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Chris Bertram wins David Dewhurst Award

Chris Bertram wins David Dewhurst Award

Council member Dr Chris Bertram FRSN was presented with the David Dewhurst Award at the recent Australian Biomedical Engineering Conference. The David Dewhurst Award is given annually by Engineers Australia (Australia's peak body for engineers, representing over 100,000 members) to a biomedical engineer who has made exceptional, sustained and significant contributions to the field.

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RSNSW and Four Academies Forum 2018

RSNSW and Four Academies Forum 2018

“Towards a prosperous and sustainable Australia: what now for the lucky country?”

Government House

Hosted by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (ret’d.), Governor of NSW and Patron of the Royal Society of NSW

Thursday, 29 November 2018, 9am–4.30pm
Government House, Sydney
The day will conclude with a drinks reception.

Details of how to book will appear later. Numbers will necessarily be limited.

Australia’s 27 years of uninterrupted growth, the longest period without a recession of any developed country, puts it in an enviable position. Yet polling of the Australian population shows a large diversity of opinion on whether people feel better off. Rising wealth inequality, unaffordable housing, increasing traffic congestion, under-employment and increasingly polarised political opinion are hardly signs of a prosperous and harmonious society. Our environment is also suffering – loss of biodiversity, wildlife habitat and topsoil through land clearing and land-use change; the health and resilience of our river systems, forests and agricultural industries are subject to an inexorably warming climate and greater weather extremes.

Is the focus on growth and GDP pushing Australia in the wrong direction? Does Australia have an optimal population? What happens when we stop borrowing from future generations to support our current lifestyles and incessant consumption? Is a steady-state society possible, or desirable, and if so what would it look like?

The 2018 Royal Society of NSW and Four Academies Forum will examine the implications of the focus on growth (as measured by GDP) and population on our society, our economy and the environment. What are the social constructs and economic assumptions on which government policies are based? Our economy has become bifurcated towards resources and services – is this a healthy evolution or is it a hollowing-out of the economy that imperils Australia’s future? What role can science and technology play in a world of increasing automation and computer power? Is full employment possible, or desirable, and what will people do with their spare time?

Join us for a day dissecting the big questions facing Australia today and into the future.

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International Mathematical Union honours Nalini Joshi

International Mathematical Union honours Nalini Joshi

Professor Nalini Joshi AO FRSN has been elected Vice-President of the International Mathematical Union, from the start of 2019. She becomes the first Australian to hold this position.  Besides being a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, Professor Joshi is a member of its governing Council.

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Recent honours for RSNSW Fellows

Recent honours for RSNSW Fellows

Graeme Jameson / Michelle SimmonsTwo of our members have recently been elected as Fellows of the prestigious Royal Society of London. They are Michelle Simmons DistFRSN (who is already Australian of the Year) and Graeme Jameson FRSN from the University of Newcastle.

Veena SahajwallaAnd recently elected FRSN Veena Sahajwalla has just been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

We also congratulate our Fellows who received an award in the latest Queen’s Honours List:
Geoffrey Harcourt AC
David Cook AO and Emma Johnston AO
Barbara Briggs AM and Brynn Hibbert AM, our immediate past President

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New President's message

New President's message

At the 151st AGM held on 4 April 2018, Emeritus Scientia Professor Ian Sloan AO FRSN was installed as President of the Society.  As Professor Sloan was overseas and unable to attend the meeting, he addressed the audience in a video.  The text of his address is given here.


Ian SloanIf you are seeing this video, then I must have been elected as President of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and I must be in Providence, Rhode Island.  I’m sorry that I can’t be with you.

What an honour it is to be President of our Royal Society!  By my count I am the 119th President, in a line stretching back to 1821.

