Historical Events


At the Edge Lecture Series

In each of these thought-provoking lectures, we asked prominent scientists and thinkers to take us into some of the biggest issues of our times and share their knowledge, experience, ideas and opinions with members of the public.

Previous Lectures:

Q&A - A sustainable Australia? Thursday 4th November 2010 

Following our highly successful Climate Change and the ETS Q&A, the Faculty of Science presents A sustainable Australia? This highly controversial topic at present, has inspired the Faculty to ask some of the most outspoken public figures on the matter to discuss their views and answer your questions on what exactly is a sustainable population for Australia?

Time: 6pm for 6.30pm start
Location: Clancy Auditorium, Kensington Campus


The Hon. Bob Carr, former Premier of NSW, author & conservationist.
Mr Dick Smith, Businessman, entrepreneur, adventurer, philanthropist, aviator and a passionate advocate for the environment.
Mr Ross Gittins, The Economics Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald since 1978, economic columnist for The Age, Melbourne and author.
Dr Nigel Stapledon, Associate Head of School, School of Economics, UNSW.

Facilitator: Dr. Paul Willis, 'Catalyst' (ABC TV) reporter, science communicator and palaeontologist.



Climate Change and the ETS: Monday 16th August 2010 

Q&A on Climate Change and the ETS, presented by UNSW Faculty of Engineering and UNSW Faculty of Science on Monday 16th August from 6.30pm at Leighton Hall, Scientia Building, UNSW Campus. Refreshments to be served afterwards.

Malcolm Turnbull MP
Dr Nikki Williams, NSW Minerals Council
Dr Donna Green, Climate Change Research Centre
Professor Matthew England, Co-Director Climate Change Research Centre
Dr Iain McGill, Centre for Energy & Environmental Markets

Robyn Williams 



Mars and our origins on Earth: 27 July 2009

Mars has long drawn our attention in literature and in science. Today we are able to survey the red planet with a resolution from space of 25 centimetres per pixel, and have two long-lived rovers on the surface.

The rate of discovery is increasing - from the possibility that liquid water can, briefly, exist at the surface today, to confirmation that huge fluvial features were carved by vast amounts of liquid water in the past. In the Pilbara region of Western Australia, an analogue of Mars, we find the earliest, most convincing evidence of life on Earth in rocks 3.5 billion years old. This is the story of the links between the possibility of life on Mars, our origins on Earth, and the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

Professor Malcolm Walter is Professor of Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales. He is Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. He has worked for 40 years on the geological evidence of early life on Earth, including the earliest convincing evidence of life. He has been funded by NASA in their "exobiology" and astrobiology" programs, focusing on microbial life in high temperature ecosystems, and the search for life on Mars. He is a member of the Executive Council of  NASA's Astrobiology Institute. During 1999 his book "The Search for Life on Mars" was published by Allen & Unwin. He has published more than 120 articles and several other books. He is a consultant to museums, and was curator of a special Centenary of Federation exhibition on space exploration for the National Museum of Australia in Canberra and Museum Victoria. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.