STEM Guest Lecture Series

STEM Guest Lecture Series

Welcome to our STEM Guest Lecture series comprising masterclasses delivered by leading ANU academic experts and researchers.

Each guest lecture focuses on a different discipline area and highlight some of the leading research work being done across the ANU. Participants are expected to have some level of background knowledge (and ideally, would have completed some university-level courses) in the subject area of each lecture. 

We look forward to seeing you at the next iteration of the STEM Guest Lecture series. Until then, please enjoy recordings of previous webinars below.


Past events

Energy conversion and storage

4.30pm 15 July 2021 (AEST)

Electricity contributes a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Solar photovoltaics and wind generation are now the lowest cost sources of new electricity capacity, and Australia is leading the world with rate of uptake of these renewable generators. This requires a rethink of how the electricity grid...

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‘Beauty and the Beast’: How emerging technology and Industry 5.0 will allow us to be more human

4.30pm 8 July 2021 (AEST)

Many famous Sci-Fi movies feature artificial intelligence (AI) or robots going mad and killing all the humans. But in reality, AI is the only way we, as humans, are going to be able to cope with an increasingly digitised world. Some 90% of the current data that exists in the world was created in just the last two...

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Solving Genome Puzzles

4.30pm 5 July 2021 (AEST)

Genomics sequencing has created opportunities and challenges to gain new insights in biology and biomedical research. Genome sequencing data usually consists of millions or billions of short DNA sequences, called reads, that are randomly drawn from genomes. Genome assembly is to put reads back together into a single...

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The bright future of renewable energy

4.30pm 1 July 2021 (AEST)

The price of renewable electricity has dropped lower than the price of conventional electricity in recent years. Globally, solar and wind now account for more than half of new electricity capacity. This masterclass will give an overview of the astonishing growth in renewables that we’ve seen to date, and discuss what...

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Cenozoic intra-plate volcanism in Eastern Australia: The role of mantle plumes, plate motion and lithospheric structure

4.30pm 30 June 2021 (AEST)

The majority of Earth’s volcanism is concentrated at tectonic plate boundaries, where plates move away from one another to create mid-ocean ridges, or where one plate slides beneath another to form a subduction zone. However, an important and widespread class of volcanism occurs within plates, or across plate...

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Uncovering the Secrets to Biological Complexity

4.30pm 29 June 2021 (AEST)

Scientists have long sought to understand the origins of biological complexity, including what makes us, as humans, such complex beings. Early assumptions that the secret to complexity was tied up in our DNA led to one of the most surprising outcomes of the Human Genome Project—that we have far fewer genes than many...

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Continuing the fight against malaria, despite the emergence of new infectious diseases

4.30pm 28 June 2021 (AEST)

What do the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524), the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571-1610) and the English poet Lord Byron (1788-1824) have in common? They all died of malaria! Deadly infectious diseases continue to emerge, as we have seen with Covid-19, but some have been around for hundreds of years, and...

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Earthquakes and tsunamis caused by low-angle normal faulting in the Banda Sea, Indonesia

4.30pm 25 June 2021 (AEST)

While we'd like to think our knowledge of plate tectonics allows us to confidently identify the sources of large, destructive tsunamis, this isn't always the case. This is particularly true for Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic country in Earth’s most active tectonic region, which faces a...

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Health transitions and global population health challenges

4.30pm 24 June 2021 (AEST)

In most low and middle income countries a profound transition is underway in patterns of health burden. Diseases of infection and poverty, and maternal and child health risks, are being joined by a rising tide of non-communicable disease and population ageing. This health transition is causing great pressure on health...

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3D printing dynamic materials

4.30pm 23 June 2021 (AEST)

Three-dimensional printing (3DP) is gaining momentum as a leading technology, which provides personalized solutions to advanced fabrication needs. Printed objects enable a broad range of applications, including tissue engineering, pharmaceutics and robotics. Despite the advances, the number of 3D-printable, functional...

