Speakers

Emeritus Professor Hans-Albert Bachor
Australian National University

Professor Hans-Albert Bachor is Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University and an independent consultant and presenter of public lectures and teaching programs in the area of physics & science communication. He is active in the of STEM education in the Australian Academy of science  with Questacon

He arrived in Australia in 1981 with a PhD form the University of Hannover, Germany. He established experimental quantum optics in Australia and created a widely known research group for quantum optics and laser physics. He founded and was Director of ACQAO, a national centre of excellence to study atoms and light at the quantum level and to explore options for future quantum technologies.

He was an ARC Federation Fellow 2003-2008. Fellow of OSA, the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Physics (UK) and the Australian Institute of Physics.  He received the Humboldt Research Prize, the Bragg Medal and Harrie Massey Medal of the IOP/ AIP and won an episode of New Inventors on Australian Television.  He is active in the professional management of science, Australian Research Council college of experts (1997-2001, 2010-12) and European Research Council (2009-16).

He was chairman of the council of the National Youth Science Forum 2008-2013. In 2012 he was awarded Membership to the Order of Australia (AM), recognizing his achievements as researcher and educator.

He has published about 165 publications in professional journals with over 5500 citations (Google Scholar 2017). His highest cited publication is the textbook A guide to experiments in quantum optics H-A Bachor and T.C.Ralph, Wiley 2002 (900 citations).

Dr Melanie Bagg
Australian Academy of Science

Melanie is a PhD qualified medical research scientist turned science communicator. She has recently joined the Australian Academy of Science as Director of Communications and Outreach. Prior to that, Melanie was Manager of Business Development at the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) where as she was a driving force in the launch of their new breaking science news venture, Scimex.org. A passionate champion for Australian science, Melanie has extensive experience in media, communications, sponsorship and fundraising within the not-for-profit and higher education sectors. She regularly talks science on radio and helps connect journalists and scientists. In 2016, Melanie was awarded the Unsung Hero of SA Science Communication for her commitment to translating science into something we can all understand.

Professor Margaret Barbour
The University of Sydney

Professor Margaret Barbour holds a BSc in Biology and Earth Sciences and an MSc in Biology from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and a PhD in Plant Science from the Australian National University. Her research interests focus on plant response to the environment, working in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. In 2010 Margaret joined The University of Sydney as an ARC Future Fellow in Biosphere-atmosphere interactions.  She is currently the Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Science.

Dr Sue Barrell FTSE
Bureau of Meteorology

Joining the Bureau of Meteorology in 1980, Sue has held wide ranging roles from frontline forecaster to Senior Executive. Sue commences in July 2017 as the Bureau’s Chief Scientist, with responsibility also for Diversity, Inclusion and STEM. As Division Head, Observations and Infrastructure from 2014, Sue oversees the sustained operation of Australia’s meteorological infrastructure, delivering comprehensive observations of the earth system to underpin Bureau’s services. As acting CIO, Sue led a year-long change initiative to establish a coherent new Division with a strong ICT service culture, while maintaining continuously functioning 24/7 national operations.

From 2004, Sue was Branch Head, Observations and Engineering, bringing an integrated focus to the Bureau’s observing systems and establishing an enterprise data framework. Prior roles included climate science policy, including UNFCCC and IPCC, integrated system design, research and operational forecasting. Sue was Australia’s Principal Representative to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and a member of WMO Executive Council during 2016-17, and served eight years as Australia’s Principal Delegate to the Group on Earth Observations. Sue was Vice President, WMO Commission for Basic Systems from 2008 to 2016. She continues to co-chair several high-level WMO initiatives. Sue is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Graduate member of the AICD and serves/served on many government boards.

Dr Annette Berriman
Australian National University

Dr Annette Berriman has had an extensive career focused on countering the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. She has worked in a variety of areas within the Australian Public Service, including intelligence, regulation, export controls and foreign policy. Annette has represented Australia at the international level, trained officials in foreign countries and provided advice to international bodies. She has helped develop policy positions on non-proliferation and disarmament issues for the Australian Government.

