ANU Battle of the Brains

Come along to the ANU Battle of the Brains to help decide which academic discipline reigns supreme.

Seven of our smartest minds, representing the main academic areas at ANU, will have four minutes each to convince you why their discipline is the best. This session will be refereed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) - Professor Marnie-Hughes Warrington.

Don't miss out on this entertaining battle of words and the opportunity to cast your vote.

The following academics will be representing their academic areas:

ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Professor Will Christie is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and President of the Romantic Studies Association of Australasia. He was formerly Professor of English Literature and Pro Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.

In April 2015, Professor Christie moved to The Australian National University, where he is now Head of the Humanities Research Centre. 

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Professor Michael Wesley is the Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU.

Professor Wesley has published extensively and has authored several books on foreign policy, including The Howard Paradox: Australian Diplomacy in Asia. He won the 2011 John Button Prize for Best Writing in Australian Politics for his book, There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia.

He was Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy from 2009 to 2012 and Professor of International Relations and Director of the Asia Institute at Griffith University from 2004 to 2009. 

ANU College of Business and Economics

Professor Shirley Leitch is Dean of the College of Business and Economics at ANU.

Her previous roles include: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic of Swinburne University; Dean of Commerce at the University of Wollongong; and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Public Affairs at the University of Waikato. At Swinburne, she led the Socially Sustainable Technologies Flagship in the Institute of Social Research. She was also founding chair of Online Education Services Ltd, a successful joint venture with ASX listed company SEEK Ltd, which provided online education services. Her current projects include a book on social media, which has been commissioned by Routledge.

ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

Dr Niraj Lal is an Australian Renewable Energy Agency Postdoctoral Research Fellow and University Early Career Academic Fellow at the ANU, working on nanophotonics for solar cell applications.

Niraj graduated from the Distinguished Scholar Program at the ANU with a BSc in physics in 2007, winning the Angus Nicholson Honours Scholarship for passion and excellence in Science and the ACT Young Tall Poppy of the Year in 2013. He has appeared on BBC's Naked Scientists and ABC Radio National's Science Show, written a children's book about chaos theory, spoken as an invited speaker at international conferences and taught science at levels ranging from pre-school to post-graduate. 

ANU College of Law

Dr Ryan Goss is a lecturer at the ANU College of Law. He researches, writes and teaches on constitutional law, and human rights law.

Dr Goss grew up in Brisbane and did his undergraduate study at the University of Queensland in Law and in Arts (American Studies and History). After working in Brisbane for a judge and as a lawyer, Dr Goss went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where he studied for his masters and his doctorate. After teaching at Oxford he moved to ANU in mid-2013.

ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment

Dr Anne-Sophie Dielen's research focuses on sodium/proton antiporters, generating and regulating this sodium gradient in plant chloroplasts. She works both on bacteria and plants to characterise proteins involved in sodium gradient generation. Dr Dielen also studies the impact of such a gradient on plant chloroplast physiology.

Dr Dielen has a keen interest in plant physiology and biochemistry. She started her science journey working on the complex interplay taking place between phytopathogens and their hosts. At the end of her PhD, she decided to focus more on plant physiology and how to increase plant yield. 

ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Science

Dr Brad Tucker is an astrophysicist/cosmologist at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics' Mount Stromlo Observatory. 

He is currently working on projects trying to discover the true nature of Dark Energy, the mysterious substance causing the accelerating expansion of the Universe that makes up 70 per cent of the Universe. Dr Tucker has also developed a series of astronomy coins in conjunction with the Royal Australian Mint, consulted on science fiction movies, advised on astronomy-themed art projects and has been featured in specials on the National Geographic Channel.