|Motto||Omnia quaerite (Question everything)|
|Founder(s)||Sir Thomas Brisbane (President)|
Dr James Bowman
Dr Henry Douglass
Judge Barron Field
Major Frederick Goulburn
Captain Francis Irvine
Edward Wollstonecraft Esq
|Established||1821 – as the Philosophical Society of Australasia|
1866 – Royal assent received from Queen Victoria and renamed as the Royal Society of New South Wales
|Focus||"... for the encouragement of studies and investigations in Science, Art, Literature and Philosophy ..."|
|President||Dr Susan Pond|
|Members||Up to 25 Distinguished Fellows |
350 Fellows and Members
|Formerly called||The Philosophical Society of Australasia (1821-50)|
The Australian Philosophical Society (1850-56)
The Philosophical Society of New South Wales (1856-66)
The Royal Society of New South Wales is a learned society based in Sydney, Australia. The Governor of New South Wales is the vice-regal patron of the Society.
The Society was established as the Philosophical Society of Australasia on 27 June 1821. In 1850, after a period of informal activity, the Society was revived and its name became the Australian Philosophical Society and, in 1856, the Philosophical Society of New South Wales. The Society was granted Royal Assent on 12 December 1866 and at that time was renamed the Royal Society of New South Wales.
Membership is open to any person interested in the promotion of studies in Science, Art, Literature and Philosophy. Fellowship and Distinguished Fellowship are by election, and may be conferred on leaders in their fields. The Society is based in Sydney and has an active branch in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Regular monthly meetings and public lectures are well attended by both members and visitors.
The Society publishes a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales , the second-oldest peer-reviewed publication in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Royal Society of New South Wales, Australia traces its origins to the Philosophical Society of Australasia, established on 27 June 1821 and was the first scientific society in the then British Colony of New South Wales.
The Society was formed "with a view to enquiring into the various branches of physical science of this vast continent and its adjacent regions". On his arrival in Sydney late in 1821, the newly appointed Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, was offered and accepted the position of President.
Following a period of informal activity, the Society was revitalised (led by Dr Henry Douglass, one of the original founders) and renamed the Australian Philosophical Society on 19 January 1850. The society was renamed the Philosophical Society of New South Wales in 1856. On 12 December 1866, Queen Victoria granted Royal Assent to change its name to The Royal Society of New South Wales. The Society was incorporated by Act of the New South Wales Parliament in 1881.
The rules of the Society provided that the Governor of New South Wales should be President ex officio. After the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, the Governor-General became Patron of the Society, and the Governor New South Wales the Vice-Patron. From 1938 to 2014, the Society was under the joint patronage of the Governor-General of Australia and the Governor of NSW. The Society now has a single Vice-Regal Patron, the Governor of NSW.
Throughout its history, the Society has done much to foster local research particularly in science, through meetings, symposia, publications and international scientific exchange, and has supported and fostered the endeavours of other organisations dedicated to the furtherance of knowledge.
The Society encourages "... studies and investigations in Science, Art, Literature and Philosophy, to promote and further the development of Science and its relationship with Art, Literature and Philosophy and their allied disciplines and applications, to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas amongst the Members and Fellows of the Society and others on these and kindred topics and to disseminate knowledge to the people of New South Wales and beyond ..." through the following activities:
The Society's journal, the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales is one of the oldest peer-reviewed publications in the Southern Hemisphere. Much innovative research of the 19th and early 20th centuries (e.g. Lawrence Hargrave's work on flight) was first brought to the attention of the scientific world through the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. In the last few decades specialist journals have become preferred for highly technical work but the Journal and Proceedings remains an important publication for multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary work.
The Journal and Proceedings are exchanged with hundreds of institutions worldwide. Issues are published June and December each year.
The Society welcomes scholarly work to be considered for publication in the Journal. Preference is given to work done in Australia which has relevance to New South Wales. Intending authors must read the style guide, available via the Society's web site (Journal), before submitting their manuscript for review.
