L’Oréal Fellowships, the Florey medal, and the extreme universe

Media bulletins, Media releases
On Tuesday L’Oréal Australia announce their $20,000 For Women in Science Fellowships for 2011.

This year’s winners are from Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville.

Their details are now on line at http://www.scienceinpublic.com/loreal/. The announcement ceremony is at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre at 6 pm on Tuesday – media welcome. Give me a call if you’d like to attend.

There are also lots of other interesting science-based events coming up over the next few days and weeks.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on 6 September 2011. We’re not doing media for this event but check it out at http://eureka.australianmuseum.net.au/ .

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will be announced at a dinner at Parliament House on 12 October. More at https://grants.innovation.gov.au/scienceprize/Pages/Overview.aspx. We will be able to brief long-lead publications on embargo in a couple of weeks.

Nominations are open for the $50,000 CSL Florey Medal.  Sir Howard Florey took penicillin from an idea to a drug that has literally saved hundreds of millions of lives. The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) has announced a search for someone who is following in Florey’s footsteps.  Details below.National Science Week continues with:

  • discovering our ‘super-human future’ with an intriguing set of speakers in Melbourne including Laurence Krauss (cosmologist and author of “The Physics of Star Trek”) at the Singularity summit. Lawrence is also in Sydney tonight at The Ultimo Big Night of Science.
  • Also at the Ultimo Science Festival in Sydney:
    • The Einstein Lecture: Powerful medicine – Einstein would be proud!
    • The Probability Drive – A stand-up maths comedy show

And, look out for science themes and issues throughout the Melbourne Writers Festival including:

  • dissecting the differences between the male and female brains
  • adventures in science with Dr Karl
  • population growth – good or bad?
  • Bryan Gaensler on the incredible physics of the universe.


Kind regards,

(03) 9398 1416; 0417 131 977



Seeking Australian researchers who are following in Howard Florey’s footsteps

Melbourne Writer’s Festival events

National Science Week events

Singularity summit


Seeking Australian researchers who are following in Howard Florey’s footsteps

Sir Howard Florey took penicillin from an idea to a drug that has literally saved hundreds of millions of lives.

Today the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) announced their search for a worthy recipient of the $50,000 CSL Florey Medal in 2011, someone who is following in Florey’s footsteps.

“We are looking for people who have made significant achievements in biomedical science and human health advancement,” says Ms Elektra Spathopoulos, Executive Director of AIPS.

The medal was established in 1998 by AIPS in honour of the Sir Howard Florey, and has been awarded biennially six times in those years – to individuals whose work has transformed medicine and saved lives.

“The Florey Medal has become an indicator of those Australians whose work will go on to have global impact and inspire the next generation,” says Elektra.

“We honoured Barry Marshall and Robin Warren in 1998, seven years before they went on to win a Nobel Prize for their work showing that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, not by stress.”

“In 2004 we recognised Peter Colman whose work led to the anti-influenza drugs Relenza and Tamiflu.”

“We recognised Ian Frazer in 2006 for his life-saving cervical cancer vaccines.”

Other winners include:

  • Professor Jacques Miller (2000) whose discovery of the function of the thymus transformed immunology.
  • Professor Colin Masters (2002) for his work on Alzheimer’ disease.
  • Professor John Hopwood (2009) for his research into genetically inherited disorders affecting children.

The prize money has doubled this year thanks to the support of CSL. “We deeply appreciate the support of CSL Limited, especially at a time when medical research around the world is threatened by tight budgetary pressures. This is a time when medical research needs champions, and with CSL’s help we intend to find and publicise the best in Australian science,” says Elektra.

CSL Florey Medal nominations close on Friday 16 September and the Medal will be presented in Parliament House, Canberra, on Monday 21 November at the annual dinner of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.

For further information visit www.aips.net.au or contact Elektra Spathopoulos, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Policy and Science & the Tall Poppy Campaign
Tel: (02) 9351 0819, Mob: 0425 433 954, email: director@aips.net.au.


Melbourne Writer’s Festival events

Dissecting Gender

Sunday 28 August

Jane McCredie, Cordelia Fine, Monica Dux, Robert Brooks

ACMI Cinema 2, 4pm – 5pm

Join Jane McCredie, Rob Brooks, Cordelia Fine and Monica Dux to consider the evidence for there being scientific differences between the male and female brain, how gender difference informs our culture, and whether it’s actually possible to get to the bottom of these questions.

More info at http://mwf.com.au/2011/?name=event-info&event=136

Adventures in Science with Dr Karl

Monday 29 August

Venue: ACMI Cinema 2, 10am – 10:45am

Venue: ACMI Cinema 2, 12:30pm – 01:15pm

Dr Karl is the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney. He and Adam Spencer are the Sleek Geeks (ABC TV). Dr Karl is qualified as a medical doctor, engineer, physicist and mathematician, and since 2005 has consistently been in the List of the Top 15 Most Trusted Australians. He is also the author of 30 popular science books, most recently “Dinosaurs Aren’t Dead” and “Curious and Curiouser”.

