Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events
MAR
30

Inaugural Fellows Honoured at Admiralty House

On Monday 29 March 2010 Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Chief Patron of the Society, presented the Society's Inaugural Fellows with their certificates. This splendid occasion, held in the delightful surrounds of Admiralty House in Sydney in front of an invited audience of over 50 distinguished guests of the Society, honoured the achievements of these seven great scientists:

Professor Michael Archer AM FAA
Professor Gavin Brown AO FAA CorrFRSE
Professor Robert Clark FAA
Professor David Craig AO FRS FAA
Professor Jak Kelly DSc FInstP (London) FAIP
Professor Richard Stanton AO FAA
Professor Bruce Warren DSc FAIM FRCPA FRCPath


For their citations see the Distinguished Fellows page.

Admiralty House​
MAR
13

Annual Dinner and Awards 2010

The Society's Annual Dinner was held on Friday 12 March 2010 at the Forum Restaurant, Darlington Centre, Sydney University. We were fortunate in having the NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, as Guest-of-Honour to present the Society's Awards for 2009 and give an Occasional Address to the nearly 70 members and guests at the dinner. Three Awards were presented:

The James Cook Medal was awarded to Dr Michael Goldsworthy FAIP, CEO of Silex Systems, for his discovery, development and commercialisation of the world's best isotope separation techniques. Dr Goldsworthy's work is highly significant for the energy sector in that his techniques have increased isotope enrichment efficiency by a factor of 60 times over the earlier centrifuge techniques. He is now regarded as one of the leading authorities on both nuclear power and solar energy in Australia. The citation was read by Emeritus Professor Heinrich Hora.

The Clarke Medal for 2009 was awarded to Dr Winston Ponder of the Australian Museum for his lifetime's work on molluscs. Dr Ponder's work has focussed on phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy, and his detailed research, published in over 200 papers in refereed journals, has been essential in recognising Australia's biodiversity. The citation was read by Julie Haeusler.

The Edgeworth David Medal for 2009 (for a scientist under the age of 35) was awarded to Associate Professor Nagarajan Valanoor of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of NSW. Professor Valanoor works on nanoscale functional materials and thin-film polar oxide structures. He has put Australia on the world map in leading-edge research in these areas. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers internationally which have been cited over 2,400 times, a remarkable achievement for a relatively young researcher. The citation was read by Associate Professor Bill Sewell.

For more information see Bulletin 333 (PDF file).

DEC
31

News 2007

The Cultural Heritage Grant Project is progressing very well. See the Cultural Heritage Grant Project Page for details.

DEC
31

Past President honoured by new mineral name

Prof. P.A. Williams​
Professor Peter Williams, a recent past President of the Royal Society of New South Wales (elected in 2001) has been extended a remarkable and rare honour. A new mineral has been named after him to honour his contribution to mineral research around the world. Called, Petewilliamsite, the dark brown/red/violet mineral was found in Germany and contains nickel and cobalt. Only 50 minerals are found around the world each year and most of these are given chemical, geographical or geological names. He says he's "tickled pink".
JUL
19

Relocation of the RSNSW office to Sydney University

July: The Society has moved into its new premises at 121 Darlington Road, Darlington Campus, Sydney University . The Office is located directly behind the Darlington Centre's Forum Restaurant on City Road where the Annual Dinner has been held for the past two years. While operations commenced at the new office on 19 July, there is still much work to be done in terms of sorting and moving stored library material and archives along with some bookcases and storage cabinets.

In line with this move, lectures in the future will be held in the near vicinity - either in the adjacent Institute Building or, if the need dictates, in the larger Conference Room in the Darlington Centre.

