The Braggs

William (Henry) Bragg and his son William Lawrence hold a unique place in Australian (and indeed international history) as the only father-and-son team to be awarded a Nobel Prize. They were awarded the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of X-ray crystallography. William (Henry) Bragg was the first Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide and his son (William) Lawrence was born and educated in South Australia. Both returned to the UK and were subsequently Directors of The Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Each year The Royal Institution of Australia celebrates this wonderful Bragg connection that links Australia and The Royal Institution of Great Britain (RiGB) and invites outstanding Australian scientists and science communicators to become Honorary Bragg Members. This prestigious award recognises their distinguished contribution to science and their support as ambassadors for The Royal Institution of Australia.

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Bragg Members

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Professor Adrienne Clarke AC

Professor Clarke is the current Chancellor of LaTrobe University and Professor Emeritus of Botany at University of Melbourne. Professor Clarke’s scientific work provides critical insight into the biochemistry and genetics of flowering plants, their reproduction and growth. Her team was the first to clone the gene that regulates self-compatibility in plants and the first to clone the DNA of an arabinogalactan protein (a class of plant proteoglycan). It has led to industrial applications for next-generation controls of insect pests and fungal disease of crops.

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Dr Alan Finkel AO

Dr Finkel is a neuroscientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He invented a commercially successful device which substantially speeds up drug research. Dr Finkel is the President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ex-officio) and Chancellor of Monash University. He founded the science magazines Cosmos and G: The Green Lifestyle Magazine, contributes towards a number of research institutes and is Patron of the Australian Science Media Centre. In 2016, he was appointed Australia’s Chief Scientist.

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Dr Andrew S. W. Thomas AO

Dr Thomas is an aerospace engineer and a NASA astronaut. He was selected by NASA in 1992 and was appointed a member of the astronaut corps in 1993. He has completed five missions into space including time on board both the Space Shuttle and the Mir Space Station. Dr Thomas was the first Australian-born professional astronaut to enter space.

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Professor Barry Marshall AC

Professor Marshall is a Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Western Australia. Together with J. Robin Warren, Professor Marshall showed that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the cause of most peptic ulcers, reversing decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid. This discovery has allowed for a breakthrough in understanding a causative link between Helicobacter pylori infection and stomach cancer.

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Dr Basil Hetzel AC

Recently deceased, Dr Hetzel was a medical researcher renowned for his pioneering work on iodine deficiencies and thyroid disease. Between 1992 and 1998 he was also the Chancellor of the University of South Australia. Dr Hetzel became an international advocate for iodine supplementation, which aided the creation of the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD). Their work using iodine supplements to prevent thyroid disease is credited with saving 80 million lives.

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Professor Brian Cox OBE

Professor Cox is one of the world’s foremost communicator of all things scientific. Professor Cox is a British particle physicist at the University of Manchester and Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science. He has carried out research at the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland and the H1 experiment at DESY in Hamburg. He is best known to the public as the presenter of a number of science programs for the BBC, boosting the popularity of astronomy, physics and exploration.

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Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC

Professor Brian Schmidt is the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU). He was previously a Distinguished Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at the University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and he is known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes. His joint discovery of an accelerating universe was named Science Magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year for 1998 and as a result of his work, was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter.

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Professor Carola Vinuesa

Professor Vinuesa is Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University and Head of the Pathogens and Immunity Department. Her research has led to the discovery of genes important for immune regulation and memory, and the identification of a novel pathway of post-transcriptional control of gene expression to prevent autoimmunity. Her group identified a critical role for follicular helper T (Tfh) cells in autoantibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.

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Professor Caroline McMillen

Professor McMillen is a biomedical researcher and is currently the Vice Chancellor of The University of Newcastle. She is recognised internationally for her work into the impact of the nutritional environment before birth on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity in adult life. Professor McMillen is also currently the Chair of the Endocrinology, Reproduction and Development Commission of the International Union of Physiological Societies.

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Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell AO

Emeritus Professor Burrell is Head of Virology at the University of Adelaide and Head of the Infectious Disease Laboratories at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science. Emeritus Professor Burrell’s research has contributed greatly to our understanding of, and ability to control, viral diseases and has led to the first diagnostic tools and vaccines for Hepatitis B, and a new understanding of the mechanisms of HIV/AIDS infection.

