Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

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).


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.


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.


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.


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.

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


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.


1283rd OGM and Open Lecture

Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Elliott“Drinking for three: Mother, baby and society”

Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM FRSN FAHMS

The University of Sydney and
Sydney Children’s Hospital (Westmead)

Date: Wednesday, 3 June 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

Summary: Australians love alcohol! Amongst the highest consumers in the world, we are renowned for our excellent quality wine. Our national sporting teams are sponsored by the alcohol industry and advertising and promotion of alcohol is rife, including to children. Yet the costs of alcohol are immense. It is difficult to measure the full economic impact of alcohol on our health and mental health and our education, child protection and justice systems. It is impossible to measure the costs to individuals and society.

Alcohol has a particularly devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of society — our children. Tonight, I will discuss the topic of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the current state of play in Australia. FASD results from the brain injury to the unborn child that is caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Children with FASD have severe neurodevelopmental impairment, birth anomalies and learning and behavioural problems, which have lifelong consequences.

Over two decades there has been enormous progress in the recognition of FASD as a significant but preventable public health problem. Clinical practice, education, service development and policy have been guided by a national collaborative approach involving clinicians, researchers, parent support groups, Indigenous communities and NGOs — with government and NHMRC funding. We have a national action plan, advisory group, website, and disease register, training programs and specialist FASD assessment clinics, and research and clinical networks. We have innovative diagnostic techniques and access to the NDIS. But, the future is prevention, which remains our biggest challenge: 60% of Australian women continue to drink during pregnancy and children are increasingly diagnosed with FASD. We know what will minimise alcohol harms but face significant challenges to implementing these interventions, as will be discussed.

About the speaker: Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Elliott holds a Chair in Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and is Consultant Paediatrician at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (Westmead). She holds a prestigious Practitioner Fellowship, her third, from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. In 2019 she received the James Cook Medal for 2018 from the Royal Society of NSW – its highest honour – and was the first female amongst its 47 recipients at that time.

Professor Elliott has dedicated her career to advancing human rights, health and quality of life for ill and disadvantaged children in Australia and beyond, through education, research, clinical care and advocacy. Specific examples include promoting the health and human rights of: children disabled by rare diseases, FASD and vaccine-preventable and other infectious diseases; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, particularly those in remote Australia; Asylum Seeker and Refugee Children, particularly in Immigration detention; children receiving Cochlear implants; Children with Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGMC); and Children living in developing countries in our region, particularly Vietnam.

For over 20 years, Professor Elliott has worked to improve the lives of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in Australia. She is regarded as pre-eminent in advocacy, research, policy and clinical care regarding FASD and has an international reputation in the field. She is a member of the Australian Government’s FASD Advisory Committee; Co-Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in FASD; Co-Director of the Care and Intervention for Children and Adolescents with Drug and Alcohol Problems (CIDADA); and Head of the CICADA NSW FASD Assessment clinic.

Australian Government funding has allowed Professor Elliott and colleagues to: conduct a FASD prevalence study in remote Aboriginal communities of WA and develop a national Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD, a national Hub (website), a national surveillance system and case Register for FASD, a program to evaluate and disseminate the Diagnostic Guide, and a series of online e-learning modules on alcohol use in pregnancy and FASD. She leads several NHMRC and government funded projects on alcohol in pregnancy and FASD. In 2018 she received the Australian Medical Association’s Excellence in Healthcare Award for her work in FASD and in 2019 received the Starfish Award for research and advocacy in at the International FASD conference in Canada.

Professor Elliott will speak on “Drinking for Three: Mother, baby and society”, a consideration of the urgency of properly addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.


Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-2

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers“COVID-19 and confusion: the story of a nasty but nice viral receptor”

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers AM FAA DistFRSN
Hunter Medical Research Institute and
University of Newcastle

Date: Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 5.30pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a corona virus (SARS-CoV-2). To get into the body it binds to a protein on the surface of the cells of the body’s organs by a viral protein spike. These spikes stick out from the surface of the virus giving it a crown-like appearance, hence the name corona virus. The spike protein binds to an enzyme, ACE2. It is thought that the more ACE2 there is on cell membranes the greater the load of infectious particles there will be to enter cells, i.e., the greater the level of infection.

When the spike protein binds to ACE2 it ‘destroys’ it. ACE2 protects lung, heart and kidneys from the actions of angiotensin II which activates inflammatory pathways, by removing angiotensin II and converting it to an anti-inflammatory peptide. SARS-CoV-2 by binding to ACE2, therefore removes its protective effects.

