Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields worldwide, particularly in leadership positions. For instance, Australian women comprise more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 20% of senior academics in universities and research institutes. This lecture will explore the reasons why gender bias in STEMM matters in more detail by drawing on data from an ongoing sociological study focusing on the leadership experiences of 25 women in STEMM fields who were all participants in a three-week transformational leadership program in Antarctica in December 2016. Key themes for discussion include women’s experiences of sexism and gender bias, sexual harassment and managing caring responsibilities. This lecture will also explore why women in STEMM often internalise the problem of gender equity in STEMM and blame themselves for their challenging organisational experiences.
Dr Meredith Nash is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania. Her research explores the depth and enduring character of gender-based inequalities of position and power. For the last 10 years, her research has engaged specifically with four key sites where gender inequality persists including: reproduction and parenting, organizational culture, media, and leisure/sport. She is the author of Making postmodern mothers: Pregnant embodiment, baby bumps, and body image (2012) and the editor of Reframing reproduction: Conceiving gendered experiences (2014). Her new co-edited book Reading Girls: Postfeminism, feminism, authenticity and gendered performance in contemporary television was published this month by Palgrave.
For over 50 years scientists have been working to understand Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. For much of this time there has been disagreement about if this massive ice sheet is even growing or shrinking. In 2012, advances in data analysis and computer modelling resulted in the first reconciled estimate of change being achieved. This lecture will explain some of the major advances that led to this reconciled estimate, which revealed that Antarctica is increasingly contributing to sea-level rise.
Professor Matt King started focusing on Antarctica during his PhD at the University of Tasmania, where he quantified multi-decadal changes in the motion of a large floating Antarctic ice shelf using surveying data. After 11 years in north-east England, he returned to the University of Tasmania in 2012 as Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of Polar Geodesy. In April 2015 the Royal Society (London) awarded him the Kavli Medal and Lecture for his work that contributed to the first reconciled estimate of Antarctica and Greenland’s contribution to sea-level change. He is currently President of The Royal Society of Tasmania.
The Royal Society of Tasmania has announced its latest awards recognising outstanding achievements by Tasmanian researchers.
The prestigious R M Johnston Memorial Medal, established in 1920 and awarded to a scholar of great distinction, has been won by Prof David Green FRS. Born and educated in Tasmania, David Green is internationally recognised as a leader in experimental igneous petrology. It is an honour for The Royal Society of Tasmania to offer acknowledgment to David Green’s scholarship with this medal. He will deliver the R M Johnston Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 2 May in the Royal Society of Tasmania Room, TMAG Hobart, at 8 p.m. All interested people are warmly invited to attend.
The Clive Lord Memorial Medal, established in 1930, is awarded to a scholar distinguished for research in Tasmanian science or Tasmanian history. This has been won by Prof Henry Reynolds. Clive Lord had a deep interest in Tasmanian history including the place of the Aboriginal identity. Henry Reynolds is a fitting person to be recognised by The Royal Society of Tasmania as he has a distinguished academic and personal background that unites these subjects.
The RST Doctoral Awards offer external recognition to recent PhD graduates who have shown genuine distinction and mature promise in their chosen field. Warm congratulations go to Dr Aliaa Shallan and Dr Jane Younger. Dr Shallan’s research focused on the development of a microfluidic device for drugs in fluids. Her work is recognised widely and being applied globally. Dr Younger’s research has made a significant contribution to the field of Antarctic ecology, specifically with respect to how ice-dependent penguins and seals are likely to respond to climate change.
For more information on RST awards
Global and local implications of ‘species on the move’ as a function of a changing climate
Distributions of the Earth’s species are changing at unprecedented rates, largely driven by human-mediated climate change. Such changes are already altering the composition of ecological communities, but beyond conservation of natural values, how and why does this matter? Dr Pecl will highlight how species redistribution at regional to global scales is having major impacts on ecosystem functioning, human well-being and the dynamics of climate change itself, before providing detail of local changes in marine species distribution here in Tasmania. She will finish by describing how the public can get involved in research and assist in documenting and understanding these important changes.
