Nominations are now open for the RST annual doctoral awards. Two awards are made for excellence in research by recent PhD graduates in any field within the purview of the Society. The value of each award is $1,000 (AUD). Nominations will close on 15th November, 2020. Click here for the guidelines to the awards.
By Professor Matt King
Chair, RST Aboriginal Engagement Committee
The RST Aboriginal Engagement Committee (AEC) has continued to assist Council in working toward an apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The wording of the apology has received further attention from Council and it is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.
We have had positive and constructive discussions with senior staff members of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) regarding their own apology. We are continuing discussions with the plan of offering paired apologies at a shared event. We will inform members further as details are agreed and finalised by TMAG and RST Council.
The AEC has also briefed the incoming members of Council regarding the history of the work of the AEC dating back to 2016 and, especially, the recent proposal that the RST enter into a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or RAP-like arrangement. Council are currently considering this matter.
Finally, Professor Greg Lehman has stepped down from his role as Co-Chair of the AEC while remaining an active member. The AEC thanks Greg very much for his insight and co-leadership of the AEC and looks forward to ongoing partnership with him.
by Professor Greg Lehman
Co-Chair, RST Aboriginal Engagement Committee
On Wednesday, 4 December 2019, the University of Tasmania became the ﬁrst learned institution in Tasmania to offer a formal apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, marked the day as one on which “… we reﬂect on the parts of our past we are not proud of …a moment for humility, truth-telling, pain and accountability.” Broadly welcomed by Aboriginal people and positively reﬂected on across Tasmanian media, the University’s apology was offered in response to over a century of disrespectful treatment of Aboriginal people by the academy. “For too long the histories we taught hid the true story of war and genocidal behaviour. For too long the wisdom of Aboriginal people was not thought worthy of our academy,” Prof Black said.
During 2019, the Royal Society of Tasmania has made substantial progress toward the development of its own Apology. Like the University of Tasmania, the Society was also involved in research and treatment of Aboriginal ancestral remains that is now recognised as disrespectful and has contributed to ongoing hurt being felt by today’s Aboriginal people. The development of the Society’s Apology has been a painstaking one, involving independent commissioned research and close examination of Society records to ensure that an accurate and objective assessment could be made of a range of activities that impacted on Aboriginal people. The Society’s approach has been to thoroughly account for the decisions and actions that it should take responsibility for and to better understand the context of those actions.
An Aboriginal Engagement Committee jointly chaired by Prof Matt King and Prof Greg Lehman worked under close direction of the RST Council to produce two discussion papers and reports to Members during 2019, outlining key issues considered by the Apology process, and identifying a number of recommended actions to accompany a formal Statement of Apology.
Following a special meeting of the Council on 19 December 2019, a draft Apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal people has now been produced. This was recently presented for conﬁdential consideration by the Aboriginal Advisory Council of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which is also developing its own apology. It was agreed that the RST and TMAG would work cooperatively to plan an event at which both institutions would present their respective statements. Similar consultation will also be held with the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s Aboriginal Reference Group to ensure that sensitive matters involved in the Apology are dealt with appropriately and respectfully. Further information will be provided to Members of the Society when the Apology is ﬁnalised and a date for its announcement is set.
Reproduced from the April, 2020 RST Newsletter.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Nominations close 31 August 2020.
Call for nominations for the 2020 Peter Smith Medal
Nominations are now open for the Royal Society of Tasmania Peter Smith Medal. This medal is awarded biennially to an outstanding early career researcher in any field. The recipient receives a medal and will be invited to deliver “The Peter Smith Lecture” to the Society.
For the purpose of the medal, “early career” means within the first seven years since the award of a PhD, at the time of the nomination deadline. Extensions to the seven years post-PhD eligibility requirement will be offered to applicants whose career has been interrupted to accommodate carer responsibilities, illness or other circumstances.
Further conditions of the award are:
- The research should have been largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation and within the Society’s purview; and
- Nominations may be made by anyone although no self-nominations will be accepted.
- Nominations must be received before COB, August 31, 2020.
On the first page of the nomination, give (1) the name of the candidate, contact address and email, and (2) the name of the nominator, contact address and email.
On the second page, provide a concise description of the nominee’s achievements relevant to the Peter Smith Medal in language that is widely understood outside the nominee’s field of research. The nominee’s research or other scholarly contributions to science, history or other field of learning, industry or society should be clearly stated.
