Next Lecture and Upcoming Events
For details of past lectures, please see our Lectures Archive.
- 175th Anniversary Program
In October 2018, the Royal Society of Tasmania will be celebrating 175 years – a terquasquicentennial anniversary.
The Royal Society of Tasmania was the first Royal Society to be established outside the United Kingdom
The Society was founded in 1843 by Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, Lieutenant Governor, as the Botanical and Horticultural Society of Van Diemen’s Land. Its aim was to ‘develop the physical character of the Island and illustrate its natural history and productions’. Queen Victoria became Patron in 1844 and the name was changed to The Royal Society of Tasmania of Van Diemen’s Land for Horticulture, Botany and the Advancement of Science. Under the Act of Parliament passed in 1911, the name was shortened to The Royal Society of Tasmania.
Today, with the aim of ‘the advancement of knowledge’, the Society is flourishing and still an important part of Tasmania’s scientific and cultural community.
To celebrate this significant milestone, the Society has put together an inspiring program of events in addition to its usual lecture programs.
30 August 2018
Royal Society of Tasmania Medal Presentation and Lecture
Government House, Hobart
30 September 2018
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) – Inveresk, Launceston
16 October 2018
Government House, Hobart
6 November 2018
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) – Dunn Place, Hobart
10 November 2018
Royal Botanical Gardens, Queens Domain, Hobart
25 November 2018
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) – Inveresk, Launceston
Nov – Dec 2018
Poles Apart Exhibition
Morris Miller Library foyer, UTAS, Sandy Bay Campus
7 Dec 2018 – 5 May 2019
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart
27 January – 24 February 2019
Lady Franklin Gallery, Ancanthe Park, Lenah Valley, Hobart
March 23–24 2019
Stanley Burbury Theatre – University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus
21 March – 11 June 2019
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart
- Dr Alison Alexander – May lecture at QVMAG
2019 Launceston Lecture series
The Royal Society of Tasmania
INVITES YOU TO
Jane Franklin – the Real Founder of the Royal Society of Tasmania
A PUBLIC LECTURE BY
Dr. Alison Alexander
Sunday 26 May 2019, 1.30 pm
Meeting Room, QVMAG, Inveresk
admission free for members of the Royal Society of Tasmania
$6 general admission
$4 for students, QVMAG Friends, and members of Launceston Historical Society
Various people have desired to gain kudos from establishing themselves as the founder of the Royal Society of Tasmania, notably Governor Eardley Wilmot. Alison will argue that Jane Franklin was the real founder, though as a woman with no official status she had to work behind the scenes.
Born and educated in Tasmania, Dr. Alexander has written thirty-three books about Tasmanian history. Her paid career was writing commissioned histories, including Launceston Church Grammar School and the Australian Maritime College. The subjects of her biographies range from romantic writer Marie Bjelke-Petersen to governor’s wife Jane Franklin, this book winning the National Biography Award in 2014. Duck and green peas! Forever! Finding Utopia in Tasmania (2018) is her most recent book.
- Dinosaur Symposium Abstracts
UTAS, Hobart, Tasmania
Over the weekend of 23-24th March 2019, participants at the symposium heard keynote talks by distinguished scientists in their field.
Click below to download all the lecture abstracts from the recent Dinosaur Symposium
The conference was organized by The Royal Society of Tasmania as part of our 175thAnniversary celebrations, with support from the Tasmanian Division of the Geological Society of Australia and the University of Tasmania. It was run in parallel with an exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery called “Dinosaur rEvolution; Secrets of Survival” created by Gondwana Studios of Launceston, Tasmania.
Themes of the Symposium
Recent research on dinosaurs
Evolution of dinosaurs and birds
Proterozoic evolution of life
Phanerozoic evolution of life
Mass extinction events
- New Honorary Editor and Council Member
The Royal Society of Tasmania is pleased to welcome Dr John Volkman as the new Honorary Editor to the Society. He will take over from Dr Margaret Davies OAM who undertook the role for the past sixteen years.