Recombinant ACE2 can be easily introduced into the body. The question is could ACE2 be used safely to treat COVID-19? Do drugs that lower blood pressure by blocking angiotensin II and also by causing upregulation of ACE2 enhance the severity of COVID-19? Or do these drugs protect against severe tissue damage by suppressing angiotensin II’s inflammatory actions? These conflicting actions of ACE2 are causing confusion in the race to manage patients with COVID-19 and to prevent infection.

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers is the Honorary Secretary of the Hunter Branch of the RSNSW. She studied medicine at University of Adelaide and subsequently gained a Doctorate in Medicine for her research into the renin-angiotensin system. She was the first woman to be awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and she studied fetal physiology in Oxford where she was a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Returning to Australia, Eugenie and her husband settled in Sydney where Eugenie was employed at University of NSW. She developed her research on fetal physiology and her team published numerous papers on the fetal and maternal renin-angiotensin systems and their cardiovascular and renal systems. Eugenie was awarded a Doctorate in Science and a personal professorial chair. Subsequently she was the first woman at NSW to be awarded a Scientia Professorship. Eugenie served on numerous university committees as well as committees of the NHMRC, NHF and ARC. She was elected to the University of NSW Council. Eugenie was Head of the School of Physiology and Pharmacology for 9 years. In 2002 she was elected to the Australian Academy of Science and made an Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Eugenie retired in 2003 to go sailing. In 2007 she began work at University of Newcastle where she held an adjunct professorial appointment. She also holds an adjunct appointment with University of Queensland. After achieving success in gaining funding, Eugenie began a research program into the reproductive tract renin-angiotensin system together with Dr Kirsty Pringle (now Associate Professor). Eugenie is still actively involved in research at the University of Newcastle in the Hunter Medical Research Institute. The team has been developing a research program in ACE2 among other components of the renin-angiotensin system.

Eugenie has three daughters and five grandchildren.


[email protected]: May 2020

Governor of NSW Crest-Silver and Gold-2020[email protected]

Presented by

Her Excellency the Honourable
Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy
“Ten: the Mapping of Colonial Australia

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
The University of Newcastle

Date: Thursday, 21 May 2020, 7.00pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

About the talk: Maps are documents of history: they tell a story of place in context. The printed map has been available for 500 years—a remarkable coincidence with the story of Terra Australis, the mapping of Australia, and of the transition from mythology to empiricism as Western science took centre stage. The human history of New South Wales pre-dates all this by at least 60,000 years, engraved in rock, and embedded in a social history looking at the stars.

The intent of this talk is to highlight a very small part of the cartographic story, namely that of the colonial period from 1788 to 1901. The story will be told through a cartographic record of change events, covering a century where a “gaol of 1000 souls would become an independent nation with the highest standard of living in the world”, and told in the context of the colonial governors of the day — ten from the date of colonisation in 1788 through to responsible government in 1855, and ten from 1855 up to Australian Federation in 1901.

Which governors do you think made the most significant differences during this transition?

About the speaker: 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 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. Together with his wife, Christine, he run tours in Europe on the history of medicine and pharmacy, and the history of science.

About [email protected]: In late 2019, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales and Patron of the Royal Society of NSW, invited representatives of the Society to discuss how the Governor might open Government House to a series of public events based on important and/or influential ideas. Her Excellency’s proposal was that the Royal Society of NSW and other organisations might devise a series of lectures, to be held at Government House, and known as [email protected] on topics of our choice for an invited audience of our Members and Fellows, together with others to be invited by Her Excellency. The lecture would be followed by a reception hosted by Her Excellency. In January 2020, the Governor accepted three topics proposed by the Society. Since then the social restrictions of COVID-19 have intervened, with the face-to-face presentation and reception having to be replaced by an online webinar followed by a live question and answer session. We look forward to a future when we can enjoy the Governor's hospitality at the House.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-3

Gut Microbes“The Microbiome and Gut-Brain Axis”

Associate Professor Andrew Holmes 
School of Molecular Bioscience and the Charles Perkins Centre
University of Sydney

Date: Thursday, 21 May 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.


For this month, we had scheduled Professor Andrew Holmes to speak on the Gut Microbiome. Instead, we have decided to split the material on this subject into three sections as enumerated below.

