| Videos, books, reports, conferences and mentoring. Here are the latest highlights and resources from the past few months.
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Simon Torok & Paul Holper
ACOLA stands for the Australian Council of Learned Academies. ACOLA links Australia’s four independent Learned Academies – Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian Academy of Science, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. Over 2000 of the nation’s most eminent researchers and practitioners contribute to these Academies.
Scientell has showcased ACOLA and its capabilities in a new series of videos shot in Canberra and Melbourne. We filmed the President or CEO of each Academy to create two short videos and three video snippets of tweetable length.
Thanks to Jerome Pelletier, of Stepping Stone Films, for his skilful cinematography and editing.
Securing Australia’s Future
Our latest book, Securing Australia’s Future, Harnessing Interdisciplinary Research for Innovation and Prosperity has been released by CSIRO Publishing. It will be launched by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, in Canberra on 28 June.
The future will bring change for Australia. But whether that change is for the better or worse largely depends on the individual and nationwide decisions we make today. Recognising rapid changes in the global economy, environment and policy, the Australian Government engaged ACOLA to undertake detailed interdisciplinary research to help guide Australian thinking and policy decisions.
Dozens of Australia’s finest minds assessed the opportunities available to the nation globally and domestically, charting a course for the future. The findings can prepare Australia to address the challenges ahead and make the most of opportunities. Our book synthesises the major themes from ACOLA’s reports. Each chapter includes findings designed to optimise Australia’s prosperity and place in our region.
The book offers a vision for the nation – for our politicians, public servants, industry leaders and citizens; a sound footing for (hopefully) securing Australia’s future.
Scientell goes international
In May, Scientell facilitated a climate projection workshop for an Asian Development Bank project managed by CSIRO. The 2-day workshop held in Bangkok attracted 65 participants from nine countries. Delegates represented government departments, research organisations, and agriculture, water, infrastructure, and risk disaster management sectors.
Prior to the workshop, Scientell and Bloom Communication surveyed all participants. In addition to collecting baseline information for the workshop evaluation, the survey helped ensure that the workshop met expectations and helped the participants. Here is more information on the project,
Everyone has a good story
Scientell interviewed six of Australia’s newest ecologists after the Ecological Society of Australia awarded over $1 million to students. Speaking with these students who will share the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, we realised that each of the 100 recipients has a fascinating story to tell about their research.
Research topics include how female promiscuity causes conflict in lizard families, whether a resilient coral in the Great Barrier Reef offers hope for threatened marine ecosystems, and an analysis of the sounds made by female lyrebirds and whales.
The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment has supported more than 850 students since it was established by renowned ecologist, wildlife biologist and philanthropist Dr Bill Holsworth and his wife Carol in 1989. It is managed through a partnership with the Ecological Society of Australia. Here is the list of winners.
Mentoring in Melbourne
Discussing the communication of scientific and technical information with the next generation, and influencing their thinking about it, is something we’d like to do for all students. It’s vital that students have communication as part of their skill set. So, when Simon was asked to be a mentor by the University of Melbourne, where he completed a PhD two decades ago, he jumped at the chance. But what surprised him was how much he learned. See Simon’s experience mentoring up-and-coming scientist Adam in this video.
The mentoring program was a unique way to support the next generation while learning in the process. It was also a good networking opportunity to meet other mentors and reconnect with the university. The program enabled Simon to interact with some of the brightest young minds in the country, so you never know, we may be knocking on Adam’s door one day asking him for advice!
Surviving the 21st Century: Humanity’s Ten Great Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them, Julian Cribb
Australia has no better science writer than Julian Cribb. Each chapter in Julian’s latest book considers a great challenge: mass extinction, resource depletion, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, universal toxicity, food crises, population and urban expansion, pandemic disease, dangerous new technologies, and self-delusion.
Julian conveys information vividly and accurately. Consider this poser: what consumes 10 kg of topsoil, 800litres of fresh water, 1.3 litres of diesel, a third of a gram of pesticide and causes 3.5 kg of carbon dioxide to enter the air? Answer: the last meal you ate. Now multiply that by all the meals you’ve consumed and all the people on Earth. No wonder we have a problem. As Julian puts it, the human jawbone is among the most destructive implements on the planet.
The book offers many thought-provoking facts and suggestions for the planet’s future. Even if you disagree with some of the ideas or their feasibility, Julian sets out a range of options well worth considering. Doing nothing is not one of them.
Factoid – brain power
The record for memorising the value of pi was achieved by Rajveer Meena at the VIT University, Vellore, India, on 21 March 2015. He recited pi from memory to 70,000 places, wearing a blindfold throughout. The ordeal took nearly 10 hours.
Imagining the future: Invisibility, Immortality and 40 Other Incredible Ideas, by Simon Torok & Paul Holper
Scientell is managing media liaison for CleanUp 2017 – the 7th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference, incorporating the 1st International PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) Conference. Our support includes running a secondary school essay competition. A cash prize awaits the writer of the best 500- to 1000-word essay on a safer, cleaner environmental future. The winner will also be flown to Melbourne for the CleanUp 2017 conference gala dinner. CleanUp 2017, led by CRC CARE, will be held at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne from 10-14 September 2017.