The Academy established the Interviews with Australian Scientists program in 1993. It was known as Video Histories of Australian Scientists until September 2004, when it was officially changed to Interviews with Australian Scientists.
Dr Max Blythe of the Royal College of Physicians and Oxford Brookes University Video Archive in Great Britain was instrumental in helping the Academy establish the Video Histories program.. Between 1987 and 1998 Dr Blythe undertook 19 interviews of Academy Fellows, many of whom were also Fellows of the College of Physicians. The Academy then expanded its activity to include interviews with Fellows working in the physical sciences. The remainder of the recordings have been carried out by a range of interviewers, including Academy Fellows Professors Bob Crompton and Frank Fenner, and science writers and journalists Mr David Salt, Ms Nessy Allen, Dr Norman Swan and Professor Robyn Williams (who is also a Fellow).
The website with the first transcripts went online in August 2000. Also in 2000 external funding was sought to increase the proportion of female scientists filmed. Various grants made it possible to interview 15 female scientists, who were not Fellows. During the same period a further grant enabled 20 early career researchers to be added to the video program.
An important move was made in March 2001, when the Academy’s Council decided to establish the Video History Advisory Committee as a Standing Committee of Council, to adopt as a principal that all Fellows should be the subject of video biographies, and to provide an annual budget allocation for the video history program.
In July 2007 a full-time Interviews Project Officer was appointed by the Academy. To date over 130 interviews have been recorded and a target of 10 to 15 new interviews each year has been set. Each interview adds to the fascinating story that is Australian science and we express our appreciation to all the interviewees and Fellows for their participation in this program.