Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events
APR
30

April 2002 - General Monthly Meeting and Presidential Address

In December 2003 it will be one hundred years since the first powered, sustained, heavier-than-air, human flight. However much of Australia's early flight history is unknown. Our President, Mr David Craddock, an Aeronautical Engineer and aviation historian, was an excellent guide on Australia's early flight history in his most interesting address: Antipodean Aeronautica.
MAR
01

Annual Dinner 2002

The Annual Dinner was held at the Holme Centre, Sydney University, on Thursday 28 February. The Society presented awards to Dr Samantha J. Richardson of Melbourne University (the Edgeworth David Medal), Dr Gordon H. Packham of Frenchs Forest (the Clarke Medal), Professor Michael W. Parker of the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne (the Walter Burfitt Prize) and Professor Peter A. Williams of the University of Western Sydney (the Society's Medal). The after-dinner address, Is Greenhouse all Hot Air? A Short History of Planet Earth, was presented by Ian Plimer.
SEP
30

Soirée at the Nicholson Museum (2006)

Thursday 28 September 2006, 4.30 - 8.30pm

Flushed with success, the Council of the Royal Society decided it was time for a bit of a heels-up - or rather heads-down - to look at treasured items from our wonderful collection. The occasion? A soirée at the Nicholson Museum in The University of Sydney to celebrate the achievements of the previous twelve months.

In that time, the Council managed to win two grants. The first, a State Government grant of $30,000 to be used for the publication of the journal over the next three years, was the work of past president Karina Kelly and her team. The second was $5,500 through one of the Federal Government's Community Heritage Grants organized by the National Library in Canberra.

It was through this grant that our consultant historians, Dr David Branagan and Dr Peter Tyler, assessed the Society's collection of books, journals, maps, drawings, painting, photographs, lantern-slides and medals to be highly significant both historically and scientifically. Selected items were displayed in the facilities offered by the Nicholson Museum. Staff and guests donned cotton gloves to leaf through some of the precious books, which included works by the American archaeologist and naturalist Charles C. Abbott, and Opuscula, one of the most significant books in the Society's collection, written in Latin by Georg Bauer, better known by his Latin name, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555). He is considered the founder of geology as a discipline. Another book, Cyrillus in Johannem et Leviticum una cum thesauro eiusdem, was published in 1508. It is the only one held in Australia. There was also the first volume of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, beautifully illustrated by the artist Sydenham S. Edwards and published 1787. The Society holds the complete set (Volumes 1-14) and many other volumes of the Botanical Magazine by various other publishers.

Also on display were Lawrence Hargrave's aeronautical and other papers, together with some of the drawings and lantern-slides of his first flying machine, and a very rare edition of J.D. Dana's Geology, written when he accompanied W.B. Clarke around the Sydney Basin. Hand-written letters from Society member Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur were a great attraction. Many of the medals on display were from Clarke's collection. These are kept in the care of the Mitchell Library together with some 20 boxes of books and other items belonging to the Royal Society. These are to be the target of our next round of assessment and listing.

Undeniably the Society is the custodian of a remarkably important collection. It is imperative that we take every step to preserve it and to make it available to all.

Guests at the soirée included the university's Vice Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brown and his wife, Diane, the former Vice Chancellor of Macquarie University, Professor Di Yerbury, acclaimed photographer-astronomer, Professor David Malin, Scientia Professor Eugenie Lumbers from the University of New South Wales, the ABC's Robyn Science Williams and many others.

The soirée was not without its formalities. President, Professor Jak Kelly set the scene, explaining the grounds for the celebration and thanking Professor Brown for so generously arranging premises for the Royal Society. He also thanked Professor Di Yerbury for her help in housing the Society and its collection at Macquarie University for some years. Councillor John Hardie spoke about the work that had been done on the collection through the funding, and outlined some of the recommendations from Peter Tyler's report. These included the urgent need to house the collection suitably so that it could be properly conserved and made available to researchers and the public alike. He also suggested that the Society should initiate a long-term project to "return Science House to Science". He reminded guests that Science House won the first Sulman Medal for Architecture for its architects, Peddle, Thorpe and Walker, in 1932.

Society member and former president, David Branagan, who was also one of the assessors, described some of the "treasures" he had examined and the insight they give to the development of our intellectual and scientific history from Colonial times. Professor Gavin Brown thanked the Royal Society for inviting him and his wife and congratulated the Society on its achievements in recent years.