Let me tell you a little about our first President.  Sir Thomas arrived as Governor of New South Wales in 1821.  He was a soldier (finishing with the rank of Major General).  But he was also a scientist, specifically an astronomer, and a great patron of science.  He built an astronomical observatory at Parramatta, something wonderful to think about with the colony only 35 years old.  After returning to Great Britain he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Our first President was a fine example of all that is best about our Royal Society.  There are many other great names among the presidents that follow, but I want to jump forward around 200 years, because our proud history counts for little unless we are doing something now.  I want to pay particular respect to my recent predecessors as President: to John Hardie and Donald Hector, and especially to immediate-past-President Brynn Hibbert.  These three have presided over major transformation and reform.  Especially important has been the reinvention of the Fellows program, and a renewed emphasis on expanded membership.  By now the Fellows and Members together number around 400, giving us increased strength as a society.  Recent presidents have also been taking seriously the commitment not just to science (though science remains deep in our DNA) but also to “Art, Literature and Philosophy”, which we nowadays interpret rather broadly, to include all of the key intellectual and creative endeavours of our time.  My commitment as President will be to continue to develop in these directions, and to make sure that the Society is important to its Members and Fellows.

Thank you.

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Results of the Council election 2018

Results of the Council election 2018

In accordance with the Society's rules, the list of candidates is displayed here.

The election took place at the annual general meeting on Wednesday 4 April 2018 at the Union University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney.  Polling opened at 5.30pm and closed at 6.15pm.

The results of the election were as follows.

Aslaksen

Erik

Councillor - TAS management

Bertram

Chris

Honorary Webmaster

Bhathal

Ragbir

Honorary Librarian

Buttner

Herma

Honorary Secretary (General)

Choucair

Mohammad

Councillor

Clancy

Robert

Councillor

Dyson

Laurel

Councillor - Bulletin Editor

Gibson

Margaret

Councillor – new

Hardie

John

Vice-President 

Hector

Donald

Councillor

Hibbert

Brynn

Vice-President – immediate past president

Joshi

Nalini

Councillor – new 

Judge

Virginia

Councillor – new

Kehoe

Jim

Councillor 

Marks

Robert

Honorary Secretary (Editor)

Sloan

Ian

President

Wheeldon

Judith

Vice-President

Wilkinson

Ian

Councillor

Wilmott 

Richard

Honorary Treasurer

Wood

Anne

Southern Highlands representative (to be confirmed)

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European tour: the history of science

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

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.

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Calendar of Sydney meetings in 2018

Calendar of Sydney meetings in 2018
Monday 5 February

SMSA/RSNSW Enlightenment series lecture 3

“Learning, adaptation and the Enlightenment: the museum”

Kim McKay AO, Director of the Australian Museum

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 7 February

1260th OGM and open lecture: 2016 Scholarship presentations

Grace Causer, University of Wollongong & ANSTO

“Novel and artificial nanomaterials”

Yu-wei Lin, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney

“New ways to treat ‘superbugs’ with old antibiotics”

Cara Van Der Wal, University of Sydney & Australian Museum

“Evolutionary history and diversity of mantis shrimps”

Venue: Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 1 March

SMSA/RSNSW Enlightenment series lecture 4

“Learning, adaptation and the Enlightenment: the library”

Paul Brunton OAM FAHA, Emeritus Curator, State Library of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 7 March

1261st OGM and open lecture

“DNA and personalised medicine”

Professor Leslie Burnett FRSN, Garvan Institute

Venue: Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 14 March

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies

“Exciting materials for energy applications in 2050”

Robin Grimes, Professor of Materials Physics, Imperial College London

Venue: UNSW Colombo Theatre

Time: 5:30 for 6pm

Wednesday 4 April

AGM and 1262nd OGM and open lecture

“The decarbonisation of industry”

Paul Fennell, Professor of Clean Energy, Imperial College London

Venue: Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Time: 5.45 for 6pm start of AGM. Open lecture and OGM 6.30pm

Thursday 5 April

SMSA/RSNSW Enlightenment series lecture 5

“Global deflation: the Enlightenment has failed!”

Scientia Professor George Paxinos AO FASSA FAA FRSN, University of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 2 May

Pollock memorial lecture

“Engineering for understanding: how building quantum devices unveils the meaning of quantum mechanics”

Professor Andrea Morello FRSN, University of NSW

Venue: Club Bar, The Roundhouse, UNSW, Kensington

Time: 5.30 for 6‒7.30pm

Friday 18 May

Annual dinner of the Royal Society of NSW

Guests of honour: The Honourable General David Hurley AC DSC (ret'd.) Governor of NSW and Mrs Hurley

Presentation of awards for 2017

Distinguished Fellow's address: Tom Keneally AO DistFRSN
“Mungo Man imagined: writing the ultimate historical novel”

