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Journey to the essence of matter (public lecture)

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RMIT University

124 La Trobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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JOURNEY TO THE ESSENCE OF MATTER: Australia, Mexico and how Synchrotron Technology is Changing the Frontiers of Knowledge.

In 2007 Australia began conducting experiments in its first synchrotron facility. Last November – after 20 years of lobbying – the state of Hidalgo approved $35 million to start building Mexico’s first synchrotron light source, with the assistance of Australia, Spain, the USA and Switzerland. Two out of the six members of the Mexican Synchrotron’s International Advisory Committee are Australians: Dr Victor del Rio and Professor Andrew Peele, who will join us at this Hola Melbourne Festival event to tell the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of Australia’s and Mexico’s Synchrotrons and how these ‘Big Science’ projects are revolutionizing the frontiers of knowledge and creating new collaborative relationships between our countries.

What is a Synchrotron?

A synchrotron light source is like a ‘super microscope’ that allows you to see the most detailed parts of matter, from molecules to people, using a range of techniques. Synchrotron facilities are ‘Big Science’ projects that allow small-science by thousands of scientists, involve extensive international collaboration, and require investments of more than $300 million.

What is a Synchrotron used for?

Synchrotron technology is changing the frontiers of knowledge in virtually every discipline of science. It has applications from medicine to environment to culture and beyond. For example, a synchrotron facility can rapidly allow us to identify how a virus attacks the human body; it allows us to identify how micro-plastics have contaminated the seas and water channels; and it can be used to kill individual cancer cells, thereby minimizing side effects. The uses of synchrotron light are endless and are profoundly advancing what we know about ourselves, and the world we live in.

SPEAKERS:

Prof. Andrew Peele

Professor Peele was appointed Director of ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron in November 2013. He is also an adjunct Professor of Physics at La Trobe with previous roles at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre and is a practicing solicitor. Andrew’s research improves the versatility and quality of x-ray imaging, including over 100 publications including new methods in phase imaging and coherent diffractive imaging with applications such as tomographic imaging of cells and materials. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), and immediate past President of the Australian Institute of Physics and of the Asia Oceania Forum for Synchrotron Radiation Research. He also serves as a board member for the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering and the Australian Institute of Mathematical Sciences and on advisory boards, including international synchrotron facilities, the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Flexible Low-Energy Electronic Technologies.

Dr Victor Del Rio

Dr Del Rio is an expert in strategy, crisis media, crisis communication and organisational resilience, with strong links to universities and a background in issues related to migration and the way migrants integrate into Australian society. Dr Del Rio is the Coordinator of the International Advisory Committee working towards building the first synchrotron in México (a US$500 million initiative).

He is Director of Red River Strategic Management (Media and Crisis Management) and CBTS Latin America, a company that offers consulting, advice, training and other related services to government and education institutions in Australia and internationally. Since 2014, Dr Del Rio has been the President of the Australia, New Zealand and Mexico Chamber of Commerce (ANZMEX). He is a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT University, an honorary research fellow at the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Latrobe University, and has been a member of a number of other boards, research committees and councils. Dr Del Rio is also the Australian President of the Global Red (Network) of Mexicans living overseas (RGM). This network has 40 chapters and 4500 members around the world. Dr Del Rio was member of the Ethics Research Committee at Latrobe University for ten years and for four years a member of the Ethics Research Committee at Macquarie University.

Dr Elizabeth Kath (Session Chair)

Dr Kath is a Senior Lecturer in global studies at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. She teaches and researches in Latin American studies, and has a deep interest in Australia's engagement with Latin America, which was the focus of a pioneering book – Australian-Latin American Relations: New Links in A Changing Global Landscape (Palgrave, 2016). Elizabeth's work has been published in many academic journals and books and presented at international conferences around the world.
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RMIT University

124 La Trobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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