“Global Hunger and Malnutrition: A practical Tasmanian ‘food plant’ solution.” – Dr John Thorne & Ian Geard – Wednesday April 8 2015 8.00 pm

Almost 900 million people today are chronically hungry. They will be just as hungry tomorrow. Most are women and children though many small scale farmers are also hungry. The current broad approaches to global hunger and malnutrition are clearly not working – the numbers are increasing daily. These same people are also chronically malnourished due to a lack of essential micronutrients, particularly iron, vitamin A, folate, zinc and iodine. Typical (well advertised) solutions currently being used tend to create dependence rather than self-reliance.

Front line agriculturalists are again focussing on the forgotten and local food plants of the world. These can deliver the benefits of healthy diets, resilient food systems, lower food prices and great availability of food, particularly to those in need. In other words there is a solution that is local and sustainable.

“Food Plant Solutions” is based on an enviable and huge data-base created by Tasmanian agricultural scientist, Bruce French and made freely available to the world-wide organisation of volunteers, Rotary International. The data-base contains comprehensive information on at least 27,000 edible plants for all countries of the world. Food plants that are well adapted and thrive in a particular region or country and contain the highest levels of key nutrients can be readily identified from the data-base. A global group of economists at the Copenhagen Consensus Centre supported the United Nations and others who maintain that the most cost-effective way to use the ‘development’ dollar is by reducing malnutrition.

Two former Vice-Presidents of the Royal Society of Tasmania, Ian Geard and Dr John Thorne, will illustrate how the ready union of knowledge from the Tasmanian data-base combined with a variety of global volunteers is making a difference in at least 28 countries where hunger and malnutrition is a challenge. “Food Plant Solutions” enhances the ability of local groups to make a difference.

Ian Geard was a senior agricultural scientist in Tasmania including his role as Chief Quarantine Officer. He has been engaged by the United Nations Development Program, the FAO/World Bank, the European Union and the Australian Assistance Bureau to visit and advise on a wide variety of food and plant programs, mainly in Asia. Dr John Thorne is the only Tasmanian to have served on the International Board for Rotary – a global volunteer service organisation with 1.2 million active members in about 200 regions or countries. He is the Foundation Chairman of the Rotarian Action Group – Food Plant Solutions. Ian and John recently visited China together to cement relations with a charitable Foundation giving access to the 100 million ethnic minorities there who are seriously challenged with malnutrition and often with hunger. The group also has clear access to help the hungry in the DPRK (North Korea).

Royal Society Room,
Customs House Building, TMAG,
19 Davey St. Hobart (entry from Dunn Place) 8.00 pm
• All interested people welcome
• Admission is free

What has the ocean got to do with climate? – Prof Trevor McDougall FRS- Tuesday 4 November

Trevor McDougall is the recipient of  The Royal Society of Tasmania Medal for 2013.  Trevor will be presented with his medal and will then give his presentation.

Brief bio = After a 28-year career at CSIRO Marine in Hobart, Trevor McDougall is now the Scientia Professor of Ocean Physics in the Applied Mathematics department at the University of New South Wales in Sydney where he conducts research on the physical and thermodynamical aspects of mixing processes in the ocean.
Précis = The central features of the ocean-ice-atmosphere system will be reviewed, including how we know that the warming of planet earth over the past century is caused by our pollution of the atmosphere with Greenhouse gases. In this coupled climate system the ocean plays two main roles, (i) it is a vast store of heat, acting as a large “thermal flywheel”, and (ii) it transports heat from the equatorial region to the polar regions. The ocean’s ability to perform these roles is sensitive to the amount of mixing in the ocean, and this provides the motivation for studying mixing processes and for properly following the transport of heat throughout the ocean



Trevor McDougall and his wife and Britta

2014 Doctoral Award Nominations now open


For the Advancement of Knowledge


The Royal Society of Tasmania has instituted an annual award for a recently-graduated doctoral (PhD) academic, who has made significant advances in the course of his/her doctoral research.

• The Award shall be in any field – sciences, medicine, arts or humanities – within the purview of the Society.
• The Award shall be made no more than three years after graduation (PhD degree).
• The work must have been largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation.

The value of the award is $2000.

The conditions of the Award are:

• The Award shall be made no more than three years after graduation (PhD degree);
• To be awarded in any field – sciences, medicine, arts or humanities – within the purview of the Society;
• The Award to be for work leading to significant advances based on the PhD research as evidenced by published or in press peer-reviewed papers in national/international literature;
• The work to have been carried out largely in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organisation;
• The nationality of the recipient is not to be considered in making the Award; that is the Award is not restricted to Australian nationals;
• The nominee is developing a career in the field of study;
• The award is to be available annually, but will not be awarded if there is no candidate of sufficient quality;
• Expressions of interest are to be sought widely from all relevant institutions on an annual basis, and must include a nomination from the candidates supervisor or Head of Department;
• The recipient will be encouraged to address the Society;
• The value of the Award shall be $2000.

