All future 2009 events

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February
CHAST Lecture: Is human evolution over?   View Summary
5 February 2009

The 2009 Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology (CHAST) lecture will be given by Professor Steve Jones, of University College London.

Many people are concerned about what the future might bring and, from Thomas More's Utopia of 1516 to the latest science fiction fantasy, they have made lurid models of what may be to come.

Evolution is all about understanding the past, but Professor Jones argues that we now know so much about our own biological history that it is possible to make some informed guesses about the Darwinian future.

Everything we see around us suggests that, at least for the time being and at least in the modern world, the agents that lead to genetic change - mutation, natural selection, and geographic isolation - are losing their ability to do so and that human evolution is more or less over. There is, as a result, no need to worry what Utopia might be like, for we are living in it now.

About the speaker:

Professor Steve Jones is Professor of Genetics and head of the Biology Department at University College London. He is one of the best known contemporary popular writers on evolution. In 1996, his writing won him the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize "for his numerous, wide ranging contributions to the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation through his many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, and popular science books."

Genes in Organelles: Mitochondria, Ageing, and Sex-Energy versus Fidelity   View Summary
23 February 2009

Professor John F Allen, the 2008/2009 Rudi Lemberg Travelling Fellow, from the University of London, presents this lecture on the role of genes in cell organelles.

The primary function of mitochondria and chloroplasts is energy transduction in respiration and photosynthesis. The physico-chemical mechanisms of bioenergetics do not directly involve genes and heredity, and furthermore, redox chemistry is intrinsically mutagenic.

Therefore there is a cost to having genetic systems in organelles. We propose that the benefit, which alone justifies the cost, is that expression of mitochondria and chloroplast genes is regulated directly by the function of gene products.

The predicted redox regulation has been demonstrated for chloroplasts, and there is progress in identifying the mechanism by which it occurs.

We propose that ageing arises from redox chemistry in mitochondria in somatic cells and male gametes, while passive, 'template' mitochondria are sequestered in female germ-lines, allowing an indefinite number of accurate mitochondria replication without damage the mitochondria, their genome, or to the cells that carry them.

March
Dr Karl's Science is Golden   View Summary
11 March 2009
Australia's favourite science 'guy', Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, will be kicking off the 2009 Sydney Science Forum with his latest swag of super science stories. If you like your science dished up with a big serving of humour, then don't miss this opportunity to see Dr Karl live at the University of Sydney. Get the lowdown from Dr Karl, as he shows us just why Science is Golden. At the end of the talk, you'll have the opportunity to ask Dr Karl those burning science questions that you've been pondering for years…
April
Out of Sight: The Science of Invisibility   View Summary
8 April 2009
Invisibility has always been the stuff of science fiction - until now. Thanks to physics, researchers are a step closer to perfecting a real invisibility cloak, capable of hiding people and objects from plain view. But what secret ingredients do scientists need in order to make this fantasy a reality?Find out at the Sydney Science Forum, where you will disappear into the exciting world of optical science and metamaterials with internationally renowned physicist, Professor Sir John Pendry of Imperial College, London. Sir John and his team rocked the science world with their prototype invisibility cloak, and now you have the chance to learn all about the amazing materials they are creating to bend light and make objects disappear.With science, anything is possible - come along and see invisibility for yourself!In 2008, Professor Pendry's distinguished career as a scientist was celebrated at PendryFest, a UK event which paid homage to the extraordinary depth and breadth of Prof Pendry's contribution to physics over the past 40 years.
Yes, We Can: Catalysing Hope for a Sustainable Future   View Summary
14 April 2009

Three world experts will tackle the sustainability problem from a scientific, industrial and policy perspective. Learn all about the most up-to-date thinking addressing sustainability and society, and raise your own questions during the panel discussion.

A cocktail reception in the University's Nicholson Museum will follow the lecture, an opportunity for further informal discussion with the people who are helping to secure our sustainable future.

