9 July 2003
In these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we maintain our international collaborative links and our global scientific networks. I was concerned to hear from Fellows of the Academy that some foreign nationals resident in the United States are reluctant to attend international conferences for fear that they might be unable to re-enter that country. Similarly, we have heard of some instances of lengthy delays for some scientists seeking visas to attend international scientific meetings in the United States.
The International Visitors Office (IVO) of the National Academies of the USA has launched a new website to provide information on visas for visiting scientists and scholars and advice for organisers of international scientific meetings in the United States. Please see: http://www.nationalacademies.org/visas.
The site includes a questionnaire through which scientists, engineers, medical professionals, and scholars can report their difficulties with the visa process. The questionnaire is used by the IVO to collect statistical data, and, in some cases, to assist with the visa process.
Despite difficulties with international travel, Australia is hosting two major congresses this month; the XIX International Congress of Genetics (Melbourne, July 6-11), for which I’m pleased to be the President, and the General Assembly of the XXV International Astronomical Union (Sydney, July 13-26). Hosting these international meetings not only provides us with a special opportunity to showcase Australia’s science, innovation and lifestyle, but also provides our young scientists with access to international research in a way that might otherwise not be available to them.
With best wishes,
On Wednesday 16 July I will be giving the Telstra address at the National Press Club on 'GMOs, gene technology and the troubles with food'.
NEW SECRETARY OF DEST
Dr Jeff Harmer, recently appointed to the position of Secretary in the Department of Education, Science and Training, joined members of Council for dinner on 25 June. The conversation was wide-ranging and informal and we appreciated the frank exchange of views on how best to nurture education, science and training as critical components of the nation's social and economic well-being.
AUSTRALIAN FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE
A reminder that the inaugural meeting of the Australian Frontiers of Science will be held in the Shine Dome from 12 noon, Thursday 31 July until 5pm, Friday 1 August. The final panel session promises to be lively and will be chaired by Dr Paul Willis of ABC TV.
Australia has not had an active vehicle supporting interdisciplinary scientific exchange since the last ANZAAS Congress, which was held in Adelaide in September 1997. I hope that the annual Australian Frontiers of Science symposium may be the genesis of a new ANZAAS for the next generation of scientists.
The program and registration form are available at http://www.science.org.au/events/frontiers2003/program.htm.
AUSTRALIAN GREENHOUSE OFFICE
The Academy, as the relevant organisation that provides links between Australian and international climate change science programs, has been asked by the Australian Greenhouse Office, to assemble a comprehensive inventory of significant global climate change research programs, identify those that are most effective in their area of expertise, those with relevance to Australian climate change science priorities, current Australian engagement, potential engagement opportunities to leverage Australia’s domestic research effort and resources, and mechanisms to facilitate that engagement.
A steering group, chaired by Professor Kurt Lambeck, has been set up to assist with the study, and a researcher has been appointed. The Academy will submit its report to the Australian Greenhouse Office next month.
HADDON KING MEDAL
The 2003 Haddon King medal will be presented to Dr Ken McCracken at a dinner to be held at the Shine Dome on Thursday 28 August. Dr McCracken will also give a talk on his work. The Haddon King medal honours the late Haddon Forrester King, Director of Exploration for Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia (CRA, now Rio Tinto) from 1962 until his retirement in 1970, when he became a consultant to CRA until 1986. The medal is awarded for orignal and sustained contributions to mineral exploration. The first award was made in 1993.
If you would like to attend the dinner please contact Faye Nicholas at the Academy on 02 6247 5777 or mailto:email@example.com.
SCIENCE IN IRAQ
During its recent meeting in Rome, the Interacademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) discussed the importance of rebuilding the science community in Iraq. IAP has asked for our help in identifying eminent Iraqi researchers in Australia or abroad who would be willing to assist with this task. Please contact Nancy Pritchard at the Academy on 02 6247 3966 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR ACADEMY FELLOWS:
Casual vacancy on Council 2003
A casual vacancy on Council for an Ordinary Member (Physical Sciences) arose at the end of the Annual General Meeting 2003. During the closed session of the AGM, Council indicated its intention to invite Dr R H Frater to accept the appointment to Council as an Ordinary Member (Physical Sciences) until the end of the Annual General Meeting 2004. Dr Frater has accepted the invitation. Following the AGM 2003, the other Ordinary Members (Physical Sciences) are Professor P G Hall, Dr R Watts, Professor L N Mander, Professor D T Pegg.
