1298th OGM and Open Lecture

Professor Toby Walsh“Privacy and Identity in an
AI world”

Professor Toby Walsh FAA FACM FAAAS

Scientia Professor of AI
School of CSE, UNSW (Sydney)

Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021, 6.30 pm AEDT 
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Entry: No charge
All are welcome. 

 Summary: Artificial Intelligence is making great advances, many of which challenge our notions of privacy and identity. From face recognition to automated decision making, what are the most pressing problems and how should we navigate this future to ensure a prosperous, just, and sustainable society?

Professor Toby Walsh is a Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of AI at the University of New South Wales and Data61, 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 Fellow of the Australia Academy of Science and recipient of the NSW Premier's Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. He appears regularly on TV and radio and has authored two books on AI for a general audience, the most recent entitled "2062: The World that AI Made".


Western NSW Branch Meeting 2021-1

Professor Stan Grant Eagar“With the Falling of Dusk”

Professor Stan Grant
Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging
Charles Sturt University

Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021, 1.00 pm AEDT 
Venue:  Zoom Webinar
Entry: No Charge
Society Members, Fellows, and members of the public are welcome

Summary:  The world is at a critical inflection point with rising authoritarianism and waning democracy. The world’s superpower the United States is waning and being challenged by a rising power, China. Not since the lead up to World War One have we seen such a fundamental shift in the global order. After two decades of terrorism, war, economic collapse and now a devastating global pandemic what is to become of us? Renowned, award-winning journalist and Charles Sturt University Chair of Indigenous/Australian Belonging takes us on a journey through a world of change calling on three decades of front line reporting in Australia and around the globe. Stan explores questions of history and identity and argues the west may need to give up power to keep it.

About the speaker: Professor Stan Grant holds the CSU Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University. He is is a highly respected and awarded journalist with a 30-year career that includes experience in radio, television news and current affairs with the ABC, SBS, and CNN. Formerly, he was the ABC's Global Affairs and Indigenous Affairs Analyst. Stan Grant has been awarded three Walkley awards, two Peabody awards, four Asia TV awards, an Australian TV Logie award, an International Indigenous Trailblazer Award, two Australian Academy of Cinema Television awards, an Australian Heritage Literature award and an Association of International Sports Journalists award, among many others. He has also published four critically acclaimed and best-selling books on identity and Australian Indigenous history, and in 2019 wrote, and featured in, the full-length documentary film, The Australian Dream which won the AACTA Award for best feature documentary in 2019.



Royal Society of NSW Exhibition: NEXUS

RSNSW Exhibition: NEXUS Cover Image

Jean Garling Room
Mitchell Building, State Library of NSW
1 Shakespeare Place, Sydney



Delayed Opening: The opening of NEXUS, which was to occur on the weekend of 26 June 2021, has now been delayed due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Sydney, and the lockdown of Greater Sydney declared on 26 June. The State Library will be closed until the cessation of the current lockdown, 11.59 pm on Friday 9 July, unless restrictions are further extended. This notice will be updated as soon as the Society is advised by the Library when the Exhibition can open. Please check back regularly.

About the Exhibition: This Exhibition begins a year of celebrations to mark the Society’s contributions to the intellectual life of NSW over 200 years. It is the perfect moment to reinforce our commitment to enriching lives through knowledge and inquiry. As we think about our future, we are informed by our history.

NEXUS has two meanings: a central or focal point; and a connection or series of connections linking two or more things. From the beginning, the Society has epitomised both meanings, as a forum for ideas and discovery, exposing us to the latest research and promoting awareness of some of the major issues confronting humanity. With 200 years of history, the exhibition can only showcase a fraction of the Society’s archives and achievements in telling the story of its Origins, Ideas, Advances, and Impacts.

Highlights of the exhibition include: 

  • Letters from Professor Sir T W Edgeworth David, Antarctic explorer, on sun thaw line observations and arranging a presentation on the British Antarctic Expedition (1907 – 1909) led by Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Two original letters, including one with box-kite illustrations, of Lawrence Hargrave, a noted aviation pioneer and the first in Australia to fly (attached to four box kites of his own design), who published 23 papers on aeronautics in the Society’s Journal & Proceedings.

