The Royal Society of Victoria’s Science Awards & Prizes: Call for Submissions & Nominations

The month of May is our peak awards season at the Royal Society of Victoria, with all three major programs open for submissions at once, each recognising excellence at different moments of the science career cycle. Please consider the talented scientists in your life, and encourage (or prepare) a submission for the Young Scientists Research Prizes, the Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences, and the RSV Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research.

The Science (and Art) of Sport

The field of sports analytics was thrust into the spotlight by the Michael Lewis book, Moneyball, in 2004. The pressure to apply science to professional sport has accelerated. Associate Professor Sam Robertson and Professor Damian Farrow are dedicated to advancing technologies, data capacities, and analytics to help both professional and recreational athletes. There is more data being generated in sport than ever before. With better tools to manage and detect that data, the technology and analysis behind professional and recreational sport will continue to improve, giving players the opportunity to improve alongside them.

Fashionable Science

How can textiles quietly heal us? Are wearable medical devices of any use when patients are too stigmatised to wear them? What good is fancy cycling gear that won’t protect the rider? Can we close the loop on global fashion, the world’s second biggest polluting industry? Our speakers had answers! Catriona Nguyen-Robertson presents highlights from our fantastic “Fashionable Science” panel discussion on 28 February from Dr Leah Heiss, Dr Rajesh Ramanathan & Dr Lyndon Arnold from RMIT University and Dr Nolene Byrne from Deakin University. From comfort and style to function and protection, clothing fulfils some of the most basic human needs; but now we’re exploring textiles that can contribute to wound healing, or even become body implants through a next generation recycling process.

Australia’s earliest humans? The case for Moyjil

The latest, special issue of the Royal Society of Victoria’s Proceedings concerns itself in detail with a ten-year research program led by a multidisciplinary team from four Victorian universities. The subject is an unusual deposit of shells and burnt stones at Warrnambool, in western Victoria. The site, originally recognised by the late Edmund Gill, is at the mouth of the Hopkins River, known as “Moyjil” by Traditional Owners. It contains the remains of shellfish, crabs and fish in a cemented sand, together with charcoal, blackened stones and features which resemble fireplaces. The dating of the shells, burnt stones and surrounding cemented sands by a variety of methods has established that the deposit was formed about 120,000 years ago, roughly twice the presently accepted age of arrival of people on the Australian continent based on archaeological evidence.

Hail to the Meteorologists

Dr Joshua Soderholm has always been intrigued by storms. As a boy, he would sit by a window in his house during the summer to watch storms approaching, and often watched them pass by, missing the house. He couldn’t predict exactly where the storm would hit, and to this day he encounters many challenges in observing and forecasting hailstorms. Hailstorm events account for greater than 30% of losses from ‘catastrophic’ events, and the ten largest hailstorms in Australia caused more than 17 billion dollars’ worth of losses as it can be detrimental to agriculture, private property, and commercial businesses. Our current warning systems rely on surveillance and efficient communication, financial insurance, and a response strategy, but we still have poor ability to forecast large hailstorms or predict the size of hail stones with current radar technology.