‘Plate tectonics’ describes fragments of the Earth’s outer shell that move against, over, and under one another at their boundaries, slowly changing the shape and location of our continents and oceans. The theory revolutionised the Earth sciences field by providing an understanding of how mountains are built, volcanoes erupt, and earthquakes are triggered. But while the theory is now a given, this hard-won scientific consensus represents an historic moment in living memory.
Our sea levels are rising. Understanding the dynamics of the beach envelope and its overlap with human infrastructure is fundamental for effective coastal management. Dr David Kennedy studies the dynamic adaptation of beaches in the past to inform how we can manage them into the future. While NSW beaches have been studied for decades, but we are only just starting to understand the behaviours of Victoria’s beaches and their underlying geology.
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 young 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. 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.
The latest edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria is now online, featuring a new species of calcareous sponge discovered in Geelong, a spectacular new H5 meteorite in Maryborough, an account of Indigenous meteorological knowledge using stellar scintillation, a reclassification of fossil graptolites from the early Bendigonian, a case for regulated investment in a resilient electricity network, an account of the Bureau of Meteorology’s new extreme heatwave event forecasting service, and a discussion on whether a similar service might be required for cold extremes.
Associate Professor Stephen Gallagher has spent months at sea over the past several years, drilling into the past to obtain a record of Australian geological history. The expedition set out to recover a 5-million-year record of the Australian climate – and surpassed their expectations by uncovering 50 million years. Gallagher was pleasantly surprised at the gems of information discovered on changes to aridity, sea levels, and monsoon cycles that the core samples revealed.