Next Lecture and Upcoming Events
For details of past lectures, please see our Lectures Archive.
- Prof James Vickers – November at QVMAG
The Royal Society of Tasmania presents Professor James Vickers – Reducing Risk of Dementia – Sunday, 24th November 2019 at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk, Launceston @ 1.30pmContinue reading →
- Unveiling of the Commemorative Plaque
The final event for the year long celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Society took place on Monday 14th October 2019 at the Water Door, the Davey Street entrance of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
A commemorative plaque was commissioned and installed. It was unveiled on Monday by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania. Also conducting the ceremony were the President of the Royal Society of Tasmania, Professor Ross Large AO and Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Janet Carding.
- Post Grad night – November at TMAG
The Royal Society of Tasmania
Post Graduate Night
at the Royal Society Rooms
Customs House, Dunn Place, Hobart
on Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Our speakers for the evening are: Luisa Fitzpatrick, Habacuc Pérez-Tribouillier and Patrick Yates.
Their subjects range from lizards’ tails and black holes, to uses of radioactivity in studying the oceans.
Tail Loss and Telomeres in Lizards
Luisa studied an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and Zoology at the University of Western Australia, where she then undertook her honours degree looking at sperm competition inbreeding in guppies with Professor Jon Evans and Dr Clelia Gasparini. She worked for an environmental consulting company for a few years and at the Western Australian Museum, then moved to Tasmania to begin a PhD in the evolutionary ecology of lizards with Associate Professor Erik Wapstra and Dr Geoff While. Her thesis work focusses on senescence in ectotherms and the links between telomeres, temperature, reproduction and life history using the Tasmanian lizard Niveoscincus ocellatus as a model system. During her PhD, Luisa spent 6 months working with Professor Mats Olsson and Dr Angela Pauliny at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, attended several international conferences, was involved in organising and hosting several national conferences in Tasmania and helped with field work on wall lizards in Italy.
Abstract: One aspect of lizard ageing Luisa is particularly interested in is their ability to regenerate large portions of their body. Telomeres are protective caps on DNA that shorten with cell division and oxidative stress. Tissue regeneration such as regrowth of a body part may influence an organism’s telomere length as growth can increase both cell division and oxidative stress. Examining the effect of tail regrowth on telomeres in a lizard, Luisa and colleagues found that telomeres lengthened in lizards with intact tails while oxidative stress decreased in those re-growing tails. This suggests that tail regeneration involves a response to oxidative stress which comes at a cost to telomere repair. This change in telomere maintenance demonstrates a potential long-term cost of tail regeneration.
It’s not only bad news: how radioactivity is used to study the ocean
Habacuc has been interested in the ocean since an early age, spending long days in the tropical beaches of southern Mexico and then studying a bachelor degree in oceanography and a M.Sc. in marine geochemistry. During his masters, Habacuc worked alternatively as a guide taking tourist to snorkel with the whale shark in La Paz, Mexico. In 2015 he moved to Hobart to start a PhD in the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies with Dr Zanna Chase, Taryn Noble, Ashley Townsend and Andrew Bowie. As part of his PhD, he got involved in the analytical side of oceanography, developing a technique to measure radioactive elements in seawater at extremely low concentrations. Recently he submitted his thesis and now he is working as a research assistant for Dr Taryn Noble at IMAS. When he is not in the lab, or in front of the computer, you might very likely find him SCUBA diving or spearfishing somewhere on the Tasmanian coast.