MAR
21

Governor General becomes Patron of RSNSW

We are delighted to be able to announce that the Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC has agreed to become our patron. His Excellency met with the President, Karina Kelly, Hon Sec, Prof. Jak Kelly and Hon Sec (Ed), Prof. Peter Williams on Saturday 20th March at Admiralty House. The Governor-General showed a great deal of interest in our society and our plans for the future, especially in greater co-operation between the Royal Societies of Australia's states.
DEC
31

Life Membership

At a recent Meeting, Council unanimously bestowed Life Membership upon Mrs Maren Kryskov Tryst in recognition of her many years of dedicated service and contribution to the Society both as Honorary Secretary Editor and as Coordinator of the Society's Summer Schools over many years.
MAR
13

Annual Dinner 2004

Friday, 12th March 2004

Venue: the Forum Restaurant, Darlington Centre, Sydney University

Guest and speaker: Her Excellency, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir AC

Awarding of the Clarke Memorial Medal, Edgeworth David Medal and the Society's Medal

Around 50 members and guest attended. Official guests included our Patron, Her Excellency, the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, AC and her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Prof. Gavin Brown and his partner Ms Diane Ranck as well as the 2004 Award recipients.

The address was delivered by the Governor of New South Wales, Prof. Marie Bashir AC, who spoke about her area of expertise, childhood psychiatric disorders and the struggle to diagnose and treat young people as soon as possible.

The Awards for 2003 were announced at the Dinner and presented by the Governor. Citations for the Awards were read by Prof. Jak Kelly.

AUG
14

Royal Societies of Australia Eureka Prize 2003

Our Eureka prize was awarded at the 2003 award dinner, attended by some 800 people in the Hordern Pavilion at Fox Studios on Tuesday 12 August. The food and wine were excellent, the extensive list of presentations was splendidly organised and ran remarkably to time. Unlike the Film and Media Awards there were no speeches by the winners thanking all their friends and supporters, which helps explain the good time-keeping.

It is generally believed that our choice of topic, "For Interdisciplinary Scientific Research" was well chosen and timely. The Sydney Morning Herald apparently agreed and gave leading coverage to our winners in an article by Deborah Smith, "Headway made in quest to get on top of brainwaves" in the Wednesday 13 August issue.

The prize was awarded for "Understanding Brain Dynamics" to a an extensive team led by Prof. P A Robinson (Physics, Sydney University), Dr C J Rennie (Medical physicist, Westmead Hospital), Dr E Gordon (Brain Resource Company, and Psychological Medicine, Sydney University) and Prof. J J Wright (Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria).

Electroencephalogram measurements of brain electrical activity using scalp electrodes have been made for some 125 years and have been very useful for diagnostic purposes. Most of the information has however been wasted for want of a proper theoretical framework to relate specific electrical signals to real brain processes. This has been achieved to a remarkable degree by the winning team who have taken their developments all the way from basic science to commercial development.

The results are already contributing to biological physics, medicine, pharmacology, psychology, industrial development and even to safety by providing direct information on states of alertness.

Details of the Prize can be found here.

Prof. Jak Kelly

APR
10

Annual General Meeting 2003

The 2003 AGM and the April Meeting of the Royal Society of New South Wales was held on 9th April, 2003, at a venue provided by the Sydney Harbour Foreshores Authority, The Rocks.

The President of the Society, David Craddock, addressed the meeting. In his talk, titled "Publish and Perish?", he drew together three significant anniversaries which have occurred or will occur in 2003. These were the bicentenary of the first newspaper in the Colony, the 170th anniversary of the founding of the Sydney Mechanics' Institute and the centenary of powered flight. Professor Jak Kelly thanked the speaker, and a number of Members and guests adjourned to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

MAR
22

Annual Dinner and Awards 2003

The 2003 Annual Dinner of the Royal Society of New South Wales was held on Friday 21st March, 2003 at the Darlington Centre, City Road, Sydney University. The after-dinner speaker was Professor Mike Archer, Director of the Australian Museum, who addressed Members and guests on FATE, the Future of Australia's Threatened Ecosystems.

Awards of the Society were made for 2002. Professor Marcela Bilek of Sydney University was at the dinner and was presented with the Edgeworth David Medal. Professor Robert Hill's citation for the Clarke Medal was read; Professor Hill of the University of Adelaide was unable to be present. Citations for both awards will be published in the Journal and Proceedings of the Society.