  1. An introduction by Dr. Giulia Enders: “The gut, The inside story of our Body’s most underrated organ” (TedX video)
  2. A podcast interview of Associate Professor Andrew Holmes by Tom Ballard and Julia Zemiro: “What's the Story with The Gut by Giulia Enders?” (Apple Podcasts)
  3. A more detailed, academic lecture on the Microbiome by Professor Lora Cooper: “Mammalian Gut Microbiota” (iBiology video)

Biographical Details 

Dr Giulia EndersDr Giulia Enders is working to reveal how our gut is at the core of who we are. She is is a medical doctor and author from Germany. In 2012, her presentation “Darm mit Charme” (“Charming Bowels”) won her first prize at the Science Slam in Berlin and went viral on YouTube. Shortly after that she was asked to write a book which turned out a great success in Germany and around the world. Her bestseller Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ has sold more than four million copies and has been published in over 40 countries. Today Enders is doing research for her medical doctorate at the Institute for Microbiology in Frankfurt and has continued to communicate science in TV and museum projects.

 Associate Professor Andrew HolmesAssociate Professor Andrew Holmes, of the School of Molecular Bioscience and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, has general interests in microbial diversity, its evolutionary origins and ecological applications. He undertook his PhD studies at the University of Queensland (1989-1992) before postdoctoral stints at the University of Warwick, UK (1992-1996) and Macquarie University (1996-2002). In 2002 he commenced his current position at the University of Sydney where he is now Associate Professor in the School of Molecular Bioscience and Microbiome Project node leader in the Charles Perkins Centre. Andrew’s current research is focussed on understanding the dynamics of gut microbial community composition, the mechanisms of host-microbe interaction in the gut and development of tools to enable management of the gut microbial ecosystem for health. He has particular interests in the relationship between our nutrient environment and its effect on host-microbiome interactions in health. He is a Senior Editor for Microbiology and The ISME Journal and a member of the Editorial Boards of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Microbiology.

 Professor Lora CooperProfessor Lora Cooper, a professor of immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, describes her career as “a random walk in science.” Her pursuit of science was aided by inspirational mentors who pointed her in directions she might not otherwise have taken. These unexpected turns ultimately led her to study the microbiome: the community of microorganisms that reside in and on multicellular organisms, including humans. When she began her studies, the microbiome was poorly understood and received little attention, but it has increasingly become apparent that the microbiome is essential for human health. In recognition of her work, particularly on how the microbiome manages to safely coexist with its host, Hooper was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015.



Meeting Notice - 153rd AGM and 1282nd OGM

Royal Society of NSW

153rd Annual General Meeting
1282nd Ordinary General Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 22 April 2020, 6.00pm 
Venue: Zoom Webinar (Connection link to be provided by email)

Special Note: In line with evolving advice from Commonwealth and State health authorities regarding COVID-19, the Society has suspended face-to-face meetings for the indefinite future. All future events, including formal Society meetings and the events program, will be conducted via video streaming.

Update (1 April 2020):  The balloting process for the Council Elections will commence on 3 April 2020.  

Annual General Meeting

Business of the Annual General Meeting

The formal business of the Annual General Meeting will be conducted using an electronic ballot. In this, Members and Fellows (who are financial for 2020) will receive an email from the Society's Returning Officer, via the electronic balloting company, Election Buddy.  This email will include a unique ballot link that provides a random, secret access key for each voter. Voter anonymity is assured by ballot settings which ensure that voter choices cannot be linked to any voter.

Since there is a candidate standing for election as Vice-President and the Honorary Librarian, it may be necessary to hold two ballots:

  • A first ballot, running between 3–10 April, to conduct the procedural business of the AGM, together with an election for the Vice-Presidents, comprising:
    • Confirmation of the minutes of the 152nd Annual General Meeting
    • Confirmation that the Annual Report of Council and the Financial Statements for 2019 be received
    • Confirmation of the proposed Auditors for 2020
    • Election of three (3) Vice-Presidents, from a field of five (5) nominees.
  • A second ballot, running between 13–20 April, may be needed to conduct an election for:
    • The Honorary Librarian, from a field of two (2) nominees.

The Agenda and Minutes of the previous AGM are available on the Meetings page of this website.  The Annual Report from Council and the Financial Statements for 2019 are available on the Governance page.

The Annual General Meeting will be held on 22 April by Zoom webinar, at which the results of the ballots will be announced. Members will be provided in advance with a Zoom webinar link through which to join the AGM/OGM webinar. The Ordinary General Meeting will commence immediately following the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting. 

Election of Members of Council and Office-Bearers (2020–21)

Listed below are the nominations for the 2020–21 Council received by the Society's Secretariat by the close of business on Thursday, 12 March 2020.

For those office-bearer roles where there are more nominees than available positions, an election is required. In these cases, nominees have been invited to provide an optional statement outlining how their expertise and experience fits them for these roles and will benefit the Society.