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What Sets the Masses of Stars?

4.30pm 22 June 2021 (AEST)

The most important characteristic of star, which determines its properties and evolutionary path, is its mass at birth. Observations show that the most common birth mass is slightly smaller than the mass of the Sun, and that masses either much lower or much higher than this value are increasingly rare. This...

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From Nanomaterials to Multi-Scale Devices for Future Health Engineering

4.30pm 18 June 2021 (AEST)

Brain injury and disease results in neuronal loss and disruption of the brain parenchyma. Therefore, to achieve functional recovery post insult or disease, it is necessary to promote the long-term survival of neurones and circuitry reconstruction. This is a complicated process, which will not only involve attenuating...

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Semiconductor nanostructures for optoelectronics applications

4.30pm 17 June 2021 (AEST)

Semiconductors have played an important role in the development of information and communications technology, solar cells, solid state lighting.  Nanowires are considered as building blocks for the next generation electronics and optoelectronics.  In this talk, I will introduce the importance of nanowires and their...

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Wave propagation - a mathematical perspective

4.30pm 16 June 2021 (AEST)

The propagation of waves in space, such as that of electromagnetic waves in telecommunication, is instrumental to many aspects of science and engineering. Various physical phenomena, such as dispersion or interference of waves, can be understood via a mathematical study of the wave equation that governs wave...

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Misinformation in the time of COVID

4.30pm 15 June 2021 (AEST)

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, governments, public health leaders and scientists around the world have had to deal with not only a terrible virus, but an ‘infodemic' of misinformation. Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen dubious information about cures and vaccines, and dodgy information about the...

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Leading the way for autonomous vehicles: optical gyroscopes for inertial navigation

4.30pm 11 June 2021 (AEST)

The idea of a smart, autonomous future is tantalisingly close to becoming reality. In recent years, the push towards fully autonomous transport has driven large advances in enabling techniques such as machine learning, sensor fusion and the development of lower cost, higher fidelity sensors. To achieve full autonomy...

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Dualities in Mathematics and Physics

4.30pm 10 June 2021 (AEST)

The “unreasonable effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” is well-argued (cf. the famous 1960 article by Eugene Wigner). However, this goes both ways. It is clear, especially since the recent progress in understanding quantum field theory and string theory, that the effectiveness of physics in...

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Storing Carbon Dioxide in Rocks

4.30pm 9 June 2021 (AEST)

Nearly all pathways identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that limit climate-change induced temperature rise to less than 2oC rely on large-scale diversion of carbon emissions away from the atmosphere and instead into permanent storage. Geologic carbon sequestration involves the capture of...

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More with less: How will we produce food crops for 10 billion with less resources?

4.30pm 8 June 2021 (AEST)

The predicted increase in the world population to around 10 billion people by 2050 will require the world to produce more food in the next few decades than in all of its previous history. This will ideally need to happen on less land and with reductions in the amounts of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, which...

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There is no leadership if no one follows: Why leadership is necessarily a group process

4.30pm 7 June 2021 (AEST)

In this talk, Professor Platow argues that leadership is fundamentally a group process: leaders must be ‘one of us’. He builds an argument around recent social identity theory and self-categorisation theory analyses of leadership. In doing so, he highlights the essential nature of shared psychological group...

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The economics of evolution: sons or daughters?

4.30pm 4 June 2021 (AEST)

One of the most commonly asked question when a woman is pregnant is whether the parents know if it is a boy or a girl. In humans you have an (almost) 50% chance of guessing the answer correctly. But why is this? Can you correctly explain why there are as many sons as daughters born in humans? I will discuss the...

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Modelling the Global Ocean Circulation

4.30pm 3 June 2021 (AEST)

The oceans have absorbed >90% of the heat energy and ~40% of the carbon dioxide added to Earth’s climate system over the industrial era. This heat and carbon is pulled around by the ocean circulation, which can act to push water from the surface to the deep ocean and back, or from Equator to poles. Ocean...

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