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Inaugural Meeting, Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW

Inaugural Meeting, Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW

An inaugural meeting to establish the Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW is planned.

Date: Wednesday, 9 October 2019 at 6.00 pm
Venue: Newcastle Club, 40 Newcomen Street, Newcastle NSW
Enquiries: Emerita Professor Eugenie Lumbers, Acting Honorary Secretary, 0416 154 106

Following the meeting, Professor Hugh Durrant-White, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, will deliver an open lecture titled “Industries of the Future”.

For further information, please inspect the meeting notice on the RSNSW website.

 

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Women and Science: Lecture 6

Women and Science: Lecture 6

Women and Science: Lecture 6     “Women at the Frontiers of Biotech”

    Dr Susan Pond


Date: Thursday, 17 October 2019, 6.00pm for 6.30pm
Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Entry (including light refreshments): $15 for Members of the SMSA and Fellows, Members, and Associate Members of the Royal Society, $20 for Guests and Non-Members
Dress code: Business
Enquiries: here, or phone (02) 9262 7300

All are welcome

Click here to register

Women at the Frontiers of Biotech

Susan Pond outlines how biotechnology is being put to use for the good of humanity and the planet, and examines the role of women in this revolution from the time of Rosalind Franklin’s famous Photo 51 in 1952 through to today. Franklin’s work was fundamental to the celebrated revelation of the twisted ladder of the DNA double helix by Watson and Crick in 1953. This opened the floodgates to a revolution in biology and to Nobel Prizes being awarded to 13 women since 1964. Susan will also look forward to future applications and review some of the challenges involved in putting nature’s machinery to work.

Susan Pond AM FTSE FAHMS FRSN

Susan Pond has a deep scientific and commercial background in biotechnology through her executive and non-executive roles during the last 20 years and current appointments. Susan has a first-class honours degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Sydney and Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of New South Wales. She held professorial appointments at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Queensland before joining industry. She was recognized as one of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence in 2013 and is a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering, Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of NSW.

Presented jointly by the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the Women and Science lecture series examines the huge changes we have seen in the roles women have played in science, and the view science has held of women.

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Inaugural Meeting, Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW, and Open Lecture

Inaugural Meeting, Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW, and Open Lecture

Hugh Durrant-Whyte      “Industries of the Future”

     Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FRSN
     NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer


Date: Wednesday, 9 October 2019, 6.00pm
Venue: Newcastle Club, 40 Newcomen Street, Newcastle NSW
Entry: Open to Fellows, Members, and Associate Members of the Society, Guests and Non-Members
Dress code: Business
Enquiries: Emerita Professor Eugenie Lumbers, Acting Honorary Secretary, 0416 154 106
Registration:Click here to register

Inaugural Meeting

An inaugural meeting to establish the Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of New South Wales is planned for 6.00 pm on Wednesday, 9 October 2019.  The meeting will be followed by a dinner at 7.30pm.

The meeting is open to all comers (i.e., members and fellows of the Society, guests and non-members), although only members and fellows will be entitled to vote at the meeting.

The meeting agenda is available here.

Accommodation

Should attendees require accommodation in Newcastle, please contact the Newcastle Club on (02) 4929 1224 and mention that you are attending the RSNSW Meeting being organised by Professor Lumbers. 

 

Invited Lecture: Industries of the Future

The NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer (OCSE) supports a range of “prosperity initiatives” aiming to translate the best of NSW research into industry outcomes; from quantum technologies to robotics for agriculture, from advanced manufacturing to synthetic biology. This talk will describe the range of these initiatives including the support of Centres of Excellence, National Research Infrastructure, industry innovation networks and the new Physical Sciences Investment fund. This talk will also describe the close working of OCSE with other NSW Government Departments and Industry to develop a future industry strategy around emerging precincts and technology ecosystems.