Dr Volkman has a long history of scientific research carried out in Tasmania and internationally. He is currently Co-Editor in Chief of the international journal Organic Geochemistry. John is a former Chief Research Scientist and Program Leader of the multidisciplinary Marine Biogeochemistry program at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere in Hobart. He continues at CSIRO as an Honorary Fellow. Previously, he was Chair of the Tasmania Science and Technology industry Council and Aquafin CRC Environment program leader examining the environmental effects of salmonid and tuna aquaculture. He is internationally recognized for the discovery and application of lipid biomarkers in organic geochemistry, environmental studies, petroleum geochemistry, palaeoclimatology and the evolution of lipid biosynthetic pathways. Dr Volkman is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
We would also like to welcome Roxanne Steenbergen as a new member of the Royal Society of Tasmania Council
Roxanne has thirty-five years of experience in primary teaching across a range schools. For over fifteen of those years Roxanne taught gifted and talented students online through the Department of Education’s Centre for Extended Learning (now the Gifted Online program). Through this program Roxanne engaged with students across Tasmania. In 2007, Roxanne and a colleague jointly won the Microsoft 2007 Innovative Teacher Awardfor their “Cool Chemistry” project. The project involved the creation of a virtual classroom connecting two schools, two teachers and a practising chemist. Within this environment, children used a range of software to share and compare their inquiries. Roxanne also has a keen interest in literacy through childhood reading and believes every student should have books in their hands whenever they want one – whether they are classics like Journey to the Centre of the Earth or the more modern stories of the 13-storey treehouse series.She won the Scholastic Literacy Champion Awardin 2013. Roxanne retired from teaching in June 2018, but retains a strong interest in making Science teaching accessible to everyone.Continue reading →
- Doctoral Awards lecture – Hobart
For the May lecture of the Royal Society we will hear from the joint winners of the 2018 RST Doctoral Thesis Award. This award is given annually to two recently graduated PhD academics who have made significant advances in the course of their doctoral research. The awards are made for excellence in research in any field within the purview of the Society, so we will be have the pleasure of hearing presentations on very diverse topics.
The Royal Society of Tasmania is pleased to introduce the recipients of the 2018 Doctoral Awards,
Jack Mulder and Feng Pan
Tuesday, 7 May 2019
8.00pm in the Royal Society Room,
Customs House Building, entrance from Dunn Place, Hobart
Doctoral Thesis Winner: Feng Pan
Title: Individualised osteoarthritis pain treatment based on phenotypes: are we there yet?
Pain is the most prominent symptom in osteoarthritis. Pain experience is a complex and multifactorial phenomenon. Peripheral structural damage has been traditionally considered a source of pain and this has strengthened with MRI studies; however, a discordance between structural damage and pain severity suggests individual variations in pain presentation which may be determined by genetic, environmental (obesity), psychological and neurological factors. Each of factors may play its role or intact with other factors to contribute to the variation which can partly explain the overall lack of treatment efficacy with the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach. Identifying pain phenotypes in knee osteoarthritis is promising to develop individualised treatments; however, the validity and reliability of osteoarthritis pain phenotypes have not been tested in clinical practice. Given the heterogeneity of osteoarthritis pain, peripheral, psychological and neurological factors are considered key phenotypic dimensions in the identification of pain phenotypes. This new concept allows for patients’ stratification for clinical trials, thus providing potential for individualised interventions in patients with osteoarthritis pain.
Dr Feng Pan is a Research Fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, supported by the NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. His research interests span both epidemiology and clinical interventions to osteoarthritis-related pain. Much of his work has been on identifying biomechanical risk factors for chronic pain and osteoarthritis, identifying pain and osteoarthritis phenotypes and testing new therapeutic treatments.
Dr Pan completed a Masters of Medical Oncology in 2012, having completed a Bachelor of Medicine in 2009. His PhD was conferred in May 2017. His thesis work assessed the genetic and systemic factors in knee osteoarthritis and pain. Prior to his PhD, Dr Pan worked as an oncologist at the Anhui Provincial Hospital affiliated with University of Science and Technology of China where he was involved in running multiple clinical trials and assessing genetic contribution to solid tumors through systematic literature review and meta-analysis.
Doctoral Thesis Winner: Jack Mulder
Title: From Rocky Cape to the Rocky Mountains: The geological journey of Tasmania’s oldest rocks
The iconic rugged landscapes of western Tasmania are underlain by an ancient package of rocks that record the very earliest history of Tasmania. The ancient Tasmanian rocks represent a package of sediments that were deposited between 1.4 and 1.0 billion years ago. These sediments are made up of tiny fragments of even older rocks that were eroded from source regions and transported down rivers before accumulating as layers of sand and mud in a shallow sea. The source of these sediments can be traced and used to explore where Tasmania may have been located 1.4—1.0 billion years ago by studying tiny grains of the mineral zircon within the rocks. Zircons contain an ‘internal clock’ produced by the radioactive decay of uranium, which allows these tiny time capsules to be dated.