The statements may be accessed by either:

President Ian Sloan Donald Hector Brynn Hibbert
Vice-President (3 positions) Robert Clancy John Hardie Bruce Ramage
  John Hardie Robert Clancy Brynn Hibbert
  Brynn Hibbert John Hardie Bruce Ramage
  Susan Pond Ian Sloan Donald Hector
  Judith Wheeldon Eric Aslaksen Richard Wilmott
Honorary Secretary (General) Bruce Ramage Robert Clancy Brynn Hibbert
Honorary Secretary (Editorial)      
Honorary Librarian Ragbir Bhathal Brynn Hibbert Robert Clancy
  John Hardie Robert Clancy Brynn Hibbert
Honorary Treasurer Richard Wilmott Bruce Ramage Judith Wheeldon
Honorary Webmaster Lindsay Botten Bruce Ramage Stuart Midgley
Councillors (10 positions) Ian Bryce John Hardie Judith Wheeldon
  Robert Clancy John Hardie Bruce Ramage
  Virginia Judge Richard Wilmott Ragbir Bhathal
  Stuart Midgley Susan Pond Stephen Hill
  Bruce Milthorpe Bruce Ramage Brynn Hibbert
  Nyrie Palmer Stuart Midgley Donald Hector
  Robert Whittaker Donald Hector Brynn Hibbert

Ordinary General Meeting 

The 1282nd Ordinary General Meeting will follow the Annual General Meeting and includes a live, video-streamed Open Lecture.  

“Presidential reflections—science stuff and the President’s random path”
Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FAA FRSN, President, Royal Society of NSW

The Agenda for this meeting and Minutes of the previous OGM can be found on the Meetings page of this website.

The President will sketch his seemingly erratic research career—from atomic physics to mathematics to astrophysics—using the metaphor of the random walk, and touching lightly on science and history along the way. Turning back two centuries, he will describe the Society’s significant early involvement in astronomy through its first President, Sir Thomas Brisbane GCB GCH FRS FRSE.

Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan received a PhD in atomic physics from University College London. After a short (and unpromising) year in industry, he joined the University of New South Wales, and is there still. His research career, covering many areas of physics and computational mathematics, has received a number of awards, including the Lyle Medal of the Australian Academy of Science. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a former President of the International Council on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).


1282nd OGM and Open Lecture

Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan Presidential Reflections—science stuff and the President’s random path

Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FRSN FAA
School of Mathematics and Statistics
UNSW Sydney

President, Royal Society of NSW

Date: Wednesday, 22 April 2020, 6.00pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video presentation: YouTube video

Annual General Meeting

The meeting will commence with the announcement of the results of Council Elections, including the procedural motions and outcome of the office-bearer ballots.  The Ordinary General Meeting will follow immediately after the Annual General Meeting, the agenda for which is available on the website.

Ordinary General Meeting: Open Lecture

The President will sketch his seemingly erratic research career—from atomic physics to mathematics to astrophysics—using the metaphor of the random walk, and touching lightly on science and history along the way. Turning back two centuries, he will describe the Society’s significant early involvement in astronomy through its first President, Sir Thomas Brisbane GCB GCH FRS FRSE.

Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan received a PhD in atomic physics from University College London. After a short (and unpromising) year in industry, he joined the University of New South Wales, and is there still. His research career, covering many areas of physics and computational mathematics, has received a number of awards, including the Lyle Medal of the Australian Academy of Science. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a former President of the International Council on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and an Officer of the Order of Australia.


On the Shoulders of Giants: Lecture 1 - Henry Carmichael

Henry Carmichael POSTPONED: Please contact SMSA on 02 9262 7300 regarding bookings

On the Shoulders of Giants: Creation of Learned Societies in NSW 

Henry Carmichael — Educational Progressive, Social Reformer, Secularist, Winegrower

Dr Lesley Scanlon
Vice-President, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Date: Postponed
Venue: Tom Keneally Centre, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

This is the first in the four lecture series, On the Shoulders of Giants: Creation of Leaned Societies in Colonial NSW, presented jointly by the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and the Royal Society of NSW. This series will broadly cover the history of the two institutions, their contributions to learning and adult education in the colony, and significant figures in both organisations whose impact is felt still today.

When Henry Carmichael arrived in Sydney in 1831 he was on a ‘mission of educational reform’. An indefatigable educational activist, he saw education as a means of developing individual habits of mind and the key to social reform. Carmichael’s progressive educational ideas and practices drew on the works of Jeremy Bentham, Pestalozzi, Lancaster and von Fellenberg. Dr Lesley Scanlon explores how Carmichael actualised these ideas at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the Normal Institution and the Porphyry Lyceum. His commitment to the ideal of liberal education is also evident in his advocacy of a national, secular education system and his championship of technical education. It is time to reappraise the work of this early educational thinker whose ideas remain relevant today.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-2

Professor John Williams“The Murray-Darling Basin Scheme: a challenge in complexity in balancing social, economic and environmental perspectives”

Professor John WIlliams FTSE 
Adjunct Professor
Australian National University and Charles Sturt University 

Date: Thursday, 19 March 2020 
Venue: Via email circulation


The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. It covers one million square kilometres of south-eastern Australia, across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.