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Professor David Boger

Professor Boger is chemical engineer and is currently teaching at Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Florida. He is known for his studies of non-Newtonian fluids (which behave both as liquids and solids) which have improved the understanding of how this group of fluids flow and led to major financial and environmental benefits. Professor Boger’s research teams are solving industrial problems eliminating mining tailing dams and inventing new ways to use minute droplets of fluids in nanotechnology devices. He discovered a new kind of fluid that now bears his name.

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Professor Elizabeth Blackburn AC

Professor Elizabeth Blackburn is an Australian-American Nobel laureate who is currently the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Professor Blackburn’s research focus is the telomere, the protective structure at the end of chromosomes. For co-discovering telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the telomere, she was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak, becoming the only Tasmanian-born Nobel laureate. She also worked in medical ethics, and was controversially dismissed from the Bush Administration’s President’s Council on Bioethics. In 2007, Professor Blackburn was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.

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Professor Fiona Stanley AC

Professor Stanley is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Distinguished Professional Fellow in the School of Paediatrics & Child Health at the University of Western Australia. Professor Stanley has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects. Her research includes the gathering and analysis of population data for epidemiological and public health research; the causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological disorders, particularly the cerebral palsies; patterns of maternal and child health in Aboriginal and Caucasian populations; various ways of determining the developmental origins of health and disease; collaborations to link research, policy and practice; and strategies to enhance health and well-being in populations.

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Professor Fiona Wood AM

Professor Fiona Wood graduated from St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London in 1981 and migrated to Perth in 1987 with her husband and two children. She is the director of the Royal Perth Hospital burns unit and the Western Australia Burns Service, a clinical professor with the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia and director of the McComb Research Foundation. Professor Wood has become well-known for her patented invention of spray-on skin for burns victims, a treatment which is being continually developed. Where previous techniques of skin culturing required 21 days to produce enough cells to cover major burns, Professor Wood has reduced the period to five days. Her research had found that scarring is reduced if replacement skin can be provided within 10 days.

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Professor Graeme Clark AO

Professor Clark is responsible for the pioneering research and development of the Bionic Ear, a multiple-channel Cochlear Implant. The Cochlear Implant has brought hearing and speech understanding to more than thousands of people with a severe-to-profound hearing loss around the world. His research resulted in the first clinically successful interface between the world of sound and human consciousness and has paved the way for many advances in the areas of physical and biological sciences for health care.

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Professor Ian Chubb AC

Professor Chubb is an Australian neuroscientist and academic who was the Chief Scientist of Australia from 2011-2016. He was Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Wollongong (1986–1990), Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Monash University (1993–1995), Vice Chancellor of Flinders University (1995–2000), and the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University from 2001 to 2011. He was president of the International Alliance of Research Universities from 2006 to 2009.

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Professor Ian Frazer AC

Professor Frazer is the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Research of Translational Research Institute. He is internationally renowned as the co-creator of the technology for the cervical cancer vaccines. Professor Frazer was awarded the 2005 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and was selected as Queenslander of the Year, and Australian of the Year in 2006. He was also awarded the 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, the 2008 Balzan Prize for Preventive Medicine, the 2009 Honda Prize and in 2011, was elected as a Fellow of the esteemed Royal Society of London. In 2012, Professor Frazer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe AO

Professor Lowe is Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society, former Head of the School of Science at Griffith University and past President of the Australian Conservation Foundation (2004-2014). In 1996 he was chairperson of the advisory council producing the first national report on the state of Australia’s environment. Emeritus Professor Lowe has been instrumental in bringing scientific credibility and rational thinking to discussions around environmental issues.

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Dr J Robin Warren AC

Dr Warren studied medicine at Adelaide University and trained at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Dr Warren moved to the University of Western Australia where he met Professor Barry Marshall and the two proceeded to show that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the cause of most peptic ulcers; a discover which earned him a joint Nobel Prize. He continued to collaborate with others on improving the accuracy of culture to diagnose the infection, developing the breath test for diagnosis and demonstrating that the bacteria was a pathogen. Dr Warren’s last major work was the pathology for a large study by Barry Marshall and others to show the effect of eradicating the bacteria on the relapse rate of duodenal ulcer. It showed that, after successful treatment of the infection, recurrence of peptic ulcer was rare.