Results of ballot on Bye-Law changes
The Returning Officer reported that the postal ballot on changes to the Bye-Laws 2003 regarding special elections, ordinary elections in milestone anniversary years, procedures for future ballots and consequential changes was conducted with the following results:
Total ballots: 174
Informal ballots: 1
Formal ballots: 173
Do not support: 7
Ordinary elections in milestone anniversary years
Do not support: 29
Do not support: 4
Procedures for future ballots
Do not support: 4
The ballot was conducted with the guidance of the Academy's lawyers who will now issue a certificate of compliance and a statutory declaration. These two documents and related materials will then be forwarded to the Governor-General or the Administrator for consideration by the Governor-General in Council.
In addition, Fellows provided the following advice to Council regarding the proposed changes to Standing Order LXI: Honorific Awards, Section 9: Academy Medal:
Total received: 146
Not supported: 13
NOMINATION OF CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION TO THE FELLOWSHIP
Fellows are advised that if they wish to nominate a candidate for Ordinary election, the Certificate of a Candidate for Election and all supporting documents must be received by the Secretariat by 31 July 2002.
The Certificate of a Candidate for Election and a list of the required supporting documents are available from the Academy's elections manager, mailto:email@example.com. If possible, proposers should provide documents electronically as .rtf files.
The next activity of the Victorian group is the Joint Academies Dinner, organised this year by ATSE. It will be held at the RACV Club in Melbourne on 12 August. The after-dinner speaker and guest of honour will be the Rev Dr John Scott, former Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. The title of his address is 'Lies, damned lies and statistics'. The cost of the three-course dinner and drinks will be $80 (incl. GST). Please contact Joanne Torcasio at ATSE for further information (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).
16 July. I will give the Telstra address at the National Press Club ('GMOs, gene technology and the troubles with food').
22-25 July. 'The 6th International Conference on Satellite Navigation Technology and Mobile Location Services', Melbourne (http://www.gps-society.org/satnav2003.html).
31 July. Closing date for receipt of Certificate of a Candidate for Election. See item above.
31 July. Closing date for applications to the Academy's exchange programs with Europe (http://www.science.org.au/internat/index.htm).
6-7 August. 'The Challenge of Commercialisation: Turning Research and Ideas into Money'. A forum, exposition and workshops for researchers and entrepreneurs to be held in Melbourne. Hosted by B-HERT and the Triton Foundation (http://www.bhert.com/events_UpcomingEvents.htm).
22 August. Closing date for applications to the Academy's exchange programs with Asia (http://www.science.org.au/internat/index.htm).
25 August. Closing date for Dialogica Award entries. The Academy will be sponsoring a special $3000 prize in this years Co-op Bookshop Dialogica Awards for excellence in written communication. The prize is intended to encourage younger scientists to be top-class communicators. It is open to science postgraduates or early career scientists under 35 years old. The awards - organised by Campus Review - are open to all postgraduates, academics and all university staff. For an entry package contact mailto:email@example.com.
28 August. Haddon King medal presentation and dinner. See item above.
30 August. Closing date for nominations for the Academy's Awards for Scientific Excellence (http://www.science.org.au/awards/index.htm).
31 August. Closing date for Fulbright Scholarships for 2004 (http://www.fulbright.com.au/).
3-5 September. 'International Conference on Radar', Adelaide.
19 September. Closing date for applications to the Academy's exchange programs with North America (http://www.science.org.au/internat/index.htm).
30 September. Closing date for nominations for the Academy's Award for research on the conservation of endangered Australian vertebrate species (http://www.science.org.au/awards/conservation.htm).
8-13 February 2004. 'Dynamic Earth: Past, Present and Future'. 17th Australian Geological Convention, Hobart. The theme reflects the role in tectonics and global geology of the late Professor Sam Carey FAA, AO, Foundation Professor of Geology at the University of Tasmania.
Secretary (Physical Sciences), Bruce McKellar
phone (03) 9344 5122, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Biological Sciences), John Shine
phone (02) 9295 8120, mailto:email@example.com
Secretary (Science Policy), Michael Barber
phone (02) 6276 6388, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Education and Public Awareness), John McKenzie
phone (03) 8344 6407, mailto:email@example.com
Foreign Secretary, Kurt Lambeck
phone (02) 6125 5161, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer, Ian McDougall
phone (02) 6125 4136, mailto:Ian.McDougall@anu.edu.au