Annette has a PhD in Nuclear Physics from the Australian National University, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Nuclear Physics at the ANU.

Associate Professor Jodie Bradby
Australian National University

Jodie Bradby is a Physicist who leads a group that researches new forms of diamonds at the Australian National University. She is currently Vice-President of the Australian Institute of Physics and will become only the second women to lead this professional body when she takes over as President in two years’ time. She has always been passionate about the involvement of Women in STEM and is excited by the feeling of change in the air currently around this issue in Australia. She tweets from @Beidoj

Professor Igor Bray
Curtin University

Igor received his PhD in 1986 in the Department of Mathematical Physics, University of Adelaide, for the thesis entitled “Gravitational Lens Effect of Galaxies and Black Holes”. He then joined the Quantum Collision Theory group at Flinders University, where he stayed until 2001. He then relocated to Murdoch University in Perth with his entire group, who moved together again to Curtin University in 2007. Since 2011 he has been Head of Physics and Astronomy at Curtin. Igor has been the beneficiary of five ARC Fellowships, numerous Discovery grants, a Centre of Excellence for Antimatter-Matter Studies, and the recipient of the Boas, Pawsey and Syme medals. He has co-authored around 450 articles which have attracted over 10,000 citations, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Institute of Physics and the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Stephen Buckman
Australian Research Council

Professor Stephen Buckman joined the ARC in November 2016 as Executive Director for Physical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics and Information Sciences. Professor Buckman brings to the ARC a wealth of experience in the physical sciences.

Professor Buckman is a PhD graduate in Atomic Physics from Flinders University (1979). Following postdoctoral positions at the University of Manchester and the University of Colorado, he returned to Australia in 1983 to take up a position in the Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE) at the Australian National University (ANU), and was appointed Professor of Physics in 1999. Between 1996 and 2000 Professor Buckman was Head of Department of the Atomic and Molecular Physics Laboratories within the RSPE. Between 2002 and 2006 he was Deputy Director (Academic) in the RSPE and from 2006 to 2012 he was Research Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Antimatter-Matter Studies at ANU. In 2012 Professor Buckman was appointed Director of the RSPE and remained in this position until his retirement from the ANU in July 2015. Since his retirement from the ANU Professor Buckman has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology organisation (ANSTO).

Professor Buckman is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics UK and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics. In 2006, he was awarded one of 40 inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards by Flinders University to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. In 2008 he was awarded the ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the University, and in 2012 he received the Flinders University Convocation Medal for outstanding achievement of Flinders alumni.  In 2013 he was awarded an AM in the Order of Australia for significant service to science in the field of experimental atomic physics as a leading researcher, academic and author.

Professor Buckman has published more than 220 refereed journal articles and book chapters on atomic collision physics and spectroscopy.

Professor Benjamin Burton
The University of Queensland

Benjamin Burton is a computational geometer in the UQ School of Mathematics and Physics, where he teaches supercomputers how to untangle knots.  He has also worked in cryptography and the finance industry, and takes delight in making computers solve mathematical problems that should be impossible. Benjamin also has the pleasure of working with the Australian team for the International Olympiad in Informatics, where the best and brightest computer programmers battle for glory on the world stage.

Natalie Chapman
gemaker

Natalie is Co-Founder and Managing Director of gemaker, a science and technology commercialisation consultancy. In 2017, gemaker won three Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Innovation, and the NSW Telstra Business Award for Microbusiness.

Natalie is also Corporate Communications Manager for ASX-listed Alkane Resources, and Board Director of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA). Her previous work, as General Manager of Commercialisation at the Smart Services CRC, resulted in two successful spin-off businesses. As Leader of Business Development and Marketing at ANSTO, she provided strategic advice and managed the commercialisation of the intellectual property portfolio, including incubating and growing new businesses.

Geraldine Chappell
The Silanna Group

Geraldine Chappell, has held the position of Group Human Resources Manager at The Silanna Group, since 2009. Silanna invests in disruptive technology & brings cutting edge products to the marketplace, in particular, designing & manufacturing nanotechnology devices.  Globally, Geraldine is responsible for implementing human resource management strategies that enable Silanna to recruit, train, and retain a high performing and motivated workforce.