The Society recognises outstanding contributions to science, art, literature or philosophy with the position of Distinguished Fellow. Distinguished Fellows of the Society are entitled to use the postnominal Dist FRSN. There can be up to 25 Distinguished Fellows at any one time.
|Professor Michael Archer AM FAA Dist FRSN||Biology and paleobiology||2009||Professor Archer is a distinguished biologist and palaeobiologist. He was one of the key researchers involved in researching the Riversleigh fossil deposits found in Queensland, one of the richest deposits of fossils in the world.|
|The Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO Dist FRSN||Psychiatry and public service||2009||Dame Marie Bashir graduated in medicine and worked in clinical psychiatry and mental health services in Australia and Indochina. In 2001, she was appointed Governor of NSW. During her term as Governor she was Vice-Regal Patron of the Society.|
|The Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC Dist FRSN||Medicine and public service||2015||Professor Baume served a Senator for New South Wales for 16 years in a range of senior ministerial positions. He was Head of the School of Community Medicine at the University of NSW and is a former Chancellor of the Australian National University.|
|Professor Elizabeth Blackburn AC FAA FRS Dist FRSN||Biochemistry and Biophysics||2010||Professor Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres - the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving genetic information and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase.|
|Professor Robert Clark AO FAA Dist FRSN||Physics||2009||Professor Clark was Chief Defence Scientist at the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Previously he was Professor of Experimental Physics and was Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology at the University of New South Wales.|
|Professor Peter Doherty AC FAA FRS FRSE Dist FRSN||Immunology||2013||Professor Doherty won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel. Their work discovered how T-cells recognize their targets and led to a much-improved understanding of the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.|
|Professor Barry Jones AO FAA FAHA FTSE FASSA Dist FRSN||Politician||2012||He was the longest serving Minister for Science from 1983 to 1990 and is the only person to have been elected as a Fellow of all four of Australia's learned Academies.|
|Thomas Keneally AO Dist FRSN||Historian||2017||An Australian Living National Treasure, author of many books including The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Schindler's Ark|
|Professor Kurt Lambeck AO FRS FAA Dist FRSN||Geophysics, geology, and glaciology||2010||Professor Lambeck is internationally recognised as an expert on the interaction between ice sheets, oceans and the Earth and the impact of ocean levels resulting from climate change.|
|Emeritus Scientia Professor Eugenie Lumbers FAA Dist FRSN||Medicine||2010||Professor Lumbers is an internationally respected authority on foetal and maternal physiology. For many years she has worked in cardiovascular and renal physiology, with particular reference to blood pressure regulation in the renin-angiotensin system.|
|Professor Brian Schmidt AC FAA FRS Dist FRSN||Astronomy||2012||Awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.|
|Professor Michelle Simmons FAA Dist FRSN||Physics||2010||Professor Simmons is a Federation Fellow and Director of the Atomic Fabrication Facility at the University of NSW. Her research in nanoelectronics combines molecular beam epitaxy and scanning tunnelling microscopy to develop novel electronic devices at the atomic scale.|
|Professor Richard Stanton AO FAA Dist FRSN||Geology||2009||Professor Stanton is a distinguished geologist. He recognised the role of volcanism and sedimentation in the formation of new ore deposits, and the physics and chemistry involved in the concentration of copper, zinc and lead in volcanic lavas.|
|Professor Jill Trewhella FAAAS FLANL Dist FRSN||Mathematics, physics, chemistry||2011||Professor Trewhella gained an international recognition for her work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in particular contributing to our understanding of the molecular communication that underpins healthy biological function.|
|Professor Bruce Warren FRCPath Dist FRSN||Medicine, pathology||2009||Professor Warren is a distinguished pathologist whose research interests concerned tumour biology and thrombosis.|
|Professor Lord May of Oxford, OM AC Kt FRS FAA Dist FRSN (1936 - 2020)||Mathematics and zoology||2010||Lord May was one of Australia's most distinguished mathematicians. He had a key role in the application of chaos theory to theoretical ecology through the 1970s and 1980s. He was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society (London) in 2007.|
|Professor Gavin Brown AO FAA Corr FRSE Dist FRSN (1942 - 2010)||Mathematics and education||2009||Professor Brown was a distinguished mathematician and educator. He was Inaugural Director of the Royal Institution of Australia after 12 years as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney. His research areas were broad, including measure theory and algebraic geometry and his contributions both to education and mathematics have been recognised worldwide.|
|Professor David Craig AO FRS FAA Dist FRSN (1942 - 2015)||Chemistry||2009||Professor Craig's research work was in several fields but was especially pioneering in the then new and very difficult field of excitons in molecular crystals. He also did major work in the field of molecular quantum electrodynamics.|
|Professor Jak Kelly FInstP (London) FAIP Dist FRSN (1928 - 2012)||Physics||2009||Professor Kelly established an internationally renowned research centre on ion implantation and material defects at the University of New South Wales. He jointly invented a photovoltaic solar collector surface, which, at the time, was the world's most efficient and is now in mass production in China.|
|Emeritus Professor Noel Hush AO DSc FRS FNAS FAA FRACI Dist FRSN (1924 - 2019)||Computational and theoretical quantum chemistry||2010||Professor Hush was one of Australia's most distinguished and internationally renowned chemists with outstanding achievements in computational and theoretical quantum chemistry.|
The society makes a number of awards for meritorious contributions in the field of science.