Provide the nominee’s curriculum vitae in full. Include the nominee’s education history, the date/s of receipt of degrees and a list of published works. The most significant publications should be highlighted (e.g. with an asterisk). For co-authored papers, provide a percentage estimate of the nominee’s contribution. The Honours, Medals and Awards Committee has limited ability to seek additional information and therefore depends entirely on the nomination submission.
All matters pertaining to the Society awards are confidential until the public announcement of the awards at the Society’s Annual General Meeting each year. Confidentiality must also be observed by both the nominator and nominee.
Please send nominations as a single Word or pdf file by email to the Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org before COB, August 31, 2020. Please enter “Honours Committee” in the subject line of the email message.
Professor Jocelyn McPhie (Chair) on behalf of the RST Honours and Awards Committee
In this update the Royal Society of Tasmania introduces
our new Vice President – Professor Jocelyn McPhie, Niamh Chapman – Councillor,
Shasta Henry – Student Councillor, and Peter Manchester – Councillor
Vice President – Professor Jocelyn McPhie – Volcanologist
Jocelyn McPhie is a geologist and for most of her career (1990 to 2015), held an academy position at the University of Tasmania. As an academic, she conducted fundamental and applied research in volcanology, and taught volcanology as well as other undergraduate geology units. Since retiring from the university, she has consulted to the minerals industry, providing technical advice and professional training in volcanology. She maintains an adjunct position with the University of Tasmania, continuing to supervise PhD students and participate in research projects.
Niamh Chapman – Councillor – Medical research
Niamh Chapman is a passionate medical researcher and science communicator. She is based at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in the Blood Pressure Research Group. Niamh’s research is focused on the role of health policy and digital technology for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Niamh is the Founding Director of radio show and podcast That’s What I call Science, which won the national award for Best New Program 2019 from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. That’s What I Call Science is run by a team of women in STEM that aims to deliver accurate, accessible and engaging content on areas of public interest with expert guests from across the state of Tasmania. The podcast can be found on major streaming services or http://bit.ly/ThatsScienceTAS
Niamh is a member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance Emerging Leaders Committee, the Australian Society for Medical Research Tasmania state committee and the Tasmanian National Science Week Coordinating Committee.
Shasta Henry (aka Bug Girl) – Student Councillor
Shasta is completing her PhD in 2020, investigating the impact of wildfire on Tasmania’s smallest alpine residents, invertebrates. She is a passionate entomologist and educator, having transitioned to science and science communication from ecotourism in 2009. During her time at Utas Shasta has completed a Bachelor of Science and Honours in zoology/entomology, worked as a tutor for Riawunnah and junior lecturer in the Geography department, volunteered as a Young Tassie Scientist and completed an internship at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, “that’s how I got a species of beetle named after me.” She also maintains a public presence as the Bug Girl (https://www.facebook.com/TasBugGirl/) via ABC Radio, The Gourmet Farmer and Libraries Tasmania to name a few. Interpreting insects for the Tasmanian public Shasta often talks about insects as food, introduced pests, native pollinators, ecological adaptation and how to identify insects for kids. From her days working as a white water rafting guide and rock climbing instructor Shasta still loves to travel and explore nature “but collecting insects is much easier on the knees.”
Peter Manchester – Councillor – Geochemist, photographer, orchid grower
Peter S Manchester B.Sc. (Hons), B.Ed. TTC.. Photographic Honors (AFIAP, AAPS, FAPS , FTPF)
Peter is Launceston born, educated at the University of Tasmania in geology, geochemistry and education. Apart from a short period at the Mines Department, then in ocean mining, he served National Service in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. On return he served 40 years lecturing at TAFE, University and Colleges in geology, chemistry, still and video photography, multimedia (former Head of a Department) and recently geotourism to Australian and overseas to clients of all levels of experience. He is an accredited international judge in digital imagery and has conducted seminars, field trips and weekend getaways on Tasmanian geology, photography and astronomy throughout Tasmania and mainland Australia. He was Australian President of the Australian Photographic Society in 2002 – 2006.
In 2010 Peter self-published a book on Tasmanian geology Created from Chaos – 100 geological sites in Tasmania which has been distributed Australia-wide. (now out of print but in process of writing the updated edition). In June this year Peter was given the challenge to photograph, write and publish a book and poster on Tasmanian fossils taking over from the late Dr. Max Banks. He is also producing a booklet on “30 Tasmanian Geotrails” as a source of use for tourism.
