News and Events

DVCR Compact ‘Strategic Research Initiative’ Scheme success!

February 3 2016

Congratulations to Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes, whose application for the Faculty of Science - DVCR Compact ‘Strategic Research Initiative’ Scheme was successful (one of only three funded grants). The project is entitled ‘Investigating stakeholder attitudes to antimicrobial resistance – new insights to underpin a ‘One Health’ policy approach in Australia’.

Congratulations to all the successful applicants to the Faculty of Science–DVCR Compact ‘Strategic Research Initiative’ and ‘Seedfunding’ Schemes for 2016 Successful proposals under the Strategic Research Initiative Scheme are titled ‘Network of Minds’ led by A/Prof Jean Yang (School of Mathematics and Statistics), ‘Implementation of a fragment-based drug discovery program at The University of Sydney’ (Prof Joel Mackay; SOLES) and ‘Investigating stakeholder attitudes to antimicrobial resistance – new insights to underpin a ‘One Health’ policy approach in Australia’ (A/Prof Dale Dominey-Howes; School of Geosciences).

Student scholarships to Asia take off

February 3 2016

Hannah John, a School of Geosciences Geography Honours student from 2015 as featured in The Sydney Morning Herald - well done Hannah!

The article provides an overview of the New Colombo Plan student mobility schemes available to young Australian students, and also sheds light on our School’s tradition and strength in field-based learning in the Asia-Pacific region. Read about it.

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Hannah John, 2015 Geosciences Geography Honours student

UAC Offers - Congratulations future University of Sydney students

January 20 2016

Congratulations on being offered a place to study at the University of Sydney. This is a wonderful achievement. You now face the exciting challenge of choosing units of study. Many students know to enroll in GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society because it is a gateway into the world of geography, geology, geophysics, environmental studies, marine science and coastal research. Other students are not sure what they want to do, and choose GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society because it leaves open possibilities for moving into these areas in the future. Some students choose GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society because it complements their other units of study in biology, economics, sociology, business, anthropology, history, and so on. Finally, students from various degree programs are simply looking for an elective that is different to their core units of study and is both interesting and of contemporary relevance. GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society is all of the above. For further information on this exciting first year unit of study, and other first year units in the School of Geosciences.

Phil McManus
Head, School of Geosciences

2016 Wingara Mura - Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program

January 14 2016

This week's highlight! The School of Geosciences have been involved in the 2016 Wingara Mura - Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program (WMBB), an indigenous summer program that aims to provide students with a hands-on, experiential opportunity to live on campus and experience university life,and confidence to continue their journey into higher education and create a motivational atmosphere to help students make informed decisions about their futures.

A big thank you to Geosciences staff and postgraduates Nikki Montenegro, Billy Tusker and Stephanie Duce for running our successful hands-on workshops and presentations for the WMBB students this week! Our year 9 & 10 students learned about crowdmapping for bushfire preparation and how to harness the power of mapping, the internet, and everyday people for managing disasters. The students completed a mapping activity where they used computers and tablets to create their own maps, creating points to identify potential hazards, landmarks, safe evacuation areas and community assets.

The year 11 & 12 groups participated in a mapping the 'green' city activity where they learned about green space, its importance and how to use GIS technologies to create maps. For this hands-on, interactive activity, the Geosciences team guided the students around the University of Sydney campus where they were able to use their own smartphones and tablets to determine which areas of the university where 'green space'. The students mapped a total green space area of 309,000m² !

On behalf of the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, thank you to WE ARE A STAR magazine, the Compass Team, the student ambassadors and a big thank you to our WMBB students for your energy and enthusiasm! We had such an awesome time with you this week.

Check out what other activities the WMBB students got up to this week.

Scientists have used groundbreaking technology to figure out how the Earth looked a billion years ago

January 6 2016

Time machine: History and current advances in reconstructing the Earth through deep geological time – an article on Quartz by Steve LeVine

The article is a review of the development of ideas and technologies in reconstructing the Earth through deep time, aimed at understanding supercontinent assembly, breakup and dispersal, starting with Alfred Wegener. The article focusses on research activities in the context of the IGCP 648 project "Supercontinent cycles and global geodynamics” led by Zheng-Xiang Li. The piece provides some historical context, and highlights the work of a number of leading scientists, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students currently involved in this work. It starts with some of the early work of Chris Scotese’s Paleomap Project, who can be seen here explaining how plate reconstructions were made in 1993 using high-speed vector graphic computer workstations built by Evans and Sutherland. The experience with this early plate reconstruction technology when Dietmar Muller was a graduate student, first at the University of Texas at Austin, working with Scotese, and later at Scripps, led to the current GPlates software, which makes it possible to produce interactive plate tectonic reconstructions and animations on desktop and laptop computers. The review highlights the current collaborative effort to develop new approaches and "big data analysis" technologies to generate reconstructions of planet Earth that obey the "rules of tectonics and geodynamics", assimilate a variety of geological and geophysical data and cover several supercontinent cycles – this may be called a “plate tectonic time machine".

Read the full article on Quartz.

Congratulations on completing your HSC!

Congratulations to all the students who are receiving their HSC results. It is a big day, and a day that can mean doors open and close on various ideas for study and career. We understand the importance of this day, and the possible confusion that follows as students (and their parents) seek further information to negotiate the world of university course offerings, units of study and opportunities.

