Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events
APR
16

Recent Events now on YouTube: April 2021

RSNSW Seal - MonochromeRecent events held online by the Royal Society of NSW are now available on our YouTube channel

These are the lecture presented at the 1292nd Ordinary General Meeting by the contemporary artist, Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger, on the evening of 7 April, and the conversation with renowned author and Distinguished Fellow of the Society, Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN, in the second [email protected] event, held on the evening of 15 April.  

Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger discussed “Antarctica, this ain’t no mirage: the value of art in disseminating scientific information”, while Thomas Keneally, in conversation with Vice-President Judith Wheeldon, addressed the theme of his most recent book in “Australia and the Dickens Boys”.

All online events conducted recently by the Society are available on YouTube and are accessible from the Presentation and Forum pages of the Society’s website.

APR
06

RSNSW Council Elections 2021: Declaration of Results

Council Elections 2021: Declaration of Results

The electronic ballot for the 2021 Council Elections of the Royal Society of NSW closed at noon on Tuesday, 6 April 2021. There were 260 ballots submitted by 586 eligible voters, representing an overall return of 44.3%.

The outcome of the election is as follows.

For President:

There were 256 votes tallied with 4 abstentions from 260 ballots received.

Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN FTSE FAHMS is elected to a 2-year term as President with 157 votes.

For Past President:

Under Rule 16(d) of the Society, Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FRSN FAA is appointed to a 1-year term as immediate Past President.

For Vice-President:

There were 253 votes tallied with 7 abstentions from 260 ballots received.

Ms Judith Wheeldon AM FRSN is elected to a 2-year term as Vice-President with 145 votes.

For the election of eight (8) Council members:

Under Rule 18(b) of the Society, the four (4) candidates with the greatest number of votes are elected for a two-year term, with the next four candidates being elected for a one-year term.

There were 1968 votes tallied with 14 abstentions from 260 ballots received.

Councillors, in alphabetical order, elected for a two-year term are:

  • Professor Katherine Belov AO FRSN with 206 votes
  • Dr Davina Jackson FRSN with 159 votes
  • Ms Virginia Judge FRSN with 177 votes
  • Emeritus Professor Christina Slade FRSN with 174 votes

 

Councillors in alphabetical order elected for a one-year term are:

  • Ms Pamela Griffith FRSN with 158 votes
  • Dr Donald Hector AM FRSN with 151 votes
  • Professor Eric Knight FRSN with 148 votes
  • Emeritus Professor Robert Marks FRSN with 143 votes

 

Other Office-bearers:

Only a single nomination was received for the following four office-bearer positions and so these are declared elected for a two-year term without the need for a ballot:

  • Secretary: Mr Bruce Ramage MRSN
  • Treasurer: Mr John Cameron MRSN
  • Librarian: Mr John Hardie FRSN
  • Webmaster: Emeritus Professor Lindsay Botten FRSN

 

Wendy Enevoldsen
Returning Officer, Royal Society of NSW

APR
03

RSNSW Fellows recognised in Australian Academy of Science Awards

AAS LogoTwo Royal Society of NSW Fellows have recently received Australian Academy of Science (AAS) Honorific Awards, announced in March 2021. 

They are:

  • Professor Thomas Maschmeyer FRSN FAA FTSE who was awarded the David Craig Medal and Lecture—one of the AAS Career Honorifics
  •  Professor Angela Moles FRSN who was awarded the Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science—one of the AAS mid-Career Honorifics.

 

The Council of the Society most warmly congratulates Professor Maschmeyer and Professor Moles on this recognition of their outstanding research achievements. 

MAR
16

RSNSW Council Elections 2021: Candidates and Ballot

Council Elections 2021: Candidates and BallotNominations for the 2021 Elections for the Council of the Royal Society of NSW closed at 5.00pm on Friday, 5 March 2021.

