter Baume served as a Senator for New South Wales. He was successively Government Deputy-Whip, Government Whip, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister Assisting the Minister for National Development and Energy, Minister for Health, Minister for Education and a Minister in the Cabinet. He was Chair of Senate Standing Committees and of Senate Estimates Committees before becoming a Minister in 1980. He was a member of the Opposition Executive until 1987 when he resigned over an issue of principle. He was a Temporary Chairman of Committees from 1987 until his resignation from the Senate in 1991 to come to the University of New South Wales.

From 1991 to 2000 he was Professor of Community Medicine and from 1991 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2000 he was Head of the School of Community Medicine within the University of New South Wales. In the intervening two years he administered the School of Community Medicine. During the period from 1991 to 2000 he served on various committees of the Faculty of Medicine, on promotions committees, on selection committees, on School review committees, on various management committees and on the Honorary Degrees Committee of the University of New South Wales.

From 1986 to 2006 he served on the Council of the Australian National University, and served on a number of committees of that University before his election as Chancellor in 1994. That appointment was renewed in 1997, 2000 and in 2003. As Chancellor he advised the Vice-Chancellor, chaired all committees of the University at which he appeared, chaired the Council of the University and presided at most conferrings of degrees and awards.

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Professor Elizabeth Blackburn AC FAA FRS DistFRSN

Elizabeth BlackburnElizabeth H. Blackburn, Morris Herztein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres - the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving genetic information and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase. Professor Blackburn and her research team are working with various cells including human cells, with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology.

Professor Blackburn earned her BSc (1970) and MSc (1972) degrees from the University of Melbourne, and her PhD (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. She did her postdoctoral work in molecular and cellular biology from 1975 to 1977 at Yale.

In 1978, Professor Blackburn joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco, where she served as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999. Blackburn is currently a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. She is also a Non- Resident Fellow of the Salk Institute.

Throughout her career, Blackburn has been honoured by her peers as the recipient of many prestigious awards. She was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology for the year 1998. Blackburn is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), the Royal Society of London (1992), the American Academy of Microbiology (1993), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000).

She was elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993, and was elected as a Member of the Institute of Medicine in 2000. She was awarded the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in Basic Medical Research (2006). In 2007 she was named one of TIME Magazine.s 100 Most influential People and she is the 2008 North American Laureate for L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science.

In 2009, Dr Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

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Professor Robert Clark AO FAA DistFRSN

Robert ClarkProfessor Robert Clark was appointed Chair of Energy Strategy and Policy at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on 1 July 2012, and Chief Scientist in Residence at UNSW Faculty of Art and Design in September 2014. For 2008 – 2011 Professor Clark was Chief Defence Scientist (CDS) of Australia and Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), a 3-star position in the Australian Department of Defence with civilian equivalent rank of Lieutenant General. In this role he provided leadership of the activities of some 2500 DSTO staff at DSTO sites across Australia in four key areas: support of ADF operations, particularly in Afghanistan to which he made three operationally-focused visits in the period 2008-2011; support of Army, Navy and Air Force current force structure; provision of formal advice to Government on technical risk associated with major equipment procurement within the Defence acquisition program; and future-proofing Defence by conducting advanced R&D guided by strategic assessment.

He relinquished an Oxford faculty position to return to Australia in 1991 to take up the Chair position of Professor of Experimental Physics at UNSW, where he founded and established the National Magnet Laboratory and Semiconductor Nanofabrication Facility. In 2000 he established the Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for Quantum Computer Technology (ARC Centre of Excellence from 2003), one of the world’s largest Centres devoted to this new science spanning six Australian universities with links to Australian and US government agencies, and served as its Director until being appointed CDS.

In the 2013 Australia Day honours list, he was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to science and technology through leadership and governance of the scientific community of the Australian Defence Force and contributions to quantum computing and nanotechnology.

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Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS FAA FRSE DistFRSN

Peter DohertyPeter Charles Doherty is a distinguished immunologist. He was educated at the University of Queensland and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor Doherty's research focuses on the way in which the body's immune system protects against viruses. With colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, he discovered that T-cells recognise infected cells by identifying two molecules on the surface of the cell: the virus antigen and a molecule of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). For this work, they were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Professor Doherty was Australian of the year in 1997.

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Professor Barry Jones AC FAA FAHA FTSE FASSA DistFRSN

Barry JonesProfessor Barry Jones AO FAA FAHA FTSE FASSA Dist FRSN has no formal training as a scientist but has had a passionate interest in history of philosophy of science from childhood and, as a politician, work passionately to secure appropriate recognition of the importance of scientific research in Australia’s intellectual, social, cultural and economic development. He was a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1972 to 1977 and of the Australian House of Representatives from 1977 to 1998. He was Australia’s longest serving Minister for Science from 1983 to 1990. Barry Jones identified major issues and placed them firmly on the political agenda long before their importance was recognised widely by the community. These included the post-industrial decline of Australian manufacturing, the need to embrace the information revolution, global climate change, recognising the importance of Antarctica for scientific research and the importance of engagement in the biotechnology revolution. He has been awarded seven honorary doctorates and is the only person to have been elected as a Fellow of all four of Australia’s learned Academies.