Venue: Mitchell Galleries, State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6.30 for 7pm

Wednesday 6 June

1263rd OGM and open lecture

“No sex please, we're Cape bees”

Ben Oldroyd FRSN, Professor of Behavioural Genetics, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Friday 22 June

SMSA/RSNSW series ‘Great Australians you have never heard of’, lecture 1

“A Tasmanian convict who went from an Irish rebel to become Governor”

Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Tuesday 26 June

AIP / RACI / RSNSW / ANSTO event

“Big science: exploring the future of the world’s most exciting STEM challenges and developments”

Professor Richard Garrett, Manager, Industry and External Engagement, ANSTO

Venue: ANSTO Discovery Centre, New Illawarra Rd, Lucas Heights

Time: 5pm optional tour, 6pm refreshments, 6.30pm presentation

Wednesday 4 July

1264th OGM and open lecture

“Can art really make a difference?”

Joanna Mendelssohn FRSN, Honorary Associate Professor, Art & Design, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 23 July

SMSA/RSNSW series ‘Great Australians you have never heard of’, lecture 2

“A scientist who chaired the group that eliminated a disease from the world”

Peter Baume AC DistFRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 1 August

Poggendorff lecture

“Establishing a sustainable nitrogen diet to agricultural intensive cropping industries”

Brent Kaiser, Professor of Legume Biology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Venue: New Law Annex 432, University of Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 8 August

1265th OGM and open lecture

“The final frontier - on the complexity and frailty of human memory”

Associate Professor Muireann Irish FRSN, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 13 August

Science Week: RSNSW/SMSA science talk 1

“Will self-driving cars make us safer?”

Professor Ann Williamson FRSN, University of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Time: 12.30‒1.30pm

Tuesday 14 August

Science Week: RSNSW/SMSA science talk 2

“Nanotech: what is so special about small stuff?”

Rosie Hicks, CEO, Australian National Fabrication Facility

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Time: 12.30‒1.30pm

Tuesday 14 August

Science Week: RSNSW/SMSA science talk 3

“Ethics, emotions and elegance in artificial intelligence”

Professor Simeon Simoff FRSN, Western Sydney University

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Friday 17 August

Science Week: RSNSW/SMSA science talk 4

“Wine and medicine: an Australian perspective”

Dr Philip Norrie FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 5 September

1266th OGM and open lecture

“Eyewitness evidence”

Professor Richard Kemp, University of NSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 6 September

SMSA/RSNSW series ‘Great Australians you have never heard of’, lecture 3

“Three for the price of one: a day at the races”

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN, University of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 October

1267th OGM and open lecture

“3D printing of body parts”

Professor Gordon Wallace AO FRSN, University of Wollongong

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 7 November

1268th OGM and open lecture

“Gravitational waves”

Associate Professor Tara Murphy, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 12 November

SMSA/RSNSW series ‘Great Australians you have never heard of’, lecture 4

“Griffith Taylor: geology and geography from the Terra Nova to Seaforth”

Professor Alison Bashford FRSN FAHA FBA, University of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

?? November

AIP Postgraduate Awards Day and Jak Kelly Award judging

“tba”

Venue: tba

Time: tba

Thursday 29 November

Royal Society of NSW and Four Learned Academies Forum

“Towards a prosperous yet sustainable Australia — what now for the ‘lucky country’?”

Venue: NSW Government House, Sydney

Time: tba

Wednesday 5 December

1269th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of NSW 2018 Jak Kelly Award and Christmas party

“physics - tba”

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

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Forum 2017: presentation abstracts

Forum 2017: presentation abstracts

The Society's annual RSNSW and Four Academies Forum took place on 29 November last, hosted by His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales at Government House.  The abstracts of the presentations can be accessed here.

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Is the Enlightenment dead?

Is the Enlightenment dead?