Speaker: Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FRSN

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer. From 2014-16 and from 2002-2010, he was a Professor and ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Sydney. From 2010-2014, he was CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA), and from 1995-2010 Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR). Hugh is a world-leading authority on machine learning and robotics, and its application in areas including cargo handling, mining and defence. He has published over 300 research papers, graduated over 70 PhD students, and has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, including being named 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year. In his career he has worked with many major companies, has co-founded three successful start-up companies, and has won many awards including being named 2008 Engineers Australia NSW Engineer of the Year. He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick Corporation in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his work with Rio Tinto in pioneering the delivering the automated “Mine of the Future”. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).

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European tour: the history of science

European tour: the history of science

Academy Travel
Padua – Florence – Paris – London

A tour for the Royal Society of NSW in conjunction with the State Library of NSW Foundation

Owing to a cancellation, two places are available.

19 September – 4 October 2019

Overview

Explore the history of science, from Vesalius in Padua to Galileo in Florence and the flourishing of modern science in Paris and London. This 16-day private tour for the Royal Society of NSW in conjunction with The State Library of NSW Foundation includes guided visits to many exceptional museums, rare access to collections, libraries and archival material, and the expert guidance of specialists and curators. It follows the great story of modern science, taking you from Padua to Florence, Paris and London, and includes day trips to Bologna, Siena and Cambridge. A four-night pre-tour extension to Venice is also available.

Discover
• The birth of modern science, from Galileo’s telescopes to Darwin’s theory of evolution
• The history of medicine: Vesalius in Padua, Pasteur in Paris and the medical collections of London
• The transmission of knowledge, from rare books and manuscripts to the modern museum
• The history of the university at Padua, Bologna, Paris and Cambridge
• Interaction between the arts and sciences in moments of great change from the Renaissance to the modern world.

Tour details

Dates: 19 September – 4 October 2019
Price: $9,270 pp. twin share; $2,280 single supplement
For more information and to register your interest, contact Academy Travel on 9235 0023 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Maximum group size: 20

Tour highlights

• Padua: the world’s first anatomy theatre, the oldest botanic garden and Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel
• Special access to library collections in Florence, Paris and London
• Private tour of the Pompidou Centre, Paris’ modern art museum
• Day trips to Siena, Bologna, Cambridge and Greenwich
• Specialist museums dedicated to Pasteur, Curie, Galileo and Darwin
• London science: from the manuscripts of the Wellcome Library to the National Science Museum.

Itinerary

map of Europe Tour 2019Days 1–3: arrive Padua.  Visit the world’s oldest anatomy theatre and oldest botanic garden, and the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto’s masterpiece. Day trip to Bologna.
Days 4–6: explore Florence, including the Galileo Museum, Uffizi, with special access to rare collections. Day trip to Siena and the wonderful cuisine of Chianti.
Days 7–10: discover a different side of Paris, from special museums dedicated to Pasteur and Curie to a private tour of the Pompidou Centre.
Days 11–15: arrive London. Enjoy visits to Down House (the home of Charles Darwin), the National Observatory and prime meridian at Greenwich, and a range of museums, from the Museum of Natural History to the private collection of the Royal College of Physicians. Day trip to Cambridge.
Day 16: departure.

Tour leader

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN has had a distinguished career in medical research and has published books on the early mapping of Australia. He has led many similar successful expeditions. Expert guides will meet the group in each destination.

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Women and Science: Lecture 5

Women and Science: Lecture 5

Women and Science     “Electricity, astronomy, and natural history:
    from colonial Sydney to Royal Sweden, and
    a ladies' academy of science in between”

    Anne Harbers


Date: Monday 23 September 2019, 6pm for 6.30pm
Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Entry (including light refreshments): $15 for Members of the SMSA and Fellows, Members, and Associate Members of the Royal Society, $20 for Guests and Non-Members
Dress code: Business
Enquiries: here, or phone (02) 9262 7300

All are welcome

Click here to register

What did Fanny Macleay in colonial Sydney in 1826 have in common with the Dutch Golden Age painter Rachel Ruysch (1634-1750) and even the royal Queen Lovisa Ulrika of Sweden (1720–1782)?