Geraldine specialises in international talent acquisition and management, culture and change management, strategic development and implementation, and employee relations. Geraldine is an accomplished HR professional with over 18 years of broad-based experience in various industries including professional services, technology and consumer durables.

Geraldine holds a Bachelor of Health Science and post graduate qualification in Human Resources Management.

Professor Mahananda Dasgupta
Australian National University

Professor Mahananda (Nanda) Dasgupta is an experimental physicist at the Department of Nuclear Physics of the Australian National University. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Nanda is known internationally for her research on accelerator-based nuclear fusion and fission. Nanda completed her PhD in 1992 from the prestigious Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 1998 by the Australian Research Council, and in 2004 she was the Australian Institute of Physics “Women in Physics” lecturer, undertaking a nation-wide lecture tour of Australia. In 2006, Nanda was awarded the Pawsey medal by the Australian Academy of Science for outstanding research in Physics in Australia by a scientist under 40 years of age. Nanda received the inaugural Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2011. Nanda has been a member of the National Physics Committee of the Australian Academy of Science, and is currently a member of the C12 committee of the IUPAP.

Anita Dwyer
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Anita Dwyer is a senior executive with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Most recently she has managed bilateral policy, aid and trade with Vietnam and Cambodia, including foreign policy. Anita has also managed the Australian Government’s aid and humanitarian funding in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, and led the Government’s disaster response team to the 2015 Nepal earthquake. She has had government and UN postings to Jakarta and Bangkok. Prior to her career in foreign policy and aid, Anita worked on risk modelling and disaster management science at Geoscience Australia. Anita has a Masters in Public Policy (MA Pub Pol, ANU) and honours degree in Earth Sciences (BA/BSc (Hons), Uni of Melb).

Hugh Fahy
MYOB

 

Hugh Fahy joined MYOB in June 2017 in the role of General Manager, Engineering. Prior to joining MYOB, Hugh held a number of technology leadership roles in telecomms, gaming and eCommerce including most recently Group CTO of Net-A-Porter and Development and Product Director at Betfair. Hugh spent fifteen years with the Vodafone Group in the UK, Hungary and South Africa.

Hugh was also one of the founders of betNOW, an innovative social gaming start-up in the UK and was VP, Engineering of Motricity in North Carolina developing mobile content solutions. Hugh holds a BSc (Honours) in Computing and Informatics from Plymouth University.

Dr Will Grant
Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

Will Grant is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU. Most of his work has focused on the interaction of science, politics and climate change, and how such interactions are changing with new technology. If you’re into that kind of thing, he tweets at @willozap, he also podcasts at @WholesomeShow.

Emeritus Professor Jennifer Graves
Australian National University

Jenny Graves is an evolutionary geneticist who works on Australian animals, including kangaroos and platypus, devils (Tasmanian) and dragons (lizards). Her group uses their distant relationship to humans to discover how genes and chromosomes and regulatory systems evolved, and how they work in all animals including humans. Her laboratory uses this unique perspective to explore the origin, function and fate of human sex genes and chromosomes, (in)famously predicting the disappearance of the Y chromosome. Jenny received her BSc and MSc from Adelaide University, then a Fulbright Travel Grant took her to the University of California at Barkeley, where she completed her PhD in molecular biology. She joined La Trobe University in 1971 and worked there for many years before moving to ANU in 2001, where she founded the Comparative Genomics department and directed the ARC Centre of Excellence in Kangaroo Genomics. She returned to La Trobe as Distinguished Professor in 2011, and also is Professor Emeritus at ANU, Thinker-in-Residence at Canberra University and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Jenny has produced three books and more than 400 research articles. She has received many honours and awards, including the Academy’s Macfarlane Burnet medal in 2006 and an AO in 2010. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and was on the Executive for 8 years, first as Foreign Secretary, then as Education Secretary with responsibility for the Academy’s science education projects. She is 2006 L’Oreal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science.

