Awards to Society Fellows: October 2021

Congratulations from The Royal Society of NSW

The Council of the Royal Society of NSW was delighted to learn of two Fellows of the Society who have recently received prestigious awards.

Professor Maria Kavallaris AM FRSN FAHMS was a member of a team from the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW (Sydney) who was awarded the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology, for the development of a highly innovative 3D bioprinter that allows cancer researchers to rapidly produce 3D cultures and build more complex in vitro cancer models than ever before.

Professor Muireann Irish FRSN, who is a cognitive neuroscientist and ARC Future Fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre of the University of Sydney, has been awarded the International Science Council Early Career Science Award for Australia and Oceania for pioneering research that shows how imagination can break down in dementia.

Congratulations to both Professors Kavallaris and Irish on this recognition of their outstanding research,


Society Fellows win prestigious awards in the chemical sciences and engineering

Scientia Professor Rose Amal and Professor Tony Weiss

The Council of the Royal Society of NSW extends its warmest congratulations to two of its Fellows who have been awarded major prizes in the chemical sciences and engineering.

Scientia Professor Rose Amal AC FRSN FAA FTSE from UNSW Engineering has been awarded the 2021 Chemeca Medal by the Australian and New Zealand Federation of Chemical Engineers (ANZFChE), the most prestigious award in the chemical engineering profession in Australia and New Zealand, for world-leading research in the fields of fine particle technology, photocatalysis and functional nanomaterials. Professor Amal's work has profound implications for solar and chemical energy conversion applications such as treating water, purifying air, and generating renewable hydrogen economically and sustainably.

Professor Tony Weiss AM FRSN FTSE of the University of Sydney School of Life and Environmental Sciences has been awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Weichkardt Medal for his work that has made a significant contribtion to the Australian economy through chemistry. Professor Weiss is a leader in the development of elastin biomaterials that are used in medical settings.


Society Fellows as finalists in the 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Awards

Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Logo A number of Society Fellows are amongst the Finalists of the 2021 Australian Museum Eureka Awards—the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science. Presented annually in partnership with some of the nation’s leading scientific institutions, government organisations, universities and corporations, the Eureka Prizes raise the profile of science and science engagement in the community by celebrating outstanding achievement.

Amongst the finalists in this year’s Prizes are:

  • Professor Raina Macintyre FRSN — a member of the U-Breathe team from UNSW, nominated for the 2021 Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
  •  Professor Justin Gooding FRSN FAA FTSE and Professor Maria Kavallaris AM FRSN FAHMS of UNSW Sydney,  Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, and the Children’s Cancer Institute, nominated for the 2021 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
  • Professor Maria Kavallaris AM FRSN of UNSW Sydney and the Children’s Cancer Institute, nominated for the 2021 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science
  • Professor Karu Esselle FRSN, nominated for the 2021 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize For Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers
  • Professor Veena Sahajwalla FRSN FAA FTSE of UNSW Sydney, nominated for the Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science

The Awards will be announced at an online ceremony on the evening of 7 October 2021.


Vale Edric Chaffer

Edrich Chaffer

The Society is saddened to learn of the death on 6 September 2021 of Mr Edric Chaffer, a former President of the Society. He was 88 years old.

Edric Keith Chaffer was one of the longest-serving stalwarts of the Society, dedicating much of his life to its well-being. Joining as a student in 1954, he later served on Council for many years and was Honorary Secretary from 1970–1971 and President in 1975. He was a member of the Council that steered the Society through some of its most turbulent times, including the forced vacation of Science House and Science Centre, and the relocation of its library. His enduring interests were history, science, geology and engineering.

In 1949, while still at school, he attended a lecture on geology given by the Society and that stimulated his life-long interest in the subject. As a result, he was able to persuade his school, Knox Grammar, to allow him to study geology as a sole independent student for the Leaving Certificate as the subject was not offered at that school. He was rewarded with Honours in the subject in 1950. His extensive rock collection still exists.

When he became President of the Society in 1975 he was obliged to nominate his discipline – he chose geology over his profession, tanning. He worked in his father’s tanning business in Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore by day and studied geology by night at Sydney Technical College, where he later lectured on the subject. However, his Presidential Address to the Society was entitled ‘Leather: why is it so?’. He stated that the most important lesson to be learned from life was how to think.