Abstract: Since radioactivity was discovered towards the end of the 19th Century, it had a big impact on society. Many of us think of radioactivity as something negative (fair enough). However, it represents an incredibly useful tool to study how our Planet works! In this talk, I would like to introduce you to the basic concepts of radioactivity and how they are applied to study the ocean. Then I will tell you how I applied it to study the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean is the largest high nutrient, low chlorophyll region in the global ocean. In these regions, phytoplankton growth is minimum despite the abundance of nutrients (let’s remember that phytoplankton is like the plants of the ocean). The cause of this is because most of the Southern Ocean is iron deficient. When iron reaches these “anaemic” regions, big “blooms” of phytoplankton extending for thousands of square kilometres appear. These blooms have the potential of absorbing atmospheric CO2and if the conditions are right, to transport in into the deep ocean, thus having a potential impact on climate regulation. In my thesis, I used thorium and neodymium isotopes to investigate how iron reaches and fertilizes the remote region of the Kerguelen Plateau. This region hosts the largest bloom in the Southern Ocean and also Australia’s only active volcano.
Black holes & galaxy evolution in under 20 minutes
Patrick completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), majoring in Physics and Applied Maths, before continuing his studies with an honours degree supervised by Dr. Stanislav Shabala and Dr. habil. Martin Krause. His honours topic was studying how black holes in the centre of massive galaxies modulate their impact on their host environment. Patrick was unable to escape the pull of black holes, and returned to UTAS to study a PhD, again supervised by Dr. Stanislav Shabala and Dr. habil. Martin Krause. His main area of research is modelling the effect black holes have on their host galaxy as a function of different environments. As part of his PhD studies, Patrick spent 3 months working with Prof. Martin Hardcastle and Dr. habil. Martin Krause at the University of Hertfordshire in England, attended the XXXth International Astronomy Union General Assembly in Vienna, and attended several national and international conferences and workshops.
Abstract: At the center of nearly every massive galaxy cluster lies a supermassive black hole, so dense that not even light can escape it’s gravitational pull. Surrounding this supermassive black hole is an accretion disk, formed as matter spirals inwards onto the black hole. The supermassive black hole, accretion disk, and region immediately surrounding the two are called the Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) of a galaxy, and are thought to play a key role in how galaxies evolved into what we can observe today.
In this talk I will focus on radio jets, which are superheated and relativistic jets of plasma launched from the accretion disk that punch through the environment and can produce structures 10 times larger than the diameter of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In particular I will look at how these radio jets are formed, how they grow to such large sizes, and how their violent passage through the environment is responsible for maintaining the delicate balancing act that prevents the catastrophic collapse of galaxy clusters. In my research I have developed state-of-the-art numerical simulations of these jets launched into realistic galaxy cluster environments, offering the perfect laboratory setting in which to quantify and model their effects on the host environment, and apply these findings to observations. One of the key findings from my research is the need to understand and accurately model the galaxy cluster environment in order to interpret the increasing number of radio jet observations.
- Innaugural Peter Smith medal
The 2019 Peter Smith medal lecture was delivered by
Dr. Lucia McCallum
on Tuesday, 1 October 2019
at the Royal Society of Tasmania lecture room, Dunn Place, Hobart.
The Dish redux – from the Apollo Mission to Earth surveying.
Dr Lucia McCallum is the inaugural recipient of the Peter Smith Medal.
Established in 2017, this medal is awarded biennially by The Royal Society of Tasmania to an outstanding early career researcher in any field.
Dr McCallum is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the UTAS School of Maths & Physics, radio astronomy group. She is a geodesist – or Earth surveyor. Her field of research is the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique, using signals from far distant radio galaxies to measure the Earth.
Lucia is involved with the AuScope VLBI project, which utilises the UTAS Mt Pleasant radio telescope (which can be seen to best advantage from a table at Frogmore Creek Winery, Cambridge) as well as two other UTAS operated radio telescopes in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. This facility array ties in Australian geodesy with the International Geospatial Reference Frame and is coordinated within the International VLBI Service and the Asian Oceania VLBI Group.
VLBI measurements provide imperative scientific information on the rotation of the Earth, the movement of continental plates and the effects of earthquakes. VLBI also provides the reference frame for all other types of geographic positioning technologies such as GPS, which we have come to rely on in our smartphones and which is allowing the development and operation of autonomous vehicles.
