The Royal Society of New South Wales has admitted two UNSW Sydney academics as Fellows for their leadership and expertise in their respective fields.

One of the oldest learned societies in Australia, it exists to advance knowledge and understanding within the disciplines of science, art, literature, and philosophy.

ARC Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor Toby Walsh was recognised for significant contributions to the science and public understanding of artificial intelligence (AI).

Prof. Walsh has been researching AI for 30 years, in particular building trustworthy AI technologies that are fair, transparent, robust, and protect privacy.

He has also worked with the government to develop AI in Australia, from funding initiatives for graduates to an ethical framework for business.    

“I'm deeply honoured to be elected a Fellow of the oldest learned society in Australia, and indeed the Southern Hemisphere,” Prof. Walsh said.

“I am a great supporter of the aims of the Royal Society of NSW to advance knowledge. It is for these reasons I have written several books about AI for a general audience.

“Given the many challenges facing us today, from the climate emergency to the ongoing pandemic, we need organisations like the Royal Society of NSW more than ever before to advance the many-sided conversations needed to address these wicked problems.”

Professor Charles C. Sorrell was acknowledged by the Society for his work in ceramic science and engineering across various fields, from conventional structural to advanced technical ceramics.

Prof. Sorrell’s strong focus on materials processing has allowed his work the flexibility to see it utilised in a variety of industry sectors, such as energy generation and storage, orthopaedic and therapeutic biomaterials, environmental remediation, and waste utilisation.

“It always is gratifying when my work is recognised by peers whose work I respect,” Prof. Sorrell said.

“Although my being Australia’s senior ceramic engineering academic inevitably comes with some element of passive recognition, I would like to think that the Fellows who are professional artists also may be aware of my research in the French Etching Revival.”

UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) Scientia Professor Sven Rogge congratulated the 2021 Fellows.

“This is a highly deserved acknowledgement of the Professors’ impact and dedication in their respective fields,” Prof. Rogge said.

“Professor Walsh is one of the world’s leading academic minds on Artificial intelligence and has been publishing defining and highly-cited articles and handbooks for over 30 years.

“Professor Sorrel has been at the forefront in his research of ceramics processing that has translated to widespread industry use.”

Fellows of the Society in 2021 were announced by Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales, as Patron of The Royal Society of NSW.