RSNSW and Learned Academies Forum 2021

Power and Peril of the Digital Age image

Dates: Thursday and Friday, 4–5 November 2021, 9.00am–12.30pm AEDT
Venue: In person at Government House, Sydney and live streaming.

The Society is delighted that the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences will join the other four Learned Academies — Humanities, Science, Social Sciences, and Technology and Engineering — to stage the RSNSW and Learned Academies Forum this year.

Mark your calendars with the date, Thursday 4th November 2021.

Our Patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales, will be our host at Government House in Sydney. In addition to the opportunity to attend in person, the Forum will be made available to a wider audience in NSW and beyond via live streaming.

In choosing “Power and Peril of the Digital Age” as the theme, our goal is to consider digitisation and the use of data framed around the future life of a child born on the day of the Forum, 4 November 2021. This child will be born into a world of increasingly complex digital systems that hold great value and vulnerability. 

Starting with a technological framing, the Forum will explore several major aspects that will impact the journey of that child as we approach 2030 and beyond. We will explore aspects of technology, health, defence and security in a digital age, the changing nature of industry as the world and society evolves, and Australia’s future as a successful and safe democracy in the digital world.


Calendar of Meetings 2021

RSNSW SealThis page lists the Calandar of Meetings for the Royal Society of NSW in 2021.

Please check this page regularly since the program is under ongoing development.

Last update: 1 August 2021

Follow the links below for meetings held by the Society in Sydney, in Newcastle by the Hunter Branch, and in Mittagong by the Southern Highlands Branch.


Sydney Meetings 2021

Please note that the program in the table below lists events that are scheduled as monthly Ordinary General Meetings and the Annual Forum of the Royal Society and Four Academies. In addition to these events, there are three named lectures, associated with the Society’s 2020 Awards, that remain to be scheduled:

  • Clarke Lecture — Distinguished Professor Michelle Leishman (Macquarie University)
  • Liversidge Lecture — Professor Richard Payne FRSN (University of Sydney)
  • Poggendorf Lecture — Professor Angela Moles FRSN (UNSW Sydney)

together with another lecture in the [email protected] series, and the Society’s contributions to Science Week 2021 in the latter half of the year.


3 February 

6.30pm AEDT

1290th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture:
2020 Jak Kelly Award and RSNSW Scholarship Winner Presentations

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Controlling how electrons move in silicon at the atomic scale
Mr Matthew Donnelly — Jak Kelly Award Winner
PhD Student, Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, UNSW (Sydney)

3D Printing for Microfluidics (TBC)
Mr Sajad Razavi Bazaz — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, School of Biomedical Engineering, University of Technology Sydney

Molecular mechanisms of inflammasome activation by enterotoxins of the foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus
Mr Daniel Fox — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University

Improving the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in refugees: The important role of emotion regulation
Ms Phillipa Specker — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, School of Psychology, UNSW (Sydney)

3 March 

6.30pm AEDT

1291st Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

What are the best options for growing Australia’s mental health through the COVID-19 recovery?
Professor Ian Hickie AM FRSN FASSA FAHMS
Co-Director (Health and Policy), Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney

7 April

6.00pm AEST

154th Annual General Meeting (6.00pm)
1292nd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture (immediately following)

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Antarctica, this ain’t no mirage: The value of art in disseminating scientific information
Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger
Artist, exploring connections between science and art practice

15 April

6.00pm AEST

[email protected]: April 2021

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Australia and the Dickens Boys
Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN

5 May

6.30pm AEST

1293rd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar (TBC)

Big, bad fires in NSW
Emerita Professor Mary O’Kane AC FRSN FTSE HonFIEAust
Chair, Independent Planning Commission of NSW and former Chief Scientist and Engineer of NSW

2 June

6.30pm AEST

1294th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar (TBC)

Murray-Darling Basin turmoil: past, present and future
Professor Richard Kingsford FRSN
Director, Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW (Sydney)

7 July

6.30pm AEST

1295th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Society as an information-processing system, and the influence of the media
Dr Erik Aslaksen FRSN
Director, Systems Engineer, and Author