His generosity to the Society was boundless, exemplified by his donation of the refurbished boardroom armchairs and table to the Society, facilitated through his family-owned and operated tannery. He was often present in the Society’s rooms helping in whatever way he could.

In June this year he took part in the ‘Presidents’ Reflections’ interviews prepared for the Society’s NEXUS Exhibition at the State Library of NSW. He commented at that time that he had always been very fond of the Society because of its multi-disciplinarity. In 1976 he was awarded the Royal Society of New South Wales Medal for services to science and the Society. He was extremely proud of this award, which was mentioned at his funeral held on 20 September 2021.


Distinguished Fellow, Michelle Simmons, awarded Royal Society Bakerian Medal

Scientia Professor Michell Simmons AO FRS DistFRSNFrom Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN, President of the Royal Society of NSW

On behalf of the Royal Society of NSW, I extend wholehearted congratulations to one of our Distinguished Fellows, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons AO FRS DistFRSN FAA of UNSW (Sydney), on being awarded the Bakerian Medal and Lecture 2020 by the Royal Society. Professor Simmons has been recognised for “her seminal contributions to our understanding of nature at the atomic scale by creating a sequence of world-first quantum electronic devices in which individual atoms control device behaviour.”

The Royal Society’s Bakerian Medal and Lecture is its premier lecture in the physical sciences. The lectureship was established through a bequest by Henry Baker FRS of £100 for “an oration or discourse on such part of natural history or experimental philosophy, at such time and in such manner as the President and Council of the Society, for the time being, shall please to order and appoint”. The lecture series began in 1775. The medal is of silver gilt, is awarded annually, and is accompanied by a gift of £10,000.

Professor Simmons is the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) at UNSW Sydney, and also the founder of Australia’s first quantum computing company, Silicon Quantum Computing. Her achievements have been recognised by numerous prizes and fellowships. She has been recognised by the American Computer Museum as a pioneer in quantum computing, awarded the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, and named as the 2017 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Asia-Pacific Laureate in the Physical Sciences. Professor Simmons was named Australian of the Year and admitted as a Fellow to the Royal Society of London in 2018, while in 2019 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW.

Speaking to UNSW News, Professor Simmons said that "few things have given her greater pleasure than hearing she was awarded the Bakerian Medal and that she will give the Bakerian Lecture. The Bakerian Medal means a great deal to me. The previous winners have been some truly inspirational individuals."

To read further, please see the announcement on the Royal Society website, an article in the UNSW Newsroom, and also an article (4 September 2021) in the Sydney Morning Herald.


Recent Events on YouTube: August 2021

Recorded RSNSW events now on YouTube All online events from the Royal Society of NSW are recorded and are made available for subsequent viewing on our YouTube channel, youtube.com/royalsocnsw, as well as being curated on the Presentations page of this website (under the Publishing menu). 

Amongst the most recent events are Music as a Superfood presented as part of the [email protected] series by renowned writer, broadcaster, psychologist, and operatic soprano, Greta Bradman on 22 July 2021, and The Intimate History of Evolution: The Huxleys 1825–1975, presented on 4 August 2021 by noted historian Professor Alison Bashford FRSN FAHA FRHistS FBA of UNSW (Sydney).

In Music as a Superfood, Greta Bradman discusses how music can help us live longer, sleep better, calm down, find flow, and feel happier.  Regrettably, due to rights restrictions, the YouTube recording is available only until 21 October.

In The Intimate History of Evolution: The Huxleys 1825–1975 Alison Bashford explores the contribution of Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) and his grandson Julian Huxley (1887–1975) in communicating to the world the great modern story of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Thomas Huxley, a mid-nineteenth century natural scientist was Darwin’s most outspoken spokesman, while Julian Huxley, a well-known mid-twentieth century science writer, zoologist, conservationist, was that generation’s David Attenborough. Together, they were ‘trustees of evolution’, a phrase that Julian Huxley often used to describe all of humankind, but which Alison Bashford uses to describe the Huxleys themselves. 





Meet the Fellows: a series of 3-minute videos

Royal Society of NSW The Society is pleased to introduce a new initiative titled Meet the Fellows comprising a series of 3-minute video interviews with Fellows, commencing with those who have been elected most recently.  

Since the Fellowship category of membership was introduced in December 2013 to recognise individuals who are leaders in their field, the number has continued to grow steadily to the more than 400 Fellows and Distinguished Fellows who form part of our Society today. They join around 200 Members who are also desirous of furthering the aims of the Society and have been elected in accordance with its Rules.