Murray-Darling Baasin diagram

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

In place of the this talk, two references are provided:


Professor John WIlliams is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Farrer Memorial Medal for achievement and excellence in agricultural science. As one of Australia’s respected scientists, John has extensive experience in providing national and international thought leadership in natural-resource management, particularly related to agriculture and its environmental impact. He has published more than 120 papers on soil physics/hydrology and sustainability agriculture. John is currently an Adjunct Professor at ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and Adjunct Professor at CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society. He was formerly Chair of the Water Forum of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

John retired in 2011 after nearly six years as Commissioner of the NSW Natural Resources Commission. Other former roles include: Chief, CSIRO Land & Water; Chief Scientist, NSW Department of Natural Resources; member of the Steering Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems; inaugural Board member for the CRC for Irrigation Futures; member of the Ministerial Scientific Advisory Council for NSW Department of Primary Industry; member of the Commission for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); Chair of the Advisory Board to the Commonwealth Environmental Research Fund’s Landscape Logic Hub; Chair of the Environmental Research Advisory Panel to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Chair of the Research Advisory Council to the Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre; Scientific Adviser to the Board of Landcare Australia; and a founding Director of the Peter Cullen Water & Environment Trust.


Annual Meeting of the Four Societies 2020

Four Societies logo Challenges for the Future: Energy Storage and Waste Plastic — Two Australian Solutions Going Global’

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer FAA FTSE FMAE FRSN
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

A joint meeting of the Australian Institute of Energy, the Australian Nuclear Association, the Sydney Division of Engineers Australia, and the Royal Society of NSW.

Date: Thursday, 12 March 2020, 6.00 for 6.30pm
Venue: Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney

In any discussion of a sustainable future, two issues loom large. First, how do we store the energy from Australia's abundant renewable resources? Second, how do we deal with the growing mountain of plastic waste?

As it happens, two technological breakthroughs addressing these issues have been developed in Australia by companies co-founded by our speaker, Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sydney:

  •  a zinc-bromide battery, Gelion’s Endure, and
  •  Licella’s Cat-HTR Technology, a chemical recycling process, which turns plastic waste into fuels, waxes, and new plastics that can be recycled again and again.

Prof. Maschmeyer will discuss these within their respective contexts of a changing energy landscape and the circular economy. He will briefly review the status quo in each field and current projections of where the fields as a whole are headed, paying particular attention to the Australian perspective. Within ten years, 8% of the world’s expected battery storage will be located here. With huge resources of energy and space, so close to Asia, Australia has a great opportunity to process plastic wastes, uplift their value and send the intermediate products for further refining into new plastics, chemicals, and fuels offshore.

Thomas Maschmeyer Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is Founding Chairman of Gelion Technologies (2015), co-Founder of Licella Holdings (2007), and inventor of its Cat-HTRTM technology. He is also the Principal Technology Consultant for Cat-HTRTM licensees, Mura Technologies and RenewELP. In 2001, he was one of the founding professors of Avantium, a Dutch High-tech company. Currently, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, he served as Founding Director of the $150million Australian Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology. In 2011 he was elected the youngest Foreign Member of the Academia Europea. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences.

Professor Maschmeyer has authored 325+ publications, cited 10,000+ times, including 26 patents. He serves on the editorial/advisory boards of ten international journals and has received many awards, including the Le Févre Prize of the Australian Academy of Science (2007), the RACI Applied Research Award (2011), the RACI Weickhardt Medal for Economic Contributions (2012), the RACI RK Murphy Medal for Industrial Chemistry (2018), the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science (2018) — Australia’s Principal Science Prize — and, most recently, the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies’ Contribution to Economic Development Award (2019).


Frontiers of Science Forum

Four Logos “ Exploring major discoveries and theories in physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry ”

Professor Ben Eggleton, University of Sydney
Professor Mary Myerscough, University of Sydney
Julianna Kadar, Macquarie University
Professor Richard Payne, University of Sydney

A joint meeting the Australian Institute of Physics, the AIP, RACI, RSNSW Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Royal Society of NSW, and the Teachers’s Guild of NSW

Date: Friday, 6 March 2020, 5.15pm for 6.00pm
Venue: Boston University Sydney Campus. 15–25 Regent Street, Chippendale

Ever since the Copernican revolution in the 16th century, science has been progressing at an exponential rate. Major discoveries and theories in physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry have shaped our existence and civilisation, and continue to grow exponentially. The Frontiers of Science forum will present four international experts who will speak on current and upcoming developments in their fields.