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 Mr Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN

Thomas KeneallyThomas Keneally, Living National Treasure, author, historian and winner of literary awards in many countries, expresses Australian character and experience to greatly enrich our understanding of who we are as cultural, political and social beings. From The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith through Schindler’s Ark to current work on Mungo Man, the meaning and importance of history are his major themes.

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Professor Kurt Lambeck AO FRS FAA DistFRSN

Kurt Lambeck Kurt Lambeck has been at the Australian National University since 1977, including ten years as Director of the Research School of Earth Sciences. He is the immediate past President of the Australian Academy of Science and a member of the Antarctic Ecosystem and Environment CRC. Before returning to Australia he was Professor at the University of Paris. He has also worked at the Smithsonian and Harvard Observatories in Cambridge, USA. He has studied at the University of New South Wales, the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, the National Technical University of Athens and Oxford University from which he obtained DPhil and DSc degrees. He has held visiting appointments in Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 1984 and to the Royal Society in 1994. He is a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993), Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (1994), Academia Europaea (1999), the Académie des Sciences, Institut de France (2005), and the US National Academy of Sciences (2009). He has received a number of international prizes and awards including the Tage Erlander Prize from the Swedish Research Council (2001), the Prix George Lemaître from the Université catholique de Louvain (2001), and the Eminent Scientist Award from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2004).  In Australia he was awarded the 2018 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

He has published two books and more than 250 papers on subjects in geophysics, geology, geodesy, space science, celestial mechanics, environmental geoscience, and glaciology.

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Emeritus Scientia Professor Eugenie Lumbers AM FAA DistFRSN

Eugenie LumbersEugenie Lumbers is an internationally respected authority on foetal and maternal physiology. For many years she has worked in cardiovascular and renal physiology, with particular reference to blood pressure regulation in the renin-angiotensin system. She graduated MBBS in Adelaide in 1965 and received an MD in 1970. She was awarded a DSc at the University of NSW in1986 where she was given a personal chair in 1988. She received the Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 1997, became Scientia Professor in 1999 and Emeritus Scientia Professor in 2003. She was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2002.

In 2007 she developed new research interests at the University of Newcastle and was awarded an NHMRC grant in 2008. She further expanded her research interests in 2009 with three other NHMRC grants. She received the Centenary Medal of Federation, Australia in 2001.

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Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE QC DistFRSN

Sir Anthony MasonSir Anthony Mason has helped to define justice in Australia and the world. His service in Australia as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and his international service as Justice of both the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and the Supreme Court of Fiji, and as President of the Court of Appeal of the Solomon Islands, forms a unique and enduring contribution. As Chancellor of the University of New South Wales and as Chair of the Council of the National Library, he has emphasised the importance of education as the foundation of a civilised society.

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Professor Lord May of Oxford AC OM Kt FRS FAA DistFRSN

Lord MayRobert, Lord May of Oxford, holds a Professorship jointly at Oxford University and Imperial College, London and is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He was President of The Royal Society of London (2000-2005), and before that Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Head of the UK Office of Science and Technology (1995-2000). He is also a member of the UK Government's Climate Change Committee, a non-executive director of the UK Defence Science & Technology Laboratories and until recently chaired the Trustees of the Natural History Museum.

His career includes a Personal Chair in Theoretical Physics at Sydney University aged 33, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology and Chairman of the Research Board at Princeton, and in 1988 a move to Britain and Oxford as Royal Society Research Professor.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 1996, and appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1998, both for "Services to Science". In 2001 he was one of the first 15 Life Peers created by the "House of Lords Appointments Commission". In 2002, The Queen appointed him to the Order of Merit (the fifth Australian in its 100-year history).

His many honours include: the Royal Swedish Academy's Crafoord Prize; the Swiss-Italian Balzan Prize; and the Japanese Blue Planet Prize. He is a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an Overseas Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and several other Academies and Learned Societies in the UK, USA and Australia. In 2007, he received the Royal Society's Copley Medal, its oldest (1731) and most prestigious award, given annually for "outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science".

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Professor Brian Schmidt AC FAA FRS DistFRSN

Brian SchmidtBrian Schmidt is Distinguished Professor at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University. He was born in the US and educated at the University of Arizona and Harvard, from which he has both Masters and PhD degrees in astronomy. He moved to Australia in 1994. Brian Schmidt is an internationally renowned researcher and cosmology and the physics of supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. His pioneering work in radio astronomy leading the High-Z Supernovae Research Team led to the discovery that the expansion of universe is accelerating, an extraordinary discovery that provided the foundation for an entirely new conception of the universe. For this pioneering work he shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. He has received a number of prestigious international awards, including the Australian Academy of Science’s Pawsey Medal, the Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the Gruber Cosmology Prize. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2012.

