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 Tasmania 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 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.


Recent Events now on YouTube: May 2021

RSNSW Seal - MonochromeRecent events held online during April and May 2021 by the Royal Society of NSW are now available on our YouTube channel

Most recently, Emerita Professor Mary O'Kane AC FRSN FTSE HonFIEAust, Chair of the NSW Independent Planning Commission, former Chief Scientist and Engineer of NSW, and one of the leaders of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry (2020) delivered the lecture titled “Big, bad fires in NSW” at the 1293rd  Ordinary General Meeting held on the evening of 5 May.  It was a most through-provoklng talk in which Professor O'Kane examined the nature of the  2019-20 bushfires, and discussed why they were so extreme, and why they are likely to happen again.

In April,  Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger delivered the lecture titled “Antarctica, this ain’t no mirage: the value of art in disseminating scientific information” at the 1292nd Ordinary General Meeting on 7 April, while renowned author and Distinguished Fellow of the Society, Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN, in the second [email protected] event held on 15 April, addressed the theme of his most recent book in “Australia and the Dickens Boys” in conversation with Judith Wheeldon.

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.


A message from the new President: Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN

Dr Susan Pond AM FRSNIt is my great privilege to be elected as President of the Royal Society of NSW. Thank you to the many who have welcomed me so warmly. I look forward to meeting more and more members in the coming months. You are a collection of inspiring individuals committed to using your influence to create a better world. It is an honour for me to be part of the Society, and even more so as President.

I begin my first President’s column in the Bulletin by acknowledging the Past
Presidents of the Society, many of whom remain active members today. I also acknowledge my fellow Councillors and Committee members.

I particularly want to pay tribute to our immediate Past President, Ian Sloan, for his fine leadership over the last three years and his steady resolve during 2020, amidst the turbulence of the pandemic. Pleasingly, Ian will remain on Council as Past President for the next year — our bicentennial year which begins in June. We will be celebrating the first 200 years of our Society’s history while creating new chapters that will be written about in years to come.

Throughout my career, as I transitioned from academia to industry and back, I greatly enjoyed creating impact by combining and working at the intersections of disciplines. The unique strength of our Society is the mix of depth and breadth of expertise of our membership, and of far-reaching personal vision combined with big picture thinking.

It is more important than ever for the Society to be ambitious in its thinking and outward in its vision. As President I propose to amplify the energy and firepower of our entire membership so that together we can better contribute, as an independent and authoritative voice, to the advancement of knowledge and informed debate on critical challenges and transitions. By way of example, this year’s RSNSW and Learned Academies Forum on 4 November will tackle the topic ‘Power and Peril of the Digital Age’.

I want to capture and retain our innovations that were successful during the pandemic, especially the extension of our outreach beyond Sydney and NSW through on-line events. That said, I also want our events to return to being held live as soon as practicable. Face-to-face meetings will be more important than ever for building stronger bonds between us, generating and debating new ideas, and facilitating a more natural flow of conversation.

With live meetings in mind, small and large, I intend to work hard to secure dedicated premises in Sydney to give the Society the permanence, stability, and presence we need to take our renaissance to the next level.

I also intend to bring people from all sorts of backgrounds and from different regions into the Society so that it reflects the communities we serve. We have begun discussions about establishing a branch in Western NSW, having seen the success of the Southern Highlands and Hunter Branches.

The Society will only be successful if you, the members, are prepared to offer your time, energy and expertise. Please come forward if you are interested in contributing to our success!


Recent Events now on YouTube: April 2021

RSNSW Seal - MonochromeRecent events held online during April 2021 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.


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


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. 


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
  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
  David Cook AO FRSN FTSE
  Malte Ebach FRSN
  Pamela Griffith FRSN
  Donald Hector AM FRSN FIEAust FIChemE FAICD
  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
Royal Society of NSW

15 March 2021


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


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..


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:


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.

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