New frontiers in photonics—the science of light
Professor Ben Eggleton, School of Physics and Nano Institute, University of Sydney

The mathematics of health honey bee hives
Professor Mary Myerscough, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney

Fitbits for sharks: combining biology and data science
Ms Julianna Kadar, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

Drug discovery inspired by natural products
Professor Richard Payne, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

Ben Eggleton is a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney and Director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute. His research deals with photonics at the nanoscale and his group is famous for developing a photonic chip that manipulates light waves at the nanoscale for applications in communications, defence and sensing. Ben is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Optical Society of America and the IEEE, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of APL Photonics.

Mary Myerscough received her first degrees in Applied Mathematics from the University of Sydney and completed her doctorate at the Centre for Mathematical Biology at Oxford University. She returned to Sydney to take up a research position in the School of Chemistry at Macquarie University where she studied the mathematics of combustion. She became interested in honey bees when her boss dropped a paper on her desk which suggested that the temperature of a stationary honey bee swarm could be modelled in a similar way to a smouldering lump of coal. Mary has worked on problems in social insect behaviour in collaboration with biological scientists at Sydney University, Macquarie University and CSIRO. She also undertakes research into models for atherosclerotic plaque development. Mary is Professor of Mathematical Biology and the ssociate Head of School (Education) in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney.

Julianna Kadar is a PhD Candidate at Macquarie University in the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution of Fishes Laboratory. She completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, a Master of Science in Biodiversity Conservation and a Master of Research in Biology before commencing a PhD in 2017. Julianna participates in many education and outreach activities to spread awareness to students and the public about ocean health, sustainability and the scientific process. She is a researcher with CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools, manages marketing and sales for TEDx Macquarie University, and teaches a STEM in Australia course for Boston University engineering students studying abroad in Sydney. She is also a member of the Homeward Bound Program which is working to build and upskill a network of 1,000 women in STEMM over ten years, and will be traveling to Antarctica in 2020 as part of this exciting program.

Richard Payne was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. He graduated in Science, with first class honours, from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2002. In 2003, he was awarded a Gates Scholarship to undertake his PhD at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Chris Abell. After his PhD, Richard moved to The Scripps Research Institute under the auspices of a Lindemann Postdoctoral Fellowship where he worked in the laboratory of Professor Chi-Huey Wong. In 2008, he was recruited to the University of Sydney as a Lecturer of Organic Chemistry within the School of Chemistry. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011, Associate Professor in 2013, and since 2015 has held the position as Professor of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Professor Payne’s research focuses on the design and synthesis of complex biomolecules with a view to addressing important problems in biology and medicine. His lab is recognised for pioneering a number of technologies for the assembly of large polypeptides and proteins by chemical synthesis. These methods have underpinned the discovery of modified peptide and protein drug leads (including anti-inflammatories, anti-thrombotics and anti-infectives) for a range of diseases.


1281st OGM and Open Lecture

Professor Robin Batterham Soils: the least understood part of science, yet vital for all of us

Professor Robin J Batterham AO

Kernot Professor of Engineering
University of Melbourne

Date: Wednesday, 4 March 2020, 6.00pm for 6.30pm
Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW (Entrance: Shakespeare Place, Sydney)

The decadal plan for agriculture from our Academy of Science suggests that soils are the least understood part of all science. In this talk we will explore how, if we approach the stewardship of our country differently (and many already are) we can improve our drought resilience, have fewer challenges with run off (save the reef), use fewer farm chemicals, produce zero emission products such as meat and, if we get it right, sequester around 40% of Australia’s emissions. The science to do this is innovative and multifaceted. The talk will end with an invitation that, whether we live in cities or in the country, we all have a role to play.

Professor Batterham AO is a former Chief Scientist of Australia and President of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and is presently the Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and The Royal Academy of Engineering, amongst others, and holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Queensland. Previously, he has held senior roles in CSIRO (with responsibilities for collaborative research with mining companies) and with Rio Tinto, as Global Head of Innovation and Vice-President for Processing Developments. Most recently, he has had leadership roles at the interface of University, Industry and Government in areas that include mining, mineral processing, and algal and energy systems. Presently, he is the Chair of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, the Chair of the Australia-China Strategic Research Fund, the Chair of the Australian Chamber Choir, and a Member of the International Mineral Processing Council.


