Events to celebrate Australia, land of science and innovation
SKAO - CNRS Australian Embassy
H.E. Mrs Gillian Bird, Australian Ambassador to France.
The Australian Embassy in France and partners such as the CNRS are organizing a series of scientific events until the summer as part of the Australia now 2022 program. The program includes virtual reality screenings on astronomy, conferences on Franco-Australian research in Antarctica and on the Tasmanian devil, and the Eureka! Scientific Australia exhibition.
This is an opportunity to remind people that Australia, beyond its culture, its natural heritage, and its way of life, is also at the forefront of scientific development.
Australia has a long history of innovation, with 16 Nobel Prize winners, half of them in medicine. The bionic ear, the original electronic pacemaker, polymer banknotes, Google Maps, the medical application of penicillin, the black box recorder, ultrasound, the cervical cancer vaccine, spray-on skin for burn victims, and high-speed Wi-Fi are just a few of the Australian innovations that have improved the lives of billions.
With dynamic links between academia, research institutions, industry, start-ups and public services, Australia is already laying the groundwork for future discoveries. Australia has the third highest number of universities in the world’s top 100. Our national science agency (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the CSIRO), which signed a memorandum of understanding with CNRS, its French equivalent, in 2019, is among the world’s top scientific institutions in 17 of 22 research areas, including agricultural science, plant and animal science, climate and environment, and geosciences.
France is a key partner for Australia in many of these endeavours. Science and technology cooperation between Australia and France is both diverse and long-standing. It stretches back to the early days of European settlement, when La Pérouse built an observatory at Botany Bay, in present-day Sydney, in 1788; or to the journey undertaken by Nicolas Baudin, who left Le Havre in 1800, embarking on the largest scientific voyage ever undertaken in southern lands.
This cooperation is ever growing, as showcased by the opening of the world’s tenth CNRS office in Melbourne in December. Exciting new Franco-Australian projects are emerging in areas such as artificial intelligence and low-emission energy, adding to already well-established collaborations in physics, astronomy, and science.
France and Australia are working side by side to study and protect Antarctica. The Treaty of Madrid, a Franco-Australian initiative, enabled us to make this continent a “natural reserve dedicated to peace and science” and to prohibit all mining activities there.
And France will soon be a member of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), a radio telescope located partly in the Western Australian desert that will allow astronomers from all over the world to make fundamental discoveries about our universe. On 7 March 2022, SKAO signed a cooperation agreement with CNRS during a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Paris, and the audience was able to discover the observatory through a virtual reality documentary.
Scientific cooperation between France and Australia is already well established, but there is potential for us to do more. By presenting new avenues of collaboration between our two countries, Australia now will contribute to the quest for knowledge and innovation that has united us for centuries.
Check out the Australia now events calendar: https://france.celebrateaustralianow.com/