RSNSW/SMSA Joint Lecture Series

Diderot's Encyclopedie frontispiece
detail from the frontispiece of Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 1772

Dates: see below

Venue: all sessions will be held at the Mitchell Theatre, Level 1, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt St., Sydney

Time: 6 pm drinks, for 6.30-7.30 pm

Cost: $15 for SMSA & Royal Society Fellows/Members, $20 for non-members and friends (per lecture) — all are welcome

This series of five talks, co-hosted by the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, brings together the two oldest institutions in NSW dedicated to education, the discussion of ideas, and discovery. The series is expected to initiate a period of interactive events and activities to the mutual benefit of both societies. The lectures will be presented by an outstanding group of experts in the field, with the topics chosen to represent a broad overview of the Enlightenment from its beginnings as the public recognized and discussed the meanings of change from a long period of mythology and dogma, to grasping reality and what that meant to them and their lives, to its impact on our society today.

The Enlightenment was founded on reasoned discourse and scientific enquiry, connecting with the idea of human equality and the rights of the individual. It was a powerful influence through disruptive revolutions in the 18th century on European and American societies. But what influence did it have on our Australian society, and the institutions entrusted to inform the population of new ideas and discovery? On a more concerning note, to what extent is Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz correct in his view that “Global deflation is reversing international progress through rejection of the principles of the Enlightenment”?

These five lectures will capture the beginnings of the Enlightenment, its immediate impact on Colonial Australia, and two portals of the Enlightenment and their adaptation to changes around them over 200 years. The series will conclude with an interactive Sophistry, taking the theme of the series, and discussing this in the context of contemporary Australian life.

Lectures in the series:

Lecture 1: “Samuel Pepys, His Library and the Enlightenment” by Susannah Fullerton, on 4 September 2017

Lecture 2: “The freedom to use one's own intelligence: the Enlightenment and the growth of the Australian nation” by Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN, on 6 November 2017

Lecture 3: “Learning, adaptation and the Enlightenment: the museum” by Kim McKay AO, Director and CEO Australian Museum, on 5 February 2018

Lecture 4: “Learning, adaptation and the Enlightenment: the library” by Paul Brunton OAM Emeritus Curator, State Library of NSW, on 1 March 2018

Lecture 5:  Sophistry: “Global deflation: the Enlightenment has failed!” by Scientia Professor George Paxinos AO FRSN, on 5 April 2018

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RSNSW & SMSA strategic partnership

RSNSW & SMSA strategic partnership

SMSA logoThe Council of the Society is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with the Board of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (SMSA) to establish a strategic partnership. This partnership reflects the similar heritage of the two organisations and their commitment to advancing knowledge and engaging with the broadest possible audience in New South Wales.

The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (SMSA) was established in 1833, following the Scottish example of providing open access to education for the working classes, who, historically, had been excluded from formal, traditional education systems. The Governor at the time was Sir Richard Bourke, who was a strong supporter of it with an annual allowance of £200. In 1886, the SMSA was incorporated by an act of the NSW Parliament, similar to the act which, in 1881, formally established the Society as a body corporate.

SMSA buildingOriginally, the SMSA occupied the building that is currently the Arthouse Hotel, at 271 Pitt Street. The SMSA sold this building in the 1990s to Alan Bond’s corporation for redevelopment of the site. With the proceeds, the SMSA bought a building at 280 Pitt Street that could house their activities and provide a source of rental income. The SMSA occupies three floors of this building. The third floor houses offices and meeting rooms and the Thomas Kenneally Collection, the private library donated to the SMSA some years ago by Thomas Keneally FRSN. The second floor houses an extensive lending library and the first floor has an auditorium that seats about 130 people, some smaller meeting rooms, and facilities for limited catering.

Over the last 18 months or so, the Council of the Society and the Board of the SMSA have had extensive discussions regarding ways in which the two organisations could collaborate to gain synergies from their similar objectives and activities and to enhance the standing of both organisations. The governing bodies of both organisations formally signed off on the strategic partnership in September.

Key elements of this agreement include:
• Development of a joint program of events that will be broadly attractive to members of both organisations and the general public;
• Display of important selections of material from the Society’s library;
• Reciprocal membership benefits between the two organisations when engaged in joint activities.