Speaking of Music... The Magic of Solo Violin

Speaking of Music…   The Magic of the Solo Violin

Presented by the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Johann Sebastian Bach J S Bach’s solo violin works are regarded as one of the most sublime levels of musical thought in the entire Western canon. 2020 marks the 300th anniversary of these influential works.

Interspersed with live performances of two complete works for the violin, Dr David Hush will outline the historical reasons that the unaccompanied violin recital is more the exception than the rule today, and explore the ways composers who came before Bach influenced his music, and how Bach, in turn, influenced later composers.

Presentations by Anna Da Silva Chen:
• Sonata for Solo Violin 1 in G minor BWV 1001—J S Bach
• Partita for Solo Violin (2019)—David Hush


Date: Thursday, 27 February 2020, 6.00 for 6.30pm
Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street Sydney

Dr David Hush

Dr David Hush has written works spanning solo instrumental, chamber ensemble, choral and orchestral idioms. They have been performed, recorded and broadcast in North and South America, the UK, Europe, Israel, Australia and South Korea.

Anna Da Silva Chen

Violinist Anna Da Silva Chen is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has won many prestigious awards and scholarships. Chen has performed as soloist with leading Australian orchestras and ensembles.


2018 RSNSW Liversidge Lecture

Scientia Professor Martina Stenzel Royal Society of NSW Liversidge Lecture

“The journey from simple polymers to nano-footballs: opportunities for better cancer treatment ”

Scientia Professor Martina Stenzel FAA
School of Chemistry, UNSW Sydney

Date: Thursday, 20 February 2020, 5.30pm for 6.00pm
Venue: The Galleries, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney

The Royal Society of New South Wales and UNSW Science invite you to the RSNSW Liversidge Lecture, to be be presented by the 2018 awardee, Professor Martina Stenzel FAA. The Liversidge Lecture is awarded at intervals of two years for the purpose of encouraging research in Chemistry. It was established under the terms of a bequest to the Society by Professor Archibald Liversidge MA LLD FRS, who was Professor of Chemistry in the University of Sydney from 1874 to 1907 and was one of the Council members who sponsored the Society’s Act of Incorporation in 1881.


The journey from simple polymers to nano-footballs: opportunities for better cancer treatment—Professor Stenzel will take the audience on a journey from simple polymers that are widely used for commodity polymers to highly complex nanoparticles that have shapes of footballs, pancakes and bamboo-sticks. These nanoparticle can now be filled with anti-cancer drugs to facilitate the delivery of therapeutic goods into cancer cells. Our main purpose is to understand how the shape and size of these nanoparticle affect the interaction with healthy and cancerous cells.

Scientia Professor Martina Stenzel studied chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, before completing her PhD in 1999 at the Institute of Applied Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany. She started as a postdoctoral fellow at UNSW in 1999 and is now a full Professor in the school of chemistry as well as co-director of the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD) and the ARC training center for chemical industries. Her research interests focus on the synthesis of functional nanoparticles for drug delivery applications. She is interested in exploring the relationship between the structure of the underpinning polymers and the resulting nanoparticle shape and size, which will ultimately influence the biological activity. Martina Stenzel published more than 300 peer reviewed papers on polymer and nanoparticle design. She is scientific editor of Materials Horizons and serves currently on a range of editorial boards. She received a range of awards including the 2011 Le Fèvre Memorial Prize of the Australian Academy of Science. Martina Stenzel is a Fellow of the Academy of Science and is currently chair of the Academy’ National Chemistry Committee.


Southern Highlands Branch 2020-1

Professor John ThompsonRadoll“Controlling the Australian Melanoma Epidemic”

Professor John Thompson AO
Melanoma Institute and University of Sydney

Date: Thursday, 20 February 2020 
Venue: Face-to-face in Mittagong, NSW.


Melanoma is a serious, often fatal form of skin cancer. Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the world, and it could justifiably be regarded as an epidemic (particularly in older men). The lifetime risk of melanoma in Australia (to age 85) is now 1 in 13 for men and 1 in 21 for women. Both in Australia and worldwide, the melanoma incidence in fair-skinned races has been increasing steadily for more than 30 years, with lifestyle changes the most likely reason.