Fanny would have been welcomed to The First Women’s Academy of Science – The Ladies Society of Natural Sciences in Middleburg, Holland that met for over 100 years.

Each of these women played a role within their families and societies but also had a drive for seeking scientific knowledge through their own sense of enquiry. In this talk, the links and evidence will be examined to learn of the depth and energy these women gave to their scientific learning in parallel with the other achievements in their lives.

Anne Harbers

An experienced presenter and writer in Art History with postgraduate qualifications, Anne is currently working towards a PhD in Dutch 17th century art, Anne lectures regularly to museums, antique study groups and art history conferences in the USA and Europe as well as the Art Gallery of NSW and the National Trust. For 25 years, Anne worked in global companies in biotechnology and medical research in Australia, Asia and Europe with postgraduate qualifications in Chemistry by Research and an MBA.

Presented jointly by the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the Women and Science lecture series examines the huge changes we have seen in the roles women have played in science, and the view science has held of women.

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New Issue of the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of NSW (June 2019)

New Issue of the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of NSW (June 2019)

The June 2019 issue (Vol. 152-1) of the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales has just been published.

Much of the content of this issue is devoted to papers arising from the November 2018 Royal Society of NSW and Four Academies Forum, the focus of which was “Towards a prosperous yet sustainable Australia—what now for the Lucky Country?”. 

The issue also contains the final paper (“The scientists and Darwin's The Origin of Species in nineteenth century Australia. A re-evaluation”) by the historian Ann Moyal, who died earlier this year, aged 93, together with an obituary on the late Noel Hush DistFRSN (1924-2019), and abstracts of six PhD dissertations.

 

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New Governor agrees to be Patron

New Governor agrees to be Patron

The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, has now formally agreed to be the Patron of the Society. MBforweb2

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UNSW Centre for Ideas event

UNSW Centre for Ideas event

Elizabeth Blackburn  “The telomere effect”

  Professor Elizabeth Blackburn
  AC FAA FRS DistFRSN
  Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  University of California San Francisco

Friday 16 August 2019, 6.30pm
City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney

Cost: $35 without discount, $25 for RSNSW Members and Fellows, and for UNSW alumni and staff, $15 for UNSW students and under-18s (plus booking fee on-line or by phone)

To buy tickets: click here.

Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn delivers the inaugural Gerald Westheimer Lecture, chaired by UNSW Sydney’s Dean of Science, Professor Emma Johnston.

Why does ageing take such different paths for different individuals?  Why do some of us remain healthy and active into later life, while others age more rapidly?  Elizabeth Blackburn’s discoveries about telomeres, the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes, have transformed the way we think about these important questions and earned her a Nobel Prize in 2009.  Although we have long understood the impact of our genetic inheritance on our health, Blackburn’s work has shown us the key role that telomeres and the enzyme telomerase play in the ageing process.

Be part of a special event with Elizabeth Blackburn as she discusses her work in this fascinating space and its implications for the future of ageing.

This talk is part of the Sydney Science Festival, and is supported by the Crawford Fund and Science & Technology Australia.

Gerald Westheimer Lectureship

The Gerald Westheimer Lecture is a new biennial lecture series for UNSW Science thanks to a generous gift from Professor Gerald Westheimer AM FRS.  This flagship initiative will invite eminent international researchers to spend time in residence at the University.

Elizabeth Blackburn

Dr Elizabeth Blackburn has been a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research, having discovered the molecular nature of telomeres – the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information – and co-discovered the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase.  She is also known for her championing of diversity and inclusion in the sciences.  Blackburn and her research team also collaborate in a range of investigations of the roles of telomere biology in human health and diseases, through clinical and other human studies.  Born in Australia, Dr Blackburn earned degrees from the University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge and Yale University.  She has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award for Basic Medical Research, and in 2007 was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

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Queen’s Birthday honours for RSNSW Fellows

Queen’s Birthday honours for RSNSW Fellows

The Royal Society of NSW is pleased to acknowledge Fellows and Members of the Society who receive awards in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Recipients in the 2019 list include:

Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)

Emeritus Professor Leo Radom AC FRSN, for eminent service to science, particularly to computational chemistry, as an academic, author and mentor, and to international scientific bodies.

