The Annual ATSE Oration is delivered at the AGM Oration dinner each year, usually in November. This provides an opportunity for a leading figure in science and technology in Australia to address a topic of key importance on major public issues involving science and technology policy.
The Malcolm Chaikin Oration was inaugurated in 2012 by the NSW Division of ATSE to honour the lifetime contributions of Professor Malcolm Chaikin to science, technology, education and philanthropy.
Born in China and arriving in Australia with his refugee parents, Chaikin became the youngest professor in Australia when, at 31, he was appointed to the foundation chair of textile technology at the NSW University of Technology (now University of NSW). In 1961 he became dean of the faculty of applied science, and later UNSW's first pro-vice-chancellor (research and international). He devoted his working life to UNSW and played a large part in the establishment of new faculties, and created Unisearch to manage the intellectual property of the University.
Chaikin was chairman of the National Institute of Dramatic Art from 1975 to 1988 and president of the Benevolent Society of NSW from 1978 to 1988. His forensic expertise led to his election, in 1975, to the council of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences. Chaikin retired from UNSW at 65, but continued his research at UNSW's UNESCO centre for membrane science and technology. He helped set up the Werribee Centre for Sustainable Water Use and also organised a worldwide collaboration in water research.
Chaikin was a member of the board of governors of the Technion and Ben Gurion University in Israel for many years, and set up Australia-Israel exchange programs, which have been significant in arid zone research. He received many awards and prizes from universities and organisations during his career, held some 30 patents. He was elected a Carnegie Fellow in 1966, an ATSE Fellow in 1977, an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1978, a Ben-Gurion Fellow in 1986 and an officer of the Order of Australia in 1989 and in 2001 was awarded the Centenary Medal. He also established the Malcolm Chaikin Foundation at UNSW to provide grants to students, and has been a major supporter of ATSE events, particularly in NSW.
The Malcolm Chaikin Oration is presented annually by an outstanding technologist and educator who has contributed to society in the Chaikin tradition. The Chaikin Medal is presented to the orator as a vote of thanks on behalf of the NSW Division.
Enhancing Australia's prosperity through technology and innovation