Efforts to control the melanoma epidemic and its impact on individuals and society (by causing death) are proceeding on several fronts:

  • Primary prevention – The “Slip, Slop, Slap” campaign (Clothing, sunscreen, shade), lifestyle modification (e.g. banning of solaria);
  • Early diagnosis – Better education of doctors and the population at large;
  • Effective initial treatment (surgical) – National evidence-based guidelines (Cancer Council Australia and Melanoma Institute Australia) available on the Cancer Council Australia website ;
  • “Adjuvant” drug therapy – for high-risk patients;
  • Better drugs for advanced disease – when melanoma has spread to distant sites; and
  • Ongoing basic research, translational research and clinical trials.


Professor John Thompson  is is Professor of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology at The University of Sydney. He was the Director of Sydney Melanoma Unit from 1998 and thereafter Executive Director of Melanoma Institute Australia until the end of 2016. He was a member of the Board of Directors on inception of the company in 2007 until December 2016. He is author of over 700 peer-reviewed scientific articles and holds positions on the editorial boards of several international journals.

Prof Thompson is a past President of the International Sentinel Node Society, and was Chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group for 15 years. He is a member of the Melanoma Staging Committee of the American Joint Committee on Cancer, and chairs the Working Group that is updating the Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Cutaneous Melanoma. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons, and was made an Inaugural Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2015. He was the winner of the prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal for his outstanding contribution and dedication to melanoma treatment and research.


1280th OGM and Open Lecture

Royal Society of NSW Presentations by the 2019 Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Recipients

Emma Austin, University of Newcastle
Shyam Balaji, University of Sydney
Michael Papanicolao, University of Technology Sydney and the Garvan Institute
Thomas Pettit, University of Technology Sydney

Please note that the OGM will be held on the second Wednesday of February, rather than the first. 

Date: Wednesday, 12 February 2020, 6.00pm for 6.30pm
Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW (Entrance: Shakespeare Place, Sydney)

The evening’s program comprises four short talks presented by PhD Candidates who have been awarded Royal Society of NSW Scholarships for 2019.

Ms Emma AustinDrought and wellbeing in Australian rural communities: implications for improving adaptive capacity and resilience to drought
Ms Austin’s research investigates the relationship between drought and wellbeing in rural communities in NSW, taking into account the links between wellbeing and adaptive capacity, and the need for the successful adaptation to drought together with increased resilience which is essential for the survival of rural communities.

Mr Shayam Balaji Searches for Extended Higgs Sectors, Flavour Physics Anomalies and Dark Matter at the LHC
Mr Balaji’s research is in the field of particle physics which explores the fundamental building blocks of the Universe and the interactions between them. The focus of his work, as a member of the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, is in testing exotic Higgs boson models and extensions to the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Mr Michael PapanicolaoCharting the Extracellular Matrix Through Breast Tumour Progression
Mr Papanicolao’s research involves investigations into the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in breast tumour progression. The focus of his work is on charting how the ECM evolves with tumour progression, using protein mass spectrometry and advanced imaging to identify targetable proteins that are important in breast cancer metastasis.

Mr Thomas PettitBotanical biofilters for the phytofiltration of urban air pollutants
Mr Pettit’s research is in the field of biofilter technology, in which he has been developing and assessing the use of active green walls to clean the air of active pollutants to provide functional reductions of air pollution in zones where the are most needed.

Royal Society Events

The Royal Society of NSW organizes events in Sydney and in its Branches throughout the year. 

In Sydney, these include Ordinary General Meetings (OGMs) held normally at 6.00 for 6.30 pm on the first Wednesday of the month (there is no meeting in January), in the Gallery Room at the State Library of NSW. At the OGMs, society business is conducted, new Fellows and Members are inducted, and reports from Council are given.  This is followed by a public lecture presented by an eminent expert and an optional dinner.  Drinks are served before the meeting.  There is a small charge to attend the meeting and lecture, and to cover refreshments.  The dinner is a separate charge, and must be booked in advance.  All OGMs are open to members of the public.

Since April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face meetings have been replaced by virtual meetings, conducted as Zoom webinars, allowing the events program to continue uninterrupted.  It is hoped that face-to-face meetings can be resumed in the latter half of 2021. 

The first OGM of  the year, held in February, has speakers drawn from the winners of the Royal Society Scholarships from the previous year, while the December OGM hears from the winner of the Jak Kelly award, before an informal Christmas party.  The April or May event is our black-tie Annual Dinner and Distinguished Fellow lecture.

Other events are held in collaboration with other groups, including:

  • The Four Societies lecture — with the Australian Institute of Energy, the Nuclear Panel of Engineers Australia (Sydney Division), and the Australian Nuclear Association
  • The Forum — the Australian Academy of Science, with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
  • The Dirac lecture — with UNSW Sydney and the Australian Institute of Physics
  • The Liversidge Medal lecture — with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute

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