Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2021-6

Dr Helen Caynard-Casely Toby Walsh“ANSTO’s WOMBAT Project”

Dr Helen Maynard-Casely
Senior Instrument Scientist
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Date: Thursday, 15 July 
Venue: Via email circulation



Dr Maynard-Casely was due to present this talk at the Mittagong RSL on 15 July 2021. Unfortunately, because of the updated COVID-19 restrictions associated with the Greater Sydney Lockdown in July 2021, this event has had to be cancelled. The Branch Committee regrets any inconvenience caused.

In the light of the current circumstances, the face-to-face event has been replaced by a YouTube recording titled “Exploring dwarf planets using neutron powder diffraction studies”.

 Dr Helen Maynard-Casely is an instrument scientist for the WOMBAT high-intensity powder diffractometer instrument. She assists and collaborates with visiting scientists, works with the sample environment team in commissioning new equipment for WOMBAT, and is co-responsible for improving and expanding the capabilities of the instrument.

Her own research expertise is in investigating the materials relevant to the surface of the icy moons, such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Titan. Her journey to exploring these icy moons began with her degree in Planetary Sciences from University College London and was followed by her PhD in high-pressure physics at the University of Edinburgh. Moving to Australia, first to undertake a post-doctoral position at the Powder-Diffraction beamline at the Australian Synchroton, where she developed her program of research on planetary ices - she then moved to the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering in 2013 to take up her current role.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2021-5

Max La Galle “Burnout — the hottest issue”

Max La Galle
introduced by
Dr Ken McCracken

Date: Thursday, 17 June, 6.30 pm AEST
Venue: RSL Mittagong, Nattai/Joadja Rooms
All are welcome 

Summary: Science has progressed beyond our wildest predictions in these 200 years and it is no wonder that young aspiring scientists these days are now walking in the footsteps of the eminent scientists who have done so much to advance science, philosophy, and medicine before them. Our 17 June lecture will demonstrate this very clearly as we listen to a presentation from a gifted young scientist, Max La Galle, who will be introduced to the audience by one of our internationally acclaimed scientists, Dr Ken McCracken. This presentation we have called “Reach for the Skies” – which is exactly what both do on a daily basis in the true tradition of the Royal Society. 

Dr Ken McCracken In introducing Max La Galle, Ken McCracken will reflect on the pervasive role of scientific societies in the development of science in the past, including in his career in space research and in applied science in the CSIRO. Incidentally, Ken has just been awarded the senior medal of the international space research body, COSPAR, there having been only 70 such awards in the 64 years of space research. His award included naming Minor Planet 8258 in his honour as Minor Planet (8258) McCracken. In so many ways, Ken has literally “Reached for the Skies”.

Max la Galle is an outstanding young scientist who has recently been interviewed by Robyn Williams on the ABC Science Show. In this presentation, he will discuss Hydrogen Fusion, a technology that has been in the development for decades. Humanity is finally on the verge of cracking this “Holy Grail” of energy production. Max will talk you through how this technology captured his interest early on his scientific journey, where this interest took him, and why emerging technologies are so important for aspiring STEM students to look towards. He too is clearly “Reaching for the skies”.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2020-4

Professor Gordon Parker “Burnout — the hottest issue”

Professor Gordon Parker AO
Scientia Professor of Psychiatry
UNSW (Sydney)

Date: Thursday, 20 May, 6.30pm AEST
Venue: RSL Mittagong (face-to-face)
All are welcome. 

Summary:If constant stress has you feeling helpless, disillusioned and completely exhausted, you may be on the road to burnout. In this lecture, Professor Gordon Parker will discuss what you can do to regain your balance and feel hopeful and positive once again.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical and resentful. Listen to this lecture by psychiatrist Professor Gordon Parker to hear all about the history of burnout, its key symptoms, who gets it, its causes and prevalence, what happens in the brain and most importantly…how to correct it.

Professor Gordon Parker AO is Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, UNSW, was Founder of the Black Dog Institute and its initial Executive Director, Head of the School of Psychiatry at UNSW, and Director of the Division of Psychiatry at Prince of Wales Hospital. His positions with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists include being Editor of its Journal. Positions with legal organisations include the NSW Guardianship Board and the NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In 2004 he received a Citation Laureate as the Australian Scientist most highly cited in ‘Psychiatry/Psychology’. In 2018 he received the prestigious James Cook Medal from the Royal Society of New South Wales, and was recipient of the 2020Australian Mental Health Prize. His research has focussed on the mood disorders. He has published 23 books and over 1,000 scientific reports. His first of fiction was published in 1966 and his latest novel (“In Two Minds”) in 2017. In the 60’s, he wrote for The Mavis Bramston Show and OZ Magazine, was an ABC Science broadcaster, a book reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, and in 2004 had a play (“Personality Games”) produced by La Mama in Melbourne. His autobiography “A Piece of My Mind: A Psychiatrist on the Couch” was published in 2012. His co-authored book on Burnout will be published on 1 July 2021.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2021-3

Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld “Particle radiation therapy and human space exploration: commonality in challenges and solutions”

Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld
University of Wollongong

Date: Thursday, 15 April, 6.30pm AEST
Venue: RSL Mittagong, Nattai/Joadja Rooms (face-to-face)
Entry: No charge
All are welcome. 

Summary: Particle therapy is advantageous for the treatment of solid tumours when compared with conventional therapy with electron and X-ray beams. This is due to highly localised energy deposition at the end of the ion range, known as the Bragg peak (BP), and the sharp dose fall-off at large penetration depth. Heavy ions have further advantages over protons and lighter ions in treating deep-seated, radio-resistant tumours by producing an increased radiobiological efficiency (RBE) in the stopping region at the BP while preserving the normal tissue surrounding the tumour. Our better understanding of radiobiology of heavy ions led recently to multi-ion therapy opening new horizons in better cancer treatment.

While heavy ion radiation is efficiently killing cancer, it is a major obstacle for human space exploration. This is due to the increased risk of cancer in astronauts through space radiation in comparison to the terrestrial radiation environment. Risk prediction in space radiation environments is challenging due to the mixed particle radiation field, especially of charged particles of high energy and charge (HZE) in galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and protons from solar particle events (SPE). It can be quantified in terms of probability for radiation exposure induced death (REID) from cancer.

Australia is on the way to taking a world-leading role in cancer treatment with radiation therapy including particle therapy. The same applies to space exploration. This is reflected in the building of the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research in Adelaide and the planned National Particle Therapy and Research Center (NPTRC) with heavy ion and proton therapy facilities at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. The Australian Space Agency recently announced the Moon to Mars initiative which is a $150 million investment to grow the space industry and enhance international collaboration with ESA and NASA. It will partner with NASA in the Artemis human exploration program to the Moon and later to Mars.

This lecture will address innovations in cancer treatment with heavy ions, as well as challenges in space explorations for future Moon and Mars human missions. These human activities, cancer treatment and space exploration, while appearing completely unrelated, have a strong commonality in that they both rely on their ability to accurately monitor ion radiation fields. The Centre for Medical Radiation Physics at UOW is a world leader in the development of radiation sensors.

Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld was is a Founder and Director of Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) at University of Wollongong which is a largest education and research multidisciplinary medical radiation physics centre in Asia-Pacific with 18 academics and postdocs, 20 adjunct fellows from hospitals and industry and more than 65 postgraduate students.
His scientific interest and expertise is in a field of radiation semiconductor sensors development and their applications for advanced medical radiation dosimetry and space radiation. Many radiation sensors developed at CMRP under his leadership were successfully implemented in practice of radiation oncology in Australia and overseas to improve confidence in cancer treatment with radiation.

Professor Rosenfeld served as Chair of International Solid State Dosimetry Organization (ISSDO) and Member of IEEE Radiation Instrumentation Steering Committee. He was elected General Chair of the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium (NSS) and Medical Imaging Conference (MIC) 2018, which was held in Australia for the first time in that year and attracted nearly 2000 delegates and 70 industrial companies. Professor Rosenfeld has initiated particle therapy research in Australia and is a Member of National Particle Therapy Treatment and Research Centre Steering Committee. He is a member of the International Committee on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) Committee on a new microdosimetry report and a member of Space Medicine Committee of Australian Space Agency. He has published more than 400 peer review papers and hold 18 patents in a field of radiation detectors for medical and space applications with two his inventions have been commercialised.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2021-2

Dr Howard Brady “The general development of the Sydney Basin Coast and its recent history since the last ice age”

Dr Howard Brady

Date: Thursday, 18 March, 6.30pm AEDT
Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room (face-to-face)
Entry: No charge
All are welcome. 

Summary: In 2009/2010 Howard Brady examined reports prepared for the Shoalhaven City Council by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Consultants (SMEC). SMEC was asked to examine the effects of a 90cm sea-level rise on Shoalhaven area properties sited either on headland cliffs or on dune systems adjacent to beaches. His reports, very critical of the SMEC reports, were based on his own field work, on aerial photographs of the Shoalhaven Coast taken since WWII, and also on geological studies by scientists at New England University and the University of Wollongong. Dr Brady’s talk will cover the general development of the Sydney Basin Coast and its recent history since the last ice age.

