Fashionable Science

How can textiles quietly heal us? Are wearable medical devices of any use when patients are too stigmatised to wear them? What good is fancy cycling gear that won’t protect the rider? Can we close the loop on global fashion, the world’s second biggest polluting industry? Our speakers had answers! Catriona Nguyen-Robertson presents highlights from our fantastic “Fashionable Science” panel discussion on 28 February from Dr Leah Heiss, Dr Rajesh Ramanathan & Dr Lyndon Arnold from RMIT University and Dr Nolene Byrne from Deakin University. From comfort and style to function and protection, clothing fulfils some of the most basic human needs; but now we’re exploring textiles that can contribute to wound healing, or even become body implants through a next generation recycling process.

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!

The Young Scientist Research Prizes – 2018 Competition Results

Four categories of science, eight amazing presentations! What a wonderful night we had at the Society, with these outstanding early-career scientists presenting their remarkable work with passion, humour and poignancy. Drawn from a very competitive applicant pool of 47 final year PhDs from across Victorian research institutions, these newest members of the Royal Society of Victoria were already assured of a prize on the night – it was just a matter of which one.

Ultimately, our competition must acknowledge those who draw ahead of the pack on the grounds of effective communication, robust science, the capacity to answer questions through audience discussion and the significance of their research. The results are listed here in each category, with warm congratulations to all our winners and runners-up.

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.

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.