Dating several thousand individual grains of zircon from the ancient Tasmanian sediments reveals that they were sourced from older rocks that formed 1.45 and 1.70 billion years ago. Surprisingly, these zircon ages are a poor match for the age of potential source rocks in nearby parts of in Australia. This mismatch in zircon ages indicates that when the Tasmanian sediments were deposited, Tasmania did not form part of Australia. Instead, the zircon ages in the Tasmanian rocks closely match the age of 1.45 and 1.70 billion year old rocks that currently underlie much of the southwest United States. Based on the close match of zircon ages, the ancient Tasmanian sediments were likely sourced from the older rocks in the southwest United States, which supports a connection between these regions 1.4—1.0 billion years ago. A connection between Tasmania and North America at this time is also supported by the recognition that rocks a package of exposed in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Idaho and in Grand Canyon, Arizona are the same age, rock type, and contain the same zircon age signatures as the 1.4—1.0 billion year old rocks in Tasmania. These 1.4—1.0 billion year old North American rocks may represent parts of the same ancient sedimentary basin in which Tasmania’s oldest rocks formed. This ancient basin was fragmented as Tasmania drifted away from North America and subsequently collided with Australia to achieve its present-day position.
Dr Jacob (Jack) Mulder, Research Fellow, Monash University
Jack is a geologist who studies ancient rocks to understand how Earth’s continents are built and how they have evolved through deep time. Jack grew up in southern Tasmania and studied at the University of Tasmania, completing his undergraduate in 2013 and a PhD in 2017. His PhD research integrated field work in western Tasmania and the western United States with state-of-the-art analytical techniques, and plate tectonic modelling to study the earliest geological history of Tasmania. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Monash University where his research focuses on using the sedimentary record to track secular changes in the composition of the continental crust and plate tectonic processes.
- Passing the torch
AT the Royal Society of Tasmania meeting on 2 April, Dr Elizabeth Robinson presented a compelling lecture on educating young people in Tasmania today.
The Royal Society took the opportunity to thank Dr Margaret Davies OAM for her many years of service as Honorary Editor to the Society.
Margaret was educated at the University of Tasmania, the Australian National University and the University of Adelaide, from where she retired in 2002 after an academic career at that institution of 30 years. Her research focused on the taxonomy and systematics of the Australopapuan frog fauna with an interest in osteology. She has discovered and named 34 species of frog during that research career and has published 118 papers, books and edited works.
An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of South Australia, she served as Secretary, Editor, Vice-President, President and Minutes Secretary before returning to Tasmania where she became Honorary Editor of the Royal Society of Tasmania, a position she filled with distinction for sixteen years. Under her leadership the Papers and Proceedings thrived, and the annual calendar was much anticipated. Dr Davies also oversaw the publication of a number of excellent books and other quality publications.
The torch has been passed to Dr John Volkman who has been appointed the new Honorary Editor to the Society. Welcome aboard, John!
- de Wesselow exhibition of watercolours
An exhibition of the Tasmanian watercolour works of
Francis Guillemard Simpkinson de Wesselow (1819–1906)
Dr Anita Hansen of the Royal Society will be giving a talk about the exhibition on
30 April 2019
at 10.30 am
in the Royal Society rooms, TMAG, Hobart
All are welcome. Click HERE for registration.
Francis Guillemard Simpkinson de Wesselow, naval officer and artist, was born in London the son of Sir John Augustus Francis Simpkinson. His mother, Mary Griffin, was the sister of Lady Jane Franklin. Upon joining the navy in 1832 he served with his uncle, Sir John Franklin. He arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in September 1844 to take up his appointment to the Rossbank Magnetic Observatory in Hobart Town.
Simpkinson was an accomplished artist and recorded a great many landscapes around Van Diemen’s Land. He was often accompanied on his painting excursions around the colony, and even to Port Philip, by the artist John Skinner Prout.
When Lieutenant Simpkinson returned to England in December 1848, he took his collection of some 200 drawings and watercolours with him. In 1869 he added de Wesselow to his name by deed poll. Responding to a request from the Royal Society of Tasmania, Simpkinson de Wesselow gifted his colonial collection of paintings and drawings to the Society when he was aged 81.
On 10 July 1900 he wrote to the Bishop of Tasmania, Henry Hutchinson Montgomery, who co-jointly with Professor William Brown established the historical and geographical section of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1899….
I happen to have several volumes of drawings and sketches made during the years I passed there – 1844 to 1849 – which have been lying packed away almost ever since my return. I am exceedingly glad there is now a chance of their being of some use or interest, & I forward them to you with much pleasure.