Lucia received her Diplom-Ingenieur from the University of Technology of Vienna, Austria, with a thesis entitled “Calculation of the Earth Rotation Vector with VLBI and Ringlaser measurements”. She continued to pursue her research in VLBI satellite tracking, and was awarded her PhD in Vienna in 2013.
Her first post-doctoral appointment led her to Hobart in 2014. In 2015, she was awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund – ‘Sibling Radio Telescopes for Geodesy – Optimising the use of co-located VLBI telescopes in the southern hemisphere’.
In 2017 she received a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council, with the project ‘Achieving millimetre geodesy with space tie satellites’. Her research interests include global reference frames, earth rotation, and the emerging field of space ties.
The Society congratulates Dr McCallum on her achievements.
More about the Peter Smith Medal
The Peter Smith Medal was established in 2017 and is awarded biennially to an outstanding early career researcher in any field. The winner receives a medal and delivers “The Peter Smith Lecture” to the Society. To be eligible for nomination, the research and/or works must be largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation and within the Society’s purview. The Award is not restricted to Australian nationals. The medal will be open for nominations again in 2020 – click here to go to our Award & Medal guidelinesContinue reading →
- October at QVMAG – Rufus Black
Prof. Rufus Black, Vice Chancellor and President of the UTAS, delivered his lecture on the “Ethics of Place” on Sunday 27th October 2019, at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Inveresk. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO
- Christmas Lecture – Dr Alison Alexander – Maria Lord: from convict to Governor’s lady
In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is just around the corner.
will present the Christmas Lecture on
Tuesday 3 December 2019
at CSRIO Lecture Theatre
Castray Esplanade, Battery Point
We are delighted to announce that our 2019 Christmas speaker is the renowned Tasmanian historian and author
Dr Alison Alexander
The topic draws from the one of her earlier and most popular works:
The lecture will be followed by a two-course buffet meal.
Click here for your invitation to the dinner: 2019 Christmas Dinner Invitation
Bookings close 20 November 2019
Click here to view the Christmas Function Dinner Menu.
- 2019 Peter Smith medal – Dr Lucia McCallum at TMAG
The Royal Society of Tasmania
the Innaugral Peter Smith medal lecture by
Dr. Lucia McCallum
on Tuesday, 1 October 2019
at the Royal Society of Tasmania lecture room,
Customs House, Dunn Place, Hobart
The Dish redux – from the Apollo Mission to Earth surveying
Whether we are talking about climate change, sea level rise or the exploration of natural resources, “Earth measurement” and “precise positioning” have long found their way into our daily vocabulary. Fundamental to all those applications is an accurate, stable, and accessible coordinate system. Today’s best coordinate reference is generated from a multitude of modern Earth surveying techniques, one of them making use of black holes as the most stable pillars of the Universe.
The Hobart radio telescope, once designed as part of the Apollo Missions, nowadays plays a crucial role to measure our dynamic Earth. This is a diverse task of managing old and new technology, establishing truly global collaboration, and performing innovative research delivering encouraging results.
Dr Lucia McCallum is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Physics Department of the University of Tasmania. She is a geodesist – or Earth surveyor – with a proven record in the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique. Her main research interests are global reference frames, Earth rotation, and the emerging field of space ties.
Following a surveying degree, she performed her doctoral studies in Geodesy at TU Wien, Austria. Her first post-doc appointment led her to Hobart in 2014, where she now has settled with her young family. In 2015, she was awarded the Erwin-Schrödinger Fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund, and in 2017 she received a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council. She is now the winner of the inaugural Peter Smith Medal.
ψ The Peter Smith Medal was established in 2017 and is awarded biennially to an outstanding early career researcher in any field. The winner receives a medal and delivers “The Peter Smith Lecture” to the Society. To be eligible for nomination, the research and/or works must be largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation and within the Society’s purview. The Award is not restricted to Australian nationals. The medal will be open for nominations again in 2020.Continue reading →
- Nominations open for Royal Society Doctoral Awards 2019
The Royal Society of Tasmania Annual Doctoral (PhD) Awards
Call for Nominations
Closing date: 15 November 2019
The Royal Society of Tasmania established this award in 1998 to honour young, recently-graduated doctoral (PhD) awardees who have made significant advances in the course of their doctoral research. Each award is valued at $1000. Two awards may be made in any one year.