The Clarke Medal is awarded by the Society for distinguished work in the Natural sciences. It was named in honour of the Reverend William Branwhite Clarke, one of the founders of the Society. The medal was to be "awarded for meritorious contributions to Geology, Mineralogy and Natural History of Australasia, to be open to men of science, whether resident in Australasia or elsewhere". The Medal is now awarded annually for distinguished work in the natural sciences (geology, botany and zoology) done in the Australian Commonwealth and its territories. Each discipline is considered every three years.For a complete list of medalists see Clarke Medal.
The Edgeworth David Medal, established in 1942, is awarded for distinguished contributions by a young scientists under the age of thirty-five years for work done mainly in Australia or its territories or contributing to Australian science. It is named after the geologist, Sir Edgeworth David, FRS, who wrote the first comprehensive record of the geology of Australia.
The James Cook Medal, established in 1947, is awarded periodically for outstanding contributions to science and human welfare in and for the Southern Hemisphere.
From 1850 to 1880, the President of the Society was the Governor of New South Wales. In 1881, when the Society was incorporated by an Act of the New South Wales Parliament, the Act provided that Presidents of the Society be elected by the members.
|1821–2||Sir Thomas Brisbane||Astronomy||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|1850–5||Hon. E. Deas-Thomson||Public Administration||Senior Vice-President. Clerk of both the Council of NSW and the Executive & Legislative Council|
|1855–7||Sir William Denison||Engineering||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Sir Charles Nicholson||Medicine||Senior Vice-President|
|1858–60||Sir William Denison||Engineering||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Hon. E. Deas-Thomson||Public Administration||Senior Vice-President. Clerk of both the Council of NSW and the Executive & Legislative Council|
|1861–5||Sir John Young||Law||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Rev. W.B. Clarke||Geology||Senior Vice-President|
|1866–7||Sir John Young||Law||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Rev. W.B. Clarke||Geology||Senior Vice-President|
|1868–71||4th Earl of Belmore||Public Administration||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Rev.W.B. Clarke||Geology||Senior Vice-President|
|1872–8||Sir Hercules Robinson||Public Administration||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Rev. W.B. Clarke||Geology||Senior Vice-President|
|1879||Lord Augustus Loftus||Diplomat||Governor NSW, Hon. President|
|Hon. J. Smith||Physics||Senior Vice-President|
|1880||Hon. J. Smith||Physics||First elected President|
|1883||Professor J. Smith||Physics||Second elected term|
|1884||H.C. Russell||Astronomy||Second term|
|1885||Professor A. Liversidge||Chemistry||Joint Secretary 1875–1884;1886–1888|
|1886||Christopher Rolleston||Statistics||Second term|
|1888||Sir Alfred Roberts||Medicine|
|1889||Professor A. Liversidge||Chemistry||Second term|
|1890||Dr A. Leibius||Chemistry||Joint Secretary 1875–1885|
|1891||H.C. Russell||Astronomy||Third term|
|1892||Professor W.H. Warren||Engineering||Joint Secretary 1889–1891|
|1893||Professor T.P. Anderson Stuart||Physiology||Joint Secretary 1892|
|1894||Professor Richard Threlfall||Physics|
|1895||Professor T.W.E. David||Geology||Joint Secretary 1893–4|
|1896||J.H. Maiden||Botany||Joint Secretary 1893–5; 1897–1913|
|1898||G.H. Knibbs||Mathematics||Joint Secretary 1896–7; 1899–1906|
|1899||William Mogford Hamlet||Chemistry|
|1900||Professor A. Liversidge||Chemistry||Third term|
|1901||H.C. Russell||Astronomy||Fourth term|