IPOS Launch and Symposium: Faster, Further, Smarter   View Summary
23 April 2009
The Institute for Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) is a major new Institute, building on a substantial track record and critical mass of research excellence. A formal launch will be followed by a Symposium with internationally renowned speakers to present the current and future role of photonics.The formal launch will be mid-morning, followed by the Symposium. The Symposium, "Faster, Further, Smarter", will provide national and international perspectives on photonics and optical science, providing context for the IPOS mission and opportunities. It will explain the impact this enabling technology will have on the technological pillars of our society (health, energy, environment, ICT, defence) and how it will allow us to understand our universe on the largest and smallest scales (astronomy to nanotechnology). It will also provide insights on photonics from a government and industry / economic perspective.
Pollock Memorial Lecture: The Universe from Beginning to End - Professor Brian Schmidt   View Summary
30 April 2009
Despite hundreds of years of dedicated scientific research, we only know what 4% of the Universe is made up of. In the last 15 years we have realised that there is another 96% of missing stuff that we just can't see. This missing stuff is made up of two mysterious substances, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, that are battling for domination of the Universe.In the Pollock Memorial Lecture, Professor Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University will describe exciting new experiments, including those using the SkyMapper telescope, that are monitoring the struggle between these two dark forms. The aim is to predict the ultimate fate of the Cosmos!Professor Brian Schmidt is a Federation Fellow at The Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory. While at Harvard University in 1994 he formed the High Z SN Search team, a group of 20 astronomers on five continents who used distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the Universe back in time. This group's discovery of an accelerating Universe was named Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 1998. Brian is continuing his work using exploding stars to study the Universe, and is leading Mt Stromlo's effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a new facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.Presented jointly by the University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW.
May
2009 Keast Lecturer: Dr Peter Weston on "Austral Biogeography"   View Summary
1 May 2009

The distribution of organisms is the result of both contemporary ecological constraints and the history of evolutionary and environmental change. Evolutionary biogeography is the attempt to infer the historical processes from reconstructed historical patterns. This discipline can be traced back to the seminal works of Joseph Hooker and Charles Darwin in the mid-nineteenth century. Darwin and Hooker were close colleagues who proposed radically different methods and explanations for biotic distributional patterns in the southern hemisphere. Hooker asserted that the distributional patterns of southern plant groups demonstrated the existence of a previously widespread ancestral "Antarctic" flora that had been fragmented by geological and/or climatic changes. Darwin preferred to explain intercontinental distributional patterns as the result of repeated long distance dispersals across stable oceans. Molecular dating is the shiny new toy in biogeography's tool kit, allowing us to compare the inferred age of a disjunct clade with the inferred geological age of its geographic disjunction. The results of these techniques point towards a synthesis in which Hooker and Darwin are both partially vindicated. Does this represent scientific progress, an example of Marxist science in action or merely a change of scientific fashion?

Dr Peter Weston is senior principal research scientist in the plant diversity section of the Royal Botanical Gardens Trust. His research interests are systematics, historical biogeography, evolutionary ecology, reproductive biology, co-evolution, as well as the history and philosophy of systematics.

Music and the Cosmos   View Summary
6 May 2009

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, the Sydney Science Forum and Sydney Conservatorium of Music are proud to present Music and the Cosmos, a special event featuring leading astronomers from the University of Sydney's School of Physics, and an SCM Chamber Music Ensemble.

In this unique presentation of science meeting the arts, enjoy a moving, celestially-inspired performance from our musicians at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in concert with images from the farthest reaches of the universe. Then take a journey across the cosmos as some of Sydney's most talented astronomers explore the latest in astronomy research.

This special event will feature Radio National's Robyn Williams as MC, the Sydney Conservatorium Ensemble Orchestra, and Sydney astronomers Professor Bryan Gaensler, Professor Tim Bedding and Associate Professor Geraint Lewis.

A cocktail reception in the University's Nicholson Museum will follow the event, were guests will have the opportunity to continue the astronomy experience with the museum's Ancient Astronomy exhibit.

June
Hearing Colours, Tasting Sounds: The Kaleidoscopic Brain of Synesthesia    View Summary
3 June 2009

Presented by Dr David Eagleman, Baylor College of Medicine

Imagine a world of magenta Tuesdays, tastes of blue, and wavy green symphonies. At least one in a hundred otherwise normal people experience the world this way in a condition called synesthesia. In synesthesia, stimulation of one sense triggers an experience in a different sense. For example, a voice or music are not only heard but may also be seen.

Synesthesia is a fusion of different sensory perceptions: the feel of sandpaper might evoke a sensation of forest green, a symphony might be experienced in blues and golds, or the concept of February might trigger the perception of orange.