Dr Howard Brady was involved in Antarctic geological research during 1974-1982 and he was also US Navy catholic chaplain to McMurdo and South Pole Stations for the 1974 and 1975 summer seasons. In 2011, Howard was awarded the Alumnus Scientist of the Year Award by Northern Illinois University for his geological contributions to Antarctic Research. Howard is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and an Emeritus Member of the Explorers Club of New York. Dr Brady has Diplomas in Philosophy and Theology, and two postgraduate degrees in Antarctic science. He is currently an accredited reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its forthcoming report due in 2021.


Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2021-1

Dr Kevin Mills“The five islands off Port Kembla — an historical and ecological study”

Dr Kevin Mills
Botanist and Ecologist

 Date: Thursday, 18 February, 6.30pm AEDT
!--Video Presentation: YouTube Video
--> Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room (face-to-face)
Entry: No charge
All are welcome. 

Summary: To follow.

Dr Kevin Mills is a botanist and ecologist and has lived in the Illawarra for over 40 years. He has studied the region’s rainforests for many years and is currently working on various projects in the region, including studies of all offshore islands on the South Coast, a review and field study of the ferns of the south coast, and various rare plant surveys. He has authored or co-authored several books on plants including Native Trees of Central Illawarra, Rainforests of the Illawarra District and Native trees of the NSW South Coast. He is continuing his rainforest studies here and on Norfolk Island, where he is a regular visitor and on which he has also written extensively. He is involved in the rehabilitation of habitat on the Five Islands Nature Reserve off Port Kembla and the regeneration of rainforest at the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Budderoo National Park. Kevin is also a long-time member of the South Coast Regional Advisory Committee for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.


Calendar of Meetings 2021

RSNSW SealThis page lists the Calandar of Meetings for the Royal Society of NSW in 2021.

Please check this page regularly since the program is under ongoing development.

Last update: 26 February 2021

Follow the links below for meetings held by the Society in Sydney, in Newcastle by the Hunter Branch, and in Mittagong by the Southern Highlands Branch.


Sydney Meetings 2021

Please note that the program in the table below lists events that are scheduled as monthly Ordinary General Meetings and the Annual Forum of the Royal Society and Four Academies. In addition to these events, there are three named lectures, associated with the Society’s 2020 Awards, that remain to be scheduled:

  • Clarke Lecture — Distinguished Professor Michelle Leishman (Macquarie University)
  • Liversidge Lecture — Professor Richard Payne FRSN (University of Sydney)
  • Poggendorf Lecture — Professor Angela Moles FRSN (UNSW Sydney)

together with another lecture in the [email protected] series, and the Society’s contributions to Science Week 2021 in the latter half of the year.


3 February 

6.30pm AEDT

1290th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture:
2020 Jak Kelly Award and RSNSW Scholarship Winner Presentations

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Controlling how electrons move in silicon at the atomic scale
Mr Matthew Donnelly — Jak Kelly Award Winner
PhD Student, Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, UNSW (Sydney)

3D Printing for Microfluidics (TBC)
Mr Sajad Razavi Bazaz — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, School of Biomedical Engineering, University of Technology Sydney

Molecular mechanisms of inflammasome activation by enterotoxins of the foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus
Mr Daniel Fox — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University

Improving the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in refugees: The important role of emotion regulation
Ms Phillipa Specker — RSNSW Scholarship Winner
PhD Student, School of Psychology, UNSW (Sydney)

3 March 

6.30pm AEDT

1291st Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

What are the best options for growing Australia’s mental health through the COVID-19 recovery?
Professor Ian Hickie AM FRSN FASSA FAHMS
Co-Director (Health and Policy), Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney

7 April

6.00pm AEST

154th Annual General Meeting (6.00pm)
1292nd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture (immediately following)

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Antarctica, this ain’t no mirage: The value of art in disseminating scientific information
Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger
Artist, exploring connections between science and art practice

15 April

6.00pm AEST

[email protected]: April 2021

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Australia and the Dickens Boys
Thomas Keneally AO DistFRSN

5 May

6.30pm AEST

1293rd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar (TBC)

Big, bad fires in NSW
Emerita Professor Mary O’Kane AC FRSN FTSE HonFIEAust
Chair, Independent Planning Commission of NSW and former Chief Scientist and Engineer of NSW