DEC
31

December 2002 - The Royal Societies of Australia Eureka Prize

The Council has recently made contact with kindred Royal Societies in each State with a view to cooperation in a number of areas. The first result of this is the establishment of The Royal Societies of Australia Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Scientific Research. The value of the prize is $10,000. The Royal Societies sponsoring this prize are the Royal Societies of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia. The prize will be awarded to a partnership, group, team or organisation for outstanding scientific research which involves the active collaboration and/or cooperation of scientists in two or more disciplines. The research must have been undertaken in Australia by Australian residents.

Details of the Prize can be found here.
JUN
30

RSNSW gets its own domain name

June 2002

The Royal Society of NSW acquired its own domain: royalsoc.org.au.
APR
30

April 2002 - General Monthly Meeting and Presidential Address

In December 2003 it will be one hundred years since the first powered, sustained, heavier-than-air, human flight. However much of Australia's early flight history is unknown. Our President, Mr David Craddock, an Aeronautical Engineer and aviation historian, was an excellent guide on Australia's early flight history in his most interesting address: Antipodean Aeronautica.
MAR
01

Annual Dinner 2002

The Annual Dinner was held at the Holme Centre, Sydney University, on Thursday 28 February. The Society presented awards to Dr Samantha J. Richardson of Melbourne University (the Edgeworth David Medal), Dr Gordon H. Packham of Frenchs Forest (the Clarke Medal), Professor Michael W. Parker of the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne (the Walter Burfitt Prize) and Professor Peter A. Williams of the University of Western Sydney (the Society's Medal). The after-dinner address, Is Greenhouse all Hot Air? A Short History of Planet Earth, was presented by Ian Plimer.
SEP
30

Soirée at the Nicholson Museum (2006)

Thursday 28 September 2006, 4.30 - 8.30pm

Flushed with success, the Council of the Royal Society decided it was time for a bit of a heels-up - or rather heads-down - to look at treasured items from our wonderful collection. The occasion? A soirée at the Nicholson Museum in The University of Sydney to celebrate the achievements of the previous twelve months.

In that time, the Council managed to win two grants. The first, a State Government grant of $30,000 to be used for the publication of the journal over the next three years, was the work of past president Karina Kelly and her team. The second was $5,500 through one of the Federal Government's Community Heritage Grants organized by the National Library in Canberra.

It was through this grant that our consultant historians, Dr David Branagan and Dr Peter Tyler, assessed the Society's collection of books, journals, maps, drawings, painting, photographs, lantern-slides and medals to be highly significant both historically and scientifically. Selected items were displayed in the facilities offered by the Nicholson Museum. Staff and guests donned cotton gloves to leaf through some of the precious books, which included works by the American archaeologist and naturalist Charles C. Abbott, and Opuscula, one of the most significant books in the Society's collection, written in Latin by Georg Bauer, better known by his Latin name, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555). He is considered the founder of geology as a discipline. Another book, Cyrillus in Johannem et Leviticum una cum thesauro eiusdem, was published in 1508. It is the only one held in Australia. There was also the first volume of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, beautifully illustrated by the artist Sydenham S. Edwards and published 1787. The Society holds the complete set (Volumes 1-14) and many other volumes of the Botanical Magazine by various other publishers.

Also on display were Lawrence Hargrave's aeronautical and other papers, together with some of the drawings and lantern-slides of his first flying machine, and a very rare edition of J.D. Dana's Geology, written when he accompanied W.B. Clarke around the Sydney Basin. Hand-written letters from Society member Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur were a great attraction. Many of the medals on display were from Clarke's collection. These are kept in the care of the Mitchell Library together with some 20 boxes of books and other items belonging to the Royal Society. These are to be the target of our next round of assessment and listing.

Undeniably the Society is the custodian of a remarkably important collection. It is imperative that we take every step to preserve it and to make it available to all.

