AUG
14

Senior Secondary Pathways Review chaired by Society Fellow, Peter Shergold

Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN FASSA FAICDThe Report of the Review of Senior Secondary Pathways, chaired by Society Fellow and Chancellor of Western Sydney University, Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN FASSA FAICD, was released by the Australian Government in late July 2020. The report, titled Looking to the Future, argues that transition pathways presented to young adults are too often narrowly framed and as a consequence limit choice.  The report notes that the dominance of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) privileges academic capability over the value of vocation education and training, with the emphasis on scholastic achievement paying "too little regard to the other skills and attributes required for successful adulthood”.

Instead, the report makes the case that high school students should focus on building a learner profile that reflects the skills (including leadership, prblem-soling and collaboration) and knowledge gained during the course of their education rather than focusing on how to boost their ATAR.  As conceived, the learner profile should provide a “digital education passport” which students could continue to build during adulthood by adding new qualifications and experience.

To read further about the the work of the Review, please access the Report on the Pathways Review website and see also an article in the Sydney Morning Herald written at the time of the release of the Report in July 2020.

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19 Hits
AUG
12

Postponement: The Clancy Collection Exhibition of Early Maps

An early map of SydneyThe Clancy Collection Exhibition of Early Maps, “Charting a Course: a 500-year story of discovery and the development of Sydney”, to be presented by Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum on Wednesday, 19 August (4.00pm), has been postponed due to uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic

The exhibition has been rescheduled for Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 4.00-5.30pm at the Manly Musuem and Art Gallery and will proceed on that date if circumstances permit.

Please see the event notice for further information and note that there is a limit of 20 attendees due to COVID-19 related entry restrictions. Should interest in this event exceed the available 20 places, consideration will given to providing an alternative opportunity to view the exhibition in the company of Professor Clancy.

Please register you interest by writing to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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17 Hits
AUG
05

1285th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Professor Peter Radoll“Growing Black Tall Poppies”

Professor Peter Radoll
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous)
University of Canberra

Date: Wednesday, 5 August 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

How do the contradictions of success intersect with race, higher education and Indigenous cultural values?

We are at a time that doing the right thing now seems more important than considering the long-term future of our community. Governments are trying to meet Indigenous employment targets, by funnelling many of our potential best and brightest into government traineeships from year 11, taking them away from the opportunity pipeline of future university study. The competition to attract these students to universities results in letting them know that they do not have to obtain the best grades at school as there are other pathways designed just for them; a subtle message that you do not have to excel. This can become a demotivating factor for Indigenous students who ideally would be better suited to a degree that requires a top ATAR score, and one that they are capable of achieving.

Are these structures supporting our success, or stopping us from reaching our full potential? 

As new terms, such as ‘cyber feminism’ enter our lexicon in the era of gender politics, within our universities, 75% of all professors are male, yet the majority of Indigenous university leaders are female.  Female Indigenous university enrolments and completions out number Indigenous males two to one. 

As we take on these challenges and complexities,we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to capitalise on our ipseity.  As a Nation, by all of us embracing Indigenous culture, as the whole of our Australian history and story, we do not lose or give away something that we hold close. Instead, we all gain so much more knowledge and become richer for the embrace.

Professor Peter Radoll is a descendant of the Anaiwan people from the New England ranges area of Northern New South Wales.He is currently Professor of Information Technology and Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous at the University of Canberra. Peter is also Director of the Ngunnawal Centre at the University which provides support, training and study facilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – a role dear to his heart.

Starting out his working life as a motor mechanic, Peter has gone on to well over ten years as a senior academic and leader in the higher education sector at the Australian National University, The University of Newcastle and the University of Canberra. Peter’s passion and commitment to Indigenous Higher Education is also evident in the roles he has outside the University. He is a Director on the Board of the Smith Family, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC), and a Member of the Advisory Group for the CSIRO Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy.

