Life of the Innovative Man

One can only imagine just what Sutton could have achieved if he was less isolated, more protective of his innovations and patents, more entrepreneurial, or had the right financial backing such as that which Tesla secured with the entrepreneur George Westinghouse. Lorayne Branch’s advocacy is compelling; Henry Sutton is an unsung Australian inventor arguably on a par with Edison, Bell, Tesla and Marconi. Her extensively researched monograph goes a long way in delineating his achievements and placing them in a broader context. This is a book that would certainly inspire any young Australian inventor and it deserves a large audience.

A Joint Win for the RSV’s 2018 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award

This year, the assessors of the Royal Society of Victoria’s Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award in the Physical Sciences worked diligently through the pile of applicants that grows, year on year, with the growth in Victoria’s remarkable pool of talent. It is an intensely competitive field of Early Career Researchers and, this year, our assessors simply could not find a way to separate the two lead applicants.

“Both have made – and continue to make – significant contributions to modern physics with different, substantial potential for application,” explained Dr Peter Baines, the Secretary of the Royal Society of Victoria and one of the assessors. Ultimately, the two lead applicants were ruled a dead heat.

The Society congratulates Dr Sumeet Walia and Dr Nishar Hameed on their joint win of the 2018 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award for the Physical Sciences!

Brain Interfaces: the Hype and the Reality

Recently, there has been worldwide “hype” around brain interfaces and the seemingly endless possibilities that they provide. Despite bold predictions from several technology companies about the future of neural interfaces (e.g. Elon Musk’s whole brain interface that will allow the brain to connect to an information network), the science of brain augmentation is still in its early days. There is a large gap between what is talked about amongst the hype and what is actually feasible in the near future. Professor Arthur Lowery gave us a reality check of what applications are possible for brain interfaces; electrodes can be placed to stimulate the occipital lobe for sight, the motor cortex for the control of prosthetics, or the speech centre for artificial speech.