|1902||Professor W.H. Warren||Engineering||Second term|
|1903||F.B. Guthrie||Chemistry||Joint Secretary 1907–1911|
|1906||Professor T.P. Anderson Stuart||Physiology||Second term|
|1907||Henry Deane||Engineering||Second term|
|1908||William Mogford Hamlet||Chemistry||Second term|
|1910||Professor T.W.E. David||Geology||Second term|
|1911||J.H. Maiden||Botany||Second term|
|1912||R.H. Cambage||Surveying||Joint Secretary 1914–1922; 1925–7|
|1915||R. Greig-Smith||Bacteriology||Joint Secretary 1925–6|
|1917||Dr J.B. Cleland||Microbiology|
|1918||William Sutherland Dun||Palaeontology|
|1919||Professor C.E. Fawsitt||Chemistry|
|1922||C.A. Sussmilch||Geology||Joint Secretary 1928–1933; 1936–7|
|1923||R.H. Cambage||Surveying||Second term|
|1924||Dr C. Anderson||Mineralogy||Joint Secretary 1935–1942|
|1925||Professor R.D. Watt||Agriculture|
|1926||Dr Walter George Woolnough||Geology|
|1927||Prof. J. Douglas Stewart||Veterinary Medicine|
|1929||Professor L.A. Cotton||Geology|
|1930||Professor O.U. Vonwiller||Physics||Joint Secretary 1927–8; 1948|
|1932||Asst. Prof. W.R. Browne||Geology|
|1934||Dr R.J. Noble||Agriculture||Joint Secretary 1933|
|1936||Major E.H. Booth||Physics||Joint Secretary 1934–6|
|1937||Dr W.L. Waterhouse||Botany|
|1938||Professor J.C. Earl||Chemistry|
|1939||Dr H.S.H. Wardlaw||Biochemistry|
|1940||Professor A.P. Elkin||Anthropology||Joint Secretary 1938–9; 1941–5|
|1941||D.P. Mellor||Chemistry||Joint Secretary 1943–7|
|1942||Professor Henry Priestley||Biochemistry|
|1943||Dr A.B. Walkom||Palaeobotany|
|1944||Dr G.D. Osborne||Geology||Joint Secretary 1953|
|1945||Dr A. Bolliger||Medicine|
|1946||Dr F. Lions||Chemistry|
|1947||Dr J.A. Dulhunty||Geology|
|1948||Dr Ronald Aston||Engineering|
|1949||Harley Wood||Astronomy||Joint Secretary 1948; 1951; 1958–1960|
|1950||F.R. Morrison||Chemistry||Joint Secretary 1946–7|
|1951||Dr R.C.L. Bosworth||Chemistry||Secretary 1948–50|
|1952||Dr C.J. Magee||Agriculture|
|1953||Dr Ida A. Browne||Palaeontology||First female President; Joint Secretary 1950–2; 1957–8|
|1954||Dr R.S. Nyholm||Chemistry|
|1955||Dr M.R. Lemberg||Biochemistry|
|1957||F.N. Hanlon||Geology||Joint Secretary 1954–6|
|1958||J.L. Griffith||Mathematics||Secretary 1955–7; 1966–8|
|1965||Dr A.A. Day||Geology||Joint Secretary 1959–1960|
|1967||Angus Henry Low||Mathematics||Secretary 1963–5|
|1972||J.C. Cameron||Geology||Secretary 1969|
|1975||E.K. Chaffer||Geology||Secretary 1970–1|
|1976||D.J. Swaine||Chemistry||Secretary 1986–8|
|1984||R.S. Bhathal||Astronomy||Secretary 1989–91|
|1987||F.L. Sutherland||Geology||First of two terms|
|1990||G.W.K. Ford||Nuclear Science||Secretary 1993–|
|1991||E.C. Potter||Chemistry||First of two terms|
|1992||F.L. Sutherland||Geology||Second term|
|1994||J.R. Hardie||Geology/Education||Secretary 1992 — First of six terms|
|1995||Dr D.F. Branagan||Geology|
|1996||K.L. Grose||Ancient History|
|1997||E.C. Potter||Chemistry||Second term|
|2001–2||D.A. Craddock||Aeronautics||Two terms|
|2003–4||K. Kelly||Science Journalism||Two terms|
|2005–6||Prof. J.C. Kelly||Physics||Two terms|
|2007–11||J.R. Hardie||Geology/Education||Second to sixth terms|
|2012–16||Dr Donald Hector AM FRSN||Engineering||Editor of Journal & Proceedings 2011–2012|
|2016–17||Em. Prof D.B. Hibbert AM FRSN||Analytical Chemistry||Vice President 2014–2015|
|2018–||Prof I.H. Sloan AO FRSN||Mathematics||Vice President 2017–2018|
|2021–||Dr S.M. Pond AM FRSN||Medicine||Vice President 2019–2021|
Major General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, 1st Baronet,, was a British Army officer, administrator, and astronomer. Upon the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he had served, he was appointed governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825.