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

Professor Katherine Belov AO FRSN, for distinguished service to higher education, particularly to comparative genomics, as an academic and researcher.

Professor Michelle Simmons AO FRS FAA DistFRSN, for distinguished service to science education as a leader in quantum and atomic electronics, and as a role model.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

Dr Keith Suter AM FRSN, for significant service to international relations, and to the Uniting Church in Australia.


Please let the Secretary (Bruce Ramage MRSN, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) know of any names that we have missed.

The Royal Society of NSW also celebrates the achievements of all recipients of Order of Australia awards.

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Images from the Annual Dinner 2019

Images from the Annual Dinner 2019

Tom Kenneally and others pre-dinner

Tom Kenneally and others pre-dinner

The President greets the Governor

The President greets the Governor

Sir Anthony Mason is presented with his Distinguished Fellowship certificate

Sir Anthony Mason is presented with his Distinguished Fellowship certificate

Emma Johnston receives the Clarke Medal

Emma Johnston receives the Clarke Medal

Earnest dinner conversation between Ian Wilkinson and Marian Kernahan

Earnest dinner conversation between Ian Wilkinson and Marian Kernahan

The Distinguished Fellow's address is given by Michelle Simmons

The Distinguished Fellow's address is given by Michelle Simmons

Nalini Joshi delivers the vote of thanks for the Distinguished Fellow's address

Nalini Joshi delivers the vote of thanks for the Distinguished Fellow's address

Vice President Judith Wheeldon and Michelle Simmons

Vice President Judith Wheeldon and Michelle Simmons

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Women and science: lecture 4

Women and science: lecture 4

Women and Science  “Visual perception in Aboriginal art”

  Emeritus Professor Barbara Gillam
  FASSA FRSN
  School of Psychology, UNSW

Thursday, 18 July 2019
Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Aboriginal painting now has a world-wide reputation.  However it has largely been regarded as conceptual rather than perceptual with a very strong emphasis on the stories depicted.

Barbara Gillam will examine the innovative perceptual skills of Aboriginal bark painters, especially in depicting figure-ground and occlusion.  She will also discuss the visual meaning of this art and its interaction with conceptual meanings.

Out of respect for cultural practices, we will not be featuring the bark paintings referenced in Barbara’s presentation in any of our promotional materials.

Barbara GillamBarbara Gillam was educated at the University of Sydney and ANU.  After two years as a Lecturer in the UK, she moved to New York with academic positions at Columbia and SUNY.  She returned to Australia in 1987 to take up the Chair of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, where she is still a professor.

Presented jointly by the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the Women and Science lecture series examines the huge changes we have seen in the roles women have played in science, and the view science has held of women.

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Emeritus Professor Noel Hush AO DistFRSN

Emeritus Professor Noel Hush AO DistFRSN

Noel Hush, one of our inaugural Fellows (and Distinguished Fellow) died on Wednesday 20 March, following a heart attack.  He was 94.

Professor Hush was a chemist of international standing.  After graduating from the University of Sydney in the late 1940s and after completing a couple of years there as a research fellow, he took up various research positions in the United Kingdom.  He returned to Australia in 1971 to establish the Department of Theoretical Chemistry, a group that he led for nearly 20 years until his formal retirement.

He received many Australian and international accolades including Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society (London) and was a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

More details of his career (and a full listing of his many postnominals) can be found here.

A memorial service will be held in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney on Monday 27 May at 10 am (note changed date and time from what was earlier given here).