• To be eligible for the Award, no more than three years should have elapsed since the conferring of the PhD degree on the nominee (as at the closing date for nominations – 15 November 2019).
• The honours may be awarded in any field within the purview of the Society, ie sciences, medicine, arts or humanities.
• The Awards are for work leading to significant advances based on the PhD research, as evidenced by published or in press peer-reviewed papers in the national/international literature.
• The works are to have been largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation.
• The Award is not restricted to Australian nationals.
• Nominees must have been under 35 years of age on the day of conferment of the PhD.
Please email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
and marked: Doctoral Award Nomination
For attention: Honorary Secretary
What to include:
• A full academic curriculum vitae including the date of birth, the date of conferring of degrees (including the date of PhD conferment) and a full list of published works. The most significant works are to be highlighted with an asterisk. Where the candidate’s standing relies on many co-authored papers, the candidate’s roles in those significant publications should be indicated.
• An abstract (not more than one A4 page) of the PhD study, including the thesis title.
• A letter of nomination from the candidate’s Department Manager and/or PhD supervisor. Applications will not be considered without this document, which must include a statement of the new and original contribution to the field of research.
· Nominations must be received by 15 November 2019.
· The Awards will be announced at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in Hobart in March 2020.
Prof. Ross Large AO,
PresidentContinue reading →
- September at QVMAG – Dr Tas van Ommen
The Royal Society presents Dr van Ommen who will share his knowledge of climate change gained over six research expeditions to the Antarctic. 22 September 2019 @ 1.30pm in the Meeting Room at InvereskContinue reading →
- September at TMAG – Dr Anita Hansen
The Royal Society of Tasmania
Dr. Anita Hansen
Creating History: how does a settler society create its own independent history and identity?
Tuesday, 3 September 2019
8.00pm in the Royal Society Rooms,
Customs House Building, Dunn Place, Hobart
This is a companion to last month’s lecture by Marley Large, Snapshots of 175 Years of The Royal Society of Tasmania’s Minutes which looked at The Royal Society of Tasmanian’s history through its Minute Books.
The Royal Society of Tasmania developed the government gardens into a true botanical gardens and created a museum that was to become the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, as well as starting a wonderfully eclectic library: WHY?
This 175th anniversary of The Royal Society of Tasmania is a time to look, not only at the physical and scientific achievements of the Society, also at the cultural and historical legacy of the Society to Tasmania and Tasmanians as we moved from an English penal colony to the vibrant cultural centre that is Tasmania today.
Born in Denmark, Dr Anita Hansen moved to Australia with her family as a child. Her artist mother was fascinated by the exotic plants and animals of their new home and taught Anita to draw them. Anita has worked as an artist all her life – in Tasmania, interstate and overseas. She holds a doctorate from the University of Tasmania (Nineteenth century natural history art and belonging in Tasmania), a Master of Fine Arts (Orchid Illustrations of William Archer 1847–1874), a Graduate Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration (University of Newcastle) and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree (University of Tasmania). Anita received a Fellowship with the Cultural Studies Department at the University of Toronto.
Anita co-edited The Royal Society of Tasmania’s books The Library at the End of the World: Natural Science and Its Illustrators and Poles Apart: Fascination, Fame and Folly, also writing about the artists whose illustrations were featured in the books. She has published a number of journal articles. Anita has curated a number of exhibitions in Tasmania and interstate, recently curating exhibitions for The Royal Society of Tasmania’s 175th anniversary (Louisa Anne Meredith: a remarkable woman, Poles Apart: Fascination, Fame and Folly) and was on the Steering Committee for the DINOSAUR rEVOLUTION exhibition, as co-ordinator of The Royal Society of Tasmania’s 175 anniversary committee.Continue reading →