It was after the formalities that guests were free to peruse the displays to the sounds of restful chamber music from the trio, Sound of Melody, adding to the already splendid atmosphere of the museum itself. David Branagan and members of the Council's grant committee were on hand to assist with enquiries and to point out items of special interest.

The evening finished on a high note when Society received an unexpected accolade from the Senior Curator of the Nicholson Museum, Michael Turner, who said that he had really enjoyed having so erudite and enthusiastic a group of people at the museum.

Robyn Stutchbury

OCT
31

October 2001 - Patron

The Governor General of Australia, His Excellency the Right Reverend Dr Peter Hollingworth AC OBE accepted the position of Patron of the Society.
NOV
30

RSNSW awarded Federal Community Heritage Grant

November 2005: The Royal Society of NSW has been awarded a $6,050 Federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a Significance and Preservation Survey. The grant was announced by the Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator the Hon. Rod Kemp, at the National Library of Australia, Canberra. A total of $377,865 was distributed to 76 groups from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community-owned but nationally significant heritage collections. In addition, Mr John Hardie, a Vice-President of the Society, attended a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop held at the National Library of Australia, the National Archives, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra. 

Latest news on this project can be found on the Cultural Heritage Grant Project Page.

MAR
14

Annual Dinner and Awards 2009

His Honour Justice James Allsop, President of the NSW Court of Appeal

The Society held a very successful Annual Dinner at the Forum Restaurant, Darlington Centre at the University of Sydney on 13 March. The Guest-of-Honour was His Honour Justice James Allsop, President of the NSW Court of Appeal who replaced our Chief Patron, the Governor-General at relatively short notice. The Society thanks His Honour for his attendance and for his very insightful Occasional Address, which touched on the relationship between the Society and the legal profession.

The other highlight of the evening was the presentation of our Awards for 2008. His Honour presented the Clarke Medal (this year it was for botany) to Professor Bradley Potts from the University of Tasmania and the Edgeworth David Medal for a young scientist to Dr Adam Micolich of the University of NSW. Associate Profesor Bill Sewell read the citations which were followed by very generous remarks by the recipients in accepting the Awards.

His Honour Justice James Allsop, the President John Hardie and Professor Bradley Potts
His Honour Justice James Allsop, the President John Hardie and Dr Adam Micolich

For further details see the March 2009 Bulletin No. 323.

APR
30

Society web site now on a virtual server

April 2005: The society has moved our web site onto a 'virtual' server in preparation for implementing a web-based library system. The plan is that eventually a catalogue of our extensive collection will be accessible to members and researchers. The library system that we will be using is Koha.

APR
30

Substantial addition to our web site

April 2005: Dr P.R. (Dick) Evans has scanned and converted to HTML 30 years of abstracts from 1969 to 1999. In addition to the abstracts there are 30 full-text papers reproduced - photographs and diagrams included. The latter are those that Dr Evans considers important papers. All of this is available on our web site under Publications.
JUN
30

June 2001 - Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland contacted the Society, inviting applications to participate in multi-disciplinary scientific studies in the Gulf of Carpentaria between 29 October and 4 December 2002. Projects include the disciplines of archaeology, zoology, botany, geology and geomorphology with emphasis on the Gulf.
MAY
04

2001 Dinner of the Australian Academy of Sciences

The President, David Craddock, and his wife, Jan, attended the annual dinner of the Australian Academy of Sciences on 3 May, held in the Members' Dining Room, Old Parliament House, on behalf of the Society. The highlight of the evening was the address by Professor Peter Doherty. The Nobel Laureate (medicine) and Australian of the Year thoroughly entertained the 285 guests with a mixture of history, the future and marketing. Professor Doherty mentioned that he had been honoured by one of two monuments to famous people at Memphis. It was of little surprise to hear that the other monument was for Elvis. One of the key points of the address was for scientists to network with other disciplines. Another important issue was the need to gain support from government and increase public interest in the sciences. The media must be better utilised as a means to increase public awareness and understanding of science. Professor Doherty stressed the importance of restricting comments to a single issue when dealing with the media. He gave examples of 'off-the-cuff' comments to reporters, which appeared in another perspective when published.

Professor Brian Anderson, President of the AAS, and Professor David Craig expressed very strong support for the Royal Society of New South Wales. They suggested the possibility of holding some combined activities between the two organizations.
JUL
03

New Fellows appointed 2014

On Wednesday 2 July 2014, a group of eleven Fellows were presented with their certificates. Thirty-six Fellows have been appointed since the new Rules were introduced in December 2013.

