Message from the President -April 2021

Written by Danny Wong 


Dear members,

I’m excited!  I’m excited!  One of our major and popular annual social events, The Fellows and Honorary Life Members Lunch, will be held at L’aqua in Cockle Bay Wharf on 7th May!  Please make sure you have entered this in your electronic calendar, hardcopy of your diary, list of things to do on the fridge door, etc.  As we all are aware, the Branch cancelled the event in 2020 because of the pandemic.  The Branch Committee has been wondering if we would be able to resume this function in 2021.  Thank you to all members who have provided overwhelmingly encouraging feedbacks for us to proceed with organising the function on 7th May.  I very much look forward to meeting and catching up with many members face-to-face during the lunch function.  The 2019 Fellows and Honorary Life Members Lunch was also held at L’aqua and we all enjoyed a sumptuous 3-course meal, while being surrounded by the spectacular view of Darling Harbour.  Therefore, we are returning to L’aqua this year.  It is even more exciting this year to be able to socialise and catch up with many colleagues we have missed seeing for over a year!  We are also honoured that Emeritus Professor Ben Selinger (one of the authors of the bestseller, “Chemistry in the Marketplace”) has agreed to be a speaker at the lunch function.  To accompany all these, there are at least two surprises for all members attending the lunch function on 7th May!  No, it is not a door prize!  No, we have not invited any celebrity from the jungle to come along!  You will be able to get a clue for the first surprise by carefully reading the flyer for the lunch event.  Then, I will personally deliver the second surprise to you during the lunch event!  I look forward to seeing many members during The Fellows and Honorary Life Members Lunch!

With help from the Branch committee member, William Li, we have successfully lodged a new segment, “Chemist of the Month”, in the March Newsletter.  I am delighted that Associate Professor Alice Lee (Chemical Engineering, UNSW) has agreed to be featured in the new segment in the April Newsletter.  Alice has been a member of the NSW Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Group for several years.  I have always associated Alice with food analysis, but I didn’t know she actually started off in environmental chemistry!  I am sure you will enjoy reading about Alice’s interesting career path in the April Newsletter.

To continue with the “Getting to know Branch Committee Members” segment, we are featuring both David Edmonds and David Springer in the April Newsletter.  David Edmonds is not an unfamiliar name within RACI, having been the National President and then the National Treasurer.  It is interesting to read about David’s career journey and his involvement in RACI.  Meanwhile, David Springer (Commercial Manager, Envirolab Services) is an active member of the Branch Committee, in addition to being a Board member of RACI.  He will be able to tell you more about a per- and poly(fluoroalkyl) substance detector recently developed at Envirolab Services!  As I pointed out previously, a strong feature of the current Branch Committee is the diversity of its members, from retirees to mid-career chemists and beyond, from government sectors to industry and academia, all working collegially together for the common goals of RACI. 

On 12th March, I attended the Frontiers of Science Forum that was co-supported by the Australian Institute of Physics, the Teachers’ Guild of NSW and the NSW Branch of RACI.  This is a unique annual event in that there were speakers covering Physics (Professor Judith Dawes, Macquarie University), Mathematics (Dr Daniel Mansfield, UNSW), Biology (Professor Antoine van Oijen, University of Wollongong) and Chemistry (Dr Markus Müllner, University of Sydney) in a single forum, rather than a meeting for a specific discipline only.  The forum was opened by the Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Cathy Foley.  I like to thank Markus for representing RACI in the forum, during which he covered some of the major breakthroughs in polymer chemistry, leading to important contemporary developments, especially those involving polymer nanostructures.  I strongly recommend this event to all members when it returns in 2022.

Happy Easter, everyone, and I hope all of you will have an opportunity to relax a little after working hard for three months so far this year!


Danny Wong

RACI NSW Branch President

“Nurture the passion, discover the possibilities"



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