Kate Gunn
ARC Centre of Excellence in All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO)

Kate is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the ARC Centre of Excellence in All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), based at the University of Sydney. She has been in this role since 2011. This is a $30m Centre which is addressing fundamental unsolved questions about the Universe using the dramatic capabilities of next-generation telescopes and advanced instrumentation.

CAASTRO is led by The University of Sydney, in conjunction with The Australian National University, Curtin University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland, Swinburne University of Technology and The University of Western Australia, complemented by a strong group of Australian and international partner institutions. It has 184 members, including 51 PhD students.

Kate has 25 years of business experience and has a strong industry background. Kate is the Founder and Director of Balance! Healthcare, a leader in multi-disciplinary integrated primary healthcare, which has practices in NSW and QLD. In 2015, Kate won a scholarship from Chief Executive Women to attend the Women’s Leadership Program, Harvard Business School, and in 2012 she was named as one of the inaugural 100 Women of Influence in Australia (by Westpac and the Australian Financial Review). Previously a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Kate has also been recognised with a number of business entrepreneurship awards over the years.

Kate holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Macquarie Graduate School of Management, and a Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of South Australia. She is currently the Acting President of the National Foundation for Australian Women, and was previously the Chair of the Government funded National Women’s Alliance Economic Security4Women.

Dr Mike Hay
Westpac

Mike Hay is a credit risk modeller at Westpac. He is a former mathematics lecturer and research fellow, aerospace engineer, professional fighter and air force pilot.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC
Australian National University

Professor Jagadish is a Distinguished Professor and Head of Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group in the Research School of Physics and Engineering, Australian National University.  He holds honorary appointments at UESTC, Chengdu, Nanjing University, Tokyo University and Anna University.  He is currently serving as President-Elect of the IEEE Photonics Society, President of the Australian Materials Research Society.  His research interests include optoelectronics, nanotechnology and neuroscience.  Prof. Jagadish is an Editor/Associate editor of 6 Journals and 3 book series. He has published more than 580 journal papers, holds 5 US patents, edited 10 books. He is a Fellow of 5 Science and Engineering Academies (AAS, ATSE, TWAS, NAI, IASc) and 15 professional societies (APS, MRS, IEEE, AAAS, OSA…). He received 2015 IEEE Pioneer Award in Nanotechnology, 2015 IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award, 2016 OSA Nick Holonyak award and 2017 Welker award.  He has received Australia’s highest civilian honor, AC, Companion of the Order of Australia in 2016.

Professor Nalini Joshi AO
The University of Sydney

Professor Nalini Joshi AO is Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Sydney, and a Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellow.

Professor Joshi was born and spent her early childhood in Burma, before her family emigrated to Australia. She was awarded a BSc (Hons), with the University Medal in applied mathematics, by the University of Sydney and then a PhD in computational and applied mathematics by Princeton University in the USA.

In 2012, Professor Joshi was awarded an Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship to work on the five-year project Geometric Construction of Critical Solutions of Nonlinear Systems which has a component to attract and retain female researchers in STEMM. She was a foundation co-Chair of the SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity) initiative jointly managed by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

In the 2016 Queen’s Birthday honours, Professor Joshi was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to mathematical science and tertiary education as an academic, author and researcher, to professional societies, and as a role model and mentor of young mathematicians.

Professor Deb Kane
Macquarie University

Deb Kane received the B.Sc. Hons degree in Physics from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1979 and the Ph.D. degree from the University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom in 1983. She was a Research Fellow in Physics at Southampton University during 1984-86. She joined Massey University, Palmerston North, NZ as a lecturer in 1986 where she established the research area of semiconductor lasers and their application to atomic laser spectroscopy. She took up a lecturing position at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia in 1989. She has held a Personal Chair in Physics at Macquarie University since 2005. She was Head of the Department of Physics at MQU 2004-2006. She is a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA).

