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Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

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

Hugh Durrant-Whyte      “Industries of the Future”

     Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FRSN
     NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer


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

Inaugural Meeting

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

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

The meeting agenda is available here.

Accommodation

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

 

Invited Lecture: Industries of the Future

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

Speaker: Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FRSN

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

European tour: the history of science

Academy Travel
Padua – Florence – Paris – London

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

Owing to a cancellation, two places are available.

19 September – 4 October 2019

Overview

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

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

Tour details

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

Maximum group size: 20

Tour highlights

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

Itinerary

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

Tour leader

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

1277th OGM and Open Lecture

peter godfrey smith   Bodies and Minds in Animal Evolution

  Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith
  The University of Sydney


Date: Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW (Entrance: Shakespeare Place, Sydney)

Charting the evolution of different kinds of animal bodies helps us understand the evolution of the mind – both the varieties of minds that might exist, and how minds could arise at all through natural processes. Cephalopods, including octopuses, are an especially interesting case in bodily and behavioral evolution. Peter described octopus behaviors at field sites in NSW and how, In other ways, too, Australia has a special place in the deep history of animal life.

Peter Godfrey-Smith grew up in Sydney, and his undergraduate degree is from the University of Sydney. He studied for a PhD in philosophy at UC San Diego, and then taught at Stanford University, the Australian National University, Harvard University, and the CUNY Graduate Center before taking up his present post as Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of five books, including Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (Oxford, 2009), which won the 2010 Lakatos Award, and Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (2016, Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

 

Women and Science: Lecture 5

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

    Anne Harbers


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

All are welcome

Click here to register

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

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

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

Anne Harbers

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

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

Sci-Fi Series - The future is here.

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Sci-Fi Series - The future is here. 

Date: Thursday, 19 September 2019
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Australian National Maritime Museum (Tasman Light Gallery and
            Theatre)
            2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
RSVP: Complimentary. Registrations are essential.

REGISTER HERE

You are invited to join the UNSW Science alumni: Sci-Fi Series – Future Planet, with a panel of  leading UNSW experts including the receipient of the RSNSW Clarke Medal. 

With each year bringing substantial new feats in scientific exploration and discovery, this series provides fascinating insights into how Science Fiction is fast becoming reality. 

Held at the Australian National Maritime Museum to explore how ground-breaking research is providing scientific insights that empower humans to protect our planet. As the world changes, scientists are using new technology, data science and experiments to understand, predict and reduce catastrophic impacts on future environments. The panel of leading UNSW experts will present their work across reefs, weather and technology.

Attendees will have the chance to participate in a Q&A session after the talks and a networking reception with refreshments will follow. 

Footage of our first Sci Fi Series – Future Health is now available!  Please click here to see what the Sci Fi Series is all about!

Speakers include:



Professor Emma Johnston AO

Dean of Science, UNSW Sydney

RSNSW Clarke Medal Recipient
”The Flying Eyes: How ecologists are using new technology to see hidden worlds”


Professor Andy Pitman 
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes
"The day after tomorrow: What does climate change mean for us?"


Associate Professor Tracy Ainsworth
Scientia Fellow, Centre for Marine Science & Innovation (CMSI)
"Deep Blue Sea: Solving the coral reefs crisis"

 

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1276th OGM & open lecture

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

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


Date: Wednesday 4 September 2019, 6pm for 6.30
Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW (enter by Shakespeare Place)
Entry (including a welcome drink): $25 for non-members, $15 for Fellows, Members and Associate Members of the Society, $5 for students
Dress code: business
Dinner (including drinks): $120 for non-members, $100 for Fellows, Members and Associate Members, $75 for students. Reservations must be made at least 2 days before.
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or phone 9431 8691

All are welcome

Click here to register

Through their studies, their medical practice, and their participation in the Association of Indonesian Physicians, Indonesian physicians in the Dutch East Indies developed and articulated a strong professional identity. The promises of modern medicine were important elements of this professional identity and motivated these physicians to develop critical perspectives on colonial society. They participated in social and cultural movements, and became members of city councils and the colonial parliament, wrote in newspapers frequently, and published magazines. In this paper, he discusses the social and political engagement of several generations of Indonesian physicians. At various times, they criticised traditional culture, advocated public health measures and increases in funding for health, criticised income disparities between Indonesian and European physicians, criticised traditional culture or embraced it as a model for an alternate modernity for Indonesia. During the process of decolonisation, they transformed colonial medicine into a modern approach to maintain health, inspired by examples and connections all over the world.