Our Society includes members from a wide range of disciplines and experiences, drawing its strength by embracing the sciences and the humanities and building bridges across them. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts because of the new knowledge, insights, and outcomes created by this collective intelligence.

Not being able to meet face-to-face while we grapple with the pandemic means that we cannot introduce our new Fellows to each other or to the Society at large in person. We hope that these videos will help to bridge that gap.

Further information can be found on the Meet the Fellows page, while the videos, which will be referred to on our social media accounts, are accessible from our YouTube channel, youtube.com/royalsocnsw, in the Meet the Fellows playlist.

8 August 2021






Society launches its Twitter account

RSNSW social media accountsThe Society is pleased to announce the launch of its Twitter account today (3 August 2021) in this its bicentennial year.  The Society is now active on three social media platforms, Twitter (@royalsocnsw), YouTube (royalsocnsw), and Facebook (@royalsoc), with these to be followed shortly by a presence on LinkedIn. 

Please consider following us on these channels to stay informed about Royal Society of NSW events and news.



New Stewardship of Country Proceedings

A resprouting treeDuring February and March of 2021, the Royal Societies of Australia in partnership with Inspiring Victoria presented an online symposium in three parts titled Stewardship of Country. These presentations aimed to elevate a broad range of perspectives, generating discussion on landscape and environmental management that bridges Indigenous, agricultural, scientific, economic, and social perspectives, with support for practical action and the public good.

Eleven presentations were delivered across multiple domains of land management practice and scholarly expertise, representing a historic collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, industry practitioners and thinkers, and convened under the auspices of the Royal Societies of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, with support from the CSIRO.  Of these eleven presentations, six were submitted for publication and now comprise a Special Issue of the Proceeding of the Royal Society of Victoria, which is now online and available at no cost.

These papers are well worth reading and, in the words of Dr Nelson Quinn of the Law Futures Centre of Griffith University:

‘We do not need to wait until everyone has accepted and understood the obligation of custodianship or until all our laws and institutions are reformed. We can act now, collectively and individually. Every small change we make adds to all the others — forming, eventually, big changes. We can act collaboratively, immediately magnifying the changes any one of us can make.’


Society Fellow awarded the Genetics Society of Australasia MJD White Medal

Professor Kathy Belov AOThe Council of the Royal Society of NSW warmly congratulates one of its Fellows, Professor Kathy Belov AO FRSN of the University of Sydney, on being awarded the MJD White Medal of the Genetics Society of Australasia (GSA).  The award, which commemorates Michael White who proposed the formation of the Genetics Society in 1953, recognises excellence and a lifetime of achievement in genetics research. 

Professor Belov, who is the Professor of Comparative Genomics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at the University of Sydney, and a current member of the Council of the Royal Society of NSW, has guided the University's Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group for 15 years. 

Her team is leading the genetic rescue of our most iconic and loved native animals, starting with Tasmanian devils, which suffer from a transmissible and deadly cancer called devil facial tumour disease.  Professor Belov's group is also responsible for steering the world-first full sequencing of the koala genome following the recent completion of the mapping of the echidna genome and improving the information available on the platypus genome.  Such genetic data is particularly valuable in advancing conservation efforts, aiding in the treatment of diseases, and helping to ensure the long-term survival of our native animals.

For further information about Professor Belov's research, please see the University of Sydney website.  


Vale Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Emeritus Professor E James Kehoe FRSN

Emeritus Professor James Kehoe FRSNThe Royal Society of NSW records with great regret the passing of one of its valued Fellows, Emeritus Professor Jim Kehoe FRSN, on 15 July 2021.

A senior academic from the School of Psychology at UNSW, Jim became a Fellow of the Society in 2012 and contributed in many ways to the expansion of the society in the mid-2010s. He was an enthusiastic member of the Council (2016 to 2018) and offered his publishing skills to the Society by editing the Bulletin from 2015 to 2017. He continued and nurtured our association with the Chief Scientist and Engineer of NSW and the yearly meeting of Deans of Science and Engineering to advise the Awards Committee as Chair of the Awards Committee from 2016 to 2019. Professor Kehoe’s activities for the RSNSW were recognised by the Citation of the Society in 2019.

