The Australian Academy of Science was founded in 1954 based in Canberra. The group of people who promoted the setting up of an Australian Academy were all fellows of the Royal Society of London who lived in Australia. Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, the structure of the Academy was modelled on that of the Royal Society of London. The first President was the physicist Sir Mark Oliphant.
The aims of the Academy are to promote science, particularly by recognising outstanding contributions to science, promoting education and public awareness, helping develop science policy, and fostering international relations. The Academy today has around 350 fellows, sixteen new Australian fellows being elected every year. The Academy also elects a small number of distinguished foreign scientists, for example Paul Erdös was elected to the Academy (see ).
The Academy rewards excellence by giving awards on a regular basis. Particularly relevant to the topics of this archive are the Pawsey Medal which is awarded each year to a young physicist, and the two awards for mathematics, the Moran Medal and the Hannan Medal.
The Academy sponsors a number of conferences relevant to mathematics. For example it sponsored the First International Conference on the Theory of Groups held in 1965 and the Second International Conference on the Theory of Groups held in Canberra in August 1973. In July 1976 the Academy ran a symposium on Waves on water of variable depth at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra.
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