She is currently the Chair of Commission 17 (Laser Physics and Photonics) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), a member of the National Committee of Physics, Accreditation Manager for the Australian Institute of Physics, and a member of the Management Committee of the Australian Nanotechnology Network. She has served on numerous national and international conference committees. At Macquarie University she has served on the Research Committee, the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, numerous selection and promotions committees and the Equal Opportunity Committee. She is an elected (academic staff) member of the Macquarie University Council (2011- ). She serves on awards committees for IEEE and OSA. She has produced two video recordings on Physics and High Technology for high schools from the first Young Women and Physics Residential School (1990).  She organised and led the YWAP Residential School program at MQU 1990-1996. She supports several outreach initiatives such as the International Year of Light in 2015. She was the AIP Women in Physics Lecturer in 2006. She continues to lecture broadly in physics as a standard 40/40/20 academic, and has lectured extensively at all undergraduate levels, honours and masters. She was a foundation lecturer in the Bachelor of Technology (Optoelectronics) degree at Macquarie University, and, Director of the BTech (Optoelectronics) program 1994-96.

Professor Kane has published more than 200 research outputs including more than 90 journal papers, 4 edited books and 9 book chapters. She supervises HDR students, including in interdisciplinary contexts. Her current research interests include semiconductor laser systems, laser systems with chaotic and complex output, quantifying complexity in time series data, nonlinear laser dynamics, the optics and optical characteristics of spider webs and silks, nanometrology using interferometric microscopy techniques, laser materials processing, and, photonics based conservation science for Aboriginal and Oceania art and cultural heritage objects.

Dr Madhura Killedar
The University of Sydney

Dr Madhura Killedar is a research engineer for the Sydney Informatics Hub at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Translational Data Science, providing data science support for partners at Westmead Institute of Medical Research and Kolling Institute. She received her PhD in physics at the University of Sydney in 2011, held postdoc positions in Italy and Germany, and continues to design and apply statistical tools to a range of astrophysics research projects. She has also worked in epidemiology and child nutrition developing computational models with a focus on optimising population health outcomes and uncertainty quantification, before moving to her current role.

Dr Joan E Licata
Australian National University

Joan completed her PhD at Yale University in 2007 and her research focuses on low-dimensional topology and contact geometry. Before moving to ANU in 2012, she held positions at Stanford University, the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics and the Institute for Advanced Study. She is the Convener for the Honours specialisation in mathematics and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Ian Mann
BluGlass Limited

Ian is the Chief Technology & Operations Officer at BluGlass Limited. Ian brings a wealth of knowledge to the BluGlass technology and commercial teams with his experience in managing and developing technology companies and commercialisation plans to bring high technology projects to commercial outcomes.

Prior to joining BluGlass in late 2009, he was the CEO of Bandwidth Foundry International Pty Ltd working on innovations in chip based optoelectronics including laser projectors while leading a commercial microfabrication foundry service for innovative Australian companies and research institutions.

Ian has worked in a number of cutting edge technology companies in the US and Australia where he has managed technology teams, developed and executed transition strategies, business plans and facilitated mergers and acquisitions along with establishing spin off companies to commercialise intellectual property.

Ian received his PhD in Polymer Science from Akron University in the US working on flat panel displays and has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

During his time at BluGlass he has lead the technology team to complete a number of the company’s critical technical milestones including the achievement of its proof of concept milestone in November 2012.

Dr Helen Maynard-Casely
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Helen Maynard-Casely is a Planetary Scientist based at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) where she uses the neutrons and synchrotron x-rays to investigate the materials that make up our solar system.  She has a PhD in high-pressure physics from the University of Edinburgh and has been lucky enough to have collected data in facilities all over the world, blowing up a few diamonds along the way.  Always keen to tell anyone who’ll listen about planetary science, she writes a column ‘The Tides of Venus’ for The Conversation and tweets @Helen_E_MC.

Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths
Australian National University
Stuart Hay/ANU

Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths is a Research Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (Mt Stromlo) at the Australian National University. She uses the world’s largest radio telescopes to study our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and nearby galaxies. Her team focuses on understanding the nature and evolution of gas in the Milky Way. She is also involved in science planning for the international Square Kilometre Array telescope. McClure-Griffiths is currently leading the 55-person international team to survey the Milky Way with the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. She is a native of the USA where she received her B.A. in Physics at Oberlin College in Ohio and completed her PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She came to Australia in 2001 as a Bolton Postdoctoral Fellow at CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility. She held roles at CSIRO as an OCE Science Leader and the Head of National Facility Science and was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts. In 2006 McClure-Griffiths won the Prime Minister’s Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for her discovery of new structures in the Milky Way and in 2015 she won the Pawsey medal of the Australian Academy of Science for her contributions to physics.