Synesthetic perceptions are involuntary, automatic, and generally consistent over time. Most synesthetes are unaware their experiences are in any way unusual. Synesthesia comes in many varieties, and having one type gives you a high chance of having a second or third type. Experiencing the days of the week in color is the most common manifestation of synesthesia, followed by colored letters and numbers.

Other common varieties include tasted words, colored hearing, numberlines perceived in three dimensions, and the personification of letters and numerals. We will concentrate here on musical forms of synesthesia, wherein pitches, chords or instrument timbres trigger the experience(s) of colors, textures or shapes. Synesthesia is the result of increased cross-talk among sensory areas in the brain, like neighboring countries on the brain's map with porous borders.

Synesthesia has fascinated laypersons and scientists alike with its array of sensory amalgamations, but only recently has it been appreciated how the brains of such individuals yield surprising insights into normal brain function. Synesthesia is far more common than originally thought, and far more important scientifically than a mere curiosity. Evidence suggests that we are all synesthetic--but the majority of us remain unconscious of the sensory fusions going on our brains. After illustrating synesthesia in its wild variety of forms, I will show how my laboratory studies these experiences in the brain, using tools from genetics to advanced neuroimaging.

David Eagleman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, where he directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action, as well as BCM's Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He is the author of Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia (co-authored with Richard Cytowic) and three upcoming neuroscience books: The Secret Life of the Unconscious Brain, The Dynamically Reorganizing Brain, and a textbook on Cognitive Neuroscience. He is also the author of an internationally bestselling work of fiction, Sum.

July
Dr Karl and Adam Spencer debate on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing   View Summary
20 July 2009

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Sleek Geeks Dr Karl and Adam Spencer will deliver a special presentation to tackle the myths surrounding man's first voyage to the moon.

In 2001, the American Fox TV Network broadcast a program called 'Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?' X-Files star Mitch Pileggi hosted this hour-long show, which claimed that NASA had faked the entire Apollo Moon project by filming it in a movie studio. This myth has a small but dedicated following - according to both a 1995 Time Poll and a 1999 Gallup Poll, about 6% of Americans do not believe that 12 astronauts walked on the Moon.

The hoax believers or conspiracy theorists cite all kinds of evidence. Did they or didn't they??

Come along and hear the debate (For & Against) presented by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer.

Small Step, Giant Leap: Celebrating Apollo at 40   View Summary
20 July 2009 to 10 September 2009

In July 1969, the world watched in wonder during the Apollo 11 mission as Neil Armstrong took "one small step", becoming the first human being to set foot on the Moon.

This historic spaceflight represented a "giant leap for Mankind": the first time that human beings had explored another world in person. The Apollo 11 lunar landing was one of the most significant scientific and technological events of the Twentieth Century, and the program that made it possible inspired the best and brightest students to seek out careers in the exciting fields of space exploration, astronomy and aeronautical engineering.

In July 2009, the University of Sydney's School of Physics and the Science Foundation for Physics will present an exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic lunar landing.

Combining contemporary artefacts and memorabilia, this display will present the history of the Apollo Project and explore the relationship between the US space program and the University of Sydney's School of Physics.

Exhibition sponsored by the University of Sydney's US Studies Centre and the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research.

August
Small Step, Giant Leap: Celebrating Apollo at 40   View Summary
20 July 2009 to 10 September 2009

In July 1969, the world watched in wonder during the Apollo 11 mission as Neil Armstrong took "one small step", becoming the first human being to set foot on the Moon.

This historic spaceflight represented a "giant leap for Mankind": the first time that human beings had explored another world in person. The Apollo 11 lunar landing was one of the most significant scientific and technological events of the Twentieth Century, and the program that made it possible inspired the best and brightest students to seek out careers in the exciting fields of space exploration, astronomy and aeronautical engineering.

In July 2009, the University of Sydney's School of Physics and the Science Foundation for Physics will present an exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic lunar landing.

Combining contemporary artefacts and memorabilia, this display will present the history of the Apollo Project and explore the relationship between the US space program and the University of Sydney's School of Physics.

Exhibition sponsored by the University of Sydney's US Studies Centre and the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research.

Free public lecture: Galileo on free fall   View Summary
19 August 2009

Exactly 400 years ago, in the fall of 1609, an aging university professor in Padova, Galileo Galilei, took a little optical toy he had improved and turned it to the sky. What he saw literally changed the world: the planets, it turned out, were just like the earth, while the fixed stars were very much further. There were many more stars than we thought, and other planets had moons, just like us. Galileo's discoveries, published in the vernacular with spectacular drawings for all to read and observe, were embraced and heralded, until the excitement got out of hand and Galileo was called to account. What were Galileo's intellectual motives and drives? What was the excitement about? And what went wrong?