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Dr John O’Sullivan

Dr O’Sullivan is an Australian electrical engineer. His work in the application of Fourier transforms to radio astronomy, led to his invention, with colleagues, of a core technology that made wireless LAN fast and reliable. This technology was patented by CSIRO and thus Dr O’Sullivan is also credited with the invention of Wi-Fi.

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Professor John Shine AO

Professor Shine is an Australian biochemist. He discovered the nucleotide sequence, called the Shine-Dalgarno sequence, necessary for ribosome binding and the initiation of protein synthesis in the bacterium Escherichia coli. This was a key discovery allowing further development of molecular biology, especially genetic engineering, and was an important discovery towards understanding gene expression and regulation. He directed the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, from 1990-2011.

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Professor Lyn Beazley AO

Professor Beazley is the Former Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor of Zoology at the University of Western Australia and the Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Science at Murdoch University. Professor Beazley built an internationally-renowned research team in Neuroscience that focused on recovery from brain damage.

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Professor Marcello Costa

Professor Costa is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor and Professor of Neurophysiology, School of Medicine at Flinders University. He is active in the field of philosophy of science and education in neuroscience. He is involved in several areas within neuroscience research as well as being engaged in public education.

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Professor Martin Green AM

Professor Green co-invented unique polycrystalline silicon thin-film on glass solar technology and helped found Pacific Solar (now CSG Solar) in 1995 to commercialise his group’s research. His fundamental work on factors limiting silicon solar cell performance led to his research group improving the performance of silicon solar cells by more than 50% from what had previously been considered a mature technology. His group holds a number of world records for solar cell performance. Professor Green has since demonstrated that ‘third generation’ solar cell technology is essential in order to achieve widespread solar energy adoption and make a significant impact on future energy supplies and speaks widely on the subject.

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Emeritus Professor Max Brennan AO

Emeritus Professor Brennan graduated from the University of Sydney and was awarded honorary degrees from Flinders University, Sydney University and Queensland University of Technology. He was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1985, and elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1988. He has had a distinguished academic career and conducted research in cosmic rays, nuclear physics and plasma physics, and spent several years at Flinders and Sydney Universities as Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

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Professor Michael Archer AM

Professor Archer has been Curator of Mammals at the Queensland Museum, Director of the Australian Museum and Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales where he’s now Professor in the UNSW PANGEA Research Group. His research includes the World Heritage fossil deposits at Riversleigh, conservation through sustainable use of native resources and DeExtinction efforts to revive extinct species. He has received a number of awards including Fellowships in the Academy of Science and Royal Society of NSW, Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science and Member of the Order of Australia.

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Professor Michelle Simmons

Professor Simmons is a Laureate Fellow and Centre Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology. She has pioneered a radical new technology for creating atomic-scale devices. Her research has produced the first electronic devices in silicon and germanium, where atoms are placed and measured with atomic precision. This ground-breaking work has opened a new frontier of research in electronics, globally.

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Emerita Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich

Emerita Professor Vickers-Rich is a geoscientist with research programs in Ediacaran palaeobiology and polar biotas (dinosaurs and mammals) of the Cretaceous period. She works in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, in the Faculty of Science at Monash University. Her research spans a broad swath; she co-ordinates large research teams, including the UNESCO International Geosciences Program investigating the origin of Animalia, the Ediacarans. She is also a Research Associate at the Museum of Victoria (1998-present).

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Professor Peter Doherty AC

Professor Doherty is a veterinary surgeon and researcher who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996, jointly with Rolf Zinkernagel. Professor Doherty’s research focuses on the immune system, particularly how the body’s immune cells protect against viruses. He and Rolf Zinkernagel discovered that, in order for T cells to recognize infected cells, they had to recognize two molecules on the surface of the cell – the virus antigen and also a molecule of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The MHC was previously identified as being responsible for the rejection of incompatible tissues during transplantation. Zinkernagel and Doherty discovered that the MHC was responsible for the body fighting meningitis viruses too.

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Peter Gago

Peter Gago is Penfolds Chief Winemaker, a role he has held for 15 years. A Science graduate of both the Universities of Melbourne and Adelaide Mr Gago has leveraged and optimised his studies of Oenology to produce and promote Australian wines around the world. Mr Gago is the recipient of many Global awards including The Winemaker’s Winemaker Award – the second ever bestowed – in Düsseldorf, by The Institute of Masters of Wine and his global winemaking peers.

