Postcards from a Pandemic

When we write postcards, we take time to stop and reflect. What messages would we send to our future selves? When we finally emerge from our homes following lockdown, what sort of world do we want to live in? Powerful images and messages can ignite change. A multi-disciplinary panel gathered to discuss what they see as inspirational for scientists, governments and communities to take action in response to COVID-19, devastating bushfires, and systemic racism and social unrest. Before the pandemic we were amongst the unbridled fires, lush landscapes were blistering, and communities came together to offer donations and support to rebuild towns that were destroyed. During the pandemic and in lockdown we feel as if we’re in a snow dome. Gaps in wealth, age, sex, age and disability became highlighted and people marched forcefully with thunder in response to social injustice. Once we emerge, we hope to have better communication with scientists and vigorously carve out a new equilibrium.

Young Scientist Research Prizes 2020

Every year, final year PhD candidates present their doctoral studies to the Royal Society of Victoria, competing for four Prizes that recognise excellence in Victoria’s early career scientists. Eight finalists present under the four categories: Biological Sciences, Biomedical & Health Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Physical Sciences. While the format of delivery was different this year, participants rose to the challenge to deliver engaging and informative videos for National Science Week. A particular congratulations to Charlene Trestrail, Lakshanie Wickramasinghe, Megan Withers, Hayden Dalton, and Adelle Goodwin, the winners of their respective categories. From chicken sexing to neutron stars, all finalists’ presentations are summarised here, with links to their video presentations and the full proceedings as broadcast on the night via Facebook Live.

Exploding Binaries: Stars and Genders

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.

Call for Applications: The Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences

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.

The Crossroads: Aboriginal knowledge & modern science

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.