This stunning Royal Society collection is housed by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Continue reading →
- April at QVMAG – Prof. Barry Brook
In the next instalment of the northern lecture series, Prof. Brook considers existential environmental threats facing humanity during the 21st century and speculates on the long-term future of ‘humanity’ (or our descendants) should we progresses beyond this zone of immediate global risk.
Barry lives on a bush property in the Huon Valley. He has published three books, over 350 refereed papers, and many popular articles. His research focuses on the impacts of global change on biodiversity, ecological dynamics, paleoenvironments, energy, and simulation models.
- April lecture at TMAG – Dr Elizabeth Robinson
The Royal Society of Tasmania
Dr Elizabeth Robinson
On educating young people in Tasmania today
A Public Lecture – 2 April 2019
8.00pm in the Royal Society Room,
Customs House Building, entrance from Dunn Place.
Raised and educated in Tasmania, Dr Elizabeth Robinson grew up on the North West Coast, with parents whose lives were carved by the depression and war – timbercutting at the head of the Hellyer Gorge, and placing signal lines across the Owen Stanley Range of Papua New Guinea. These lived-experiences of inter-generational belonging inform the descriptive (mythopoetic) nature of her academic writing, inviting us to explore the historicity of our own lived-worlds and the disruptions that shape our understandings. She is currently principal of Kingston High School.
It seems that society sees schools as highly transactional places, a ledger of sorts, accounting for academic outcomes and failures, selecting consequences in which good and bad behaviours are respectively rewarded and punished. What does this traditional view of education mean in a contemporary context of the neuroscience of ‘growth mindset’, ‘positive psychology’ and ‘trauma informed practice’? Perhaps philosophy, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, might enable us to capture moments of poignancy and reinterpret such moments to come to understand how young people, particularly those who express themselves in a language of distress, given compassionate attentiveness, might find their voices again and return to learning.
Dr Robinson holds a PhD through Curtin University, with her thesis: Pedagogy of being present: An inquiry into the unconditional communion of listening. Her thesis received a chancellor’s commendation due to its contribution to a future of educational change in relation to the effects of trauma on learning and bringing individual students “back into voice and life”. Dr Robinson’s thesis explores the ways in which listening to young people opens up spaces for healing relationships that are both self-educative and mutually transformative.
As a teacher in Tasmanian high schools, Dr Robinson began to define her own teaching as a pedagogy of listening to young people. In the context of her current role as a principal, Dr Robinson notices the tensions between the social/emotional needs of young people and the capacity of schools to meet these needs, navigating the complexities of inter-agency relationships and community demands for student inclusion as well as exclusion. How might a philosophical approach to understanding the needs of young people help inform educational policy in Tasmania and the wider national discourse around needs-based funding?Continue reading →
- Dr Costan Magnussen – March at QVMAG
The 2019 Launceston lecture series continues on 24 March at QVMAG. The speaker is Dr Costan Magnussen, a Fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Hobart. His topic goes straight to the heart.
Costan has a joint appointment as adjunct professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at the University of Turku, Finland. He completed his undergraduate training and PhD at the University of Tasmania, before taking postdoctoral positions at the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne.Continue reading →
- Tasmanian Australian 2018, Scott Rankin
Inclusive growth – creating new pathways out of deep poverty
by Scott Rankin, Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2018
Date: 5 March 2019
Place: Central Gallery, TMAG, Dunn Place, Hobart
Time: 8.00 pm
The five Domains of Change which must be tackled together if we are to create sustained positive change in our communities, rather than spinning wheels, more welfare ghettos, and the dulling of potential amongst those in our communities who experience the effects of diminished opportunity. The For Profit sector and the Not For Profit sector must work together, bringing together shared values and practices.
Scott will call on examples of the work of Big hART a Cultural Justice organisation which began in Burnie 25 years ago and continues to expand nationally and internationally. Scott will also speak to themes in his recent Platform Paper “Cultural Justice and the Right to Thrive” (Currency Press) and from an unusual childhood growing up on a Chinese Junk.
Scott Rankin is a nationally renowned public speaker, cultural commentator and founder of Big hART – Australia’s leading arts for social change organisation (www.bighart.org). His theatre, documentary and television projects have won multiple awards. He was the 2018 Tasmanian Australian of the Year and Big hART won both the 2017 Telstra Business Awards Tasmanian Small Business and Charity of the Year.Continue reading →