Associate Professor Gretta Pecl is a Tasmanian local, hailing from Glenorchy with convict stock origins. She started her undergraduate degree at UTAS before transferring to James Cook University for Honours and then to undertake a PhD. Most of her early worked focused on biology and ecology of squid, cuttlefish and octopus. Gretta’s early field work at UTAS concentrated on the waters off the east coast of Tasmania – a region experiencing a high rate of ocean warming, almost four times the global average. She subsequently became very interested in the impacts of marine climate change, and in communicating this with the public, and this is where most of her work now lies. Gretta has been awarded several prestigious fellowships including a Fulbright Fellowship in Alaska where she worked on red king crab of ‘World’s Deadliest Catch’ fame, and the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship she currently holds. She leads several large National and international projects, including the citizen science project Redmap Australia and The Global Marine Hotspots Network.
Royal Society of Tasmania Annual Doctoral (PhD) Award
Nominations are open until 5 pm Friday November 25, 2016.
Established September, 1998
Two awards may be granted annually in any field within the Society’s purview. No more than three years shall have passed since the award of the PhD at the award nomination deadline. Each award shall attract a grant of $1,000 from the Society.
The Conditions of the Doctoral (PhD) Award are:
• To be awarded in any field – sciences, medicine, arts or humanities – within the purview of the Society;
• The Award to be 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 work to have been carried out largely in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation;
• The nationality of the recipient is not to be considered in making the Award; that is the Award is not restricted to Australian nationals;
• The nominee is developing a career in the field of study;
• The award is to be available annually, but will not be awarded if there is no candidate of sufficient quality;
• Expressions of interest are to be sought widely from all relevant institutions on an annual basis, and must include a nomination from the candidates supervisor or Head of Department;
• The recipient will be encouraged to address the Society;
• The value of the Award shall be $1,000.
Nomination process for the Doctoral (PhD) Award:
Nominations will only be received in digital form to firstname.lastname@example.org attention Dr John Thorne, Honours Committee Convener.
The first page of the nomination should list:
• The name of the award.
• The name of the candidate and contact email.
• The name of the proposer and contact email.
All applications must include:
1. A letter of nomination from the candidate’s PhD supervisor or Head of Department. Nominations will not be considered without this document.
2. The letter of nomination (1) must include a statement of the new and original contribution to the field of research.
3. A full academic CV including the date of PhD graduation – which must have been after 25 November, 2013.
4. An abstract (not more than one page) of the PhD study, including the thesis title.
5. One copy of each relevant published or in press paper on which the nomination is based.
6. A copy of the candidate’s PhD thesis.
Note: Candidates may not nominate themselves.
Applications should be emailed to the: email@example.com
Attention: Dr John Thorne, Honours Committee Convener
Sam Cook – School of Biological Sciences
The Master Hormone: Auxin
Sam is originally from Melbourne but has been at the University of Tasmania for 8 years. He loves Tasmania for its proximity to magnificent forests, spectacular beaches and phenomenal mountains. Sam studies the phytohormone auxin and how it is made in plants and uses molecular, physiological, biochemical and genetic tools to provide a multi-faceted approach to explore auxin biosynthesis in pea and across the green lineage involved in regulating plant growth. Sam would ultimately like to work with GMOs or Forestry in the future, perhaps at the same time.
Kirstin Proft– School of Biological Sciences
Bettongs on the brink: a Tasmanian ghost story
Kirstin’s PhD aims to help with the conservation of eastern bettongs, these unique marsupials are extinct everywhere except Tasmania. She is studying the genetics of bettongs in the Tasmanian Midlands, an area where lots of bushland has been cleared for agriculture and trying to understand what effects land clearing is having on the movement of animals across the landscape, hence on the genetic relationships between populations. Kirstin’s work is part of a larger effort to direct habitat restoration and replanting in the Tasmanian Midlands by researching how different animals use the landscape and what types of habitat are important for them.
Daniel Hoyle– School of Medicine
Impact of Sedative Reduction
Effective methods to reduce sedative use in aged care facilities have been developed however review of the resident-related and economic outcomes are lacking in previous studies. Daniel’s research fills this gap by investigating the effect that sedative reduction has on residents involved in the national expansion of a project aimed to improve the review and use of sedatives in aged care, called the Reducing the Use of Sedatives Project.
Bruce Duncan– Faculty of Education
Grasping the slippery slope: The construction of understanding in mathematics classrooms.
Bruce is looking at the relationship between teaching approach and learning outcomes in mathematics. Research claims that students need to be engaged cognitively in their learning in order to develop useful understanding of mathematical concepts. His project is testing this claim in a secondary maths classroom by implementing a problem-based approach to teaching. When learners have to think about how a problem can be solved, they are expected to develop more flexible understandings and remember the concepts better than with a more teacher centred teaching approach.
Dr Amy Edwards– School of Biological Sciences
Captive Breeding for Conservation
Australia has the world’s highest rate of mammal extinctions, and breeding in captivity has become commonplace for many of our endangered and threatened species. However, unfortunately some breeding programs are experiencing sex ratio biases in their offspring. Amy’s work looks at both the mother’s and the father’s side of the story to investigate why these biases may be occurring and whether we can safely correct them to ensure the success of our breeding programs.
Phillipa McCormack– Faculty of Law
Biodiversity conservation law and climate change: can we do better?’
There are a range of adaptation strategies that have been identified by ecologists and evolutionary biologists as critical for biodiversity conservation under climate change. Phillipa’s work considers the extent to which these strategies are already represented in Australian conservation law and policy. It then investigates the ways in which we might improve strategy implementation through law reform, to ensure that plants, animals, ecosystems and landscapes have the greatest opportunity to adapt and persist as the climate changes.
Hoang Phan– Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Sex Differences in Long-term Mortality and Disability of Stroke in the INternational STroke oUtComes sTudy (INSTRUCT).
Women appear to have worse outcomes of stroke including mortality, disability and poorer quality of life but it remains unclear why it is the case. Hoang’s aim is to examine the cause of the differences between men and women using data from high quality and generalizable studies around the world including 16,000 strokes.
Pearse Buchanan– Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Ocean deoxygenation and nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas
Unlike the atmosphere, the ocean has experienced variations in the concentration of oxygen that are present in the surface during past instances of climate change. Strong variations were felt in the lower latitudes, specifically in the oxygen depleted zones of the eastern tropical Pacific and the Northern Indian Ocean. Today, these same deoxygenated zones are important because they produce nitrous oxide, one of three major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere directly influencing the climate. Variations in the oxygen content of the ocean affect the degree to which these zones produce or consume nitrous oxide and variations in oxygen play an important role in determining the trajectory of climate change. Pearse’s research seeks to improve our mechanistic understanding of the cyclic interplay between climate, oxygen, nitrous oxide and climate.
Lavenia Ratnarajah – Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Effects of natural iron fertilisation by Antarctic krill and baleen whales on the Southern Ocean carbon cycle
Phytoplankton plays a really important role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, the growth of phytoplankton in large areas of the Southern Ocean is limited by the availability of a key micronutrient- iron. Lavy’s PhD investigates the role of the biology, in particular Antarctic krill and baleen whales as a source of recycled iron in the Southern Ocean, and the impacts of historical whaling practices on the global carbon cycle.
Lynda Kidd – Faculty of Education
Teacher education graduates: What are they doing now?
Initial teacher education courses are designed to prepare graduates for teaching in the K-12 school system. Research, however, shows that many of these graduates do not end up in the classroom. Lynda’s study explored the different occupations that these graduates obtained and which skills developed during their teacher education studies were being utilised in their chosen careers
Macarena Pavez – Faculty of Health
The interaction of calcium signaling and the cytoskeleton in navigating growth cones
In order to develop effective therapies to treat neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, we need to understand how our brain is wired during normal development. Neurons send out long processes, called axons, to connect with their correct target in a process known as axon guidance. The axon is guided to that target by a structure at the axon tip called a growth cone, which responds to guidance cues in the environment. How the growth cone navigates is not well understood. We do know that calcium is critical. Changes in calcium levels within growth cones dictate their motility. Macarena’s work aims to understand how calcium is controlled to regulate growth cone motility. She hypothesises that the calcium-sensing protein STIM1 is vital for controlling when and where calcium rises within the growth cone. It is likely that this regulation of calcium by STIM1 is crucial during axon guidance and ultimately brain connectivity.