Listed below are those who nominated as office-bearers and as ordinary members of Council. In all cases, candidates were invited to provide optional statements outlining how their expertise and experience fits them for these roles and will benefit the Society. These statements are available through the links below.

Office/Role Candidate
President Susan Pond AM FRSN FTSE FAHMS FRACP FAICD
  Ian Sloan AO FRSN FAA
   
Vice-President Sean Brawley FRSN
  Judith Wheeldon AM FRSN
   
Secretary Bruce Ramage MRSN
Treasurer John Cameron MRSN CPA
Librarian John Hardie FRSN FHEA FGS
Webmaster Lindsay Botten FRSN FAIP FAustMS FOSA
   
Councillors Katherine Belov AO FRSN
(8 positions) Sean Brawley FRSN
  Robert Clancy AM FRSN FRACP FRCPA FRCPC
  David Cook AO FRSN FTSE
  Malte Ebach FRSN
  Philip Gale FRSN FRSC FRACI
  Pamela Griffith FRSN
  Donald Hector AM FRSN FIEAust FIChemE FAICD
  Davina Jackson FRSN FRSA FRGS LMISDE
  Virginia Judge FRSN
  Eric Knight FRSN
  Robert Marks FRSN
  Bruce Milthorpe FRSN FBSE
  Christina Slade FRSN

For each of the positions of Secretary, Treasurer, Librarian, and Webmaster, only a single nomination was received. Accordingly, these Office-bearers will be declared elected, without the need for a ballot, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on 7 April 2021 at 6.00pm. 

An election is required for the positions of:

  • President — from a field of two (2) candidates
  • Vice-President — from a field of two (2) candidates
  • Eight (8) Councillors — from a field of fourteen (14) candidates.

Please note that there are candidates who are standing for more than one position.  In such circumstances, Rule 16(e) states that when a person stands for election in several offices (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Librarian, Webmaster, Councillor), that person shall be deemed elected to the first office considered for election in the order specified, if successful, and shall by deemed ineligible for subsequent offices.

The ballot will be conducted electronically and will run from 18 March 12.00pm AEDT to 6 April 12.00pm AEST.

Members, Fellows and Distinguished Fellows, who are financial in 2021, will receive an email from the Society's Returning Officer, via the electronic balloting company, Election Buddy. This email will include a unique ballot link that provides a random, secret access key for each voter. Voter anonymity is assured by ballot settings which ensure that voter choices cannot be linked to any voter.

The ballot will also address procedural business of the AGM, details of which are provided on the Preliminary Notice of the 154th AGM and 1292th OGM.

Bruce Ramage
Secretary
Royal Society of NSW

15 March 2021

MAR
12

Mark Scott AO FRSN named as the next University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor

Mark Scott AO FRSNThe Council of the Royal Society of NSW warmly congratulates one of its Fellows, Mark Scott AO FRSN, on being named as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

Mr Scott has had a distinguished career in both the public and the private sectors. Since 2016, he has served as Secretary of the NSW Department of Education. Prior to that, from 2006 to 2016, he was the Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.  Before joining the ABC, he held a number of senior editorial roles within the Australian media, including Editor-in-Chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and Group Editorial Director of Fairfax Media.

He commences a five-year term on 19 July 2021 and will be one of only two Vice-Chancellors in Australia with a background outside of academia.

To read further, please consult the articles on the University of Sydney website and the Sydney Morning Herald

MAR
03

Notice of Hunter Branch Annual General Meeting 2021

Hunter AGM NoticeNotice of the 1st Annual General Meeting of the RSNSW Hunter Branch



Date: Tuesday, 31 March, 5.00pm AEDT
Venue: Collaborative Teal Room, X201, NUSpace, University of Newcastle (Hunter St) and via Zoom live-streaming
Entry: No charge
Only financial Members and Fellows of the RSNSW Hunter Branch are eligible to attend.

Notice is hereby given of the 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW.