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RSNSW Fellow to give public lecture

RSNSW Fellow to give public lecture

University of Cambridge Professor Herbert Huppert FRS FRSN is giving a public lecture at Sydney University on Wednesday 17 April.

Understanding carbon in the air: can we avert a climate catastrophe?

The event is free, but registration is necessary.

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Council election 2019

Council election 2019

The 152nd AGM will be held prior to the OGM on Wednesday 3 April 2019 at the State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney.  As part of the AGM, the election of candidates to Council will be held.  Polling will open at 5.30 pm and close at 6.15 pm.  There are 12 candidates for 10 positions as Councillors; the list of candidates is available here.

The AGM agenda and accompanying documents, including a proxy form, will be circulated direct to Members.

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Story from the Periodic Table

Story from the Periodic Table

Immediate past-President Brynn Hibbert is the winner of the first round of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's competition for stories about the periodic table, run as part of the International Year of the Periodic Table.  You can read his story about Sir Humphry Davy and the discovery of iodine here.

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Let's build something brilliant

Let's build something brilliant

The following letter by our President, Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO, was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 4 March 2019 under the above headline (which was the main letters headline for the day).

“The Royal Society of NSW, Australia’s oldest scientific and cultural organisation, applauds the recommendation of the Upper House’s Parliamentary Committee to retain the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo, and to support a major new cultural institution at Parramatta.

“The right place for the Museum of Applied Arts and Science, the Powerhouse Museum, is where it is now, as an integral part of Sydney history, close to Sydney Observatory, Darling Harbour and universities, and well located as a rich educational and tourist resource.

“The Royal Society is excited that the report recognises the urgent need for renovation of the Powerhouse Museum, to make up for the years of neglect that have allowed this priceless asset to fall behind other science museums around the world.

“In planning the Parramatta museum, the needs and interests of Parramatta and NSW should be assessed, and an exciting and innovative museum then designed. We in NSW have, for example, no first people’s museum, nor a heritage and immigration museum. Such choices would be drawcards for locals and tourists alike, bringing a new audience to Parramatta. Instead of wasting funds moving a valuable existing collection to a new place, let’s use public funds to build something new and brilliant.”

Professor Ian Sloan
President, Royal Society of NSW

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FRSNs in 2019 Australia Day honours

FRSNs in 2019 Australia Day honours

Australia Day honours have been awarded to the following:

Jillian Broadbent AO FRSN, elevated to AC

Leonard Fisher FRSN, appointed OAM

(Barney) Bevil Milton Glover FRSN, appointed AO

Adrian Hibberd FRSN, appointed AM

Robert Bain Thomas AM FRSN, elevated to AO

If you know of any Members or Fellows we have missed, please email the Royal Society at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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1270th OGM and open lecture

1270th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Award Winners for 2019

Fiona McDougall, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
Evelyn Todd, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

There was also a 3-minute thesis (3MT) talk: “Finding the best-fitting jeans for railway foundations” by Mr Chuhao Liu, 2018 3MT winner, University of Wollongong.

Wednesday 6 February 2019
Gallery Room, State Library of NSW

Royal Society of NSW Scholarships
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 up to 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 each year.

Fiona McDougallFiona McDougall

Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

“Human-associated bacteria and antibiotic resistance in grey-headed flying foxes”

Over recent decades, the number of grey-headed flying foxes (also known as fruit bats) roosting in urban environments has increased dramatically. Each year, several thousand sick, injured and orphaned flying foxes enter wildlife rehabilitation facilities. In urban areas and rehabilitation facilities, flying foxes encounter human-associated bacteria which may be pathogenic. At present, the transmission of human-associated organisms between humans and flying foxes is poorly understood. Additionally, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are spreading from humans to wildlife; currently there is a paucity of surveillance data on the spread of antibiotic resistance into Australian wildlife, including flying foxes.
This research examining the spread of human-associated bacteria (escherichia coli and klebsiella pneumoniae) to flying foxes is providing insight into the unique diversity and ecology of these bacteria in the grey-headed flying fox (pteropus poliocephalus). Flying foxes have also acquired antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including multidrug-resistant escherichia coli, in both urban and rehabilitation settings. The prevalence of genetic determinants of antibiotic resistance is higher in flying foxes in rehabilitation facilities than in wild urban flying foxes. We are yet to understand the implications of these findings on the management and conservation of the endangered grey-headed flying fox.