In addition, the Society will hold some of its own functions at the SMSA auditorium and meeting rooms, particularly when they are expected to attract larger audiences. The location near Town Hall station and one of the new Metro line stations is particularly convenient. The Society’s presence in the building will be identified in the main foyer with its name and seal.

signing the SMSA MoUThe Council believes this partnership is a very important initiative and will further consolidate our efforts to promote the Society plus increasing its influence in the intellectual life of New South Wales. We look forward very much to working with the SMSA in taking this arrangement forward.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding between the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts and the Royal Society of NSW was signed on 30 October 2017.  At the signing were [front row, L to R] Thomas Kenneally AO FRSN, Winsome Allen (SMSA President), Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert (RSNSW President), [back row, L to R] Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN, Denis Mockler (SMSA Board member) and John Hardie FRSN (RSNSW Councillor).

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Sydney meetings in 2017

Sydney meetings in 2017
Wednesday 1 February

1250th OGM and open lecture: 2015 Scholarship presentations

Yik Lung (Jeremy) Chan, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

“Effects of maternal cigarette smoke exposure on brain health in offspring”

Andrew Ritchie, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

“New ways of modelling the ancient past to understand evolution”

Isobel Ronai, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

“Anarchy in the honey bee colony: the genetic basis of worker sterility”

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 23 February

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies

“South Australia: a nuclear State in a global solution”

Rear Admiral, The Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (ret'd.)

Venue: International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour

Time: 6pm to 8pm (reception from 5.30pm)

Wednesday 1 March

1251st OGM and open lecture

“Creative minds: artistic and scientific endeavour on polar expeditions 1851 to 1951”

Richard Ferguson FRGS, Executive Director, Craft Australia

Venue: University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Wednesday 5 April

AGM and 1252nd OGM and open lecture

“The science of beer”

Dr Greg Organ, Chief Scientist, Lion Company

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Time: 5.45 for 6pm start of AGM. Open lecture and OGM 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 May

Annual dinner of the Royal Society of NSW

Guests of honour: The Honourable General David Hurley AC DSC (ret'd.) Governor of NSW and Mrs Hurley

Distinguished Fellow's Lecture and presentation of Awards for 2016

Distinguished Fellow's Address: Peter Baume

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6.30 for 7pm

Wednesday 7 June

1253rd OGM and open lecture

“Are you smarter than a slime mould?”

Professor Madeleine Beekman, University of Sydney

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 5 July

1254th OGM and open lecture

“Understanding quantum theory”

Professor Andrea Morello, University of NSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 2 August

1255th OGM and open lecture

“Self-driving cars: will they help?”

Professor Ann Williamson, University of NSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Dates in August 

Science Week: Royal Society of NSW lunchtime science talks

Wednesday 6 September

1256th OGM and open lecture

“The complexity of music”

Helen Mitchell, Conservatorium of Music

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 4 October

1257th OGM and open lecture

“Understanding social networks”

Professor Pip Pattison, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Sydney

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 1 November

1258th OGM and open lecture

“Women in art”

Pamela Griffith

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 29 November

Royal Society of NSW and Four Learned Academies Forum

“Science and society in a post-truth world”

Venue: Government House

Time: 8.30am to 5pm, with a reception the preceding evening

Wednesday 6 December

1259th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of NSW 2016 Jak Kelly Award and Christmas Party

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

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See the slides from the 2016 Forum

See the slides from the 2016 Forum

The slides used by the speakers at the 2016 RSNSW and Four Academies Forum, held on 29 November at Government House, are now available for download.

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Sydney meetings in 2016

Sydney meetings in 2016

Wednesday 3 February

Royal Society 2014 Scholarship Presentations – the 1240th OGM and Public Lecture

“Problems and prime numbers”
Adrian Dudek, Australian National University

“How old are flowers?”
Charles Foster, University of Sydney

“Manifestations of dark matter and variation of fundamental constants”
Yevgeny Stadnik, UNSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Thursday 25 February

Four Societies Meeting

“Energy sources in Australia’s future”

Professor Robert Clark AO FAA FRSN

47th Floor MLC Centre, Sydney

Wednesday 2 March

1241st OGM and Public Lecture

“How to win an Ignoble Prize: communicating science”

Dr Len Fisher, Bristol University

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 16 March

RSNSW and Australian Institute of Physics Meeting

“The science of sleep”

Professor Ron Grunstein, University of Sydney

Venue: Trinity Grammar School PD Centre, 5 Thomas St. Lewisham

Wednesday 6 April

AGM and 1242nd OGM and Public Lecture

President’s Address

Dr Don Hector, President of the Royal Society of NSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 4 May

