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.
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.
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.