Fiona McDougall obtained a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney in 1998 and subsequently spent over ten years working as a veterinarian and conducting biomedical and wildlife research. In 2013 she obtained a Master of Veterinary Studies in conservation medicine from Murdoch University. She is currently in the third year of her PhD at Macquarie University. In 2017 she was awarded a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment grant, and she is also a co-investigator on a Lake Macquarie Environmental Trust grant (2017).

Evelyn ToddEvelyn Todd

School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

“Using genetics to improve athletic performance in thoroughbred horses”

Thoroughbred horse racing holds both historical and economic significance in Australian society, dating back to the early colonial years of settlement. The thoroughbred racing and breeding industry is also a major contributor to the Australian economy due to the internationally recognised quality of the horses it produces.
The thoroughbred horse breed was founded in the 18th century, making it the oldest closed animal population in the world. Uniquely, all modern thoroughbred horses throughout the world trace their pedigree back to this time (an average of 24 generations). Although thoroughbreds are the product of many generations of inbreeding for the selection of racing performance, the population is still viable and thriving. Evelyn's research examines how these many generations of selective breeding has influenced the genetic characteristics of modern thoroughbred horses. These findings assist in understanding the effects of long-term selection on the health and viability of animal populations.

Evelyn Todd is a PhD student at University of Sydney, researching and writing a thesis titled “Inbreeding and performance genetics in horses”. She started her PhD candidature at the beginning of 2017, having completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 2015. Her self-directed honours thesis focussed on the effects of inbreeding on racing performance in thoroughbred horses. After completing her undergraduate degree, she spent a year working in industry before returning to postgraduate study. Her PhD aims to understand genetic trends in horse populations, particularly focussing on thoroughbred racehorses.

Three-minute thesis (3MT) talk
The Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition brings together some of the best and brightest PhD students, who have just three minutes to explain what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why it is important. The competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills, and their capacity to communicate complex ideas to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

This month’s presentation, “Finding the best-fitting jeans for railway foundations”, was by Mr Chuhao Liu, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong, winner of the University of Wollongong 2018 3MT competition.

Train is a very popular choice for travelling and freight transport in Australia. However, track foundation particles (ballast) are almost free to move laterally and subjected to significant breakage upon repeated train passage. To solve this problem, industry currently installs a plastic grid, named Geogrid, inside the railway foundations. But the best design of geogrid remains an open question. The research aims to find out the optimum design of geogrid, especially the size of the hole (aperture) on the grid, and develop a standard for rail manufacturing.

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FRSN to be Lord Prior of St John International

FRSN to be Lord Prior of St John International

Professor Mark Compton FRSN has been announced as the next Lord Prior of the Order of St John, also known as St John International.  The Order is devoted to the relief of sickness and injury, receiving a royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1888.  It is perhaps best known in Australia for St John Ambulance.

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Calendar of Sydney meetings in 2019

Calendar of Sydney meetings in 2019
Wednesday 6 February

1270th OGM and open lecture: 2018 Scholarship presentations

Evelyn Todd, University of Sydney

“Using genetics to improve athletic performance in throughbred horses”

Fiona McDougall, Macquarie University

“Human-associated bacteria and antibiotic resistance in grey-headed flying foxes”

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 25 February

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies

“Nuclear energy as an option for Australia?”