Annual Dinner and Distinguished Fellow's Lecture

“Science policy”

Professor Eugenie Lumbers, UNSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 1 June

1243rd OGM and Public Lecture

Professor Peter Hiscock, University of Sydney

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 6 July

1244th OGM and Public Lecture

“Royal”, not “Philosophical” - W.B. Clarke's inaugural address to the Royal Society of NSW

Associate Professor Rob Young (ret'd.), University of Wollongong

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 3 August

1245th OGM and Public Lecture

“Celebrating the 200th birthday of Royal Botanic Gardens: a personal history of 57 years of science”

Dr Barbara Briggs, Royal Botanic Gardens

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 7 September

1246th OGM and Public Lecture

“A source of inspiration and delight: the Mitchell Library”

Richard Neville, Mitchell Library

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 5 October

1247th OGM and Public Lecture

“From sand and rice bubbles to earthquakes and volcanos”

Professor Itai Einav, University of Sydney

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 2 November

1248th OGM and Public Lecture

“Finding the right course for the right horse: recent evidence-based advances in instructional design”

Professor Jim Kehoe, UNSW

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

Wednesday 7 December

1249th OGM and Public Lecture and Christmas Party

Jak Kelly Award Winner 2016 (presented by Irene Kelly)

“Imaging with a deft touch: The scanning helium microscope – a modern pinhole camera!”

Mathew Barr, School of Mathematical and Physical Science, University of Newcastle

Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney

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1243rd OGM and public lecture

1243rd OGM and public lecture

 Peter Hiscock 1“The curious case of the scientist in cinema: how
  Indiana Jones turns out to be the bad guy!”

  Professor Peter Hiscock
  Tom Austen Brown Professor of Australian
  Archaeology, University of Sydney

Wednesday 1 June 2016
Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Uplifting music and the seemingly inevitable triumph of an archaeologist’s matinee character has led the public to think of archaeologists as heroes of the silver screen. Indiana Jones was voted the second most popular hero in cinema, and every passing year sees a series of (often B-grade) movies in which the archaeologist is the protagonist saving the day. Underneath those exciting images there is a grim truth: archaeologists are actually the bad guys of modern cinema! They are often depicted as morally ambiguous individuals seeking personal gain; they are rogue adventurers – like cowboys in a rangewar or pirates competing over spoils.

But most importantly archaeologists are portrayed as transgressive individuals who cross the boundary of socially appropriate behaviour to interfere with dangerous and still potent realms. In that way archaeologists inherit the mantle of the mad science. This inheritance is not merely a resemblance, it reflects the history of film-making in Hollywood. Peter Hiscock delved into the history of cinema and provided a close up on the stories we are watching.

Peter Hiscock is Tom Austen Brown Professor of Australian Archaeology at the University of Sydney. He is a film addict and has lectured on archaeology in cinema across three continents. Curiously, major movie companies have attempted to stop his lectures! His most famous publication on film, which appeared in a journal specializing in the history of religion (Numen), explained why Hollywood had been taken over by cult archaeologists. His lectures are both controversial and entertaining.

  1437 Hits
1437 Hits

New webmaster for RSNSW

New webmaster for RSNSW

As of April 2016, Chris Bertram has taken on the job of RSNSW Webmaster.

Chris Bertram 2010

  1477 Hits
1477 Hits

Annual black-tie dinner 2016

Annual black-tie dinner 2016

Annual Black-Tie Dinner, Distinguished Fellow's Lecture and presentation of the Society's 2015 awards

Guest of honour: The Society's Vice-Regal Patron, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (ret'd), Governor of New South Wales
The Distinguished Fellow's Lecture delivered by Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers AM DistFRSN

Wednesday 4 May 2016
Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

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Judith Wheeldon AM (Vice President), Stephen Ho, Warwick Anderson, His Excellency General Hurley, Christopher Dickman, Brynn Hibbert (President) and Peter Baume

LumbersBurtonHibbert.4May16.47k

Eugenie Lumbers AM DistFRSN, Michael Burton and Brynn Hibbert

The Clarke Medal for 2015 in the field of Zoology was presented to Professor Christopher Dickman, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney.