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Robyn Williams AM

Robyn Williams has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of London. He joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Science Unit in 1972 where in 1975 he began hosting the award-winning Science Show, now one of the longest-running programs on Australian radio. Outside the ABC, Robyn has served as president of the Australian Museum Trust, chairman of the Commission for the Future and president of Australian Science Communicators. In 1987, he was proclaimed a National Living Treasure. Robyn has Honorary Doctorates of Science from Deakin University, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the Australian National University. In 1993 he became the first journalist to be elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

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Professor Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE

Sir Gustav is one of Australia’s most celebrated scientists. His research accomplishments are world-renowned, with his work in the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance. As researcher and director of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research from 1965 to 1996, he helped build the foundations of modern immunology and define the field for more than 30 years. Sir Gustav has been directly involved with the World Health Organisation since 1967 and has helped shape the scientific affairs of Australia for decades. As president of the Australian Academy of Science he provided valuable input to government policy-making, and has been an influential public commentator on scientific and medical issues. His many lectures and radio and television appearances have inspired ongoing popular and political interest in science and its applications.

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Professor Suzanne Cory AC

Professor Cory is a distinguished molecular biologist who is known particularly for her work on antibody genes and genes that cause cancer. Her Australia Prize-winning work was undertaken with her husband, Professor Jerry Adams, and their team at the Walter & Eliza Institute. Their work on cancer started in 1983, when they tracked down the genetic mutation that led to Burkitt’s lymphoma, a malignancy of antibody-producing cells called B lymphocytes. They have been recognised for their ground-breaking research into the immune system, including the discovery that antibodies are coded as mini segments that can recombine in myriad ways, creating a much more diverse means to fight infection.

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Professor Zee Upton

Professor Upton is Research Director of the Institute for Medical Biology in A*STAR in Singapore, as well as an Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. She is a biochemist by training, a tissue engineer, an inventor and entrepreneur whose research has led to the listing of a company on the ASX and the establishment of the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre. She is passionate about ensuring research delivers benefits and champions inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches, believing that innovation frequently arises in the “white spaces” between disciplines.

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Professor Terry Hughes

Professor Hughes is the Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, headquartered at James Cook University. His research focuses on the linkages between the ecology of reefs and their importance for societies and economies. He has worked extensively in Australia, the Coral Triangle Region, and in the Caribbean. An important aspect of his research is understanding the dynamics and resilience of coral reefs, and translating this knowledge into innovative and practical solutions for improved reef management.

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Professor Tanya Monro

Professor Monro is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia. She was the inaugural chair of photonics, the inaugural director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics and the inaugural director of the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS), and the inaugural director of the Centre of Expertise in Photonics (CoEP) within the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Adelaide. Professor Monro has created a new class of optical fibres with innovative potential applications. Her research aims to develop a new platform for exploring interactions between light and matter that will enable investigations into proteins and fundamental cell biology.

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Who We Are

The Royal Institution of Australia is Australia’s unique, national science hub, promoting public awareness and understanding of science.

Based in Adelaide, but with a reach around the country and throughout the world, RiAus is Australia’s unique, national science hub.

Bragg Members

The Royal Institution of Australia invites outstanding scientists and science communicators to become Honorary Bragg Members.

The Royal Institution of Australia invites outstanding scientists and science communicators to become Honorary Bragg Members.

Organisation

Our Patron: HRH the Duke of Kent, the Governing Council and key staff that make up The Royal Institution
of Australia.

Our Patron: HRH the Duke of Kent, the Governing Council and key staff that make up The Royal Institution
of Australia.

Corporate

We value and work collaboratively with all our Corporate and Institutional members to create rewarding partnerships.

We value and work collaboratively with all our Corporate and Institutional members to create rewarding partnerships.

RiGB Connection

We are the sister organisation to the world-renowned Royal Institution of Great Britain and, as such, share in its impressive tradition.

We are the sister organisation to the world-renowned Royal Institution of Great Britain and, as such, share in its impressive tradition.

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Our supporters help keep Australia’s Science Channel free, and support the continued work of The Royal Institution of Australia.

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The Royal Institution of Australia's Annual Reports provides an overview of our activities. View and download our Annual Reports here.

The Royal Institution of Australia's Annual Reports provides an overview of our activities. View and download our Annual Reports here.