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253 Hits
AUG
04

New editions of the Society's Journal and Bulletin: August 2020

Covers of the Journal vol. 153-1 and Bulletin vol. 443 The Society is pleased to advise that the latest issues of the Journal and Proceedings vol. 153-1 and the Bulletin vol. 443 have just been published and are now available on the website. 

The principal content of this issue of the Journal is the 2019 RSNSW and Four Academies Forum: Making SPACE for Australia (including links to YouTube presentations), with 17 contributions from experts in the field. This is particularly relevant after the recent splash-down (first since 1975) of the private SpaceX vehicle returning NASA astronauts from the International Space Station.

This issue also includes the text of Distinguished Fellow Brian Schmidt's address at the 2020 Annual Dinner, a timely piece by Graham Bell FRSN on a home test of smell acuity to alert for possible COVID-19 infection, FRSN  David Hush's Partita for Solo Violin (with links to YouTube to hear it performed), an invited paper by Steve Pyne, doyen of writers of the history of wildfires around the world, on last summer's fires and what they mean for the future, and an obituary by Len Fisher FRSN on the late Lord May of Oxford OM AC Kt FRS DistFRSN CorrFAA FTSE HonFAIB.

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53 Hits
AUG
18

Science Week 2020: The COVID Curve in Context

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy“The COVID Curve in Context:  or Back to the Future—something old and something new”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW and the University of Newcastle

Date: Tuesday, 18 August 2020, 6.00pm
Venue: Zoom webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Entry: No charge
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

Image Professor Clancy’s talk will address two issues: (a) the pattern of health in Australia, and how COVID-19 fits this pattern, and what we can learn from past pandemics in Australia; and (b) why old people die and young people “don’t turn a hair”, and how we can make our airways young again.  The talk will also consider why we don’t have a useful vaccine, and what we need to do, and can do, in the future to learn to live with COVID-19.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy was the Foundation Professor of Pathology in the University of Newcastle Medical School and a clinical immunologist who undertook research in mucosal immunology and the development of mechanisms to enhance mucosal resistance and control mucosal inflammation. He has a strong involvement in the biotechnology of natural products that maximise mucosal immune competence, protecting against infection, and he maintains a clinic in gastroenterology focused on inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Clancy also has strong, longstanding interests in histocartography relating to the discovery and development of Terra Australis, and the history of science and medicine, with a focus on epidemics. He has written five books on histocartography and is a regular speaker on maps—curating exhibitions and writing numerous articles on this topic.

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221 Hits
AUG
04

Society Fellow awarded the London Royal Society Royal Medal

Emeritus Professor Herbert Huppert FRS FRSN The Royal Society of NSW (RSNSW) is delighted to learn of the announcement in London by the Royal Society that one of its Fellows, Emeritus Professor Herbert Huppert FRS FRSN, has just been awarded the 2020 Royal Medal for Physical Sciences. The Royal Medals are awarded on behalf of the Queen each year, and have been issued annually since 1825. The RSNSW Council extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Huppert on this recognition of his outstanding career achievements.

The citation for Professor Huppert reads: “ He has been at the forefront of research in fluid mechanics. As an applied mathematician he has consistently developed highly original analysis of key natural and industrial processes. Further to his research, he has chaired policy work on how science can help defend against terrorism, and Carbon Capture and Storage in Europe.”

Professor Huppert is an Australian-born geophysicist who lives in the United Kingdom. He has been the Professor of Theoretical Geophysics and Foundation Director, Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, at the University of Cambridge, since 1989 and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, since 1970. He has published widely using fluid-mechanical principles in applications to the Earth sciences: in meteorology, oceanography and geology. In 1987, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and was awarded the Society’s Bakerian Medal in 2011. He was awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London in 2007 and is the only non-American recipient of a prize from the United States National Academy of Sciences, being awarded the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship for contributions to the Earth sciences in 2005. Professor Huppert is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society and the Academia Europaea. He is currently an Emeritus Professor at Cambridge and holds visiting professorial appointments at Bristol University and UNSW Sydney.