The School of Geosciences (geography, geology, geophysics, environmental studies and coastal & marine studies) will be present at the University of Sydney Information Day on 5th January, 2016. In the morning, we will be giving three half hour talks – one each on Environmental Studies, Marine Studies and on Geography, Geology & Geophysics. Once again, we will also be staffing a booth in the beautiful Great Hall to answer your questions.

2016 is a year of opportunity – a year to learn about climate change, about sustainability, about life on this planet ranging from tectonic shifts millions of years ago to contemporary events in cities around the world. The gateway to this exciting world of learning is GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society which introduces the big questions relating to the origins and current state of the planet: climate change, environment, landscape formation, and the growth of the human population.

If you want to understand the world, make a difference to the future of the planet and enjoy a professional career while doing so, then we look forward to meeting you.

Once again, congratulations on your HSC results.

Professor Phil McManus
Head of School of Geosciences

ERA 2015 results confirm quality of Sydney research!

December 8 2015

One hundred percent of the University of Sydney's research has been rated at, above, or well above world standard in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia report.

The Australian Research Council has released its third Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality and breadth of university research. Results clearly demonstrate the breadth and depth of research excellence at the University of Sydney, with 100 percent of its research rated at, above, or well above world standard.

Outstanding results were achieved across the breadth of the University – including in the humanities, information and computer sciences, life sciences, mathematics, medical and health sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.

Congratulations to the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney for some excellent results in Geology and Geophysics for outstanding performace that is well above world standard, and to Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience and Human Geography areas for performing above world standard!

Read the full story.

Operations staff recognised at Shine! Awards

December 7 2015

Congratulations to colleagues from the Operations Portfolio who have been recognised in the inaugural Vice-Principal (Operations) Shine! Awards. A special congratulations to Ramana Karanam, Team Leader for the Cluster Finance & Business Services at the University of Sydney for being nominated by several colleagues for the Shine! Awards. Ramana works closely with the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney within the finance team and we would like to thank him for his hard work and dedication.

Watch the video.

Geoscience PhD candidate wins Chris Powell Medal

December 1 2015

Congratulations to Geosciences PhD candidate Nicky Wright who was awarded the Chris Powell Medal for Postgraduate Research in Tectonics and Structural Geology from the Geological Society of Australia SGTSG.

The medal is awarded at each regular field conference of the SGTSG for an outstanding research paper arising from postgraduate research on some aspect of structural geology or tectonics. In Nicky's case, this was a paper published in Geology earlier this year that received quite a bit of media attention Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend. Congratulations Nicky!

More information about the GSA Awards.

University of Sydney leads Australia in QS Employability Rankings

December 1 2015

University of Sydney ranks first in Australia and 14th worldwide for employability.

University of Sydney graduates have been rated the most sought-after in Australia in the first comprehensive global rankings into employability.

The University of Sydney topped the list of Australian universities in the inaugural QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2016, and was also rated in the top 15 globally with a rank of 14.

The rankings mapped more than 30,000 people to identify the educational background of the world's most employable people.

Read the full story.

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Geosciences graduates

Great Barrier Reef protecting against landslides, tsunamis

November 27 2015

The world-famous Australian reef is providing an effective barrier against landslide-induced tsunamis.

A tsunami has been found to have occurred up to 20,000 years ago, which could have impacted Aborigines living on the then fringe reef. Now the Great Barrier Reef provides a barrier to potential wave energy from submarine landslide-induced tsunamis. Details of the findings were published this week in the international journal Marine Geology.

The world-famous Australian reef is providing an effective barrier against landslide-induced tsunamis, new research shows.

What has developed into the Great Barrier Reef was not always a barrier reef – it was once a fringing reef and did not offer the same protective quality. This is because the coast at this time was much closer to the source of the tsunamis, said lead author of the paper, Associate Professor Jody Webster, from the Geocoastal Research Group at the University of Sydney.

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New Tools for the Blue Pacific

November 26 2015

The School of Geosciences is currently hosting technical and legal representatives from 12 Pacific Island States for the 14th working session of the Pacific Maritime Boundaries Project. The management of marine resources and the protection of the marine environment in the Pacific underpins the recently adopted UN sustainable development goals.

This significant project assists the Pacific island countries to secure the full entitlement to their marine jurisdiction under international law, through negotiating maritime boundary treaties, submitting claims to the UN for areas of extended continental shelf and reviewing and modernizing their maritime zones legislation.

A particular focus for the School of Geoscience at this workshop is supporting the development of geospatial information tools to support maritime governance. The University has been involved in supporting the establishment of the innovative spatial information system, PACGEO.

‘PACGEO has really taken off in the Pacific and is being used in ways we didn’t initially envisage. This year, it was a vital part of the post-Cyclone Pam disaster response in Vanuatu,’ said Mr Jens Kruger of the Geoscience for Development Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The project is part of the Enhancing Pacific Ocean Governance programme funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs – a collaboration between the University, the Secretary of the Pacific Community (SPC), Geoscience Australia, GRID-Arendal, the Australian Attorney-Generals Department, CSIRO, the Australian Department of the Environment, the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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Professor Elaine Baker handing over the new portable PACGEO server to Ms Sheena Luankon from Vanuatu's Department of Foreign Affairs and External Trade. The server will be used to store Vanuatu's maritime planning data.

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Mr Faatasi Malologa from Tuvalu speaking about the charter and objectives of the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council.

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Members of the Pacific maritime boundaries teams adding information to their new servers.