Helen Cook, GNE Advisory

Venue: Allens, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place, 126 Phillip Street, Sydney

Time: 7.15 ‒ 9am

Tuesday 26 February

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Speaking of music"

“Jazz and democracy”

Dr. Wesley J. Watkins IV

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 6 March

1271st OGM and open lecture

“Using genomics to conserve Australia's biodiversity”

Professor Katherine Belov FRSN, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 21 March

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Mary Shelley, scientist, and Frankenstein”

Suzanne Burdon

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 April

AGM and 1272nd OGM and open lecture

Address by ex-President: “Measuring what we can: or how to lose weight on May 20th”

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN, School of Chemistry, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 5.45 for 6pm start of AGM. Open lecture and OGM 6.30pm

Thursday 2 May

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Ada Lovelace, without whom we might not have computers”

Susannah Fullerton OAM FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Friday 10 May

Annual dinner of the Royal Society of NSW

Guest of honour: Her Excellency Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW

Presentation of awards for 2018

Distinguished Fellow's address: Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons FRS FAA DistFRSN FTSE, School of Physics, UNSW
“The new field of atomic electronics”

Venue: Swissotel, 48 Market St, Sydney

Time: 6.15 for 7pm

Wednesday 5 June

1273rd OGM and open lecture

“This talk may cause side effects: nocebo effects in medicine”

Dr Kate Faasse, School of Psychology, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 20 June

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Climate change and our life support system”

Professor Lesley Hughes, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 July

1274th OGM and open lecture

“Past, present and future of polymers: is the plastics age over?”

Professor Robert Burford FRSN, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 18 July

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

Visual perception in aboriginal art

Emeritus Professor Barbara Gillam FASSA FRSN, School of Psychology, UNSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 7 August

1275th OGM and open lecture

“Democracy under challenge: how can we restore a sense of citizenship?”

Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN, Chancellor, Western Sydney University

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 12 August

National Science Week: talk 1

“Aboriginal astronomy”

Dr Ragbir Bhathal FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Tuesday 13 August

National Science Week: talk 2

“Unexpected results – Australian science to 1950”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Wednesday 14 August

Poggendorff lecture

“Cereal killers: how plant diseases affect food security”

Professor Robert F. Park FTSE FRSN, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Venue: Level 5 Function Room, Building F23, University of Sydney

Time: 5:30 for 6pm

Thursday 15 August

National Science Week: talk 3

“Machine aesthetics of the human body”

Dr Josh Harle

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 12.30pm to 1.30

Thursday 15 August

National Science Week: talk 4

“Computer modeling of epidemics”

Professor Mikhail Prokopenko

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Wednesday 4 September

1276th OGM and open lecture

“Physicians as public intellectuals: Indonesian physicians in the Dutch East Indies”

Professor Hans Pols, School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 19 September

Clarke lecture (as part of a UNSW Faculty of Science event)

Sci-Fi Series — Future Planet

Professor Emma Johnston AO FRSN, Dean, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Venue: Australian National Maritime Museum (Tasman Light Gallery and Theatre), 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour Sydney

Time: 5.30 - 7.30pm (3 speakers, including Prof. Johnston)

Monday, 23 September

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“Electricity, astronomy, and natural history: from colonial Sydney to Royal Sweden, and a ladies academy in-between”

Anne Harbers FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 2 October

1277th OGM and open lecture

“Other minds”

Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith, School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 17 October

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“Women at the Frontiers of Biotech”

Professor Susan Pond

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 6 November

1278th OGM and open lecture

“The beginning of weather forecasting: Matthew Maury, Robert FitzRoy FRS and L. F. Richardson FRS”

Professor Herbert Huppert, Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, University of Cambridge

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 7 November

Royal Society of NSW and Four Learned Academies Forum

“Making space for Australia”

Venue: NSW Government House, Sydney

Time: tba

Thursday 21 November

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“An accidental radio astronomer”

Emeritus Professor Anne Green FRSN, School of Physics, University of Sydney

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 4 December

1279th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of NSW 2019 Jak Kelly Award and Christmas party

“tba”

Jak Kelly Award winner (tba)

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

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