Jim was a behavioural neuroscientist who researched associative learning, instructional design, using neural network models, and computer-based learning. He was a senior officer in the Australian Army Reserve, advising on character and values, and teamwork and leadership development. He had a black belt in, and was a teacher of, karate.


Society Fellow awarded Ecological Society of Australia Gold Medal

Professor Richard KingsfordThe Council of the Royal Society of NSW warmly congratulates one of its Fellows, Professor Richard Kingsford FRSN of UNSW Sydney, on being awarded a Gold Medal by the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) for 2021.  The Gold Medals awarded each year by the ESA recognise the impact of the work of leading Australian ecologists.

Professor Kingsford, who is a river ecologist and conservation biologist, and Director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at UNSW Sydney, has made a significant contribution to understanding the impact of water resource developments on rivers and wetlands. He has worked extensively across the wetlands and rivers of the Murray-Darling and Lake Eyre Basins and leads the Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey, running since 1983 and spanning approximately one-third of the continent. This survey provides one of Australia’s most important long-term datasets on the health and biodiversity of the country’s river and wetland areas.  Recently, he has also led a study on the impact of dams on downstream platypus populations, resulting in a submission for threatened species status for the platypus.

In a lecture titled “Murray-Darling Basin turmoil: past, present, and future”, Professor Kingsford spoke on these very topics at a recent online meeting of the Royal Society of NSW.  A recording of this presentation is available on the Society's YouTube channel.    

To learn more about this award, please see the announcement on the UNSW Sydney Newsroom website.  


NSW Government provides new sponsorship for the Society

NSW Government and RSNSW LogosThe Society is delighted to announce that the NSW Government, through the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer, is providing a three-year sponsorship for its ongoing operations. 

In announcing the sponsorship, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, said “The Royal Society’s stated mission is more important today than ever: ‘To contribute to a just, secure and sustainable society… by providing authentic and authoritative information and enlightenment on a wide range of subjects, addressing national and global challenges, and recognising and promoting excellence’ ”.

In thanking the NSW Government for its generous sponsorship, the Society President, Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN, noted that “it will allow Society to expand its vision of enriching lives through knowledge and enquiry, and importantly, support the Premier’s Priority of making a significant difference to the quality of life of the people of NSW.”

For further information, please see the press release issued by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer.


Attila Brungs FRSN FTSE named as next UNSW Vice-Chancellor

Attila Brungs FRSN FTSEThe Council of the Royal Society of NSW warmly congratulates one of its Fellows, Attila Brungs FRSN FTSE, on being named as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Professor Brungs, currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since 2014, has had a distinguished career in the academic, research and business sectors.  He is a science graduate of UNSW, and has a PhD from the University of Oxford where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.  Before joining UTS as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in 2009, he spent seven years in senior roles at CSIRO in the areas of science investment and strategy and in business development, and four years at McKinsey and Co. 

Professor Brungs takes up his appointment in January 2022 following the return to the UK of the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs, who earlier this year announced his decision to step down after seven years in the role. 

To read further, please consult the articles in the UNSW website, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian Financial Review.


Queen's Birthday Honours 2021

Royal Society of NSW The Society is pleased to note the awards listed in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List to Society Fellows: a Companion of the Order to Australia (AC) to Emeritus Professor Kurt Lambeck AC DistFRSN FRS FAA, Members of the Order of Australia (AM) to Professor Gilles Guillemin AM OM (Fr, Chevalier) FRSN and Mr John Hardie AM FRSN, and a Medal of the Order of Australia to Adjunct Professor Medy Hassan OAM FRSN.

Professor Lambeck, of the Australian National University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, received his honour for eminent service to science, particularly to geophysics and geodesy, through research roles at the national and international level, to professional scientific organisations, and to education.  Professor Guilleman, of Macquarie University, received his honour in recognition of significant service to science education, to Motor Neurone Disease research, and to sport, while Mr Hardie, who is President of the Royal Societies of Australia and a former President of the Royal Society of NSW, was honoured for significant service to science education, and to professional societies. Adjunct Professor Hassan received his award for service to the building and construction industry.


Society Fellow awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright Scholarship

RSNSW Seal The Royal Society of NSW is delighted to learn that one of its Fellows, Professor Hala Zreiqat AM FRSN FAA FTSE FAHMS, has been awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright Senior Scholarship.  