This free public lecture will be presented by Dr Ofer Gal, Director, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science

Hunting for Antimatter: Nobel Prize in Physics 2008 Public Talk   View Summary
20 August 2009

Why is there something instead of nothing? Quarks, muons, neutrinos, positrons... why are there so many different elementary particles?

Last year's Nobel Prize in Physics gives us a deeper understanding of what happens far inside the tiniest building blocks of matter.

Dr Kevin Varvell, recently seen on Channel Nine's Today show at the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will give an entertaining overview of the science behind last year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

Dr Kevin Varvell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics. After being fascinated by the subatomic world as an undergraduate in Perth, he obtained a DPhil in the subject in the UK and has since then been chasing the secrets of the fundamental building blocks of matter through experiments at CERN, Fermilab and KEK.

September
Small Step, Giant Leap: Celebrating Apollo at 40   View Summary
20 July 2009 to 10 September 2009

In July 1969, the world watched in wonder during the Apollo 11 mission as Neil Armstrong took "one small step", becoming the first human being to set foot on the Moon.

This historic spaceflight represented a "giant leap for Mankind": the first time that human beings had explored another world in person. The Apollo 11 lunar landing was one of the most significant scientific and technological events of the Twentieth Century, and the program that made it possible inspired the best and brightest students to seek out careers in the exciting fields of space exploration, astronomy and aeronautical engineering.

In July 2009, the University of Sydney's School of Physics and the Science Foundation for Physics will present an exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic lunar landing.

Combining contemporary artefacts and memorabilia, this display will present the history of the Apollo Project and explore the relationship between the US space program and the University of Sydney's School of Physics.

Exhibition sponsored by the University of Sydney's US Studies Centre and the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research.

Free public lecture by Fields Medallist, Prof Terry Tao   View Summary
15 September 2009

Compressed Sensing
Professor Terry Tao, UCLA

Suppose one wants to recover an unknown signal x in R^n from a given vector Ax=b in R^m of linear measurements of the signal x. If the number of measurements m is less than the degrees of freedom n of the signal, then the problem is underdetermined and the solution x is not unique. However, if we also know that x is sparse or compressible with respect to some basis, then it is a remarkable fact that (given some assumptions on the measurement matrix A) we can reconstruct x from the measurements b with high accuracy, and in some cases with perfect accuracy. Furthermore, the algorithm for performing the reconstruction is computationally feasible. This observation underlies the newly developing field of compressed sensing. In this talk we will discuss some of the mathematical foundations of this field.

This free public lecture will be followed by a celebratory afternoon tea.

Planet Earth - Griffith Taylor Lecture Series   View Summary
16 September 2009

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, Professor Dietmar Müller, from the School of Geosciences, will give a public lecture on Planet Earth on Wednesday 16 September.

Part of the Griffith Taylor Series, held in association with the School of Geosciences, Professor Müller will take you through four and a half billion years of history of the planet called Earth.

Bookings are essential for this free talk, please call 9036 5253.

Free public lectures by MIT and Caltech mathematicians   View Summary
18 September 2009

2:00pm: SCL (Stable Commutator Length)
Professor Danny Calegari, Caltech

SCL answers the question: "What is the simplest surface in a given space with prescribed boundary?" where "simplest" is interpreted in topological terms. This topological definition is complemented by several equivalent definitions - in group theory, as a measure of non-commutativity of a group; and in linear programming, as the solution of a certain linear optimization problem. On the topological side, scl is concerned with questions such as computing the genus of a knot, or finding the simplest 4-manifold that bounds a given 3-manifold. On the linear programming side, scl is measured in terms of certain functions called quasimorphisms, which arise from hyperbolic geometry (negative curvature) and symplectic geometry (causal structures). In these talks we will discuss how scl in free and surface groups is connected to such diverse phenomena as the existence of closed surface subgroups in graphs of groups, rigidity and discreteness of symplectic representations, bounding immersed curves on a surface by immersed subsurfaces, and the theory of multi-dimensional continued fractions and Klein polyhedra. Faces of the scl norm ball (scl = stable commutator length).