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49 Hits
AUG
20

Science Week 2020: The Periodic Table

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert“The Periodic Table: ‘.. a medley of haphazard facts falling into line and order’ (C. P. Snow)”

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW and UNSW Sydney

Date: Thursday, 20 August 2020, 6.00pm 
Venue: Zoom webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Entry: No charge
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

The ancients had isolated and named around thirteen substances, mostly metals, not necessarily realising they were unique, chemically-indivisible ‘elements’. With the discovery of Oganesson (118 Og) we have completed the seventh row of the modern periodic table. In between, the science of Chemistry has been built on the discovery and manipulation of more and more of the elements that make up our world.

Periodic Table reduced

2019 was declared the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, being the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the modern periodic table by Dmitri Mendeleev.

Brynn Hibbert will take a ramble through the table, re-telling great stories that have been collected by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute as part of its celebrations of Mendeleev’s discovery, and explaining just how we discover and name new elements. Hibbertium here we come!

No chemistry training is required by the audience but the talk does address the NSW Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus Module 1: Periodicity with inquiry question “Are there patterns in the properties of elements?” and so might be of interest to schools.

Brynn Hibbert is a former, and now Emeritus, Professor of  Analytical Chemistry at UNSW. He is a go-to expert witness in the courts on matters chemical, particularly on drugs of abuse (in society and sports), although he has been known to do the occasional murder. As a member of committees of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)  he has been involved in the formal recognition process of new elements, his first  foray being Copernicium (element 112) and most recently Oganesson (118). In 2019 he won the first essay competition on ‘stories from the periodic table’ organised by the RACI with his tale of the discovery of iodine (and which will be re-told in his talk). Brynn is a Vice President of the RSNSW, and was President in 2016 – 2017.

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288 Hits
AUG
20

Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-6

Professor Toby Walsh“2062—The year that Artificial Intelligence (AI) made”

Professor Toby Walsh
Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence
UNSW Sydney and CSIRO Data61

Date: Thursday, 20 August 2020 
Venue: Via email circulation

 While pandemic restrictions on group activities prevail, the South Highlands Branch continues to send members information and summaries from our scheduled speakers.

Summary

Professor Walsh was due to present this lecture at the August meeting of the Southern Highlands Branch. In light of the current circumstances, this lecture has been replaced by recordings of two recent presentations he has made:

Professor Toby Walsh is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales and Data61, a guest professor at theTechnical University of Berlin, and an adjunct professor at QUT. He was named by the Australian newspaper as one of the “rock stars” of Australia’s digital revolution. He is a strong advocate for limits to ensure AI is used to improve our lives. Professor Walsh has been a leading voice in the discussion about autonomous weapons (aka “killer robots”), speaking at the UN in New York and Geneva on the topic.

Professor Walsh is a Fellow of the Australia Academy of Science and a recipient of the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. He recently was made ARC Laureate Fellow. He appears regularly on TV and radio, and has authored two books on AI for a general audience, the most recent titled “2062: The World that AI Made”.

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19 Hits
SEP
02

1286th OGM and Open Lecture

Professor John Rasko AO“The Dawn of Molecular Medicine—Gene Therapy: past, present and future”

Professor John Rasko AO
Head, Department of Cell & Molecular Therapies, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Date: Wednesday, 2 September 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom Webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Entry: No charge
All are welcome.

 Summary: Over the next five years a possible 900% increase in Gene and Stem Cell Therapy approvals has been forecast. The convergence of substantial incremental technical advances towards combined cell and gene therapy has led to improved clinical outcomes in immune deficiencies, haemoglobinopathies, blindness, immunotherapies and other inherited diseases. An audit of cell, tissue and gene products with marketing authorization in 2018 worldwide identified 44 unique products, 37 of them are cell and tissue therapies (84%) and mainly autologous (55%).

