Monday, 24 July at Melbourne Convention Centre
RACI Centennial Chemistry Congress: 3,500 chemists, three Nobel Prize winners, Trump and Obama insiders
The ignorant versus the arrogant – inside US politics
That’s how Obama insider and chemist Paul Anastas describes the US election result. He was appointed to the EPA by President Obama and now sees decades of environmental protection being rolled back. He’s angry. At the Congress, he’s talking about solving global challenges without creating new ones. For example, we need non-toxic solar cells, and biofuels that don’t compete with food production. He’s a pioneer of green chemistry, designing chemicals that are sustainable, non-hazardous and environmentally benign.
How seaweed and frog venom led to today’s OLED phone and TV screens
Andrew Holmes is President of the Australian Academy of Science and a chemistry pioneer whose discoveries led to plastic screens. Now he and his colleagues are working on plastic solar cells. He’ll discuss the impact of chemistry on Australia, and what’s next for plastic electronics.
Molly Stevens grows bones
Molly is a tissue engineer growing bones, cartilage, nerve and heart tissue for regenerative medicine and bio-sensing. Last December she announced a patch that could fix a broken heart.
In her lab, at Imperial College London, you’ll find cartilage, nerve and heart tissue growing too. In 2010, she was named one of The Times’ top 10 scientists under 40.
New solvents from wood
Invented in York, made in Tassie. The world needs good solvents for everything from cleaning the house, to making drugs, and miracle materials like graphene. York University’s James Clark has invented a new solvent that’s now being made in Tasmania.
Business can solve today’s intractable challenges says Dow CEO Andrew Liveris, but Australia is falling behind
Business can help make the world a better place by driving the solutions to problems like climate change, food security and rising energy demand.
“I firmly believe that the companies who will lead the 21st century will be the ones that invent solutions to these mounting global challenges,” said Andrew Liveris, speaking last night at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress.
For Dow that’s meant developing a paint that removes toxic formaldehyde from the air, innovative packaging technologies that reduce food waste, and new methods of desalination that allow us to put more of the planet’s water to use.
Last year the company was awarded 754 US patents – eight times the number they were getting a decade ago.
“More and more companies are seeing that we can do well by doing good,” Andrew said.
But we also need governments to set smart regulatory and policy frameworks that enable innovation to flourish, and that’s not happening enough in Australia he said.
According to the World Economic Forum, Australia ranks 25th in the world when it comes to “business capacity for innovation”. And we’re also falling behind in our competitiveness in teaching young people maths and science.
Andrew says our quality of life will go backwards “if all we are is a farm, a hotel and a quarry”.
Speech and audio available at www.scienceinpublic.com.au
- Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, speaks this morning. His speech will be available post-talk
- Tuesday – chemical weapons, superbugs, the world’s smallest periodic table and more.
The RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress celebrates the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
If you’d like to attend the conference, media passes are available—contact Suzannah Lyons on firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
For more stories visit www.scienceinpublic.com.au
For information about the Congress itself, visit the website: www.racicongress.com.