Dr Thomas McGoram
Public Sector
Dr Merryn McKinnon
Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

Dr Merryn McKinnon’s original degree was in marine science where, after the novelty of moving intertidal snails with a paint scraper wore off, she discovered that talking about her research to other people brought her far closer to her conservation goals than her actual project ever could.

This led her to the field of science communication where she has stayed ever since, working in a range of roles and countries. Merryn enjoys the diverse issues science communication allows her to explore, applying her innovative thinking and problem solving skills.

Her experience outside of academia shapes her teaching, embedding her courses in ‘real world’ scenarios with an emphasis on engaging students in practical application of theory wherever possible.

She was one of 76 women selected to participate in the inaugural journey of Homeward Bound – a state of the art leadership and strategy initiative for women in science. She is now the science communication coordinator for the 2018 Homeward Bound intake, providing those future leaders with science communication skills to help shape the future.

Merryn believes that communication is an essential part of the scientific process, and can create change which benefits us all.

Dr Brendan McMonigal
Google

Brendan McMonigal completed a PhD in Galactic Archaeology at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (The University of Sydney) – studying the formation and evolution of galaxies. During his PhD he taught himself to code and developed a love of programming; towards the end of the PhD he did an internship at Google and was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position. He has been at Google for a year now and loves the challenge of working on the expansion and evolution of their network.

Associate Professor Scott Morrison
Australian National University

Scott Morrison is a Future Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Institute. He’s particularly interested in the interplay between higher category theory, topological field theory, and topological phases of matter. It’s an amazing story connecting pure mathematics, condensed matter physics, and quantum computation!

Before joining the ANU in 2012, Scott worked as a postdoc at Microsoft’s research group on topological quantum computation, Station Q, and then as a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Along the way, he helped start MathOverflow, the question-and-answer website for research mathematicians.

Professor Mary Myerscough
The University of Sydney

I completed a BSc and MSc by research in Applied Mathematics at the University of Sydney and then a DPhil (=PhD) in Mathematical Biology at Oxford. Following a spell as a postdoc in the School of Chemistry at Macquarie University, I took up a lectureship at the University of Sydney. I have worked on problems to do with collective behaviour in social insects throughout my career and currently also do research into mathematical models for immunological processes in the growth of atherosclerotic plaques.

Dr Christine O’Keefe
CSIRO

Christine is a Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Data61, and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. In addition to holding research leadership positions in CSIRO, Christine was the founding Director of the Population Health Research Network Centre for Data Linkage, and Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University.

Christine’s research focusses on methods to address the balance between allowing data access and use with protecting privacy and confidentiality of people and organisations represented in data. Her work was recognised with a Newton Turner Career Award 2010, awarded to exceptional senior scientists in CSIRO.

Christine has over 110 publications in refereed journals and conferences, across her fields of interest. Christine was awarded the 2000 Australian Mathematical Society Medal for distinguished research in the mathematical sciences and the 1996 Hall Medal of the Institute for Combinatorics and Applications for outstanding contributions to the field. In 2003 Christine was included on the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame Signature Quilt: A Patchwork of Empowerment.

Professor Margaret Sheil AO
The University of Melbourne

Professor Sheil was appointed as the Provost at the University of Melbourne in 2012. In this role, she is the Chief Academic Officer and Standing Deputy to the Vice Chancellor.

Professor Sheil has been a researcher in the field of chemistry, held senior roles at the University of Wollongong and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (2007-2012). She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and was made an inaugural Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSM). Professor Sheil is a Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) and Trinity College, University of Melbourne. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the CSIRO Science Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), the Clunies Ross Awards Committee of ATSE, the Advisory Board of the Australia Indonesia Centre. She has previously been a member of the Advisory Board for Coursera; and a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Innovation and Engineering Council, the National Research Infrastructure Council and the Cooperative Research Centres Committee.

