We are delighted to see a mix of the new and familiar from our late 2020 call for nominations for members of our governing Council. As none of the available positions were contested, our Returning Officer (Dr William Birch AM MRSV) has declared the these RSV members elected to these roles for a two year period, commencing from the next Annual General Meeting (set for May 2021). Our thanks to these members for their willingness to lead the Society and shape its future; we wish everyone every success during their tenure. Current Officers and Councillors of the Society will continue in their roles until they variously expire at the Annual General Meetings set for 2021 and 2022, including our incumbent President David Zerman, who will continue on the leadership team as our Immediate Past President following the May AGM.
Industry 4.0 is the next industrial revolution, utilising digitalisation to create a smarter, self-correcting manufacturing processes. Bringing this new industrial age together with science is Professor Bronwyn Fox, winner of the 2020 Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research. Her journey with carbon fibre production saw the develop a more efficient fabrications process for composite materials, and also had her involved with Quickstep and their new composite material process. At the time a small start-up, Quickstep is now the largest Australian independent manufacturer of composite materials, and Bronwyn took this entrepreneurial mindset and founded Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus facility. Professor Bronwyn Fox continued her research into renewable carbon fibre and established yet another facility – the National Industry 4.0 Testlab – which focuses on 3D printing of composite materials.
What does DNA, snowflakes and the hydrophobic effect have in common? They are all example of molecular self-assembly! Inspired by this process of nature, Dr Nisa Salim used attractive and repulsive forces to influence molecules to interact, and in doing so created an array of nanostructures capable of becoming solar cells, drug delivery systems, and in her newest venture – manipulating carbon fibre to be stronger than steel, lighter than aluminium and even electrically conductive! For her work in carbon manufacturing, Dr Nisa Salim was awarded the 2020 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences and explains how a nature-inspired approach to manufacturing can be the key to many issues facing our time – from climate control, water management and even high speed travel.
Stewardship describes a deep relationship between people and place. In modern Australia, it is often proposed as the next step of transition for a culture that is emerging from a colonial, extractive relationship to the landscape. The transition to stewardship may require we reorganise around the unique characteristics of the country, undertake significant regeneration of damaged ecosystems and deprioritise constant economic growth in favour of an enduring sufficiency gathered from a prosperous and biologically diverse environment. Join members of all the Royal Societies in Australia for this unique series of three webinars, seeking a new model for the management of the Australian landscape so that our natural systems are conserved and regenerated for the benefit of future generations.
Human activities have released significant quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a greenhouse gas, the more carbon dioxide emitted, the warmer our planet becomes. Partly mitigating these impacts, plants recover 30% of atmospheric carbon via photosynthesis. Using energy from the Sun, they combine carbon dioxide with water to form sugar and oxygen. When the chemical reaction is reversed, carbon returns to the atmosphere – either by cellular respiration in plants and animals, or the burning of coal, wood, or gasoline. Soil scientist Dr Samantha Grover explains that one way of preventing carbon dioxide from returning to the atmosphere is keeping it sequestered in the ground. In fact, there is two-to-three times more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere.