[ASA] Fwd: Science & Technology Australia September Newsletter

Andrew Hopkins andrew.hopkins at aao.gov.au
Mon Sep 21 15:23:50 AEST 2015

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	Science & Technology Australia September Newsletter
Date: 	Mon, 21 Sep 2015 05:21:22 +0000
From: 	Science & Technology Australia <catriona.jackson at sta.org.au>
Reply-To: 	Science & Technology Australia <catriona.jackson at sta.org.au>
To: 	ahopkins at aao.gov.au

Science & Technology Australia September Newsletter
*Society Presidents please forward to your members*

Science & Technology Australia - September Newsletter

View this email in your browser 

*Name and title*
Dr Sabrina Heng, ARC Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Nanoscale 
BioPhotonics, University of Adelaide.

Chemistry/ BioPhotonics

*What lured you into science in the first place?*
Subjects that require logical reasoning like chemistry and philosophy 
have always appealed to me more than the others. But it was really a 
series of books / articles that lead me down this career path. One of 
them was Harvard Professor Chris Walsh’s article on “Molecular 
mechanisms that confer antibacterial drug resistance”. The article 
describes the new tools and tactics used by scientists in the race to 
outsmart the superbugs. Back then, I remember thinking how I would 
really love to spend the rest of my life trying to find answers to these 
and other such questions.

*What keeps you there?*
I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder 10 years ago, where the good 
fortune of early diagnosis made a difference to my prognosis. My passion 
now lies in being in an environment where I am contributing towards 
developing tools for early disease diagnosis. That and the fact that I 
still get goose bumps when I read about the exciting new discoveries and 
devices made by my fellow scientists.

*What makes science different from other careers?*
After a while, it stops being a career and becomes who you are – a 
scientist. You start thinking, rationalising, writing and observing the 
world like one.

*What would you tell a 10-year-old about a career in science?*
Can we ever find a cure for HIV? Can and how do scientists grow organs 
in a Petri dish? Can we ever stop an earthquake? If you have ever 
thought about these questions and more, then being a scientist 
definitely gives you the ability go and find the answers for yourself.

*Have you got a favourite career moment?*
I would like to think that my favourite career moment has yet to come, 
perhaps in the form a /Nature/ publication or the day my daughters 
decide to become scientists themselves, preferably with an MD/PhD (no 
pressure girls!)  :)

*Membership fees*

A big round of applause for the many STA members who paid their 
membership dues very promptly this year. If you haven’t received an 
invoice or have any queries please contact us directly. accounts at sta.org.au



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Dear Colleagues,

Spring is well and truly in the air and the political landscape here in 
Canberra is active to say the least. We are gearing up for a number of 
important events in the second half of the year, including our 30th 
anniversary. All presidents of member groups should have had a ‘save the 
date’ by now; if not please make contact with gia.metherell at sta.org.au. 
Members have been a great help in tracking down all our friends over the 
years, so it should be a great night. Also we are planning election year 
activities. As usual we will survey the major political parties on their 
science policy intentions, and ensure you get the details before polling 
day. This time we will run a science policy forum to debate and discuss 
the issues in the lead-up to the federal poll.

*Science meets Business 2015 *

We are very excited to bring /Science meets Business/ to STA members, 
and invitations to register have just gone to member group presidents. 
If you want to be one of the lucky ones, make contact with your society 
head. The first-of-its-kind event aims to start a reshaped and refreshed 
conversation about the low levels of Industry-STEM collaboration in 
Australia, identifying examples of good and bad practice, and avenues 
for change. We hope to make this an annual event to broker better mutual 
understanding between science and business. A range of high-level 
speakers from business and science will lead this dynamic public debate 
over one day in the nation’s most innovative new building, the Frank 
Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. More details are available 

*Women in Science toolkit and research report *

The long-awaited Women in the Science Research Workforce report is out 
and available in full for members HERE 
<http://scienceandtechnologyaustralia.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ed2baff1a44edef5b0e88a871&id=6d5df2876e&e=e8d5a34d1d> [pdf].

Outstanding women scientists are achieving at the highest levels, 
obtaining advanced scientific qualifications and taking key roles in the 
fields of science and technology. But across the board we all know that 
we are not making the most of the nation’s natural talent, and that 
talented women are being lost to science every day. This report makes a 
very important contribution to the evidence base, and provides a 
valuable follow-up to the original 2009 FASTS report, Women in Science 
in Australia: Maximising Productivity, Diversity and Innovation 
<http://scienceandtechnologyaustralia.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ed2baff1a44edef5b0e88a871&id=c49cc99073&e=e8d5a34d1d> [pdf]. 
The report focuses on developing clear actions and strategies to achieve 
organisational and sectoral change. A hands-on, web-based toolkit that 
accompanies the report is available HERE 

*Search for ET kicks off topical science forums*

"Are we alone in the universe or is alien life inevitable?" was the 
first in the new round of topical science events, with a stellar panel. 
Professor Paul Davies, Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt, Australian search 
project leader Professor Matthew Bailes and two of Australia’s top young 
scientists, Alan Duffy and Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths, tackled 
the big questions: Is intelligent alien life inevitable? How likely is 
it that we will find it in an infinite universe? Where and how do we 
start the hunt? What do we do if we find intelligent life? What does all 
this mean for Australian science? The panel also took the discussion 
inside the federal parliament, at a very well-attended Parliamentary 
Friends of Science event. The aim of this series is to take the best 
scientific minds, tackling the really big issues, straight to the public 
and the parliament. If you missed out you can view the whole event HERE 
If you would like to be alerted to coming events please sign up HERE 

*Science Meets Parliament 2016*

Dates are tentatively set for the next SmP, 22 and 23 March, 2016. But 
as usual the dates will not be confirmed until the federal parliamentary 
sitting dates are set in late November. As usual, STA member 
organisations will be entitled to register two delegates for the 
nation’s premier Science/Parliament engagement event. All the details of 
last year’s events are available HERE 

/Copyright © 2015 Science & Technology Australia, All rights reserved./
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Prof. Andrew Hopkins, Head of Research and Outreach
Australian Astronomical Observatory
P.O. Box 915, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia
ph: +61 2 9372 4849  fax: +61 2 9372 4880

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