Nomination Process

All applications must include:

1. A letter of nomination from the candidate’s PhD supervisor or Head of Department. Nominations will not be considered without this document.
2. The letter of nomination (1) must include a statement of the new and original contribution to the field of research.
3. A full academic CV including the date of PhD graduation – which must have been after 14 November, 2011.
4. An abstract (not more than one page) of the PhD study, including the thesis title.
5. One copy of each relevant published or in press paper on which the nomination is based.
6. A copy of the candidate’s PhD thesis – this will be returned.

Note: Candidates may not nominate themselves.

Applications should be address to:

Dr John Thorne
The Convener, Honours Committee
The Royal Society of Tasmania
GPO BOX 1166

Applications must be received no later than 5th December 2014


Bookending Tasmanian Education from Antarctica to Thailand – Presentation by Niall Doran Tuesday 5 August 2014

The Royal Society of Tasmania invites you to celebrate National Science Week with a special lecture by Dr Niall Doran:

Bookending Tasmanian Education from Antarctica to Thailand

Tuesday 5 August 2014, 8.00 pm
Royal Society Room, Customs House Building, TMAG,
19 Davey St. Hobart

Dr Niall Doran will explain the work of the Bookend Trust, a
philanthropic education initiative that uses multimedia and film to
inspire students and assist them to build their own careers.
Dr Doran is a zoologist with an extensive background in
environmental management in both government and the private

All welcome and admission is free

The Library at the End of the World – Media Update

cover_webComing soon!

The Library at the End of the World: Natural Science and its Illustrators will be available from bookshops from 17  October 2014. The Royal Society of Tasmania is offering you the chance to pre-purchase the volume at a discount. Both hard and soft cover versions will be available – the 1000 hardcover copies will be numbered and signed by the editors.

Science and Art come together in this lavishly-illustrated (over 200 high- quality pictures), 240 pp book which explores the natural history art to be found in The Royal Society of Tasmania’s Rare Book Collection.

Order on-line from our Publications page.

Listen to the radio interview with Ryk Goddard, Dr Margaret Davies and Dr Anita Hansen by clicking on the link below.



See the Mercury Newspaper liftout of the book by clicking the link below.



Session One:  Wind, Coal and Nuclear Energy Futures

Tuesday,17 June, 7.30 – 9.30 pm – Sir Stanley Burbury Theatre,  University of  Tasmania, Sandy Bay

Chair: Alan Finkell, President of Australian Academy  of  Technology, Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)

Coal Power – Barry Waining

Wind Generation – Andrew  Halley –  Transend, Tasmania

Nuclear Power –  John Soderbaum – Australian Academy of Technology,  Sciences  and Engineering (ATSE)

Forum: Q&A


COAL-RST-ATSE Presentation   Slides from Barry Waining

Nuclear Power for Australia Final  Slides from John Soderbaum

Power Options Lecture Series 2014 – Wind_Final  Slides from Andrew Halley

“Volcanoes on the seafloor” presented by Professor Jocelyn McPhie Tuesday May 6th 2014


Tuesday 6 May 8.00 pm Royal Society Room

Professor Jocelyn McPhie is a geologist specialising in volcanology. She completed undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at Macquarie University and the University of New England, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship in the USA, a von Humboldt Fellowship in Germany, and a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in Canberra. She then joined the University of Tasmania where she is currently the Head of Earth Sciences. She teaches in the undergraduate program, and conducts research in physical volcanology and links between volcanic and ore-forming hydrothermal processes. Her expertise in unravelling complicated volcanic successions has led to numerous consultancies conducted for companies exploring for ore deposits in volcanic regions.
Volcanoes on land regularly capture our attention, usually because they have produced spectacular or destructive eruptions. Land volcanoes have also been the focus of conventional volcanological research. However, volcanoes on the modern seafloor are more abundant than those on land, and submarine volcanic successions dominate the rocks that form the continents. Submarine volcanoes are also closely associated with important metal ore deposits. Research on underwater eruptions uses data from a combination of field work, modelling, and experiments. Of particular importance for eruption dynamics are the different physical properties of water versus air as the medium in which eruptions operate. Research underway at UTas has demonstrated that these physical properties have a major impact on subaqueous explosive eruptions, leading to the definition of a new eruption style. Our current research is focussed on devising a practical, intensity-based classification of submarine eruptions that will streamline how we communicate and allow identification of key research questions going forward.