William Branwhite Clarke, FRS was an English geologist and clergyman, active in Australia.
Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David was a Welsh Australian geologist and Antarctic explorer. A household name in his lifetime, David's most significant achievements were discovering the major Hunter Valley coalfield in New South Wales and leading the first expedition to reach the South Magnetic Pole. He also served with distinction in World War I.
Walter Howchin was a geologist who lectured in mineralogy and palaeontology at the former Adelaide School of Mines and the University of Adelaide; he won the Clarke Medal in 1907.
The Clarke Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of New South Wales, the oldest learned society in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, for distinguished work in the Natural sciences.
William Noel Benson FRS FRGS was an English-born research geologist and academic active first in Australia and then New Zealand. After studying geology at the University of Sydney, Benson worked temporarily at the University of Adelaide before returning to Sydney as a demonstrator. After winning an 1851 Exhibition Science Scholarship in 1910 he left Sydney to study at the University of Cambridge, where he worked until 1913. He returned to Sydney in 1914 as the Macleay Fellow in Geology, leaving in 1917 to become Chair of the Geology Department at the University of Otago, where for many years he was the only lecturer. During his lifetime he published over 100 papers and won several awards, including the Clarke Medal and the Lyell Medal. He died on 20 August 1957 following his retirement from academia in 1951.
William Rowan Browne FAA was an Australian geologist, author of The Geology of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Ernest Clayton Andrews BA, FRS, commonly referred to as E. C. Andrews, was an Australian geologist and botanist.
Matthew England is a physical oceanographer and climate scientist. He is currently Scientia Professor of Ocean & Climate Dynamics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Peter Gavin Hall was an Australian researcher in probability theory and mathematical statistics. The American Statistical Association described him as one of the most influential and prolific theoretical statisticians in the history of the field. The School of Mathematics and Statistics Building at The University of Melbourne was renamed the Peter Hall building in his honour on 9 December 2016.
Professor Michael Archer AM, FAA, Dist FRSN is an Australian paleontologist specialising in Australian vertebrates. He is a professor at the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales. His previous appointments include Director of the Australian Museum 1999–2004 and Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales 2004–2009.
Sir Rutherford Ness "Bob" Robertson AC CMG FAA FRS HFRSE was an Australian botanist and biologist, and winner of the Clarke Medal in 1955.
Michelle Yvonne Simmons, is a Scientia Professor of Quantum Physics in the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales and has twice been an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow. She is the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology and is recognised internationally as the creator of the field of atomic electronics. She was the inaugural editor-in-chief of npj Quantum Information, an academic journal publishing articles in the emerging field of quantum information science. On 25 January 2018, Simmons was named as the 2018 Australian of the Year for her work and dedication to quantum information science. On 10 June 2019, Simmons was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of her "distinguished service to science education as a leader in quantum and atomic electronics and as a role model."
Suzanne Yvette O'Reilly is an Australian professor of geology noted for her pioneering contributions to mapping the deep Earth with an interdisciplinary approach. In 2007, the Royal Society of New South Wales awarded her the Clarke Medal for outstanding contributions to Australian geology. She has over 350 peer-reviewed publications with over 40,000 citations, and has supervised more than 40 PhD students to graduation.
Emma Letitia Johnston is the Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales and President of Science & Technology Australia. She is an authority in marine ecology and a former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW.
Albert Y. Zomaya is currently the Chair Professor of High Performance Computing & Networking and Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the School of Information Technologies, The University of Sydney. He is also the Director of the Centre for Distributed and High Performance Computing. He is currently the Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing and Springer's Scalable Computing and Communications. He was past Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Computers.
The Edgeworth David Medal is awarded annually by the Royal Society of New South Wales for distinguished contributions by a young scientist under the age of 35 years for work done predominantly in Australia or which contributed to the advancement of Australian science.
Ida Alison Browne (1900–1976) was an Australian geologist, petrologist and palaeontologist at the University of Sydney.
Georgina King (1845-1932), was an Australian geologist and anthropologist.
Thomas George Vallance was an Australian geologist, specializing in petrology, and a historian of geology. The Geological Society of London awarded him the 1993 Sue Tyler Friedman Medal.