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Professor Michelle Simmons AO FRS FAA DistFRSN

Michelle SimmonsMichelle Simmons is a Federation Fellow and Director of the Atomic Fabrication Facility at the University of NSW. In the 1990s, she spent six years as a Research Fellow working with Professor Sir Michael Pepper FRS at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, UK, in quantum electronics. Her research in nanoelectronics combines molecular beam epitaxy and scanning tunnelling microscopy to develop novel electronic devices at the atomic scale. She has published more than 260 papers in refereed journals (with over 3200 citations), published a book on Nanotechnology, four book chapters on quantum electronics, has filed four patents and has presented over 50 invited and plenary presentations at international conferences.

In 2005 she was awarded the Pawsey Medal by the Australian Academy of Science and in 2006 became the one of the youngest elected Fellows of this Academy. Professor Simmons is the only women in Australia to have twice received a Federation Fellowship, the Australian Research Council's most prestigious award of this kind. She was one of the first women to be made a professor of physics in Australia.

Professor Michelle Simmons was named Australian of the Year for 2018, and was recently made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

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Professor Richard Stanton AO FAA DistFRSN

Richard StantonRichard Limon Stanton is a distinguished geologist. He was Professor of Geology at the University of New England, Armidale from 1975 to 1986 and subsequently Emeritus Professor. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Awarded an MSc and PhD from the University of Sydney, Richard Stanton's subsequent achievements focused on mineral exploration. He recognised the role of volcanism and sedimentation in the formation of new ore deposits, and the physics and chemistry involved in the concentration of copper, zinc and lead in volcanic lavas. This is documented in his numerous publications and books, including Ore Petrology, The Precursor Principle, and Ore Elements in Arc Lavas.

Professor Stanton was Royal Society and Nuffield Foundation Bursar at Imperial College London and the University of Durham in 1964 and won a Fulbright Award in 1966. He won the Goldfields Gold Medal of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (London) in 1976 and the William Smith Medal of the Geological Society (London) in 1987. He became Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (London) in 1984 and was Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Science from 1989 to 1990. He was elected Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1991, and was awarded the Brownie Medal of the Geological Society of Australia in 1990, the Penrose Medal of the Society of Economic Geologists in 1993, and the Haddon Forrester King Medal of the Australian Academy of Science in 1998.

He has received several awards from the Royal Society of New South Wales, including the Olle Prize in 1972, the Society's Medal in 1973, and the Clarke Medal in 1998, and he presented the Clarke Memorial Lecture in 1985. He was instrumental in the successful operation of the New England Branch of the Society. He was honoured for his achievements by becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1996.

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Professor Jill Trewhella FAAAS FLANL DistFRSN

Jill TrewhellaProfessor Trewhella began her academic career after studying mathematics and physics at the University of NSW, where she also completed a masters degree in physics. Graduating with a doctorate in inorganic chemistry in 1980 from the University of Sydney, she accepted a post-doctoral position at Yale University, where she was appointed an associate research scientist in 1983, and in 1984, she was invited to join the Los Alamos National Laboratory to launch a biological neutron scattering program. She soon began using neutrons to study how nature regulates the activities of biological molecules. Her work gained her international recognition for her contribution to our understanding of the molecular communication that underpins healthy function. Professor Trewhella spent 20 years building multidisciplinary programs at Los Alamos where she was appointed Director of Bioscience in 2000. This work was recognised with her election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow in 2004. She also gained the rare distinction of being elected Fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

With her Federation Fellowship, Professor Trewhella took up joint appointments as Professor of Molecular Bioscience at the University of Sydney and at the neutron scattering research facility, the Bragg Institute, south of Sydney. In January 2009 Professor Trewhella was appointed to her current position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney where she continues to maintain extensive research interests of her own.

Professor Trewhella originally set out to train as a high school teacher, but she never dreamed that one day her career path would bring her into contact with a US president. Her decision to accept an invitation to enrol in an honours physics program at the University of NSW later resulted in her advising George W. Bush on available technologies to defend against bio-terrorism.

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Professor Bruce Warren DSc OAM FRCPath DistFRSN

Bruce WarrenBruce Albert Warren is a distinguished pathologist who has reached the highest levels of medical research through academic achievement, university management and publication activity. Following his medical training at the University of Sydney, he obtained a Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science at the University of Oxford. Following further research and teaching in Canada, Warren began a long and distinguished career as Professor and Head of Department of Pathology at the Prince Henry/Prince of Wales Hospital of the University of New South Wales in 1980, where he remained until his retirement in 1997.

During his career Professor Warren published eighty-one papers, mainly concerned with tumour biology and thrombosis. He is also the author of many textbooks about basic histology and atheroembolisms and he was the editor of the Journal of the Royal College of Pathologists in Australasia from 1988 to 1995.

He is Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. He is Life Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, a Life Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the New South Wales Division of the National Heart Foundation from 1983 to 1996.

Professor Warren served the Royal Society of New South Wales as President from 1981 to 1982 and as a Council Member from 1980 to 1981.

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