Guests at the soirée included the university's Vice Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brown and his wife, Diane, the former Vice Chancellor of Macquarie University, Professor Di Yerbury, acclaimed photographer-astronomer, Professor David Malin, Scientia Professor Eugenie Lumbers from the University of New South Wales, the ABC's Robyn Science Williams and many others.

The soirée was not without its formalities. President, Professor Jak Kelly set the scene, explaining the grounds for the celebration and thanking Professor Brown for so generously arranging premises for the Royal Society. He also thanked Professor Di Yerbury for her help in housing the Society and its collection at Macquarie University for some years. Councillor John Hardie spoke about the work that had been done on the collection through the funding, and outlined some of the recommendations from Peter Tyler's report. These included the urgent need to house the collection suitably so that it could be properly conserved and made available to researchers and the public alike. He also suggested that the Society should initiate a long-term project to "return Science House to Science". He reminded guests that Science House won the first Sulman Medal for Architecture for its architects, Peddle, Thorpe and Walker, in 1932.

Society member and former president, David Branagan, who was also one of the assessors, described some of the "treasures" he had examined and the insight they give to the development of our intellectual and scientific history from Colonial times. Professor Gavin Brown thanked the Royal Society for inviting him and his wife and congratulated the Society on its achievements in recent years.

It was after the formalities that guests were free to peruse the displays to the sounds of restful chamber music from the trio, Sound of Melody, adding to the already splendid atmosphere of the museum itself. David Branagan and members of the Council's grant committee were on hand to assist with enquiries and to point out items of special interest.

The evening finished on a high note when Society received an unexpected accolade from the Senior Curator of the Nicholson Museum, Michael Turner, who said that he had really enjoyed having so erudite and enthusiastic a group of people at the museum.

Robyn Stutchbury

OCT
31

October 2001 - Patron

The Governor General of Australia, His Excellency the Right Reverend Dr Peter Hollingworth AC OBE accepted the position of Patron of the Society.
NOV
30

RSNSW awarded Federal Community Heritage Grant

November 2005: The Royal Society of NSW has been awarded a $6,050 Federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a Significance and Preservation Survey. The grant was announced by the Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator the Hon. Rod Kemp, at the National Library of Australia, Canberra. A total of $377,865 was distributed to 76 groups from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community-owned but nationally significant heritage collections. In addition, Mr John Hardie, a Vice-President of the Society, attended a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop held at the National Library of Australia, the National Archives, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra. 

Latest news on this project can be found on the Cultural Heritage Grant Project Page.

MAR
14

Annual Dinner and Awards 2009

His Honour Justice James Allsop, President of the NSW Court of Appeal

The Society held a very successful Annual Dinner at the Forum Restaurant, Darlington Centre at the University of Sydney on 13 March. The Guest-of-Honour was His Honour Justice James Allsop, President of the NSW Court of Appeal who replaced our Chief Patron, the Governor-General at relatively short notice. The Society thanks His Honour for his attendance and for his very insightful Occasional Address, which touched on the relationship between the Society and the legal profession.

The other highlight of the evening was the presentation of our Awards for 2008. His Honour presented the Clarke Medal (this year it was for botany) to Professor Bradley Potts from the University of Tasmania and the Edgeworth David Medal for a young scientist to Dr Adam Micolich of the University of NSW. Associate Profesor Bill Sewell read the citations which were followed by very generous remarks by the recipients in accepting the Awards.

His Honour Justice James Allsop, the President John Hardie and Professor Bradley Potts
His Honour Justice James Allsop, the President John Hardie and Dr Adam Micolich

For further details see the March 2009 Bulletin No. 323.

APR
30

Society web site now on a virtual server

April 2005: The society has moved our web site onto a 'virtual' server in preparation for implementing a web-based library system. The plan is that eventually a catalogue of our extensive collection will be accessible to members and researchers. The library system that we will be using is Koha.

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 late 2020. 

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

Sydney meetings 

Hunter meetings

Southern Highlands meetings

 

 

Details of events scheduled for the remainder of the current year by the Southern Highlands branch can be found on its website.

Details of past events held by the Southern Highlands branch can be found here.

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