Event news: speaker series and On the Job video project

National speaker series—the science of life and death

Tickets are on sale for the first in the Academy’s national series of talks, Death in Hobart, on 27 June. While modern society embraces and celebrates new life and various milestones, the topic of death has become taboo. In this event, we’ll look at death from three fascinating angles: from preventing death and identifying the exact moment of death, to the science and logistics of mass death events, and why scientists are burying bodies in the Blue Mountains. Join a trio of seasoned death experts—Professors Roger Byard, Shari Forbes and David Caldicott, along with science broadcaster Bernie Hobbs—for a lively discussion on a deathly topic.

This series of special events will push us to the edge of our comfort levels, starting a national conversation about life, death and beyond. This Inspiring Australia event is supported by the Australian Government.

The series is convened by Associate Professor Bryan Fry and Professor Jenny Graves AO FAA. Following Hobart, the series continues with Sex in Melbourne on 26 July and Murder in Brisbane on 16 September, with Life in Perth and Immortality in Adelaide following on. Book tickets now for what is set to be a fascinating series of events.

Sponsors for this series are:

  • major supporter—Inspiring Australia
  • series production partner—Science & Technology Australia
  • series education partner—Nova: science for curious minds.

Canberra speaker series—Bots, bacteria and booze: science of the everyday

The April public talk by Professor Tanya Monro FAA FTSE provided a fascinating insight into how the science of photonics has transformed our lives, from lasers to optical fibre communication networks. Professor Monro explained how light is now being used to unlock the secrets inside objects as diverse as the human body, wine barrels and exploration holes deep within Earth’s crust. She presented emerging research in materials science, new nanofabrication technologies, photonics and surface science with novel approaches to sensing and measurement. This transdisciplinary approach is shifting the questions that it is possible to ask in fields including embryology and cancer treatment, and opening up opportunities for new industries.

The June talk, Putting the balance back in diet, was of interest to just about everyone. Professor Stephen Simpson AC FAA FRS introduced a framework called ‘nutritional geometry’ that captures the multidimensional nature of nutritional requirements and the consequences of eating different diets for reproduction, ageing, obesity and cardio-metabolic health—in flies, mice and people.

The next event in the ‘Bots, bacteria and booze’ series, on 16 August, is on Making health food taste great.

Sponsors for this series are:

  • wine Sponsor—Jirra Wines                         
  • catering Sponsor—Edge Catering
  • April Talk Sponsor—Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - University of Adelaide.

‘On the Job’ filming underway

Vanessa Mollard from the University of Melbourne, one of the finalists in the On the Job National Science Week project

The seven finalists for our On the Job National Science Week project have been selected, and filming of each finalist has started. 

This video series will show a day in the life of seven Australian science support staff. We’ll explore science behind the scenes to uncover and celebrate the fantastic work being done all around the country to keep Australia’s scientific progress moving. 

Finalists are:

  • Matthew Bell—ANSTO
  • Nardia Bordas—Edith Cowen University
  • Duane Chapman—Victor Change Cardiac Research Institute
  • Madeleine Flynn—QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
  • Patricia Gadd—ANSTO
  • Vanessa Mollard—University of Melbourne
  • Peter Thomas-Hall—Australian Institute of Marine Science

More about the finalists

The videos will be published online in National Science Week, 13–21 August, with a public vote for the winner. The Academy has partnered with Australia’s Science Channel to produce this great series. 

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science