Deterring Possums with Pyrethrum

After noticing the presence of both brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums foraging around and damaging the plants in her backyard, zoologist and keen gardener Professor Lynne Selwood came up with the idea to develop a substance that could preserve and protect her beloved plants from browsers, i.e., animal species that use trees for their habitat and something that was readily accessible for all to use. During the first five years, she conducted a series of independent experiments, choosing particular plants from her garden that were inedible to possums.

Call for Nominations: RSV Council Election 2020-21

Nominations are hereby called for the election of five Ordinary Councillors for the 2020-21 Council. All nomination forms and statements must reach the Returning Officer, c/o The Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne 3000 by 3.30 pm on 16th December 2019. Up to five Ordinary Members of Council for 2020 and 2021 will be elected by postal ballot closing at 3.30pm on 2nd March 2020.  The elected Councillors will take up office from the Annual General Meeting to be held 14th May, 2020.

Our Valuable Waste

In a collaboration between researchers, the government, and production manufacturers, materials can be recycled and reformed into new products. We talk about three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Professor Veena Sahajwalla offers a fourth: reform. Instead of shipping waste offshore, we could be harvesting the high value materials in our waste. Each year, 50 million tonnes of e-waste is produced globally. In Australia, fewer than 1.5% of the 4 million computers sold a year are recycled. The total value of the resources embedded in them approximates $70 billion.

Stories from the Cosmos

Indigenous cultures have a deep emotional investment and attachment to the landscape that acts as both almanac and encyclopaedia. It’s amazing that different cultures separated by vast oceans and continents have independently perceived the patterns in constellations in strikingly similar ways, despite being geographically and temporally separated. Stories from the cosmos give both practical guidance and spiritual comfort, and this way of telling stories and reading the stars is a way of keeping knowledge constant across generations.

Self-Cleaning Clothes, Wound-Healing Textiles and Real-Time Biological Imaging – The 2019 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award

With Dr Rajesh Ramanathan, we encounter a special example of a scholar exploring the knowledge base from traditionally separate field of scientific inquiry. First trained as a biologist, Rajesh combined his PhD work in materials science to consolidate expertise across the chemical, physical and biological sciences, enabling him to develop and contribute to research projects across disciplinary boundaries, leading work in the exciting new field of nanobiotechnology.