**NOTICE: as of 25 March, we have decided to close our building in the Melbourne CBD. Our premises will be unavailable for meetings and events until 30 June, 2020, subject to further assessment of the pandemic situation. 

The Royal Society of Victoria convenes Victoria’s science community. It is the State’s oldest learned society and a part of Australia’s intellectual life since 1854. Located in a heritage-listed building at 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, the Society provides a dynamic program of lectures, symposia and forums about science.

Membership is open to anyone interested in science, its history and supporting its promotion for the benefit of the community. Public lectures on compelling topics across the disciplines are held each month; you can see our upcoming lectures featured at the bottom of this page, or view the forward program of lectures here. While attendance is low cost, numbers are limited and we recommend booking your place to avoid disappointment; details are available on each event’s page.

Through the RSV Science Foundation, the Society supports community outreach and scientific research through an awards program, recognising lifetime achievements and encouraging early career progression of Victorian scientists through a suite of special honours and prizes. Through management of the Inspiring Victoria program, we help our partners across the state to bring science-themed talks and events to their local communities, connecting people of all ages with scientists and the specialised knowledge they can share.

We support science in the South-East of Australia through publishing papers in our regional science journal, the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. Papers are peer-reviewed, accepted without charge and published in full colour, online, open access with CSIRO Publishing.

The Royal Society of Victoria’s rooms and facilities are available for hire to organisations, companies or private individuals. Our heritage-listed building opposite the Carlton Gardens is suitable for a wide range of events, including conferences, seminars, meetings and private functions.

Recent Updates

Smoke Plumes

Seeing the Smoke


- We spent long periods shrouded in smoke due to the 2019-2020 bushfires that burned upwards of 12 million hectares. In addition to the tragic loss of life and devastation to ecosystems and infrastructure, there were significant levels of smoke exposure across Australia. The lives lost as a direct result are likely to number in the hundreds. Approximately 10 million people experienced elevated concentrations of fine particles on account of the recent fires, exposed to an air quality equivalent to smoking between 20 to 40 cigarettes. These ultrafine particles, less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (a ninth of a grain of sand), are referred to as PM2.5 particles. Following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommended that 5% of public land should be burned annually to reduce the risk of catastrophic bushfires. While protective against large, uncontrollable bushfires, these prescribed burns produce smoke that can have a significant impact on health.

Light Conversations: Sustainable Solar Energy


- The energy we obtain from burning coal today comes from the energy that prehistoric vegetation absorbed from the Sun millions of years ago. But it instead only takes microseconds to convert sunlight directly into electricity. Global electricity consumption continues to accelerate with economic growth and industrial demand. Around 23 trillion kilowatt hours of energy were consumed in the single year of 2018 - the equivalent power needed to turn on 1,800 billion LED bulbs for an hour. To provide our growing population with the level of energy the developed world is used to, we would need to generate 60 trillion kilowatts worldwide. Power plants as we know them cannot satisfy these demands; however, the sunlight energy striking the Earth’s surface in an area the size of Texas alone could provide up to 300 times the total power output of all the power plants in the world. “Solar energy has the greatest potential to fill this energy gap,” says Dr Wallace Wong.
RSV Building

The RSV Building is Closed until 30 June (subject to review)


- As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve globally, we wish to provide our members, tenants, partners and clients with an update on the steps our Society is taking to minimise disruption to our operations and enduring mission to promote science, the work of scientists and the scientific literacy of the Victorian community. We understand that this is an uncertain time for all, and we would like to reassure you of our preparedness and commitment to maintaining our various programs in these constrained circumstances. At this time we have decided to close our building in the Melbourne CBD. This means our premises will be unavailable for meetings and events until 30 June, 2020, subject to further assessment of the pandemic situation. We remain open and committed to our programs, if not physically present at our historic headquarters.

From the President: The RSV’s Response to COVID-19


- The COVID-19 pandemic presents our community with some unexpected situations. The RSV is no different, which is why I am writing to update you on our plans until the end of May. When the Executive met last Thursday, we discussed and approved a plan to keep our activities going for the benefit of our members and supporters – but in a way that keeps everyone safe. We agreed that from today until the end of May 2020 all our meetings and lectures will be held online to ensure the safety of our members, tenants, clients, guests and staff. The plans outlined here are subject to change as the COVID-19 situation continues or finishes. These are difficult times for all of us, but I want you to know that the Executive, Council and staff are all working to keep you informed of our activities and plans during this difficult time, and for ways to support the Victorian health authorities.
Group photo

Demystifying the IPCC


- The IPCC aims to understand the influences driving the Earth’s climate variability and future climate scenarios. It does not conduct its own research or run models; instead, it provides a meta-analysis of the work of thousands of researchers across the globe to provide a scientific basis for governments to develop climate-related policies. The IPCC warns of risks to food production and security, water availability, species extinction, biodiversity reduction, coastal erosion, floods and droughts, negative impacts on human health, and population displacement. ‘The IPCC has been saying the same thing since the 1990s, but no one is listening,’ said Dr Chloe Mackallah, reading directly from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, which states that the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions 'are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.’

2020 RSV Fellows Appointed


- I am delighted to advise the RSV Council Meeting of 27 February, 2020 unanimously agreed to appoint four leaders in the Victorian science community as Fellows of the Royal Society of Victoria. Being elected a Fellow is the highest membership honour the Society can bestow on a person and entitles the Fellow to use of the postnominals ‘FRSV.’ Our four new Fellows will be formally inducted as part of the Society’s Annual General Meeting program which will be held on Thursday 14 May between 5 and 8pm. Members, please mark this event in your diary. You will receive an invitation with full details, including an address by Professor Marilyn Renfree AO, in late March. On behalf of your Council, please join me in congratulating our four new Fellows.