Due to social distancing restriction imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the capacity of the room is limited to 36 people.  For those unable to be accommodated, or to attend physically, access to the meeting will be provided via Zoom. 

An agenda for the meeting is available online.

Amongst the business of the meeting is the Election of the Branch Committee for 2021-2022.  Nomination forms and further information is available from the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FEB
23

Society Fellow, Veena Sahajwalla, featured on ABC TV Australian Story

Professor Veena SahajwallaSociety Fellow and UNSW Sydney Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla FRSN FAA FTSE was the subject of a fascinating ABC TV Australian Story documentary, The Tipping Point, on her life's work in the recycling of waste that is now revolutionising manufacturing. 

From her childhood in Mumbai, she recognised that waste was an untapped resource that was waiting to be harnessed. The program documents an impressive list of accomplishments that include the development of "green steel" in which the use of coal in the steel making process is being progressively replaced by rubber from recycled tyres.

Most recently, the Eureka Prize winning scientist has turned her attention to the development of "green ceramics", fabricated from recycled glass and second-hand clothes, which have a stylish, designer appearance and are being used in flooring, walling, and furniture applications. This development has attracted the attention of the construction firm Mirvac, which sees considerable potential in these products, and also has fostered the development of "micro-factories" which provide a distributed capability for the recycling of waste into innovative products. The program highlighted the first commercially operating micro-factory in the town of Cootamundra, supported by seed funding from the NSW Physical Sciences Fund.

To read more about this story, to view the program, and to learn more about the circular economy and waste recycling, please peruse the following links:

FEB
16

Society Fellow, Alison Bashford, named as a 2021 Dan David Prize Laureate

Professor Alison BashfordThe Council of the Royal Society of NSW warmly congratulates one of its Fellows, ARC Laureate Professor Alison Bashford FRSN FAHA FRHistS of UNSW (Sydney), on being named as a 2021 Dan David Prize Laureate.  Professor Bashford is the Director of the Laureate Centre for History & Population at UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture, and was the 2020 winner of the Royal Society of NSW History and Philosophy of Science Prize.

The Dan David Prize is a prestigious international prize, which annually makes three awards of US$1 million each for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world. Each year fields are chosen within the three Time Dimensions — Past, Present and Future. The total purse of $US3 million makes this prestigious prize also one of the highest valued awards internationally.

Professor Bashford is one of three international scholars who have received Laureates in the category Past: History of Health and Medicine.—with the other two being Professor Katharine Park (Harvard University) and Professor Keith Wailoo (Princeton University). 

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) was awarded the Present: Public Health prize, while pioneers of an anti-cancer immunotherapy, Professor Zelig Eshhar (Weizmann Institute of Science and the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center), Professor Carl June (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr Steven Rosenberg (National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland) were named as Laureates in the Future: Molecular Medicine category.

The citation for Professor Bashford’s Laureate notes that she has contributed immensely to the history of medicine and science by connecting it with global history and environmental history into new assessments of the modern world, from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Laureate Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and Director of the Laureate Centre for History & Population, and Honorary Fellow, Jesus College, Cambridge, Bashford’s work is unusually expansive across geographies, topics, and periods.

She has led global discussion about the history of health and medicine in four major areas: quarantine and medico-legal border control; population and eugenics; the links between colonial and world health; and gender and health as a key driver of modern world history. In all these areas, Bashford’s books, articles and public discussion offer large-scale and integrated analyses of how the twenty first century world came to be.

Her longstanding historical work on quarantine and infectious disease has been a major resource in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Bashford brings together scholars from across the world, and across many disciplines, to consider how the past and present fold together. When biosecurity threats of SARS, anthrax, and avian influenza suddenly amplified political insecurity in the early 2000s, she convened leading thinkers quickly, producing a trio of books that have deepened our understanding of that complex global moment, unexpectedly renewed with the emergence of Covid-19.

