2022 Ian Wark Lecture by Professor Tim Senden

The Australian Academy of Science is hosting the 2022 Ian Wark Lecture at the Shine Dome in Canberra. Delayed from last year, Professor Tim Senden will give his lecture on Friday 2 June 2023.

schedule Date & time
2 Jun 2023 | 11am - 1pm


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Professor Tim Senden

About the lecture 

How to bake a cake, eat it once, sell it twice and keep a little as inspiration for the next cake

The metaphor of baking a cake is a light-hearted way to illustrate the concept of translational research and conveying that it can be a self-sustaining process given the right environment.

Physical chemist Professor Tim Senden will draw examples from some of the wonderful and diverse teams he’s had the good fortune to work with. 

The platform of physical chemistry and studying the fundamental forces that guide molecular assembly has lead him to a variety of seemingly unconnected activities: from stretching a single molecule, designing radioactive nanoparticles for cancer therapy, investigating how ink interacts with paper, and why foot-fall on wet sand leaves a dry impression, to exploring the fishy origins of our vertebrate form in deserts of the Kimberley and Antarctica and—perhaps most importantly—supporting an environment that encourages diverse research.

In this presentation, Professor Senden will expand on his experiences in research translation, highlighting key points that combine discovery and development—whether for the pure joy of gaining new knowledge or the development of a new product—and proposing that the process is rather similar.

While there is no secret recipe for success in translational research, these case studies help to illustrate the importance of having a diverse team and the freedom of a good kitchen.

About the speaker 

The Ian Wark Medal and Lecture was awarded in 2022 to Professor Tim Senden, Director of the Research School of Physics and Engineering at the Australian National University. 

Professor Tim Senden is a physical chemist whose pioneering research has provided new understanding of surface phenomena at the nanoscale, developing methods to quantify colloidal and molecular forces. For two decades, he was involved in the development of novel applications of radioactive nanoparticles for clinical use, which received strong commercial sponsorship leading to clinical trials. From the 2000s, Professor Senden was part of a major translational activity that continues to develop a novel imaging and analysis platform based on X-ray microtomography, leading to new insights into complex granular and porous materials. This activity has greatly enhanced applications in topics spanning papermaking, carbon sequestration, composites, and mineral and hydrocarbon extraction. Following an industry consortium of 23 energy companies, Lithicon was spun-off and became one of the most successful ANU companies.

Professor Senden's award video outlines his work further. 

About the award 

The Ian Wark Medal and Lecture commemorates the contributions to Australian science and industry by the late Sir Ian William Wark CMG CBE FAA FTSE. The award recognises research that contributes to the prosperity of Australia where that prosperity is attained through the advancement of scientific knowledge or its application, or both.


The Shine Dome, Gordon St, Acton, ACT 

Online livestream

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