Professor Zreiqat is a professor of biomedical engineering at The University of Sydney and Director of the Australian Research Centre for Innovative BioEngineering. Hala is a trailblazer in the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering. Her team invented new bioceramics implants with outstanding strength and biological properties and developed innovative technologies for 3D-printing these ceramics enabling personalized approaches to the repair and regeneration of large bone defects under load.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Professor Zreiqat will spend time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Professor Robert Langer, a globally recognized pioneer, leader, and entrepreneur in the biomedical sciences. She will learn strategies for commercialising and translating medical research into life-changing products. Learnings will inform the commercialisation of regenerative medicine research in Australia.

The Council of the Royal Society of NSW extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Zreiqat on this award and recognition of her outstanding scientific achievements.


Vale Emeritus Professor Roger Layton AM FRSN

RSNSW Logo The Royal Society of NSW records with great regret the passing of one of its valued Fellows, Emeritus Professor Roger A. Layton AM FRSN on 5 June 2021.  

Professor Layton was the father of modern marketing in our region, starting in 1967 with his appointment as the first Chair of Marketing at UNSW. He was Head of the School, of Marketing at UNSW from 1967 to 1992 and Dean of the Faculty from 1992 to 2002. Over the years he has played a major role in the development of marketing research, education and practice in our region and in establishing its place on the world stage. He has also established a worldwide reputation for his research, especially in the areas of marketing systems theory and macromarketing. His research has been published in leading international journals in marketing including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Macromarketing.

His contributions have been recognised and celebrated in many ways. For his services to marketing research and education he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in June 1998. He was a Fellow of all the major business related research institutes in Australia, as well as the Royal Society of NSW. At a dinner celebrating 50 years at UNSW, Bob Hawke, the ex-Prime Minister of Australia came to pay his respects and give a speech in his honour. In 1997 ANZMAC gave him the inaugural award of Distinguished Marketing Educator.



Society welcomes new Members and Fellows: May 2021

RSNSW Seal The Council of the Royal Society of NSW extends a warm welcome to new Members and Fellows elected at the 1294th Ordinary General Meeting on 5 May 2021 and trusts that each will enjoy and benefit from their membership of the Society.

New Members

  • Mr Philip Bailey
  • Mr Jordan Gacutan
  • Mr Brian Spilsbury

New Fellows (including laudations) 

  • Professor John Ballard—Bill Ballard initiated dingo genomics in Australia and has provided a pathway to unravelling the evolutionary history of the continent's apex predator through study of the mitochondrial genome.
  • Ms Frances Bodkin—Fran Bodkin has had a diverse career spanning over 65 years advocating for cultural and environmental issues in roles in government, academia, private sector and as an independent consultant.
  • Dr Jennifer Buckingham—Jennifer Buckingham is a leading academic researcher in the science of reading instruction and an influential voice in shaping education policy at State and Federal levels.
  • Professor Catherine Coleborne—Australia's leading historian of psychiatry, Catherine Coleborne, has transformed our understanding of the past and present of mental illness and the asylum.
  • Professor Judith Dawes—Judith Dawes is a leader in the science of optics, especially light interaction with matter at the nanoscale. Professor Dawes has developed novel laser applications in medicine and dentistry.
  • Professor Ofer Gal—Ofer Gal is a national and global leader in the History and Philosophy of Science, publishing extensively on the historical path that science and university-based research have taken.
  • Professor Jennifer Gore—Jennifer Gore is renowned for her ground-breaking approach to professional development, Quality Teaching Rounds, which is having transformative effects on the quality of teaching, teacher morale and student achievement.
  • Professor Gordon Grigg—Professor Gordon Grigg is a significant leader of research into Australian vertebrates. He is known for studies of the biology of saltwater crocodiles, and first discovered hibernation in a non-placental mammal.
  • Professor Janet Nelson—Janet Nelson, an internationally renowned chemist, has had a distinguished career in research leadership, including senior roles in the university, government and industry sectors in the US and now Australia.
  • Ms Anne Maria Nicholson—Anne Maria Nicholson is a celebrated novelist and media professional. She has brought the arts to a national audience, enriching both practitioners and the public and making a positive contribution to Australian culture.
  • Dr Samantha Oakes—Samantha Oakes' contributions to the improvement of breast cancer survival has been significant through the discovery of new therapeutic combinations, to leading the follow-up unit for Australia’s largest advanced cancer genomic clinical trial.
  • Professor Laura Poole-Warren—Laura Poole-Warren has made outstanding research contributions in biomedical engineering. Through senior academic roles, she has significantly impacted institutional research and is an exceptional mentor and role model for young researchers.
  • Professor Simon Ringer—Simon Ringer is an outstanding materials engineer specialising in microstructure-process-property relationships in advanced materials, and a key leader in shaping Australia's research infrastructure landscape.
  • Professor Jackie Scully—Jackie Scully is internationally recognised as a leader in disability and feminist bioethics, whose work has made major contributions to theoretical bioethics, healthcare policy, and public engagement.
  • Professor Mark Stewart—Mark Stewart is an international leader in risk assessment, public policy decision making, and protective infrastructure for extreme hazards applied to a wide range of infrastructure/ engineering systems, including climate change.
  • Hon. Associate Professor Laurence Wakelin—Larry Wakelin is internationally recognised for his research into innovative DNA-binding anti-cancer drugs, particularly intercalating and DNA-directed alkylating agents, and for his teaching of pharmacology to both science and medical students.
  • Associate Professor Qilin Wang—Qilin Wang has made significant contributions to the development of a suite of innovative technologies to revolutionise the science and practice of urban water management for Australian water utilities.
  • Emeritus Professor Ian Webster—Ian Webster has served in senior leadership positions in Public Health and Community Medicine, and is known for his work on addiction, mental health and the impact of homelessness.