In June 2017, Professor Sheil was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to science and higher education as an academic and administrator, through significant contributions to the national research landscape, and to performance standards.

Professor Sheil holds a Bachelor of Science and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from The University of New South Wales and was presented with the Science and Technology Alumni Award from UNSW in 2016.

Professor Sue Thomas
Australian Research Council

Professor Sue Thomas commenced as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC) in July 2017. Professor Thomas’s depth of experience in research and research management will help deliver ARC’s key priorities and deliverables.

Previously, the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England, Professor Thomas brings with her a wealth of expertise and knowledge. Her academic background lies in microbial genetics and she has significant experience managing innovation across a comprehensive range of disciplines.

Professor Thomas holds both a Bachelor of Science with Honours and Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology from La Trobe University in Victoria. Her professional career commenced with post-doctoral appointments at Princeton University in the USA and the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom. She joined Flinders University in Adelaide in 1990 and from the year 2000 to mid–2005 was head of the School of Biological Sciences.

In mid-2005, she moved to the University of Canberra to become Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health, Design and Science, and subsequently Pro Vice-Chancellor Research between 2007 and 2009. In this latter role, she was the senior manager responsible for the research and teaching activities of staff and students in a wide variety of disciplines. In 2009, she moved to Charles Sturt University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the senior executive responsible for research.

Professor Susanne von Caemmerer
ARC Centre for Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

Susanne von Caemmerer is Professor of Molecular Plant Physiology at the Research School of Biology at the Australian National University. She completed undergraduate studies in pure mathematics in 1976 followed by a PhD in plant physiology in 1981. Her research expertise is in CO2 fixation by plants including the biochemistry/bioenergetics of C3 and C4 photosynthesis and the regulation of CO2 diffusion in leaves. She has worked across scales in biochemistry, molecular biology and whole plant physiology combining mathematical modelling approaches with experimental verification. She was part of a team that presented a comprehensive mathematical model of the biochemistry of C3 leaf photosynthesis, which is now used worldwide. In 2006 she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science as well as Leopoldina, the German Academy of Scientists. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017.

Associate Professor Lesley Ward
University of South Australia

Lesley Ward is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of South Australia. She earned her BSc Honours degree from ANU and her PhD from Yale University, then held post-doctoral positions at Rice University and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), and a continuing position at Harvey Mudd College.  Her research is mainly in harmonic analysis and complex analysis. She also works in industrial applications of mathematics, carried out through the UniSA Mathematics Clinic, which she directs. Her book “Harmonic Analysis: From Fourier to Wavelets”, co-authored with M. Cristina Pereyra, appeared in 2012. In 2016 she gave a plenary lecture at the annual conference of the Australian Mathematical Society. Lesley Ward is the Past Chair of the Women in Mathematics Group (WIMSIG) of the Australian Mathematical Society, and has worked on gender equity issues in STEM disciplines at five institutions over many years. She is the Conference Director of the WIMSIG Conference 2017: Celebration of Women in Australian Mathematical Sciences, held 24-26 September 2017 at UniSA. She has won several teaching awards, notably the Mathematical Association of America’s Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Professor Rachel Webster
The University of Melbourne

Professor Rachel Webster is the head of the Astrophysics group at the University of Melbourne.  After a PhD at the University of Cambridge, she has held academic positions at the Universities of Toronto and Melbourne for the last 30 years.  Over that period she has held many senior positions within the Australian and international astronomical communities, and within the broader Australian scientific community.  These include chair of the ARC College of Experts PCE panel, the National Committee for Astronomy, Astronomy Australia Limited and the Visiting Committee of the Space Telescope Science Institute in the USA.

She has been awarded number of distinguished lectureships including the Caroline Herschel Distinguished Lectureship of the Space Telescope Science Institute. She has received several awards for mentoring and supervision including the Nature Mid-career Mentoring Award.

As well as her research program in cosmology and extragalactic astrophysics, Professor Webster has an active interest in both climate change and geothermal energy.  She has lead the creation of a series of climate change subjects at the University of Melbourne, and plays an active role in sustainability initiatives.