22 July

6.00pm AEST

[email protected]: July 2021

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Music as a Superfood: How music can help us live longer, sleep better, calm down, find flow, and feel happier
Greta J, Bradman
Writer, broadcaster and psychologist

4 August 

6.30pm AEST

1296th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

An intimate history of evolution: From genesis to genetic with a scientific dynasty
Professor Alison Bashford FRSN FAHA FBA FRHistS
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW (Sydney)

24 August 

Time TBA

2021 Clarke Lecture of the Royal Society of NSW 

Venue: Macquarie University (C122, 25 Wally Walk) and live streaming - POSTPONED

From bulldozers, pests, and pathogens to climate change and urban futures: the tough life of plants
Distinguished Professor Michelle Leishman 
Director, Smart Green Cities, Macquarie University

1 September

6.30pm AEST

1297th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Taking humour and laughter seriously: Exploring the multi-disciplinary field of humour studies 
Dr Jessica Milner Davis FRSN
Honorary Associate, School of Literature, Art and Media, University of Sydney

6 October

6.30pm AEDT

1298th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Topic: Privacy and identity in an AI world 
Scientia Professor Toby Walsh FAA FACM FAAAS
School of Computer Science and Engineering, UNSW (Sydney)

Date Thursday, 4

9.00am - 4.30pm AEDT

Royal Society of NSW and Learned Academies Annual Forum

Venue: Government House, Sydney, Live Streaming and subsequent availability on YouTube

Topic: Power and Peril of the Digital Age

10 November


RSNSW Liversidge Lecture (2020)

Venue: University of Sydney

Topic: To be announced
Speaker: Professor Richard Payne

1 December

6.30pm AEDT

1299th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Managing psychological distress in times of stress: handling the stress of COVID-19 and all that
Scientia Professor Richard Bryant AC FASSA FAA FAHMS — James Cook Medal Winner 2020
School of Psychology, UNSW (Sydney)

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Hunter Branch Meetings

The Hunter Branch Event Program for 2021 is still under development, with the table below being updated on a regular basis.

26 May

Time: 5.30pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-1 and Lecture
Jointly with the University of Newcastle as part of the Looking Ahead — In Conversation Series

Venue: University of Newcastle and Live Streaming

On readying our region for low emissions technology
Dr Alan Finkel AO FAA FTSE
Former Chief Scientist of Australia 

30 June

Time: 4.00pm for 5.00pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-2 and Lecture

Venue: Noah's on the Beach

Extreme bushfires and the age of violent pyroconvection
Professor Jason Sharples
Director, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
UNSW Canberra

25 August

Time: TBA

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-3 and Lecture

Venue: to be advised

Royal Commission for Ageing and the care and welfare of the elderly
Professor Kathy Eagar
Director, Australian Health Services Research Institute
University of Wollongong

29 September

Time: TBA

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-4 and Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Topic: To be advised
Mr Nathan Towney
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Leadership)
University of Newcastle

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Southern Highlands Branch Meetings

The Southern Highlands Branch Event Program for 2021 is still under development, with the table below being updated on a regular basis.

18 February

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-1

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

The five islands off Port Kembla — an historical and ecological study
Dr Kevin Mills
Botanist and Eciologist 

18 March

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-2

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

The general development of the Sydney Basin Coast and its recent history since the last ice age
Dr Howard Brady

15 April

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-3

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Nattai/Joadja Room

Particle radiation therapy and human space exploration: commonality in challenges and solutions
Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld
University of Wollongong 

20 May

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-4

Venue: RSL  Mittagong

Burnout  — the hottest issue
Professor Gordon Parker AO
Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney

17 June

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-5

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

Reach for the Skies
Max La Galle
Materials science student, UNSW (Sydney) 

15 July

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-6

Venue: RSL Mittagong (CANCELLED due to the July Greater Sydney Lockdown)

Neutron scattering and the ANSTO WOMBAT project
Dr Helen Maynard-Casely
Instrument Scientist, ANSTO 

19 August

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-7

Venue: to be advised

Topic: Transgenerational Epigenetics
Alyson Ashe

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