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(Australian Institute of Physics annual dinner afterwards.)
(Note dress code: jacket-and-tie.)
(click for the full year's programme)
"Seven seconds of terror" was how the operators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US describe the landing of 'Curiosity", the latest rover mission that landed on Mars in August last year. In the last stage of the landing, the entry vehicle hovered about 80 m above the surface of Mars and lowered Curiosity (which weighs nearly a tonne) by cranes to a gentle touch-down. Given that it can take up to 20 minutes for signals to reach Mars (or a up to a 40 minute round-trip) there is a significant delay that constrains the Earth-based control station. (Read more...)
The speaker at the Society's 1214th ordinary general meeting was Dr Matthew Todd, a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Sydney and a leading proponent of the concept of "open science".
Dr Todd began with an example of the type of problem to which open science can provide a very practical solution. In Africa and parts of South America and Asia, the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia or snail fever) is endemic. Schistosomiasis is caused by infection by water-borne parasites that penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Although the mortality rate is low, schistosomiasis is a serious chronic illness. It is particularly devastating to children – it damages internal organs, impairs growth and causes cognitive impairment. After malaria, it is the most socio-economically devastating disease in the world. (Read more...)
The Poggendorf Lecture 2013 was delivered in conjunction with Charles Sturt University, Orange, on Tuesday, 13 August 2013. The lecture was delivered by Professor Geoff Gurr, a biologist and entomologist and Professor of Applied Ecology at Charles Sturt University, where he specialises in the utilisation of natural solutions to control agricultural pests to partially or completely replace synthetic pesticides.
The population of the world is increasing by 170,000 souls per day. Currently, 40% of land is used for some agricultural purpose and the demand for agricultural products is expected to increase not only as a consequence of population growth but by the increasing living standards of people in the developing world. (Read more...)
Nominations for all but one of the Society's 2013 Awards have closed and nominations are being evaluated. The Awards this year are:
The closing date for the Society's new award, the Royal Society of NSW History & Philosophy of Science Medal is 31 December 2013.
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