3:00pm: Special afternoon tea in maths common room

4:00pm: A mirror construction for hypersurfaces in toricvarieties
Dr Mohammed Abouzaid, MIT

The Strominger-Yau-Zaslow conjecture gives an intrinsic explanation for Homological Mirror Symmetry in the case of Calabi Yau manifolds. I will explain that by extending the SYZ conjecture beyond the Calabi-Yau case, one may associate a Landau-Ginzburg mirror to generic hypersurfaces in toric varieties. The key idea is to use tropical geometry to reduce the problem to understanding the mirror of hyperplanes.

October
Women in Science: the great balancing act   View Summary
1 October 2009

The Women in Science (WiSci) project invites you to a WiSci seminar: Women in Science: the great balancing act

Professor Laura Frost from the University of Alberta in Canada will present a seminar on this challenging and relevant subject. She will explore questions such as:
Why do women leave science as a career?
How do you balance aspirations with expectations?
And balance science and family?
What are some solutions?

Professor Frost, a molecular microbiologist, is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney, working with Dr Neville Firth in the School of Biological Sciences. Professor Frost has a strong interest in the issues facing women in the sciences and taught a graduate course in this subject at the University of Graz, Austria, earlier this year.

The seminar will begin promptly at 12pm and will be followed by a light lunch, with the opportunity for networking and informal discussion.

Register for this seminar.

For more information about the Women in Science project, visit the WiSci website.

Griff Taylor, Edgeworth David and other Australians in Antarctica   View Summary
7 October 2009

As part of the Griffith Taylor Series, Dr David Branagan, Honorary Associate, School of Geosciences, will give a talk on Griffith Taylor, Edgeworth David and other Australians in Antarctica on Wednesday 7 October 2009.

The University has long had a firm commitment to science in the Antarctic region. Dr David Branagan will talk about some of the scientists, including Edgeworth David and Griffith Taylor, who ventured to the Antarctic to tackle questions of geology, geography and climate in one of the harshest environments on earth.

Held in association with the School of Geosciences.

To book, please contact the Macleay Museum on (02) 9036 5253 or macleaymuseum@usyd.edu.au

Book launch: A Natural Calling by Professor Tony Larkum   View Summary
9 October 2009

Come to the launch of the fascinating new book A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox, by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney.

The book provides new factual material on Charles Darwin, following many years of research into Darwin's relationship to his cousin William Darwin Fox. It is a biographical and historical account of the letters exchanged by these two men and the diaries of William Darwin Fox have never been accessed before.

The relationship between Darwin and Fox has been acknowledged as a major biographical source on Darwin. Here the life of Fox is carefully pieced together and compared and contrasted with that of Darwin. Since Darwin and Fox were undergraduates together at Christ's College, Cambridge, and corresponded with each other for the rest of their lives, dying within two years of each other, the diaries allow us a vivid insight into the unique relationship of these two naturalists and family friends.

Both were studying to be clergymen of the Church of England, when Darwin was offered a place on The Beagle. Thereafter their lives diverged, as Fox became the country parson that Darwin might have been. Never the less, Fox supplied many facts to Darwin, which were used in the Origin of Species and later books.

At the launch, hear Professor Larkum speak about his book, followed by readings of some of the letters in the book by professional actors, over drinks and nibbles. RSVP is essential for catering purposes.

The Diana Temple Memorial Lecture 2009   View Summary
22 October 2009

The advancement of the role of women in science
To be delivered by Professor Mary O'Kane, Chief Scientist of NSW

The Diana Temple Memorial Lecture 2009 will be delivered by Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer, on the topic of "The advancement of the role of women in science". This lecture will be a very appropriate celebration of Wisenet's 25th anniversary in 2009.

The Diana Temple Memorial Lecture series was established in 2007, in memory of the late Diana Temple AM. Diana Temple was a respiratory pharmacologist and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, as well as one of the founders of the Women in Science Enquiry Network, or WISENET. She was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia in 1999, for service to medical and scientific research, particularly in the field of respiratory pharmacology, as an advocate for the role of women in science and in promoting an understanding of science by the general public. Diana Temple Memorial Lectures are organised to reflect Diana's interests, which included pharmacology, public engagement with science and policy, the advancement of the role of women in science, and the environment.

The Diana Temple Memorial Lecture for 2009 is supported by the University of Sydney Bosch Institute, the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS), the Women in Science Enquiry Network (WISENET), and Jessie Street National Women's Library.