The Royal Society of NSW History and Philosophy of Science Medal 2015 was presented to Professor Warwick Anderson, ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor in the Department of History and the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney.

The Edgeworth David Medal for 2015 was presented to Associate Professor Simon Ho, ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney.

The Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC DistFRSN was presented with his distinguished fellowship certificate by the Patron.

  1281 Hits
1281 Hits

1228th Ordinary General Meeting

1228th Ordinary General Meeting

2014 Jak Kelly Award presentation, followed by the Society’s Christmas Party

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Union, University & Schools Club, 25 Bent St, Sydney

Linh TranThe 2014 Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly Award was presented to Ms Linh Tran of the School of Physics at University of Wollongong (here seen at the AIP Awards Day on 18 November), for her work on development of 3D semiconductor microdosimetric sensors for RBE determination in 12C heavy ion therapy.

The Jak Kelly Award was created in honour of Professor Jak Kelly (1928 - 2012), who was Head of Physics at University of NSW from 1985 to 1989, was made an Honorary Professor of University of Sydney in 2004, and was President of the Royal Society of NSW in 2005 and 2006.  Its purpose is to encourage excellence in postgraduate research in physics.  It is supported by the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Institute of Physics, NSW branch.  The winner is selected from a short list of candidates who made presentations at the most recent Australian Institute of Physics, NSW branch postgraduate awards.

  162 Hits
162 Hits

1218th Ordinary General Meeting

1218th Ordinary General Meeting

Presentations by Royal Society of NSW scholarship winners 2014

Date: Wednesday 5 February 2014

Venue: Union University and Schools Club, 25 Bent St, Sydney

John Chan (Pharmacology, University of Sydney)
Jessica Stanley (Chemistry, University of Sydney)
Jiangbo (Tim) Zhao (Advanced Cytometry, Macquarie University)

This presentation was delivered by A/Prof. Judith Dawes.

  172 Hits
172 Hits

1217th OGM and Christmas party

1217th OGM and Christmas party

"Probing the nano-world with the symmetries of light"

Xavier Zambrana-Puyalto  Xavier Zambrana-Puyalto
  Department of Physics and Astronomy
  ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered
  Quantum Systems, Macquarie University

  Winner of the RSNSW Jak Kelly Scholarship
  Award for 2013

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

The Jak Kelly Award was created in honour of Professor Jak Kelly (1928 - 2012), who was Head of Physics at University of NSW from 1985 to 1989, was made an Honorary Professor of University of Sydney in 2004, and was President of the Royal Society of NSW in 2005 and 2006. Its purpose is to encourage excellence in postgraduate research in physics. It is supported by the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Institute of Physics, NSW branch. The winner is selected from a short list of candidates who made presentations at the most recent Australian Institute of Physics, NSW branch postgraduate awards.

In 1959, Richard Feynman gave a seminal lecture titled “There’s plenty of room at the bottom” which pushed scientists to set out on the journey of controlling light/matter interactions at the nano-scale. Since then, nanotechnology has rapidly developed. Nowadays it is inconceivable to think of any new information devices whose circuits are not in the nano-scale. Whereas nanoelectronics is a well consolidated technology producing transistors of less than 50 nm, nanophotonics has yet to overcome some drawbacks. So far, probably the most successful way of pushing light technology to the nano-scale has been plasmonics. In plasmonics, plane waves are used to excite smartly designed nano-structures to couple light with free electrons oscillations on a metallic surface and transmit information. Xavier showed that if symmetry considerations are taken into account and more elaborate beams of light are used, extra information can be retrieved from the same samples. To prove this, he presented a recent experiment carried out in his group where the complex behavior of a circular nano-metric aperture is easily predicted using symmetry considerations. The experiment deals with an old problem – the circular dichroism (CD) of a sample. CD is a widely used technique in science, and its uses range from DNA studies to protein spectroscopy. It is defined as the differential absorption of left and right circular polarization. Typically, it is established that CD can only be found in interactions with chiral structures, i.e. structures whose mirror image cannot be superimposed with them. Xavier showed that non-chiral structures, such as a circular nano-aperture, can also produce CD when light beams with cylindrical symmetry are used. This allows one to reconcile the experimental results and extend the current understanding of this phenomenon using symmetry considerations.

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161 Hits
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