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.

Recent Updates

JJ Eldridge

Exploding Binaries: Stars and Genders

- Exploding white dwarfs make the calcium in our bones. Dying massive stars release the iron that makes our blood red. Smaller dying stars and red giants produce the essential elements of life: carbon and oxygen. As someone who began their science journey immersed in science fiction, theoretical astronomer A/Professor JJ Eldridge has certainly learned that there is life among the stars, as we are all made of stardust. At the first RSV lecture held with Queers in Science to celebrate the 2020 Midsumma Festival, JJ shared their personal story in breaking the gender binary, reflecting that while they are personally a non-binary individual, their research focuses on the evolution of binary stars.
Rajesh Ramanathan

Shining a Light on Patients

- Dr Rajesh Ramanathan combines nanoparticles with light to achieve a wide range of biomedical applications. From sensing chemicals and bacteria, to healing wounds and imaging patients, his nanotechnology is at the forefront of biomedical science and its potential is endless. Winner of the 2019 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for Physical Sciences, Dr Ramanathan shared his journey to incorporate elements of nature into the design of nanoparticles for a wide range of biomedical applications. By shining a light on patients and nanoparticles, he can reveal their glucose levels, repair their wounds, and image their tumours.
A matter of energy

A Warming Climate’s Extremes

- Current climate models cannot capture the persistence of drought and length of heatwaves, and they struggle to simulate future rainfall extremes, sometimes because they offer conflicting results, because climate prediction and greenhouse gas emission models are not just in the hands of climate scientists. They have to take the human population into account – demography, economics, technology, and our actions. The modelling of future carbon dioxide emissions provides multiple possible futures depending on these. Professor Andy Pitman asks “what do you want for your future? Which do you think we can achieve?”

Problems and Problem Solving Around Epilepsy

- Among epileptic patients, 70% are effectively treated with drugs and live a generally normal life, but the other 30% are resistant to these drugs. Some can get around this by having invasive surgical procedures. Yet despite progress of the last 30 years to improve epilepsy treatment, the percentage of patients who cannot be treated remains at 30%. One of the most debilitating aspects of epilepsy is the uncertainty of when a seizure will occur – even if they are as infrequent as two a year. If you don’t know when the seizures will come, you cannot know when you are safe. Professor David Grayden wants to predict the onset of seizures, which could change the lives of over 15 million people.

Vale Dr David Maughan Churchill, 1933 – 2019

- The contribution of Dr David Maughan Churchill to the life and leadership of our Society has been significant, not just as one of our four Trustees, but also as our President from 1983 to 1984. David's election was a meaningful moment in our long succession of science community leaders, as his corresponding tenure as the Government Botanist of Victoria and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) recalled the role and contribution of our first (Royal) President, Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, in 1859, and perpetuated the long relationship between the RBG's scientific leadership and the RSV.
Mystery Portrait

The RSV’s Mystery Portrait – Solved!

- The Society's long history of convening the science community and promoting science in our state has contributed to a burgeoning archive deposited with the State Library of Victoria, who provide public access to these for the benefit of researchers. Meanwhile, we still maintain quite a few curious documents and objects from our past, squirrelled away in various shelves, cabinets and cupboards, our small archive room and the squeezy spaces beneath the raked seating of the Ellery Theatre. One such object is this mysterious portrait from the mid-20th century, painted in 1961 by Orlando Dutton, depicting a scholar, his medals and a microscope, without any name provided.