Society Fellows and Members "In the News"

In the NewsFrom time to time, the Society and its Fellows and Members are mentioned, or are published, in the media, or in other sources or outlets. The Society is pleased to inform readers that summaries of such mentions, together with links either to the original sources, or to news items that include links to original sources, are now published on the In the News page, accessible in the Events/News menu or under the heading Noteworthy on the home page sidebar.  We hope that you find this compilation to be informatative and of interest.  


Society Fellows elected as 2021 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science

RSNSW Seal The Royal Society of NSW is delighted to learn of the recognition of two of its Fellows and one of its Distinguished Fellows as new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, elected in May 2021.  They are Professor Sue Coppersmith FRSN FAA and Professor Hala Zreiqat  AM FRSN FAA FTSE FAHMS who were elected as Fellows of the Academy, and Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart FRS DistFRSN FAA who was elected as a Corresponding Member of the Academy. As Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, they are among Australia’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research.

Professor Susan CoppersmithThe Academy citation for Professor Susan Coppersmith, of the School of Physics at UNSW (Sydney) recognises her  outstanding contributions to several subjects in condensed matter, focusing on the fundamental nature of systems that are far from thermal equilibrium. She has developed theories unifying phenomena that are observed in areas as diverse as population biology, biomineralization, granular materials, and superfluidity. Working closely with experimentalists, she has also made important contributions to the development of quantum dot qubits in silicon/silicon-germanium heterostructures.

Professor Hala ZreiqatThe Academy citation for Professor Hala Zreiqat of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sydney notes that she has made significant contributions to biomaterials, regenerative medicine, and translational orthopaedic research. She introduced advanced cell, molecular biology and nanoscience approaches to the biomaterials field. Her team invented new bioceramics with outstanding strength and biological properties for the regeneration of large bone defects. She has developed innovative technologies for 3D-printing these ceramics, enabling carefully controlled fabrication of complex structures with precisely defined shape, porosity, architecture and surface topography. These achievements are leading to the development of novel orthopaedic implants, including the world’s first synthetic material for healing large bone defects under load, enabling personalised approaches to the repair and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues.

Professor Sie Fraser StoddartThe Academy citation for Sir Fraser Stoddart, as a Corresponding Member of the Academy, notes that he is a 2016 joint Nobel Laureate in chemistry and one of the few chemists during the past 35 years to have created a new field of chemistry: mechanostereochemistry. He pioneered the development of techniques now employed as molecular switches in the fabrication of molecular electronic devices and in the design and synthesis of artificial molecular machines. Corresponding Membership is a special category within the Fellowship, comprising eminent international scientists with strong ties to Australia who have made outstanding contributions to science. As of 2021, there are 34 Corresponding Members of the Academy.

The Council of the Royal Society of NSW extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Coppersmith, Professor Zreiqat, and Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart on this recognition of their outstanding scientific achievements.

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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