Kerryn Brent – Faculty of Law
The Role of the No-Harm Rule in Governing Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering
Proposals to geoengineer the Earth’s atmosphere to offset the effects of climate change pose a new challenge for international law. They risk having widespread detrimental impacts on the global environment, but most proposals are not specifically governed by an international agreement. States have a general obligation under the customary international law ‘no-harm’ rule to prevent their activities from causing significant harm to other states and the global commons, including the high seas and the atmosphere. Kerryn’s project considers the potential of the no-harm rule to respond to the risks of proposed geoengineering technologies and recommends how it can be developed to bolster the capacity of international law to govern geoengineering.
Indi Hodgson-Johnston– Faculty of Law
Who owns Antarctic territory?
The laws of territorial sovereignty and Australia’s claim to the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Emily Rudling– Asian Studies, School of Humanities
Knowing Tasmania and learning Asia
The Asian economic boom is an opportunity for Tasmania to turnaround persistent socio-economic problems. In 2013 the Giddings State Government releases the Tasmania’s Place in the Asian Century white paper as a roadmap for engaging Asia. A key aspect is committing to Asia related language and cultural education through the policy of Asia literacy. What does this mean for Tasmania? Is Tasmania capable of becoming Asia literate and will this help the state?
Tuesday September 6, 8 pm Royal Society Lecture presenting Dr Clare Hawkins, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania in Royal Society Room, TMAG
In recent times, 27 Tasmanian species are listed as having gone extinct. Threatened Species Day – 7th September 2016 – marks the 80th year since the last known thylacine died. It’s a time to reflect on why extinction matters to us, and how we might reduce our negative impacts on species survival. My own response, as a threatened species zoologist, is to take up a Churchill Fellowship on citizen science, to engage the wider community in better understanding the needs of the plants and animals in their own backyards. In this talk, I share my findings on how this might work most effectively.
Clare Hawkins carried out her PhD on the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), a semi-arboreal mammalian carnivore endemic to the forests of Madagascar. Its ecological similarities to the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) brought her to Tasmania in 2001 to study the latter species’ habitat requirements. She subsequently joined the State Government, initially with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, and spent four years monitoring the impact and distribution of Devil Facial Tumour Disease. She is now Senior Zoologist for the Threatened Species section. She is also the IUCN Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group Red List coordinator and author of the Naturetrackers blog. For the Bookend Trust, she is currently co-organising two ‘Extinction Matters’ BioBlitzes, to be held on either side of Threatened Species Day (7th September 2016). Her current focus is on novel approaches to better monitor and manage Tasmania’s diverse threatened fauna (from quolls and eagles to skinks, butterflies and burrowing crayfish). In 2015, she was awarded a Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to develop citizen science study designs for long term monitoring.
July 27, 7.30 pm Stanley Burbury Theatre, Sandy Bay campus, UTAS
Chair: Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AM, Governor of Tasmania
Speaker: Dr John Cook, UQ
Around 7% of Australians believe climate change isn’t happening. What drives this rejection of climate science? The biggest driver of climate science denial isn’t education, science literacy, age or income: it’s who you vote for. Political ideology is a key factor, with people who oppose regulation of the fossil fuel industry denying there’s a problem needing solving in the first place. This matters because misinformation generated by this small group confuses the public, decreasing public support for climate action. How do we respond to climate science denial? Presenting evidence about climate change to those who reject climate science is not only ineffective, it can even backfire and harden their views. Instead, psychological research into inoculation theory points to another approach. Just as a vaccination stops a virus from spreading by exposing people to a weak form of the virus, we build resistance to science denial by explaining the techniques and fallacies of misinformation. Rather than try to change the minds of a small minority immune to evidence, we communicate to the majority who are still open to evidence. And not only do we need to communicate the science, we also need to explain how that science can get distorted.
John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland. He created and runs the website SkepticalScience.com, which won the 2011 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge and the 2016 National Center for Science Education Friend of the Planet Award. John has co-authored several university textbooks on climate change as well as the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. In 2013, he published a paper on the scientific consensus on climate change that has been highlighted by President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. He also developed the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, released in April 2015. He is currently completing a PhD in cognitive psychology, researching the psychology of climate science denial.