It's great to be back after a fast and furious trip to India. I was part of the Australian education delegation travelling with the Minister, a trip that coincided with a pre-planned lecture on Astronomy at IIT-Madras in Chennai. IIT-Madras has come a long ways since my last visit in 2017, and is emerging as an academic powerhouse in India. Their campus is a beautiful, and I encourage people to take some of the opportunities for collaboration that will be emerging over the coming years.
Back here in Canberra, it has been busy. On Monday, I hosted the ST Lee Lecture with Dr Anies Baswedan delivering the keynote address, and a fascinating Q&A with our very informed and erudite audience. Pak Anies is likely to be one of the main contenders in next year's Indonesian presidential race, and it was great to have him back on campus. Thanks to everyone involved with the visit. You can watch the lecture online for those who missed it.
On Tuesday, I opened the Coral Bell School inaugural lecture on Indigenous Diplomacy - and thoroughly enjoyed the choice of the new Physics building as the venue. Most of the people looked lost when trying to find the building, and when I asked for how many, this was the first time to this part of campus, I was literally one of the only people who had been there before! This said, the event itself was a great demonstration of how ANU can facilitate and host important discussions nationally and internationally - with our two speakers, Dr Mary Graham and Dr Morgan Brigg from the University of Queensland, and Minister Penny Wong attending just an hour after announcing Justin Mohamed as Australia's inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People. The presentation from Mary and Morgan was sensational - providing a very nuanced and sophisticated insight into the how relationships were managed by Australia's First Nation's peoples, and how this is relevant to modern diplomacy. I encourage you to watch it.
Another highlight this week was attending the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions showcase, with nine academic teams presenting updates on their research. I was interested to see the breadth of research - from a partner's influence on mother and child mental health following a climate crisis; to harnessing AI to predict cyclones and experimental work on hybrid hydrogen of iron ore - to combat the challenges of climate change. These teams shared more than $160K in seed funding, and there are already some terrific outcomes. Expect a lot more out of these researchers in the years ahead.
Looking ahead, Open Day has moved to autumn! This year it will be on Saturday 18 March - it is such a beautiful time of year and the campus is in its full glory. It is also just before students will be putting in the applications to study at ANU. I'll be flying in that day from Japan and I am planning to spend the afternoon on campus meeting students and their families, as well as spending some time at the information booth (read: fancy shipping container). Open Day is one of the most important days on the calendar and to do it well, we need your help. If you are able to volunteer, please speak with your supervisor and get in touch with the team.
I also wanted to highlight one of our latest additions to the Australian National Dictionary - the word "shoey". It literally means drinking from a shoe. I did read about Harry Styles doing one in Perth a few weeks ago. My only advice - choose your shoe carefully. It's a weird trend that as an American-Aussie I can't quite get my head around but it will be memorialised from pop culture, joining words like 'iso' and 'vaxxed'. You can read the full story (and history) on ANU Reporter.
Finally, Tuesday is the international day for π - as in the mathematical equation - and in honour, I'll be making a raspberry pie this weekend - not to be confused with a raspberry pi. I'll share the photos and recipe in OnCampus next week - but it's a great way to use the kilos worth I am picking each week from my garden! Buying the amount of berries required would be hazardous to your bank account.
Have a good long weekend, I hope you have a relaxing extra day with friends and family. I am 'baching it' as Jenny is off with her sisters on a trip. As an extreme extrovert, if you see me wandering aimlessly in public, say hi!