Left to right: Donald Hector (President), Bill Hogarth, Heather Goodall, Ron Johnston, Roy MacLeod, Robert Marks, John Simons, Judy Raper, Brynn Hibbert, the Hon Peter Baume AC, Thomas Maschmeyer, Des Griffin AM.
MAY
08

Annual awards evening and dinner 2014

On Wednesday 7 May, the annual awards evening and annual dinner was held at the Union University and Schools Club in Sydney. The dinner was extremely well attended and the address by Professor Barry Jones AC FAA FACE FAHA FASSA FTSE DistFRSN on the attack on the scientific method stimulated a lot of discussion. During the evening, the Society's 2013 awards were presented and the inaugural group of eleven Fellows were presented with their certificates.

Back row: Benjamin Eggleton, Jerome Vanclay, Richard Banati, Ian Dawes, John Gascoigne. Front row: Aibing Yu, Ian Sloan, Judith Wheeldon, Donald Hector (President), Heinrich Hora, Merlin Crossley, Trevor Hambley

The President, Dr Donald Hector, presented the Society's 2013 awards. The Edgeworth David Medal was presented to Assoc Prof David Wilson, for his outstanding work on modelling HIV/AIDS and using this information to develop treatment and prevention strategies. Prof Michelle Simmons DistFRSN was awarded the Walter Burfitt Medal and Prize and Professor Brien Holden was awarded the James Cook Medal for his work in treating myopia (a leading cause of preventable blindness), particularly in developing world countries. The Clarke Medal could not be presented to distinguished geologist William Griffin, as he was overseas and unable to attend.

Left to right: Assoc Prof David Wilson, President Dr Donald Hector, Prof Brien Holden and Prof Michelle Simmons DistFRSN.
MAY
08

Distinguished Fellow's Lecture 2014

The Society was proud to have Professor Barry Jones AC DistFRSN present the second annual Distinguished Fellow's Lecture at the Society's annual dinner on Wednesday 7 May 2014. Professor Jones is the only person to be a Fellow of all four of Australia's learned Academies.

Prof Barry Jones AC DistFRSN delivers the second Royal Society of NSW Distinguished Fellow's Lecture.
APR
17

Governor invests new Distinguished Fellow

On Wednesday 16 April, Prof Peter Doherty AC Dist FRSN was formally invested by our patron, the Governor, Prof Marie Bashir AC CVO at a ceremony at Government House. Professor Doherty was appointed a Fellow in September 2013 and a Distinguished Fellow in December 2013.
President Dr Donald Hector (left), Prof Peter Doherty after receiving his Distinguished Fellowship, the Governor and Vice President Em Prof Brynn Hibbert (right) at Government House, Sydney.
APR
30

Governor's Reception for Lord May of Oxford

The Society was honoured by the decision of our Patron, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW, to hold a reception at Government House, Sydney for the formal investiture of Lord May of Oxford, a distinguished Australian scientist now residing in the UK, as Fellow of the Society. This took place in the late afternoon of Friday 29 April 2011 following Lord May's delivery of the Dirac Lecture at the University of NSW that morning. The presence at the event of several leaders of the scientific community in NSW was testament to the value that is placed on excellence and achievement in science, and on the importance of the Society's Fellows.

Footage of the event can be found here: Dirac Lecture 2011 - Beauty and truth: their intersection in mathematics and science
Lord and Lady May (centre) with Her Excellency the Governor and the President following Lord May's investiture as Fellow of the Society at Government House Sydney.
DEC
31

NSW Government Grant

February 2006: On the 14th November last year, following representations to the NSW Government Minister for Science, Mr. Frank Sartor, Prof Peter Williams and Karina Kelly met with the Director General of the NSW Ministry for Science and Medical Research, Michael Reid and his Executive Director, Kerry Doyle. Both showed great interest in our Society, its distinguished history and its importance to New South Wales. As a result of this meeting, we are delighted to be able to inform Members that, the Ministry has agreed to help support the publication of our Journal with a $10,000 grant each year for the next three years. We are already in receipt of the grant funds for the first year and are very hopeful that this will help improve our Journal and further invigorate the Society.

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 late 2020. 

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

Sydney meetings 

Hunter meetings

Southern Highlands meetings

 

 

Details of events scheduled for the remainder of the current year by the Southern Highlands branch can be found on its website.

Details of past events held by the Southern Highlands branch can be found here.

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.