Dr Karl and Friends: Innovation and Beyond

Thursday 17 August, 6:30-8pm
There’s a buzz this National Science Week as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and friends join forces, live on stage at Sydney Town Hall.

Take a ride with Dr Karl through the past 100 years of the greatest scientific discoveries and innovations that changed our lives forever.

Today’s thinkers will do the same, but how? Dr Karl will talk to four future-focused researchers poised to blast our futures into the stratosphere.

  • Professor Anita Ho-Baillie is it possible to double the efficiency of a solar panel on your roof from 20% to 40%?
  • Professor Emma Johnston whose marine ecology research covers everything from bushfires and invasive species, to marine pollution (macro and micro plastics).
  • Associate Professor Michael Bowen whose neuroscience research aims to treat opioid addiction and help tackle the devastating opioid crisis.
  • Professor Geordie Williamson whose research is harnessing the power of AI to attack problems in mathematics, shedding light along the way on what current AI can and cannot do.

Hosted by Associate Professor Alice Motion.

Feed your curiosity, expand your mind and dive into the future with this evening of possibilities. 

Bring your questions for our live Q&A, and receive prizes for audience member/s wearing the funkiest and loudest shirt, judged by Dr Karl!

This event is supported by the City of Sydney.

Event Details

Date Thursday 17 August 2023
Time 6:30pm - 8pm. Doors open 6pm.
Venue Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost Free, registration essential
Register here

The Speakers

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM
Julius Sumner Miller Fellow

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki just loves science to pieces, and has been spreading the word for more than thirty years. The author of 47 books (and counting), Dr Karl is a lifetime student with degrees in physics and mathematics, biomedical engineering and medicine and surgery.

He has worked as a physicist, labourer, roadie for bands, car mechanic, filmmaker, biomedical engineer, taxi driver, television weatherman, and medical doctor at the Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

Since 1995, Dr Karl has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney. In 2019 he was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science, of which previous recipients include Margaret Mead, David Attenborough, Bertrand Russell and David Suzuki.

Associate Professor Alice Motion

Associate Professor Alice Motion
School of Chemistry

Alice is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry where they lead the Science Communication, Outreach, Participation and Education (SCOPE) Research Group. Alice's research and practice is centred on ways to better connect people with science. Alice leads the Breaking Good Citizen Science Initiative and Learning By Doing Teams that are sharing science with schools through citizen science. Alice hosts a regular segment 'Science in Motion' on ABC Weekend Breakfast News, writes a monthly column for Chemistry World Magazine and is the producer of Live From The Lab.

Professor Emma Johnston AO

Professor Emma Johnston AO
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research
Professor of Marine Ecology & Ecotoxicology
School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Professor Emma Johnston is a leading authority in marine ecology, is a sustainability and diversity champion and a Chief Author of the Australian State of Environment Report 2021. She has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program and contributed to the development of international and national research strategies, priorities and plans. As the past President of Science & Technology Australia (STA), an elected position, she is a highly influential figure in the Australian higher education and research sector.

Professor Johnston was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday honours for distinguished service to higher education, particularly to marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes.

Professor Geordie Williamson

Professor Geordie Williamson
Sydney Mathematical Research Institute (SMRI)

Professor Geordie Williamson is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Sydney and inaugural Director of the Sydney Mathematical Research Institute (SMRI). His major research interests are in algebra, geometry, representation theory and machine learning.

Geordie studied mathematics at the University of Sydney and completed his PhD at the University of Freiburg, Germany. After several years spent working as a mathematician overseas, Geordie returned to the University of Sydney in 2017. In 2018 he co-founded SMRI, the first mathematical research centre in NSW.

In 2018, Geordie was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom. He has been awarded with four major international mathematics prizes and the 2022 NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics.

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie
John Hooke Chair of Nanoscience, School of Physics

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie is the John Hooke Chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and an Adjunct Professor at University of New South Wales (UNSW). She completed her Bachelor of Engineering degree on a Co-op scholarship in 2001 and her PhD at UNSW in 2005.

Her research interest is to engineer materials and devices at nanoscale for integrating solar cells onto all kinds of surfaces generating clean energy. She is a highly cited researcher from 2019 to 2022. 

In 2021, she was an Australian Museum Eureka Prize Finalist and was named the Top Australian Sustainable-Energy Researcher by The Australian Newspaper Annual-Research-Magazine. She won the Royal Society of NSW Warren Prize in 2022 for her pioneering work in the development of next generation solar cells.

Associate Professor Michael Bowen

Associate Professor Michael Bowen
School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre

Associate Professor Michael Bowen is a neuropsychopharmacologist and leader of the Translational Psychopharmacology Team at the Brain and Mind Centre, and co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kinoxis Therapeutics, developing novel therapeutics for disorders of the brain and mind.

Michael was the co-lead inventor of the Kinoxis lead compound, KNX100, which is being developed for the treatment of opioid use disorder, stimulant use disorder, and agitation and aggression in dementia. Kinoxis recently entered into a co-development partnership with global pharmaceutical company Boehringer-Ingelheim to develop oxytocin-targeting precision treatments aimed at improving the quality of life for people living with psychiatric disorders.

Michael has received numerous honours, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for New Innovators, Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, and the NSW Premier’s Prize for Early Career Researcher of the Year.