The challenge of realizing the full potential of genetic understanding has been vital in overcoming the hurdles of efficient gene therapy. Since the first human clinical trial using gene technology in 1989, there have been nearly 3,000 approved clinical trials worldwide. The overwhelming majority of human clinical trials involves short-term gene expression or random integration of a therapeutic gene. Emerging technologies require controlled development in compliance with safety, regulatory and GMP requirements.  More precise gene targeting tools were first described in the early 2000s. Targeted gene editing or replacement using Zinc Finger Nucleases or TALENS have been tested in about a dozen clinical trials since 2009. 

In parallel with objectively proven therapies, ‘stem cell tourism’ has become a billion dollar industry with increasing examples of false claims. Embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells have been mired in controversy and clinical development has been forestalled. We reported an analysis of the global distribution of more than 400 unique businesses marketing stem cell-based interventions. Many of these online entities promote clinical applications of ‘stem cells’ beyond present-day standards of care. These data should be of immediate concern to governments and ethicist being lobbied to amend laws governing the manufacture, distribution and clinical use of human cell-based medical products. Unregulated, untested or unsafe stem cell ‘therapies’ place the field at a difficult crossroad. Blurring the lines that distinguish evidence-based cell therapies from those that are not remains a fundamental public health concern.

Highlights in the clinical cell & gene therapy field will be discussed with special reference to haemophilia, thalassemia, graft versus host disease and cancer.

 Professor John Rasko is an Australian pioneer in the application of adult stem cells and genetic therapy. Since 1999 he has directed the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney. He is the President (2018-20) of the prominent International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy.

John Rasko is a clinical haematologist, pathologist and scientist with an international reputation in gene and stem cell therapy, experimental haematology and molecular biology. In over 160 publications he has contributed to the understanding of stem cells and blood cell development, gene therapy technologies, cancer causation and treatment, human genetic diseases and molecular biology.

He serves on hospital, state and national bodies including Chair of GTTAC, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator – responsible for regulating all genetically-modified organisms in Australia - and immediate past Chair of the Advisory Committee on Biologicals, Therapeutic Goods Administration. Contributions to scientific organisations include co-founding (2000) and past-President (2003-5) of the Australasian Gene & Cell Therapy Society; Vice President (2008-12) and President-Elect (2016-18) International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy; Scientific Advisory Committees and Board member for philanthropic foundations; and several Human Research Ethics Committees. He is a founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2018, the Board of the ABC honoured him as the sixtieth Boyer Lecturer. He is the recipient of national (RCPA, RACP, ASBMB) and international awards in recognition of his commitment to excellence in medical research, including appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

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32 Hits
AUG
02

July 2020 Events now on YouTube

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor and Pia Ednie-BownEvents held online during July 2020 by the Royal Society of NSW are now available on our YouTube channel.  These are the lecture presented at the1284th Ordinary General Meeting by Ms Elizabeth Ann McGregor OBE FRSN (Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art) on the evening of 8 July 2020, and the lecture presented at the meeting of the Hunter Branch on 29 July by Professor Pia Ednie-Brown.  

Ms Macgregor spoke on “Why Art Matters in Times of Crisis”, while Professor Ednie-Brown addressed Architecture and the Cultivation of Vitality.

All online events conducted recently by the Society are available on YouTube and are accessible from the Presentation and Forum pages of the Society’s website.

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  69 Hits
69 Hits
OCT
14

The Clancy Collection—an Exhibition of Early Maps

An eeraly map of Sydney“Charting a Course: a 500-year story of discovery and the development of Sydney”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW

Dates:  Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 4.00-5.30pm
Venue: Manly Art Gallery and Museum, West Esplanade Reserve, Manly NSW 2095
Entry: There is a limit of 20 attendees on each occasion due to COVID-19 related entry resrictions.  Register by email with the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ensure your place.  Wine and cheese will be available at a cost of $10 per person, to be collected at the door.  
Enquiries: By email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy The Clancy Collection is one of Australia’s most significant archives of maps, ranging from 15th century European maps to an extensive collection depicting Australia and the Pacific. In this exhibition of around 100 maps, Sydney is the focus of a 500 year story of European expansion, scientific discovery and navigational endeavour.