Throughout her work on eugenics, Bashford has eschewed an obvious exposé history. She has been far more driven to understand how and why it flourished amongst progressivists, modernists, and reformers, and how, counter-intuitively, some anti-racists and anti-colonials also pursued eugenics. Perhaps her most original contribution has been to analyze eugenics within twentieth-century conceptions of “freedom” and “duty,” along with coercion and force. Her work has linked the practice of eugenics to the emergence of a global liberal and neo-liberal order, as much as to the history of fascism to which it is typically connected.

FEB
06

Recent Events now on YouTube: February 2021

RSNSW Seal - MonochromeRecent events held online by the Royal Society of NSW are now available on our YouTube channel

Most recently, there were the 2020 Student Award Presentations delivered at the1290th Ordinary General Meeting (3 February 2021) by the Jak Kelly Award Winner, Matthew Donnelly from UNSW (Sydney), and the three RSNSW Scholarship Winners, Sajad Razavi Bazaz of UTS, Daniel Fox of ANU, and Philippa Specker of UNSW (Sydney).  In December 2020, Scientia Professor Matthew England of UNSW (Sydney), and the 2019 winner of the Society’s James Cook Medal, delivered the lecture at the 1289th Ordinary General Meeting (9 December 2020).

In February 2021, Matthew Donnelly spoke about “Controlling how electrons move in silicon at the atomic scale”, Sajad Razavi Bazaz discussed, “3D printed micro-engineered systems for life science research”, Daniel Fox considered “Molecular mechanisms of inflammasome activation by enterotoxins of the foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus, while Philippa Specker  addressed the question of “Improving the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in refugees: The important role of emotion regulation”.

In December 2020, Professor England spoke on “Dispelling climate change myths—how ocean physics can help explain surprises in the modern-day climate record”. 

All online events conducted recently by the Society are available on YouTube and are accessible from the Presentation and Forum pages of the Society’s website.

JAN
27

NSW "Turning Ideas into Jobs" R&D Action Plan

NSW R&D Action Plan - Turning Ideas into Action logoOn 25 January 2021, the NSW Premier,The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian, launched the Turning Ideas into Jobs – Accelerating Research & Development in NSW Action Plan. The Action Plan is the NSW Government response to an unprecedented disruption to the NSW economy, arising from technological advances, natural disasters and a devastating global pandemic, which collectively have put ongoing economic prosperity under pressure.

The response to these challenges seeks to build a more resilient, self-sufficient and innovative state economy.  The Action Plan sets out five recommended Priority Actions to foster the state's innovation profile through R&D that is undertaken in universities, institutes and technology businesses.  The actions are:

  1. Launch a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – providing competitive grants for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and commercialise innovative solutions to well-defined problems for NSW Government agencies.
  2. Boost open data – release new government datasets so businesses can make better decisions, entrepreneurs can build new businesses and the government can solve complex challenges.
  3. Turbocharge precincts – develop precincts to attract national and global technology industries and investment, and drive collaboration between universities, research organisations, start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs, to commercialise R&D.
  4. Target strategic support for NSW universities – collaborate on research that drives future NSW strategic growth industries and research-led industry attraction, and better leverage Commonwealth Government research funding.
  5. Establish an R&D matchmaking platform – better connect research ‘sellers’ and ‘buyers’ and link researchers to research infrastructure and expertise.

To read more about this initiative, please follow the link to the report Accelerating R&D in NSW: Turning ideas into jobs, which is available from the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet website. 

JAN
26

Australia Day Honours 2021

Australia Days 2021 Honours The Society is pleased to note the awards in the 2021 Australia Day Honours that have gone to Society Fellows: an Officer of the Order of Australia to Professor Eileen Baldry AO FRSN; an Officer of the Order of Australia to Emeritus Professor Christopher Fell AO FRSN; and a Member of the Order of Australia to Dr Ronald Webber AM FRSN

Professor Baldry, who is the  Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UNSW (Sydney), received her honour for distinguished service to tertiary education, to criminology and social welfare policy, and as an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Professor Fell, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW (Sydney) and Chair of the Board of the Australian National Fabrication Facility, received his honour for distinguished service to science and engineering, particularly to nanotechnology research and fabrication, and to professional networks. 