Download the flyer.

Please note that reservations are required, as venue seats are limited.

Biology Alumni Cocktail Reception   View Summary
23 October 2009

The Head of the School of Biological Sciences, Professor Robyn Overall, invites all Biology Alumni to the 2009 Biology Alumni Cocktail Reception Spring time is Swarm time.

For catering purposes, please RSVP to biorsvp@usyd.edu.au

Madrigal Society 10th Anniversary Concert - Celebrating the International Year of Astronomy Event   View Summary
27 October 2009

Featuring members of the Australian Baroque Brass, Sydney Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble, Barefoot Musica Antigua, Pocket Score Company, Madrigal Alumni Choir and The University of Sydney Madrigal Society - we'll be presenting a plethora of music from across the ages including favourites old and new.

Composers include Verdelot, Monteverdi, Lassus, Giovanni Gabrieli, Andrea Gabrieli, Josquin, Dowland, Farmer, Morley, Palestrina, and Yardley.

Join us for celebratory drunken debauchery afterwards at The Rose.

The Sydney University Madrigal Society is a small, a cappella choir of around 25 people, singing - as the name suggests - mostly Madrigals, as well as more recent works. The Society was founded in 1999.

The 2009 Clarke Memorial Lecture   View Summary
30 October 2009

Climate Change through the lens of the geological record
To be delivered by Professor Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Science

Professor Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Science, will present the Clarke Memorial Lecture in Geology, 'Climate Change through the lens of the geological record: the example of sea level' on Friday 30 October at the University of Sydney. The Clarke Memorial Lecture is a biennial event of the Royal Society of NSW, which is jointly sponsored by the University of Sydney and the Geological Society of Australia.

Kurt Lambeck is Distinguished Professor of Geophysics at the Australian National University. His research interests range through the disciplines of geophysics, geodesy and geology with a focus on the deformations of the Earth on intermediate and long time scales and on the interactions between surface processes and the solid earth. Past research areas have included the determination of the Earth's gravity field from satellite tracking data, the tidal deformations and rotational motion of the Earth, the evolution of the Earth-Moon orbital system, and lithospheric and crustal deformation processes. His recent research work has focused on aspects of sea level change and the history of the Earth's ice sheets during past glacial cycles, including field and laboratory work and numerical modelling.

Professor Lambeck has been at the Australian National University since 1977, including ten years as Director of the Research School of Earth Sciences. Before that he was at the University of Paris and the French Space Agency (1970-1977), and at the Harvard-Smithsonian observatory (1967-1970). His doctorate is from Oxford (1967) and his first degree from the University of New South Wales (1963). He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 1984 and became its President in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (1994), a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993), the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (1994), Academia Europaea (1999), the Académie des Sciences, Institut de France (2005), and the US National Academy of Sciences (2009).

For further information about the Clarke Memorial Lecture visit: http://nsw.royalsoc.org.au/awards/clarke_lecture.html

Please note that reservations are required, as venue seats are limited.

November
CHAST Templeton Lecture: The Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time   View Summary
16 November 2009

One of the most obvious facts about the universe is that the past is different from the future. The world around us is full of irreversible processes: we can turn an egg into an omelette, but can't turn an omelette into an egg. Physicists have codified this difference into the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of a closed system always increases with time. But why? The ultimate explanation is to be found in cosmology: special conditions in the early universe are responsible for the arrow of time.

Professor Sean Carroll, from the California Institute of Technology, will talk about the nature of time, the origin of entropy and how what happened before the Big Bang might be responsible for the arrow of time we observe today.

Biography:

Professor Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his PhD in 1993 from Harvard University and has previously worked at MIT, the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago. His research ranges over a number of topics in theoretical physics, focusing on cosmology, particle physics and general relativity. He is the author of From Eternity to Here, a popular book on cosmology and the arrow of time; Spacetime and Geometry, a textbook on general relativity; and has produced a set of introductory lectures for The Teaching Company entitled Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe. Professor Carroll is a co-founder of the popular science blog Cosmic Variance (cosmicvariance.com). He was recently awarded the 2009 Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.

This free public talk is jointly sponsored by the University of Sydney's Centre for the Human Aspects of Science and Technology (CHAST), The Centre for Time and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, and supported by the Australian Institute for High Energy Physics (AUSHEP).