According to Dr Tyson Yunkaporta, we live in a ‘Dynamic Universe – because of the diversity within it.’ Tyson belongs to the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland and is a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University. Indigenous knowledge is a dialogue – it’s the yarns, carvings, songs, and dances that change depending on the relationship of the people who are sharing it, where they are, and where they are from. With so many cultures, stories, and points of view, stories of the sky change according to where you stand. ‘Truth is not an empirical thing, but an aggregate of stories and diversity.’ What Westerners call a meteor represents the eye of an evil spirit or death to many Aboriginal groups across northern Australia. Cultural astronomer A/Prof Duane Hamacher has felt privileged to learn how meteors and meteorites are incorporated into Indigenous knowledge systems by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders around Australia.
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.
It’s NAIDOC Week, and what better time to reflect on the significance of the world’s oldest continuous cultures and the incredibly complex knowledge systems that have been sustained through the remarkable practice of “orality?” Dr Duane Hamacher and Krystal de Napoli from Monash University have delivered a number of terrific lectures for audiences across Victoria this year for the Inspiring Australia program, and we’ve prepared these highlights from Duane’s presentation to the Royal Society of Victoria in February to share his passion for the science traditionally encoded in story, song, dance, landscape and skyscape by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
Applications are sought for the 2018 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences, given for excellence in scientific research by an early career researcher in the area of astronomy, astrophysics, chemistry, mathematics, physics, all branches of engineering, and related sciences. The Award is available to candidates within seven years (at the deadline for application) of the awarding of their doctorate from a university in the state of Victoria, Australia.
The successful candidate will receive an award certificate and a prize of $3,000, given following an address to the Royal Society of Victoria on the evening of 27th September, 2018.
Dr Duane W. Hamacher’s work seeks to understand how the first Australians developed and embedded scientific information into their knowledge systems. Working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, students, and knowledge custodians across Australia, he listens to their stories, songs, and traditions to learn about Indigenous astronomical and geological knowledge, and understand the connections between sky, land, and sea.