2 June

6.30pm AEST

1294th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar (TBC)

Murray-Darling Basin turmoil: past, present and future
Professor Richard Kingsford FRSN
Director, Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW (Sydney)

7 July

6.30pm AEST

1295th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Society as an information-processing system, and the influence of the media
Dr Erik Aslaksen FRSN
Director, Systems Engineer, and Author

22 July

6.00pm AEST

[email protected]: July 2021

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Music as a Superfood: How music can help us live longer, sleep better, calm down, find flow, and feel happier
Greta J, Bradman
Writer, broadcaster and psychologist

4 August 

6.30pm AEST

1296th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

An intimate history of evolution: From genesis to genetic with a scientific dynasty
Professor Alison Bashford FRSN FAHA FBA FRHistS
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW (Sydney)

24 August 

Time TBA

2021 Clarke Lecture of the Royal Society of NSW 

Venue: Macquarie University (C122, 25 Wally Walk) and live streaming - POSTPONED

From bulldozers, pests, and pathogens to climate change and urban futures: the tough life of plants
Distinguished Professor Michelle Leishman 
Director, Smart Green Cities, Macquarie University

1 September

6.30pm AEST

1297th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Taking humour and laughter seriously: Exploring the multi-disciplinary field of humour studies 
Dr Jessica Milner Davis FRSN
Honorary Associate, School of Literature, Art and Media, University of Sydney

6 October

6.30pm AEDT

1298th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Topic: Privacy and identity in an AI world 
Scientia Professor Toby Walsh FAA FACM FAAAS
School of Computer Science and Engineering, UNSW (Sydney)

Date Thursday, 4

9.00am - 4.30pm AEDT

Royal Society of NSW and Learned Academies Annual Forum

Venue: Government House, Sydney, Live Streaming and subsequent availability on YouTube

Topic: Power and Peril of the Digital Age

10 November


RSNSW Liversidge Lecture (2020)

Venue: University of Sydney

Topic: To be announced
Speaker: Professor Richard Payne

1 December

6.30pm AEDT

1299th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Managing psychological distress in times of stress: handling the stress of COVID-19 and all that
Scientia Professor Richard Bryant AC FASSA FAA FAHMS — James Cook Medal Winner 2020
School of Psychology, UNSW (Sydney)

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Hunter Branch Meetings

The Hunter Branch Event Program for 2021 is still under development, with the table below being updated on a regular basis.

26 May

Time: 5.30pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-1 and Lecture
Jointly with the University of Newcastle as part of the Looking Ahead — In Conversation Series

Venue: University of Newcastle and Live Streaming

On readying our region for low emissions technology
Dr Alan Finkel AO FAA FTSE
Former Chief Scientist of Australia 

30 June

Time: 4.00pm for 5.00pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-2 and Lecture

Venue: Noah's on the Beach

Extreme bushfires and the age of violent pyroconvection
Professor Jason Sharples
Director, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
UNSW Canberra

25 August

Time: TBA

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-3 and Lecture

Venue: to be advised

Royal Commission for Ageing and the care and welfare of the elderly
Professor Kathy Eagar
Director, Australian Health Services Research Institute
University of Wollongong

29 September

Time: TBA

Hunter Branch Meeting 2021-4 and Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Topic: To be advised
Mr Nathan Towney
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Leadership)
University of Newcastle

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Southern Highlands Branch Meetings

The Southern Highlands Branch Event Program for 2021 is still under development, with the table below being updated on a regular basis.

18 February

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-1

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

The five islands off Port Kembla — an historical and ecological study
Dr Kevin Mills
Botanist and Eciologist 

18 March

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-2

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

The general development of the Sydney Basin Coast and its recent history since the last ice age
Dr Howard Brady

15 April

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-3

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Nattai/Joadja Room

Particle radiation therapy and human space exploration: commonality in challenges and solutions
Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld
University of Wollongong 

20 May

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-4

Venue: RSL  Mittagong

Burnout  — the hottest issue
Professor Gordon Parker AO
Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney

17 June

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-5

Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room

Reach for the Skies
Max La Galle
Materials science student, UNSW (Sydney) 

15 July

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-6

Venue: RSL Mittagong (CANCELLED due to the July Greater Sydney Lockdown)

Neutron scattering and the ANSTO WOMBAT project
Dr Helen Maynard-Casely
Instrument Scientist, ANSTO 

19 August

Time: 6.30pm

Southern Highlands Branch Lecture 2021-7

Venue: to be advised

Topic: Transgenerational Epigenetics
Alyson Ashe

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