More info at http://mwf.com.au/2011/?name=29-Aug

Population control

Friday 2 September

Sally Warhaft, George Megalogenis, Katharine Betts, Bernard Salt

BMW Edge 4pm – 5pm

The world’s population will reach seven billion in late 2011. Is a Big Australia coming? If so, why, how and is growth a good thing? Trend forecaster Bernard Salt (The Big Tilt), Katharine Betts (People and Place) and George Megalogenis (The Australian) talk to Sally Warhaft about generational change, immigration and planning for a soaring population.

More info at http://mwf.com.au/2011/?name=event-info&event=124

Cosmological Extremes

Saturday 3 September

Bryan Gaensler, Natasha Mitchell

ACMI Studio 1, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Internationally recognised astronomer and former Young Australian of the Year, Bryan Gaensler, talks to Natasha Mitchell about his book “Extreme Cosmos”, which looks at the incredible physics of the universe in terms of its extremes: the fastest, hottest, heaviest, brightest, oldest, densest and even the loudest.

More info at http://mwf.com.au/2011/?name=event-info&event=248

National Science Week events

Ultimo Big Night of Science

When: Friday 19 August: 6pm – 8pm

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo

A big night out for those who love all things science.

Talks, comedy, hands-on science fun and much more! Featuring top science speakers including US theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss discussing his new book “Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science”, UNSW’s Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla (also from the ABC’s The New Inventors) speaking about creative ways to use materials sustainably plus the Great Big Science Gig – a very funny, very clever Science-Rock-Cabaret from CSIRO.

All this with canapés, drinks, live music and serious science to ponder.

Recommended for 14 years and up. ID needed for bar service of course.

Tickets: $10. Booking essential call (02) 9217 0222 or www.powerhousemuseum.com/bookings/usf

The Einstein Lecture 2011: Powerful Medicine – Einstein would be proud!

22 Aug 2011 6pm

Venue: Powerhouse Museum, NSW

Using interactive demos, Dr Stephen Fogwill takes us on the path of electron discovery and its antimatter equivalent, the positron. He describes how Einstein’s work led to the powerful medicine of positron emission tomography (PET).

More info and booking at http://www.ultimosciencefestival.com/2011/?p=90

Maths Comedy – The Probability Drive

When: Tuesday 23 August 6:30-7:30pm

Where: UTS City Campus, The Loft Bar, Sydney

The Probability Drive – A stand-up maths comedy show.

Life is just a chaotic series of events without purpose or meaning… unless you are a mathematician. Then, everything makes sense. Simon Pampena is a stand-up mathematician who like Steven Bradbury, knows the truth behind dumb luck.

Suitable for ages 18 and up.

Tickets: FREE but bookings essential. More info at http://www.ultimosciencefestival.com/2011/?p=96


Singularity summit

Finally, here’s some information about an intriguing group of people meeting at RMIT this weekend. We’re not involved with the event but thought it may be of interest.

The Future of Technology at the Singularity Summit Australia 20-21 August 2011 (Science and the Audacity of Imagination)

This August, leading scientists, inventors and philosophers will gather in Melbourne to discuss the upcoming ‘intelligence explosion’ that many now refer to as ‘The Singularity’- a technological breakthrough that promises to eclipse previous computing developments with the creation of super-human machines.

If present trends are to continue, computers will have more advanced and powerful ‘brains’ than humans within 25 years; the result will be a further explosion of computer power and other technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and health technology beyond our current ability to predict.

Speakers include:

  • David Chalmers – Leading Philosopher of Consciousness “The Singularity – A Philosophical Analysis”
  • Lawrence Krauss – Leading physicist and best-selling author of “The Physics of Star Trek” – “The Future of Life in the Universe”
  • Ben Goertzel – Renowned AI researcher and leader of the OpenCog project – “AI Roadmaps”
  • Steve Omohundro – Renowned AI researcher – “Minds Making Minds: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity”
  • Ray Jarvis – “The Envy of Roboticists – the Future of AI in the Material World”
  • Alan Hájek – “A Plea for the Improbable”
  • Kevin B. Korb & Ann E. Nicholson – “Bayesian Artificial Intelligence”
  • Ben Goertzel Leading AI researcher – “Artificial General Intelligence”
  • James Newton-Thomas Machine Intelligence Engineer – “Advances in Science and Technology”
  • Burkard Polster – “The Problem With Probability”
  • David Dowe – Artificial Intelligence – “Bayesian/Algorithmic Information theory, one- and two-part compression, and measures of intelligence”
  • Stelarc Renowned artist and performer – “Human+”

More information at http://summit2011.singinst.org.au/