All future 2013 events

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2013 Templeton Lecture featuring Margaret Wertheim   View Summary
18 March 2013

The 2013 Templeton Lecture

WE ARE ALL CORALS NOW: A meditation on art, science and collectivity in the age of global warming

Presented by Margaret Wertheim, science writer and curator
Author of Pythagoras' Trousers, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace and Physics on the Fringe

Watch Margaret's popular TED talk, The beautiful math of coral

In an age of climate-change denial, humanity urgently needs positive ways to help us face up to global warming. No ecosystems are more vulnerable than coral reefs, and in these fragile marvels we may find a metaphor for hope. Coral reefs are made up from millions of tiny coral polyps. Each polyp is insignificant on its own, yet when acting collectively these minute sessile creatures collectively produce the spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef, the only organism that can be seen from outer space. In 2005, twin sisters Christine and Margaret Wertheim began to crochet a coral reef in their Los Angeles living room. Inspired by the action of living reefs, the sisters envisioned their project as a collaborative endeavour that would fuse environmentalism, marine science, handicraft and community art practice. Today the Crochet Coral Reef is perhaps the largest art + science endeavour on the planet. More than 25 reefs have been crocheted around the world, including in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Latvia, Germany and Ireland. Tens of thousands of people have participated in making local reefs and more than 3 million visitors have seen the resulting exhibitions. The project has been called, "the AIDS quilt of global warming." Within the framework of the Crochet Coral Reef project, people are invited into a process that mimics nature itself. Through participatory experience, a profound lesson is conveyed: While none of us as individuals can solve the problem of global warming, collectively we have the power to sustain a better and healthier world.

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer and exhibition curator whose work focuses on the relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. She is the author of three books on with the cultural history of physics: Pythagoras' Trousers, a history of the relationship between physics and religion (Times Books/W.W. Norton paperback); The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet (W.W. Norton), and Physics on the Fringe, which explores the phenomenon of "outsider science" (Walker & Co).

Margaret has a B.Sc. in physics (University of Queensland) and a B.A. in mathematics and computer science (University of Sydney). As a journalist, she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Sciences, New Scientist, The Guardian and many other publications. From 2000-2005 she wrote the "Quark Soup" science column for the LA Weekly, sister paper to the Village Voice, and is a contributing editor for Cabinet, the renowned arts and culture quarterly. Wertheim has contributed essays to scholarly anthologies including Architecture of Fear (Princeton University Press), Prefiguring Cyberspace (MIT Press) and The Quick and the Dead (Walker Arts Center). Her work was included in Best American Science Writing (2003). In 2006 Wertheim won the excellence in journalism award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences and in 2004 she was the US National Science Foundation's visiting journalist to Antarctica. Her ABC television science series Catalyst (aimed at teenage girls), won prizes around the world. For ten years in Australia, Margaret wrote regular columns about science for women's magazines, including Vogue Australia and Elle Australia. She may be the only journalist in the world to have held such a position.

The inaugural Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture   View Summary
4 November 2013

Invited Speaker: Professor Fiorenzo (Fio) Omenetto, Tufts University

The multiple forms of silk - from ancient textile to future technology

Silk, the millennia-old thread of luxury, offers unexpected and compelling options for use as a new material for technological applications.

The natural protein (fibroin) that composes the natural silk threads is extracted and used as the starting point for a biocompatible material platform with utility in photonics and electronics, ranging from nanoscale optical lattices to metamaterials, to electronic components. The unusual combination of properties found in this material platform (polymorphic, biocompatible, all-water-processed, controllably degradable, edible, biologically active) allow for an unusual combination of form and function, enabling a series of devices that bridge the biological and technological words.

This lecture will weave this thread across the multiple possibilities that silk offers from the nano- to the macro scale and describe a new way of looking at this familiar material.

Fiorenzo Omenetto is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and leads the laboratory for Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics at Tufts University and also holds an appointment in the Department of Physics. Formerly a J. Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory before joining Tufts, his research interests cover optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibres), nanofabrication, and biopolymer-based photonics. He has published over 100 papers and peer-review contributions across these various disciplines.

Since moving to Tufts at the end of 2005, he has proposed and pioneered (with David Kaplan) the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications. This new research platform has been featured in MIT's Technology Review magazine as one of the 2010 "top ten technologies likely to change the world". He was named one of the top-50 people in tech by Fortune magazine in a class of 50 featuring Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Shigeru Miyamoto among others.

About the Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture

The Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture series was established to honour and commemorate Dr Peter Domachuk's outstanding contribution and commitment to optofluidics and biophotonics research. Peter Domachuk joined the School of Physics in 2003 and brought enormous enthusiasm and energy to the School of Physics. His research is recognised globally with the successful publication of 36 journal papers; those papers having been cited more than 900 times. To honour him, the Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture was initiated by his parents in 2013 along with the collaboration of the School of Physics and the Faculty of Science and administered by the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS).

The biennial Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture will attract the brightest minds and visionary thinkers in Optical or Experimental Physics and bring them together with students, academics and researchers to engage on ideas that contribute to a better understanding and stimulate new and important lines of enquiry in Physics.

Date: Monday, 4 November 2013
Lecture time: 4:45 pm for 5:00pm start
Reception time: 6 - 7 p.m.
Venue:Eastern Avenue Complex (F19), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus, The University of Sydney
Cost: Free and open to all with registration requested.
RSVP:Click here to register

CUDOS Showcase - Photonics and Optics: Pivotal Technologies for 21st Century Australia   View Summary
22 November 2013

The CUDOS Showcase provides an opportunity to learn about the innovative photonics research being performed by CUDOS and how it will bring value to our community and potentially the world.

Photonics will be a key enabling technology for the 21st Century in areas such as communications, computing, defence, health, security and astronomy.

The Showcase program includes mini lectures and demonstrations showing the potential, real world applications of some of the ground-breaking research being done by CUDOS.

The Showcase will offer an exclusive component (from 4:30pm) specifically tailored to the needs of High School Science Teachers.