at the University of Melbourne
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In this public lecture, Dr Rachael Quill will explore how shedding light on the uncertainties of wind flow across the environment can support informed decision-making in bushfire management and renewable energy generation.
The weather and its uncertainties influence our decisions every day. Did you take an umbrella today, just in case, or did you get caught in that shower? In many scenarios, being unprepared for the unknown might only mean a dampening of our pride. But in others, the cost of not understanding uncertainty can be catastrophic.
Extreme fire behaviours are being witnessed at an increasing rate across Australia and the world. Such behaviours were recorded in 2003 as fires rushed from the mountains into the suburbs of Canberra, destroying 500 homes and sadly claiming 4 lives. Nearly two decades of scientific research since then has pushed the boundaries of our understanding in fire dynamics, bushfire prediction and emergency management. In this lecture, we will explore how improving the understanding of uncertainties around fire behaviour enables more informed fire management through seeing a fuller picture of an event.
The principles of accounting for uncertainty translate into many different fields. In the second half of this lecture, we will explore this notion in relation to renewable energy. Integrating renewable and intermittent power into national electricity grids is a global challenge in the pursuit of lowering our carbon emissions. Enabling accurate and timely prediction of resources, such as wind, involves understanding its inherent variability then communicating and accounting for uncertainty in prediction.
In a world where hard decisions must be made to address global challenges, we need to ensure those decisions are made knowing the fullest picture possible. Through shedding light on the grey areas of uncertainty, you may still choose not to take your umbrella but you at least do it in full knowledge of your risk of getting wet.
This lecture is part of the ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture Series.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS) brings together for the first time a critical mass of Australia’s best researchers in applied mathematics, statistics, mathematical physics and machine learning. With partner researchers ACEMS engages in research programs that combine innovative methods for the analysis of data with theoretical, methodological and computational foundations, provided by advanced mathematical and statistical modelling.
2021 A N Smith Lecture in Journalism presented by The Hon Kevin Rudd AC
Quality public interest journalism is the lifeblood of any true democracy, but Australia’s news industry is plagued by structural decline, disruption and dysfunction. In his 2021 A.N. Smith lecture, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will argue our print media is the most concentrated in the democratic world and is dominated by a self-interested Murdoch monopoly that ruthlessly sows disinformation into public debate and intimidates its critics, chilling free speech. But as wealthier Australians flock to defamation courts, ordinary citizens are stonewalled by toothless regulators. And while corruption is on the rise and extremism on the march, the journalistic profession is shrinking – especially in regional communities – as commercial priorities drive newsroom decisions. And that’s just for starters.
Mr Rudd also contends that instead of working with journalists to tackle these challenges, our national government has embarked on a wholesale assault on our national broadcaster, the ABC. Mr Rudd says Australians should refuse to accept the demise of public interest journalism is inevitable, and reasserts that now is the time for a Royal Commission to ensure Australians can rely on a strong, growing and more diverse media for the future.
Arthur Norman Smith was a founder of the Australian Journalists’ Association, served as its first general president and for five years as its general secretary. Thanks to a generous gift from the Smith family, the prestigious A N Smith Lecture in Journalism is presented each year by a leading authority on some aspect of journalism.