Professor Clancy will guide attendees through an exhibition of maps that trace the discovery of Terra Australis and the development of Sydney using contemporary maps as documents of history. It is also the story of the printed map from 1480 to 1950. Maps compare the world as seen through western eyes before and after the great ocean traverses by those seeking the source of nutmeg and cloves. From their bases on the north coast of Java, expeditions led to discovery of Australia and the western two-thirds of the continent. The French and the English stole the 18th century, with James Cook tracing the east coast, to complete a rough circumference, before the English established a Jail at Sydney Cove for 1000 souls. The remaining exhibition explores the changing relationship between Sydney and its hinterland, and population shifts that take place as Sydney takes an international stage. Land becomes a common denominator as early grants give way to suburbs, and squatters give way to farmers. Sub-stories include navigation, charts, transport and always, land issues.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy was the Foundation Professor of Pathology in the University of Newcastle Medical School and a clinical immunologist who undertook research in mucosal immunology and the development of mechanisms to enhance mucosal resistance and control mucosal inflammation. He has a strong involvement in the biotechnology of natural products that maximise mucosal immune competence, protecting against infection, and he maintains a clinic in gastroenterology focused on inflammatory bowel disease.  He maintains a strong, longstanding interest in histocartography relating to the discovery and development of Terra Australis, and the history of science and medicine, with a focus on epidemics. He has written five books on histocartography and is a regular speaker on maps—curating exhibitions and writing numerous articles on this topic.

0
  125 Hits
125 Hits
NOV
11

1288th OGM and Open Lecture

Helicobacter pylori image“The role of Helicobacter Pylori in Peptic Ulcer Disease”

Professors Thomas Borody and Adrian Lee
Centre for Digestive Diseases (1) and UNSW Sydney (2)

Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: To be confirmed
Entry: To be confirmed
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

This is the first presentation in the series How Good is NSW, a sequence of presentations documenting past and present discoveries that have made a difference. In it, Professors Lee and Borody will tell little known stories of the essential contributions by RSNSW Fellows to one of the greatest medical advance in our times.

Summary: In 1982 Robin Warren and Barry Marshall at the Royal Perth Hospital described the presence of squiggly bacteria in the gastric mucosa of patients with Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD).Helicobacter pylori was on the map! They would deservedly be awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery, which would change the world – medicine would never be the same again. It is not possible for even the modern generation of gastroenterologists to appreciate the way PUD dominated the lives of both patients and doctors 50 years ago — surgical lists were full of patients for gastrectomy, medical wards with patients with uncontrolled pain and complications. Twenty percent of men had a Duodenal Ulcer. Emergency rosters meant bleeding or perforated ulcers. Yet today, PUD is rarely seen – a recent analysis of the impact of H. pylori and its eradication over 25 years in Australia shows a saving of 19,000 deaths, and $10B in costs.

Warren and Marshall would have struggled to develop their ideas without the professional support of Professor Adrian Lee, with a long history of study of “squiggly” bacteria in the gut. His experience in the growth of these bacteria, their role in animal models, and his contributions to diagnosis, vaccine development and the link to cancer, added to the biology and broad understanding of these bacteria, enabling interpretation of the Perth discovery in a biological context. Warren and Marshall understood the importance of eradication to prove causation, but were unable to develop sterilising therapy, so only an association could be claimed. Professor Tom Borody carefully trialled a series of antibiotics to develop the first effective antibiotic combination, enabling for the first time, proof of causation of duodenal ulcers. This began a long sequence of contributions to our understanding and treatment of PUD by Borody including addition of PPI’s, and development of “escape” therapy. He worked with the Newcastle group to develop the first “near-patient” “yes/no” test, and identified a role for the host response in conditioning outcomes of the “host-parasite” relationship.

