The Royal Society of Victoria is our State’s scientific society, founded in 1854. The Society convenes an independent community of science practitioners, educators, industrialists and enthusiasts to promote the understanding and utilisation of scientific knowledge for the benefit of the State of Victoria.

We broker engagement between practitioners of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine (STEMM) and the broader Victorian community, seeking to improve general scientific literacy, evidence-based decision making and the translation of scientific knowledge into purposeful actions in our State.

Headquartered on Wurundjeri land in a heritage-listed building at 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, the Society provides a statewide program of outreach, partnerships, lectures, forums, programs and projects. A further overview of who we are and what we do is available at our About Us page.

Recent Updates

The Secrets of Australian Caves and Karst


- Australia's caves were formed over millions of years, and exploring them is a journey to a hidden underworld that holds many wonders. But caves and karst landforms need our protection. They house complex ecosystems, critical habitat for plants, animals, and micro-organisms which, in many cases, cannot survive elsewhere. The biggest threat is overuse from tourism – which builds positive awareness, but also damages their natural integrity.

Building a New Manufacturing Sector in Victoria


- Sustainability is becoming core to big business. CSIRO's Chief Scientist, Professor Bronwyn Fox, is concerned that Australia is at risk of being cut out of global supply chains if we cannot provide evidence of reducing our carbon emissions. She seeks to leverage our mining sector’s use of digitisation, automation, and control for on-shore manufacturing, creating a suite of technologies that change the way we think about time and space.

Will Quantum Computing Save the Planet?


- It should come as no surprise that quantum computers are inherently good at solving problems in quantum mechanics. Most of these opportunities lie at the intersection with chemical engineering or materials science, meaning the types of technological issues critical to addressing climate change and power generation will be among the first to benefit from quantum computers as their power increases.

Seeking an Independent Taskforce to Address the Biodiversity Crisis


- Knowledge holders and leaders from across Victoria, including Traditional Owners, gathered at the Royal Society of Victoria to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Victoria in biodiversity conservation and recovery, considering the urgent need to establish an independent Taskforce. RSV President Rob Gell framed the biodiversity crisis as “everyone’s problem.”

You Can’t Bake the Same Cake Twice


- You may wonder whether we can separate the cake of life’s three main ingredients: genes, environment, and developmental variation. This remains a goal of many researchers. But just as we can’t un-bake a cake to produce flour, eggs, and sugar, we can’t completely separate out the factors that make you an individual. Things are complicated because genes, environment and developmental variation interact.

The Science Doughnut


- At the Australian Synchrotron, electrons are shot out from an electron gun so that they are already travelling at over half the speed of light. They are then sped up further until they nearly reach the speed of light and are shot out into an inner “booster ring” to boost their energy. Once the electrons have gained enough energy, they are shot into an outer ring. Hence the affectionate nickname – the two rings form a doughnut.
The Murchison Widefield Array. Photo: Natasha Hurley-Walker - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18366320

Seeing the Invisible Sky


- Astronomers build telescopes to search for cosmic radio waves and learn about the universe. Radio telescopes “see” the sky very differently to the point-like stars seen in visible light. They detect black holes, stars and planets being born, dying stars, and more. They detect invisible gas and can reveal areas of space that may be otherwise obscured by cosmic dust. Professor Virginia Kilborn hunts for cosmic phenomena beyond the visual spectrum.

The Difficulties of Sex


- During intrasexual selection, members of the same sex attempt to outcompete rivals for mates. This is typically responsible the evolution of armaments to increase their chances of success such as larger beetle horns and deer antlers, or larger body size. By contrast, intersexual selection results from mate choice, where certain behaviours or characteristics (e.g. mating calls and bright colours) are considered ideal. But human waste can interfere with this process.

Don’t Roll the Dice with Science Communication


- We need to ensure the public are well equipped to make their own decisions based on an understanding of risk. We use education to encourage people to eat 3-4 servings of vegetables per day rather than enforcing it, while safety is ensured with legislated mandates like wearing seatbelts or banning indoor smoking. Yet vaccine mandates have been disputed, though you might die much faster from being infected by someone than passively breathing in their smoke at a restaurant.