Australian Academy of Science Newsletter 153

Australian Academy of Science Newsletter September 2021 Number 153

Anna-Maria Arabia

Message from the President

The pandemic has helped us all appreciate that science is an international endeavour.

Three winning ideas heading to Berlin for Falling Walls Lab 2021

Each participant had just three minutes to make their pitch in front of a jury chaired by Australia's Chief Scientist.

Australia’s Digital Future—a nation of users or leaders?

Australia risks becoming a laggard among the world’s top technologically driven nations according to a new summary for policymakers.

STEM Women Asia launched to the world

This online directory builds on the success of the Australian version to promote gender equity in STEM.

‘Event here’ next year

As we look towards the return of face-to-face gatherings, why not host your 2022 event at the Australian Academy of Science?

New videos and articles


Bettongs: back from extinction

Habitat loss and predators drove bettongs to extinction from parts of Australia more than 60 years ago. Little by little, scientists are reintroducing these tiny ecosystem engineers.


Why snakes have fangs

From normal snake teeth to hypodermic needles—here’s how snake fangs evolved.

What is a supernova?

What happens when a giant star explodes?

Echidna love train

This quirky behaviour occurs during mating season in some echidna populations in Australia.


Australian agriculture and climate change: a two-way street

Australia’s agriculture industry plays a fundamental role in our society and economy. It’s also one of the most climate-vulnerable industries, sensitive to changing rainfall, temperatures and extreme weather events.

What's happening to Australia's rainfall?

Australia is a land of “drought and flooding rains”. Recurring floods and droughts are deeply ingrained into our culture, but recently, we’ve seen longer-term changes in some parts of the country.

In brief

Submissions to government

The Academy recently made the following submissions to government:

Pandemic preparedness and the role of science

Science20 (S20) brings together the national academies of science of the G20 countries. In 2021—under the Italian G20 Presidency—the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei will host the S20 meetings. As a member of the S20, the Australian Academy of Science has signed a joint statement entitled Pandemic preparedness and the role of science, to be delivered to the G20 heads of state and governments at their meeting in Rome to be held in late October.

The statement addresses issues such as lessons from COVID-19 and previous pandemics; lessons on pandemic prevention and early detection; lessons on interventions; a proposal of actions; and the need for an international agreement on pandemic preparedness and management.

The Science Show: Academy symposium presentations

The Science Show on ABC Radio National has broadcast five presentations delivered at the Academy’s recent symposium on Science and the Public Good:

Opportunities for scientists

Find out more about coming opportunities for scientists:

  • Mike Smith Student Prize for History of Australian Science or Australian Environmental History
  • Wolf Prize
  • Millennium Technology Prize

Fellows update

Keep abreast of the Academy Fellowship in the Fellows update​:

  • Honours and awards to Fellows
  • Other news
  • Obituary for Professor Derek Robinson

Artificial Intelligence: Future directions in technology and law

7 October

The Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Law are delivering their annual joint symposium for 2021. This year the topic is Artificial Intelligence: Future directions in technology and law. More about this event

Food for Thought: Food security

12 October

Australia is one of the most food secure nations in the world, with access to a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods. But this does not guarantee equal distributions of foods to individuals who need them.

Join Dr Daniel Walker, Chief Scientist and Acting CEO of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Dr Katherine Kent from the University of Western Sydney, as they discuss the topic of Food Security. More about this event

The Honorary editor of the Academy newsletter is Professor Yuri Estrin FAA


© 2022 Australian Academy of Science