The Chaikin Oration

Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FTSE FAA

Event details

Thursday 17 March 2022

12.00 – 2.00PM AEDT (in-person)
12.30PM – 2.00PM AEDT (online)


In-person @ the Union, University & Schools Club Sydney
& Online


In-person – $50
Virtual attendee – Free

Thursday 17 March 2022

A Lifetime of Preparation

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) is delighted to have as our Chaikin Orator, Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FTSE FAA, who was appointed as Australia’s Chief Scientist in January 2021. Prior to this, she had a long and distinguished career at our national science agency, the CSIRO, culminating in being appointed as the agency’s Chief Scientist in August 2018. Dr Foley is an internationally recognised physicist, known for her influential leadership and scientific advocacy.

Starting a new role is a challenge for anyone – even for a Chief Scientist, and even more so in the middle of a global pandemic, with lockdowns limiting the nature of how we connect with each other. We know that science and the successful translation of research outcomes is central to plotting a clear path ahead and Dr Foley has brought her brand of clear thinking to the role; but what have we learned, and what are the opportunities for ensuring those lessons are not lost?

In delivering the ATSE NSW Chaikin Oration, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, will reflect on her work in the role so far, and the opportunities ahead.

cathy foley
Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FTSE FAA

Dr Foley commenced as Australia’s ninth Chief Scientist in January 2021. Prior to this, she had a long and distinguished career at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, culminating as their Chief Scientist, the second woman to hold that role. Dr Foley is an internationally recognised physicist with major research achievements in superconductors and sensors which lead to the development of the LANDTEM™ sensor system to locate valuable deposits of minerals deep underground, resulting in discoveries and delineation of minerals worth more than $6 billion.

Her scientific excellence and influential leadership have been recognised with numerous awards and fellowships, including election to the Australian Academy of Science in 2020, along with an Order of Australia for service to research science and to the advancement of women in physics. She is a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (2008) and an honorary Fellow of Australian Institute of Physics (2019) and in 2013 she was named `Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government.

Dr Foley has a passion for advancing scientific research and has held various roles, including member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, President of the Australian Institute of Physics, and President of Science and Technology Australia. She is an inspiration to women in STEM across the globe and is committed to tackling gender equality and diversity in the science sector to embrace the full human potential of all.

The Chaikin Oration

The Chaikin Oration is the key annual event of the ATSE NSW Division, established in 2012 to honour the lifetime contributions of Professor Malcolm Chaikin AO OBE FTSE to science, technology, education and philanthropy. The Oration and Medal is awarded to an outstanding technologist and educator who has contributed to society in the Chaikin tradition. This year we are privileged to welcome Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FTSE FAA to present the Oration.