This presentation is based on Hans Pols book Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

Hans Pols FRNS is Professor and Head of School of the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on the history of medicine in the Dutch East Indies.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) talk 

Imagine, there is something wrong with your skin – it has no hairs, no pores, no blood vessels, you cannot even sweat to bring your temperature down. That’s what happened on the scar tissues on burn patients. Burns are global health issues and life changing events. The main goal of my PhD project is to construct artificial skin substitutes to address the issue of skin substitute shortage, as well as exploring how to minimize scar formation, eventually improving the quality of life.

This month's presentation is by Miss Lingzhi Kang, a final year PhD students at the University of Wollongong. She is working on "Biofabricated platforms for wound healing and skin regeneration" supervised by Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace. Lingzhi is the 2019 People's Choice Winner of Three Minute Thesis at the University of Wollongong. She obtained her master degree at Shandong University doing research on vascular regeneration & tissue engineering and bachelor degree of Biomedical Engineering at Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.

1275th OGM and open lecture

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

  Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN
  Chancellor, Western Sydney University

Wednesday 7 August 2019
Gallery Room, State Library of NSW

As in many liberal democracies, there is an increasing sense of concern in Australia that representative government is starting to erode from within - trust in political institutions is declining (especially amongst the young), consensus is fragmenting, populist responses are on the rise and ‘technocratic’ expertise and professional authority are increasingly decried. The public discourse that helps bind a civil society seems to be becoming ever less civil. Authoritarian leadership is more evident.

This talk discussed how a sense of democratic purpose might be restored though public services engaging their ‘publics’ in decision-making in more substantive ways. Peter is seeking to walk his talk, reflecting on his three decades as a ‘mandarin’ but focussing on his present role as Coordinator General of Refugee Resettlement in NSW.

Peter was an academic historian who became an influential public servant who ended up as a University Chancellor. In the Australian Public Service he headed successively the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Department of Employment and the Department of Education, Science and Training. He was then appointed as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He now serves on boards, writes government reports and - amongst other things - is Chancellor of Western Sydney University and Coordinator General of Refugee Resettlement.

Women and science: lecture 4

Women and Science  “Visual perception in Aboriginal art”

  Emeritus Professor Barbara Gillam
  FASSA FRSN
  School of Psychology, UNSW

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

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

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

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

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

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

1274th OGM and open lecture

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

   Emeritus Professor Robert Burford FRSN
   UNSW

Wednesday 3 July 2019
Gallery Room, State Library of NSW

The search for synthetic alternatives (including polymers) to scarce natural materials is not new, and substitution occurred well before today’s plastic bottles and packaging.  A reward of $10,000 for billiard balls, hitherto made from Sri Lankan elephant tusks, ultimately led to thermosets derived from cellulose.  Synthetic nylon stockings replaced unavailable silk (and made Du Pont wealthy) whilst synthetic rubber helped win the war.  The early history of polymer manufacture combines uneducated invention and entrepreneurship with debtor’s courts and skulduggery.  During the 20th century today’s ‘commodity’ polymers emerged, these being based on hydrocarbons including ethylene and propylene.  The public appetite for new synthetics that peaked in the 1950s and 60s (think of the movie The Graduate) has reversed despite polymer production showing unabated growth.  Scarcely a day now passes without reminders of waste, whether it is floating ‘continents’ or containers of Australian plastic being returned from overseas.  The solutions to today’s ‘polymer pollution’ need creative ideas and imaginative solutions but may provide lucrative opportunities.  Several possibilities wiere discussed..

Emeritus Professor Robert Burford has made and broken plastics and rubber for over 40 years, first investigating cracking in nylons before research at the Australian Synthetic Rubber Company.  Since joining UNSW in 1978 he has interacted with the polymer industry at many levels.  He took students to draconian factories to motivate them beyond the factory floor, was a Co-op Program coordinator to attract top students to sometimes enter the same factories, and has been actively engaged in consulting, often examining polymer failures.  He was a lead researcher with the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers, helping for example to develop a new family of fire performance cables.  He retired as Head of Chemical Engineering at UNSW in 2014 but still consults and volunteers at the Powerhouse Museum in conservation.

Royal Society events

The Royal Society of NSW organizes a number of events in Sydney throughout the year.  These include Ordinary General Meetings (OGMs) held on the first Wednesday of the month (there is no meeting in January).  Society business is conducted, new Fellows and Members are inducted, and reports from Council are given to the membership.  This is followed by a talk and optional dinner.  Drinks are served before the meeting.  There is a small charge to attend the meeting and talk, 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.

The first OGM in February has speakers drawn from the Royal Society Scholarship winners, and 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 (with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia)
  • The Dirac lecture (with UNSW Australia and the Australian Institute of Physics)
  • The Liversidge Medal lecture (with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute)
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