National Committees for Science

The Academy has 22 National Committees for Science that are widely representative of its disciplines. The broad aims of the committees are to foster a designated branch or theme of natural science in Australia and to serve as links between Australian and overseas scientists in the same field. National Committees advise the Academy’s Council on Australia’s representation for the unions and multidisciplinary bodies of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and other international bodies.

For more information on the meetings and other business of the National Committees for Science, see the quarterly National Committees for Science Update newsletter.

New committee chairs for 2017

The success of each National Committee for Science depends on an active chair who is a respected leader in their discipline. The Academy offers a very warm welcome to its new National Committee Chairs in 2017:

  • Professor Philip Poronnik, NC Biomedical Sciences
  • Professor Martina Stenzel, NC Chemistry
  • Professor John Finnigan FAA, NC Earth System Science
  • Professor Steve Turton, NC Geographical Sciences
  • Professor Mike Gidley, NC Nutrition
  • Professor Ian MacArthur, NC Physics

Physics meeting

The National Committee for Physics held a town-hall style meeting during the Australian Institute of Physics congress in Brisbane in December. Around 70 people heard from Professor David Jamison of the University of Melbourne about the 2012–21 Physics Decadal Plan, which has helped to make systematic progress on several fronts. The discussion focused on the creation of a more efficient and fair funding system: an ARC as the world’s best system, made for Australians. This discussion will now be continued, potentially expanded to other parts of science, and will lead to a submission to the ARC.

This year the committee will carry out a review of the progress of the decadal plan and ensure that it continues to address the requirements of the physics community in Australia. This review will be led by the new chair of the committee, Professor Ian McArthur from the University of Western Australia.

(from left) Professor Andrew Holmes, Katie Holmes, Dr Mike Smith, Martin Bush and children, Lilian Pearce, Rowena MacDonald and Professor Libby Robin.

Mike Smith Prize

The Mike Smith Student Prize for History of Australian Science or Australian Environmental History is a joint initiative of the National Museum of Australia and the Academy, with the involvement of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science. In 2016 the prize was split between two winning essays, one on the history of science and one on environmental history. The awardees were Lilian Pearce of the Australian National University and Martin Bush of Swinburne University.

The winning entries may also be considered for publication in the Academy’s journal, Historical Records of Australian Science.

Read more about National Committees for Science activities in this newsletter:

Geology travel grants for 2017

The Academy and the Australian Geoscience Council congratulate the recipients of the 2017 round of the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC) Travel Grant Scheme for Early-Career Australian and New Zealand Geoscientists

The Academy’s National Committee for Earth Sciences co-administers the IGC Travel Grant Scheme together with the Australian Geoscience Council. The award provides grants for career-enhancing travel for early and mid-career geoscientists and was established with the proceeds of the 34th IGC in Melbourne in 2012. Applications are open year-round and are awarded each December.

Recipients of the 2016 round, funding traveling for 2017, are:

Drew Lubiniecki University of Adelaide

Attend and present at Biennial Meeting of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA) in Quebec City and at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists International Conference and Exhibition in London. Conduct deformation band mapping in the Athabasca Basin and field visit to textbook localities in England.

Benjamin Andrew University of Waikato

Attend and present at the FUTORES II Conference in Townsville, attend a Mount Isa focussed special meeting; Fieldwork to identify fluid pathways and develop exploration targeting criteria utilising stable isotopes, along with reactive transport modelling to determine time-integrated fluid fluxes for the system.

Kathryn Suzanne Hayward Australian National University

Attend and present research at the Deformation Mechanics, Rheology and Tectonics conference in Inverness, Scotland. Undertake state-of-the-art earthquake slip experiments at the ENS laboratory in Paris, France

Teresa Ubide University of Queensland

Work with Professor Silvio Mollo at the Experimental Petrology lab at Sapienza, University of Rome Italy, to collaboratively develop high temperature experiments on the growth and zoning of clinopyroxene crystals. Track pre-eruptive magma histories at a mineral scale. Advance the understanding of triggers of volcanic eruptions.

Lloyd White University of Wollongong

Attend the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting to be held in New Orleans in December 2017, convene a multi-disciplinary session on arc volcanism to discuss ways to understand the pathways and rates of fluid/melt transport from subducted slabs to arc volcanoes at the surface. Additional travel to John Hopkins University, Baltimore, will be made to develop future research programs and to develop grant applications

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