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40 Hits
JUL
29

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-3

Professor Pia Ednie-Brown“Architecture and the Cultivation of Vitality”

Professor Pia Ednie-Brown
School of Architecture & Built Environment
University of Newcastle

Date: Wednesday, 29 July 2020, 6.00pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

This lecture is a joint event of the University of Newcastle (as part of its new Professor series) and the Royal Society of NSW.

How do the spaces we create affect our well-being, our creativity and cultural vitality? We often have a sense that certain places help us feel happier, stronger, more relaxed or more energised, but struggle to pin-point exactly what makes us feel this way. Answers to the question of how and why architectural environments affect us have been offered across disciplines, producing multiple and very different perspectives on the issue. Each offers a fragment of truth perhaps, but the highly contextual and complex nature of architectural environments eludes singular, disciplinary standpoints.

In this lecture, Professor Pia Ednie-Brown will argue that architectural approaches aiming to cultivate vitality can be found through approaching place as a person. This changes the nature of our relationship with buildings and sites such that we don’t design them, we design with them. Crucially, our relationship with places cultivates vitality through forging meaningful, living connections beyond ourselves.

Professor Ednie-Brown is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research projects have investigated relationships between creativity, emergence, ethics and innovation. She has a creative research practice, Onomatopoeia. Her creative work and writing have been published widely, and she has edited two books: Plastic Green: designing for environmental transformation (RMIT Press, 2009), and The Innovation Imperative: Architectures of Vitality (AD, Wiley, 2013).

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307 Hits
JUL
20

Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-5

Dr Brad Tucker“Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the end of the Universe”

Dr Brad Tucker
Astronomer and Research Fellow, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Australia National University

Date: Thursday, 20 July 2020 
Venue: Via email circulation

 While pandemic restrictions on group activities prevail, the South Highlands Branch continues to send members information and summaries from our scheduled speakers.

Summary

We began with a bang 13.72 billion years ago and are surrounded by hundreds of billions of galaxies. Our knowledge of space–time has expanded greatly over the past century. Technology has allowed us to discover, explore and theorise about the mysteries of our universe at the very small and very large scale. Compounds, atoms and subatomic particles have been discovered. The mystery of dark matter and dark energy are perplexing us today.

Dr Tucker will take us through the brilliant explosions known as supernova and our understanding of the life of stars and what the Universe is made of and how its growing and accelerating due to dark energy. The Universe is growing away from us leaving us with our own Milky Way and our own black hole, the question is “ is this the end of our Universe?”.

Most stars end their lives in brilliant explosions known as supernovae. These massive bursts briefly outshine all the light from the galaxy wherein they occur. The past 15 years has been a “boom” period for supernovae with vast amounts of time and effort being invested in these objects. Not only are they important for understanding the life of stars, but they can be used use as cosmological probes to study what the Universe is made of and how it is growing. This use has shown that the Universe is accelerating in its expansion, the subject of the 2011 Nobel Prize, and is being caused by dark energy which will cause the end of the Universe. I will show how our understanding of these objects has been revolutionized using new techniques including the Kepler Space Telescope and what this means for the Universe.

Dr Tucker was due to present this lecture at the July meeting of the Southern Highlands Branch. In light of the current circumstances, this lecture has been replaced by a recordings of a recent presentations he has made:

Dr Brad Tucker is an Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, and currently a Research Fellow. at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University. He received Bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Philosophy, and Theology from the University of Notre Dame. He then undertook a PhD at Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University, working with Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt. He is currently working on projects trying to discover the true nature of dark energy, the mysterious substance causing the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which makes up 70% of the Universe. He is the lead of the Kepler Extra-Galactic Survey, a program to understand why and how stars blow up. He is also leading a project to build a network of ultraviolet telescopes in the upper atmosphere, which are being built at Mt. Stromlo, a search for Planet 9, a proposed new planet in our Solar System, and also leading a group designing an Asteroid Mining Mission.

