Dr Jack Bacon is one of the world’s leading authorities on human technological history and our ultimate destiny. Jack is an engineer who gained his PhD working on laser fusion power reactors and fluid mechanics. Much of his work has been in advanced technologies and systems. Jack currently works at NASA Johnson Space Center as an expert in spacecraft design, where he integrates the design, operation and architecture of spacecraft, including the International Space Station. Sometimes he acts as a space guinea pig!
Dr Martina Doblin is a phytoplankton ecologist who is interested in harmful algal blooms – those organisms that contain toxins that can enter the food chain, affecting humans and livestock. Martina has also studied microscopic invaders, especially those that hitchhike in ships’ ballast water. Martina combines her love of microscopic marine animals with art, resulting in a collection of spectacular images, properly called photomicrographs.
Dr Melanie Bishop is a benthic marine ecologist who studies the animals on the bottom in the intertidal zone. How do changes in the environment affect the ‘brown food web’? This is the question that Melanie is working on by manipulating the environment, then collecting mud samples to identify the critters that live there, the number and type of which tell us a lot about an environment. Melanie’s main interests are in the impact of humans on the marine environment and how this affects biodiversity.
Dr Tim Entwisle is an internationally recognised plant scientist with research interests in freshwater algae. He is currently Executive Director of Australia's oldest scientific establishment, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney where he looks after the collections: living plants, preserved specimens and published works such as a first edition of 'Origin of the species'. The herbarium contains huge amounts of preserved specimens including some collected in 1770 by Joseph Banks and Solander.
Ruben Meerman is the ABC's Surfing scientist. Ruben worked as a physicist in an optical laboratory, taught first year physics and primary science at university and now does spectacular science shows with school students to make them laugh, smile and enjoy the wonderful world of science. Ruben has also produced the very successful forensic science competition called 'Who stole the Minister's Malibu?' and worked for a while in the film industry. Surfing between sets inspired an interest in shark nets, starting Ruben on his PhD research.
Prof. Vaughan Macefield is a neurophysiologist at UWS with research interests in the human sympathetic nervous system and its role in the control of blood pressure. He also uses microneurography, which he learned in Sweden, to tap into sensory signals from the skin and muscles, important in the fine control of the hand. Vaughan organises the Australian Brain Bee Challenge for NSW, the only neuroscience competition for students.
Professor Richard Wiseman became interested in magic and illusion at an early age resulting first in a career as a professional magician and then, after gaining a PhD in psychology, exploring the incredibly complex social lives of humans as a social psychologist. Richard is interested in the way people interact with each other, the things that make us laugh and the psychology of deception. His books include 'Quirkology' which examines the curious science of everyday life and 'The luck factor' describing his research into the way luck can transform our lives.
Dr Jeremy Leggett is the Chief Executive Officer of Solarcentury, the UK's largest solar solutions company and a key advocate of solar energy as a sustainable source of energy. He completed his PhD in geology on the history of oceans, worked as a consultant for oil companies and then became a climate change lobbyist. His recent publications, 'The carbon war' and 'Half gone' examine the politics of fossil fuels and outlines survival technologies to stem the looming global energy crisis.
Adam Cawley is a chemist who first became interested in chemistry at the age of seven and then went on to setting up his own laboratory in the garage! After an unsuccessful attempt at developing an environmentally friendly insect spray (in the garage laboratory), he continued on a more traditional education in school and then university completing a first class honours degree and then completing a PhD on developing analytical methods of detection of steroid abuse in athletes. He is the recipient of the 2007 Manfred Donike prize for scientific excellence for his work in anti-doping.
Dr Paul Willis is a palaeontologist and science journalist appearing regularly on ABC’s Catalyst program. Paul’s fossil hunting career began at the age of six and he is still looking for evidence of past life in places such as central Queensland and Antarctica. Paul studied geology and zoology at university before studying fossil crocodiles for his PhD. He is an author publishing numerous technical papers as well as the very readable, ‘Digging up deep time’, an account of some of the fossils from Australia’s distant past.
Prof. Annemarie Hennessy combines medicine, teaching and research at University of Western Sydney. Annemarie is leading a team investigating the cause and prevention of preeclampsia in pregnant women. She is interested in establishing the relationship between blood flow to the placenta and the formation of toxic molecules which cause the disease and applying this research to clinical medicine. And she plays the violin!
Glenn Porter, former Federal Police Forensics officer is now head of the program, Bachelor of Science (Forensic) at University of Western Sydney. This course combines laboratory and field work with students studying in real-time in the Crime scene house giving students hands-on experiences. Glenn specialises in digital forensic photography and imaging.