Peter is a much sought after lecturer and educator in geology, geotourism, and mineralogy, while also lecturing at places like U3A on various topics as scientific toys, inventions, meteorites and orchid growing. As an orchid grower he collects and presents at his place at Oakdowns.
The committee of the Royal Society of Tasmania Northern Chapter regrets to inform you that we need to defer the AGM and lecture which were to have been held on Sunday 22 March 2020.
We have made this decision reluctantly, but it has been made following the best medical advice. The health and well-being of our members and the community in general is of the utmost importance; we do not want to put anyone at risk of coronavirus Covid 19 infection.
We will resume our program as soon as it is safe to do so.
A new year begins for the Royal Society of Tasmania
At the Annual General Meeting held on 1 March, the following office bearers and Council members were elected:
PRESIDENT: Mrs Mary Koolhof
VICE-PRESIDENT: Prof. Jocelyn McPhie
SECRETARY: Mrs Marley Large
TREASURER: Mr David Wilson
COUNCIL POSITIONS: Dr Greg Lehman
Mr Peter Manchester
Ms Niamh Chapman
Early Career Researcher: Dr Robert Johnson
Student Councillor: Ms Shasta Henry
Congratulations to all those elected, and a very warm welcome to the new members of Council. A warm welcome also goes to our new Editor, Dr Sally Bryant, and Mr James Crotty who has accepted the appointment of Honorary Solicitor. It is very much appreciated when members commit their skills and experience to furthering the aims of our Society in the advancement of knowledge.
Grateful thanks are extended to all those who worked hard behind the scenes in the organisation of the Annual General Meeting and the preparation of the Annual Report.
The Annual General Meeting was very well attended, with 90 members and guests, and many positive comments on the new venue. Warm thanks were extended to outgoing President, Prof. Ross Large AO, and the 2019 Council who worked so hard on behalf of the Society.
The lecture by Prof. Jean-Philippe Beaulieu was heard with great interest.
The Royal Society of Tasmania coat of arms carved by Nellie Payne in 1930
Royal Society of Tasmania
awards bursaries to Tasmanian students
In 2019, the Royal Society offered bursaries to Tasmanian secondary/senior secondary students to represent Australia at an international event. The bursaries were offered in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering, arts, humanities, and social sciences, in keeping with the aim of the society of ‘advancing knowledge’ in a wide variety of ways.
These bursaries and the application process were widely advertised to government, independent and Catholic schools, subject associations, curriculum leaders, and on the RST website.
The Chair of the Bursary Committee was Dr Deborah Beswick, and committee members were Dr Robert Johnson, Dr Adele Wilson, Penny Cocker and Andrew Porter.
High quality, detailed applications were received by the committee.
Four bursaries were awarded.
Three of these were for attendance at the International RoboCup competition in Sydney, July 2019.
These were awarded to Michael Duffett from Rosny College, and Will Gaffney and Thomas Norgaard from Rose Bay High School.
Sophia Newton, from Elizabeth College, was awarded a bursary to attend a STEM Accelerator Tour in the United States, in April 2020.
Dr Deborah Beswick
Chair of the Bursary Committee
Congratulations to the all the very deserving recipients
Royal Society of Tasmania
for TASMANIAN STUDENTS 2020
The Royal Society of Tasmania offers bursaries for Tasmanian secondary/senior secondary students who have been selected through a competitive process to represent Australia at an international event. The amount of each bursary may be up to $1,000.
What is the Royal Society of Tasmania?
The Society has been in active existence since 1843 and we have continued to achieve our aim of ‘advancing knowledge’ in a wide variety of ways. The bursaries are one way in which we support the youth of Tasmania.
Who can apply?
In 2018 bursaries were offered in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering. In 2019 the bursary program was broadened to also support students selected through a competitive process for international events in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
What is the closing date?
There is no closing date for applications, as applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.
How to apply:
Students need to send a written application including:
- a brief descriptor of the international summer school or event they have been selected to attend, including dates and costs
- a copy of the recommendation from the Australian selection event or activity they were selected to attend
- a concise statement, written by the student, about their goals and aspirations and a short CV (max 2 pages)
- the endorsement of a senior staff member of their school.
Note: As the student/staff member may be contacted for interview/further information please provide contact phone numbers.
Send applications to: email@example.com
Dr Deborah Beswick
Chair, Bursaries Committee
The Royal Society of Tasmania
The Australian Academy of Science has
released a statement on the science behind
bushfires and climate change.
See the Statement below or follow this link to read it
on the Australian Academy of Science website.
Statement regarding Australian bushfires