In addition to his research, Brad frequently gives talks to school groups and the general public about Astronomy and has regular segments on various radio and TV stations talking about astronomy news and events. Among other things, Brad has also developed a series of Astronomy Coins in conjunction with the Royal Australian Mint and has consulted on science fiction movies such as Alien: Covenant.

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15 Hits
JUL
10

Recent Society Events now on YouTube: July 2020

Brian Schmidt and Elizabeth Ann Macgregor: speakers at the Annual Dinner 2020 and the 1284th OGMRecent events held online by the the Royal Society of NSW are now available on our YouTube channel.  These are the 2020 Annual Dinner and Distinguished Fellow's Lecture, presented by Professor Brian Schmidt AC FRS DistFRSN FAA  (Vice-Chancellor of ANU) on the evening of 27 July 2020, and the Open Lecture presented at the 1284th Ordinary General Meeting by Ms Elizabeth Ann McGregor OBE FRSN (Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art) on the evening of 8 July 2020. 

Professor Schmidt spoke on “Evidence and Education in a Post-Truth, Post-COVID World” while Ms Macgregor addressed the question “Why Art Matters in Times of Crisis”.

All online events conducted recently by the Society are available on YouTube and are accessible from the Presentation and Forum pages of the Society’s website.

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  133 Hits
133 Hits
JUL
08

1284th OGM and Open Lecture

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE FRSN“Why Art Matters in Times of Crisis”

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE FRSN

Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

The Royal Society of NSW has long emphasised science, but literature, arts and philosophy have always been categories of interest and responsibility. Today, we find more and more that neither the arts nor science can stand alone; each needs the other. Ms Macgregor is fascinated by the interrelationship of science and creativity. In this important talk she will raise ideas about the indispensability of the arts especially in a time in which it seems as if our survival depends only on science.

Summary: Museums and galleries around the world have had to close their doors, turning to digital programs to stay connected with their audiences. News is dominated by the health crisis and the consequent financial issues. What role can museums and galleries play in these unsettling times where social distancing is the norm? MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor believes in the social impact of art and will outline how artists can play a critical role as we face the challenges of a changed world post crisis.

Ms Elizabeth Macgregor began her career as curator/driver of the Scottish Arts Council's Travelling Gallery. which ignited her commitment to engaging new audiences with the work of living artists. In 1989 she was appointed director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and in 1999 she took up the directorship of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art when it was facing significant challenges. To secure its future, she negotiated a new funding model with government, sponsors and philanthropists. Committed to supporting artists and expanding the audience for art, she has initiated a unique program of partnerships in Western Sydney. She successfully negotiated a $53m building redevelopment completed in 2012 which includes a National Centre for Creative Learning. Last year, the Museum attracted over a million visitors. Ms Macgregor’s innovation and contribution to the arts has been recognised with the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in 2008 and the Australia Business Arts Foundation Business Leadership Award. In 2011 she received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2019 she was included in ArtReview’s International Power 100 list; she won the 'Arts & Culture Category' of the Australian Financial Review '100 Women of Influence Awards', and was awarded the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s Patrons’ Prize for Collaboration. She sits on the Foundation of the Sydney Swans and the Board of UNICEF Australia.

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279 Hits
JUN
27

Annual Dinner 2020, Distinguished Fellow's Lecture and 199th Birthday Celebration

2020 Annual Dinner, Distinguished Speak Lecture and 199th Anniversary

 

YouTube video of the Event.

Join us, online, for the Royal Society of NSW’s black-tie Annual Dinner and to celebrate our 199th Birthday, looking forward to our third century. Our Patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales, will deliver her annual message to the Society.

Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions now allow small gatherings—so why not dress for the occasion, invite friends to share this intellectual and celebratory evening, and toast the Society on its 199th Birthday!

What is an important Birthday without presents?

As a birthday present to the Society for its extraordinary 199-year achievement, we invite Members, Fellows and friends to support our Library and expand its digital collections. We have begun to record and curate our lectures and events, but we are reliant on sub-professional equipment.

Our priority is to buy video/audio recording, streaming and editing equipment—cameras, microphones, video switching equipment, editing software, etc. Help us to enable the Society to build on what it has learnt during these unprecedented COVID times and continue to provide quality online services as we transition to a future that combines face-to-face and online events.

We welcome contributions to the Society’s Library Fund and are grateful to each of you for your gift and your participation in the Society. Donations to the Library Fund are tax deductible and may be made by:

  • Electronic Funds Transfer: from your bank account directly into the Society’s account using the details below. To receive your tax receipt, please also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. advising that you have donated and stating the amount and the transaction date.
Account name:  Royal Society of NSW Library Fund   BSB: 062 319
Reference:  Your family name and initials  Account Number:  1027 5175
  • Credit Card: Via Currinda, at this link, or by phone through the Society’s administrative partner, The Association Specialists, on 02 9431 8691. Please note, credit card payments incur a small transaction fee.
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384 Hits
JUN
18

Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-4

Professor Geordie Williamson“Light, sound, and the magic of the Fourier Transform”

Professor Geordie Williamson FRS FAA
Director, Mathematics Research Institute
University of Sydney

Date: Thursday, 18 June 2020 
Venue: Via email circulation

Summary

Why do guitars, flutes and voices sound different? How do we hear the different notes in a piece of music? What would music look like if we could see it? Most importantly, what does this have to do with the cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”? Join Professor Geordie Williamson for a journey into the shape of sound and sound waves to explore the fascinating world of timbre, overtones, modes and frequencies.

While pandemic restrictions on group activities prevail, the South Highlands Branch continues to send members information and summaries from our scheduled speakers.

Professor Williamson was due to present this lecture at the June meeting of the Southern Highlands Branch. In light of the current circumstances, hislecture has been replaced by a recording of arecent presentation:

It is a great lecture containing plenty of examples with which you can identify. 

Professor Geordie Williamson grew up in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. He was an undergraduate at the University of Sydney, and completed his PhD at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Following his PhD studies he was a Junior Research Fellow at Oxford for three years, and then an Advanced Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn. In 2020/21 he will direct a year long program at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Williamson has lectured all over the world, and has had visiting positions in the US, Germany and Japan. His has been awarded several prizes for his work, including the Chevalley Prize of the American Mathematical Society (2016), the European Mathematical Society Prize (2016), the Clay Research Award (2016), the New Horizons in Mathematics Prize (2017) and the Medal of the Australian Mathematical Society (2018). In 2018 he was elected to the Australian Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, and is currently the youngest living fellow of both institutions.

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19 Hits
JUN
13

New edition of the Society's Journal and Proceedings: June 2020

RSNSW Journal 152- 3 Cover Page The Society is pleased to advise that the latest issue of the Journal and Proceedings vol. 152-3 has just been published. This is a special issue from the 2019 Biennial Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Associations of von Humboldt Fellows and is published online only on this website.

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217 Hits
JUN
12

Lord Robert May: ABC Science Show, 13 June 2020

ABC Science Show Lord May 13 June 2020

The ABC Science Show, broadcast on ABC Radio National at noon on Saturday, 13 June 2020, was devoted to the life and achievements of Lord Robert May of Oxford, OM AC Kt FRS DistFRSN FAA FTSE HonFAIB, who died at the age of 84 on 28 April 2020. The program is now available for download from the Science Show website.

Lord May, a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, was one of Australia’s most eminent scientists, and during his career served as Chief Scientific Advisor to the United Kingdom Government and as President of the Royal Society. 

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269 Hits

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