The objective of the Academy is to promote science. It does so through a range of activities, including recognizing outstanding contributions to science by issuing awards, education and public awareness though a variety of media, contributing to the formation of science policy, and creating opportunities for international scientific exchange.
No more than two Fellows may be elected every three years on the basis of distinguished contributions to science by means other than personal research. A small number of distinguished foreign scientists with substantial connections to Australian science are elected as Corresponding Members.
Fellows are often denoted with the letters FAA (Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science) after their name.
When the Academy was founded in 1954 there were 24 members, known as the Foundation Fellows.
|Keith Edward Bullen||Mathematics and geophysics|
|Frank Macfarlane Burnet||Virology and immunology; Nobel laurate|
|David Guthrie Catcheside||Genetics|
|Thomas MacFarland Cherry||Mathematics|
|Ian Clunies Ross||Parasitology and science administration|
|Edmund Alfred Cornish||Statistics|
|John Carew Eccles||Neuroscience; Nobel laureate|
|Edwin Sherbon Hills||Geology|
|Leonard George Holden Huxley||Physics|
|Raymond James Wood Le Fèvre||Chemistry|
|Max Rudolf Lemberg||Biochemistry|
|Hedley Ralph Marston||Biochemistry|
|Leslie Harold Martin||Physics|
|David Forbes Martyn||Physics|
|Alexander John Nicholson||Entomology|
|Joseph Lade Pawsey||Radiophysics and astronomy|
|James Arthur Prescott||Agricultural science|
|Albert Cherbury David Rivett||Chemistry|
|Thomas Gerald Room||Mathematics|
|Oscar Werner Tiegs||Zoology|
|Richard van der Riet Woolley||Astronomy|
Other awards include:
The Shine Dome (previously known as Becker House) is a well-known Canberra landmark, notable for its unusual structure. It was designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds, of architectural firm Grounds, Romberg and Boyd. When completed in 1959 its 45.75m-diameter dome was the largest in Australia.
On 1 December 1956, the Academy's building design committee met in Adelaide to look over plans submitted by six architects. The plan accepted involved a 45 ton reinforced concrete dome, which had to be supported by 16 thin supports. The concrete is approximately 60cm thick at the base supports, and 10cm at the top. The dome supports itself, with no internal wall holding it up. It cost 200,000 pounds to build. The foundation stone, laid on 2 May 1958 by Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Gordon Menzies, was originally part of the pier of the Great Melbourne Telescope constructed in 1869 under the supervision of the Royal Society and transferred to Mount Stromlo Observatory in the 1940s.
The building was named Becker House, for benefactor and Fellow of the Academy Sir Jack Ellerton Becker, in 1962. In 2000, it was renamed in honour of Fellow John Shine, who donated one million dollars to renovate the dome.
The interior contains two floors, and the main auditorium, the Ian Wark Theatre, seats 156 people.
There are three other learned Academies in Australia, those of Humanities (Australian Academy of the Humanities), Social Science (Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia) and Technological Sciences and Engineering (Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering). The four Academies cooperate through the National Academies Forum, formed in 1995.