 Dr Webber received his honour for significant service to the building and construction sector.  

The Council of the Society extends its warmest congratulations to each of those so honoured on Australia Day 2021.  

JAN
25

Introducing "The Long Enlightenment" from the Royal Societies of Australia

Cover of The Long EnlightenmentThe Royal Societies of Australia is a national umbrella organisation advocating for all of Australia’s Royal Societies, including the Royal Society of NSW.

The Royal Societies of Australia and Halstead Press present a new book by Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN on the achievements of Australian scientists, both famous and forgotten, from the colonial period up until the mid-20th century.

Professor Clancy examines over 100 scientists and their work to discover what enabled the dramatic success of Australian research on both a global and domestic stage. This is no romantic celebration of an imagined golden age, but rather a study of the assets and obstacles that steered the course of scientific accomplishment in this country that seeks to answer the crucial question of what we can learn from the scientific thinking and practice of the past.

This important, new, well-illustrated hardcover work of 184 pages is now available at the special price of $40 plus postage for all Members and Fellows of the Royal Society of NSW.

To obtain your copy, send your completed order form by email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to:

Royal Societies of Australia logo
The Royal Societies of Australia
GPO Box 188
Canberra ACT 2601

JAN
04

Condolence message from the RSA President for Major General Michael Jeffery

Royal Societies of Australia Logo On behalf of the Royal Societies of Australia I would like to express my great appreciation for the encouragement and support given by Major General Jeffery to the Royal Societies of Australia (RSA). It was General Jeffery who, as Governor-General at the time, encouraged the six separate Royal Societies in Australia to establish an umbrella body which could advocate for and on behalf of each on a national basis. He later accepted Patronage of the RSA while he was Governor-General. 

 His foresight and enlightened encouragement continued right through until his last days, with my invitation to him to be the Patron of the RSA's 'Stewardship of Country' symposium series, an invitation accepted with enthusiasm. It was unfortunate that this was never to be realised due to the postponement of the event to 2021 and General Jeffery's illness.

I do remember with great fondness visiting Michael and Marlena's home in October 2019 to discuss the seminar series and despite his treatment having only just begun, being overwhelmed by the amount of research General Jeffery had done in preparation for my visit.

Michael took great delight in being awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of NSW, Australia's oldest learned Society and a foundation member of the RSA, in July 2018 for his scientific advocacy. He was pleased to be able to attend meetings of that Society in Sydney when he could, the most recent being on 7 August 2019 when he listened to a talk by Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN on “Democracy under challenge: how can we restore a sense of citizenship?”. General Jeffery rose to the occasion quite literally and at the end of the talk gave the audience the unexpected benefit of hearing his own insights into this topic, about which he knew a great deal.

The RSA sends its condolences to Marlena and her family in the knowledge that Michael has done so much for the encouragement of intellectual inquiry and human endeavour. We are proud to be able to continue his legacy.

John Hardie FRSN FHEA FGS
President, Royal Societies of Australia
29 December 2020

JAN
01

Announcing the Society's 2021 Events Program

RSNSW Seal The Royal Society of NSW wishes all Members, Fellows and friends a most happy, healthy and successful New Year ahead and trusts that its Events Program for 2021 will be well received and widely enjoyed. The initial draft of the program has now been published on the website, and will be progressively developed in coming weeks and months. Please check back regularly to keep apprised of any developments, as they occur.    

While the Society looks forward to resuming face-to-face events at some stage during 2021, the ongoing uncertainty caused the the current COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and elsewhere in NSW makes it difficult to predict when this will be.  Until that time, the Society will continue with its virtual events program, the first of which will be held on 3 February at 6.30pm.      

 

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