Engaging Curious Minds
Scotch College Foundation
Scotch College Melbourne


Visit to Micro Nano Research Facility, RMIT

On March 27, six year 11 students accompanied by Dr Atit Bhargava and Nick Lelekakis visited the Micro Nano Research Facility of RMIT University in the City. The group was hosted by Associate Professor Sharath Sriram, who is the Scientific Coordinator of the Facility and has won numerous awards in the area of nano materials including the 2016 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science. The group saw a range of scientific instruments used in nano materials including nao-3D printer, clean room facilities, Atomic Force Microscopy and Ion beam implantation.


Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Science Opening Night

It was a scene never before witnessed in Morrison Street: there they were, approximately 2000 Scotch Family members, sitting on chairs out on the road in balmy spring weather, all eagerly watching the official opening of the brand new Sir Zelman Centre for Science. It was the early evening of an auspicious day: Scotch’s 165th birthday, Thursday 6 October 2016, and an event to file away for posterity.

At 7pm Principal Tom Batty welcomed guests and spoke of the significance of the date, and the impetus for science at Scotch which would flow from the new Centre for Science. He envisaged a future Scotch boy, born today, celebrating his 165th birthday on 6 October 2181 with a group of his classmates, after the boys had run their daily marathon — such would be the advances in medical science. The boys would drink a toast to the Scotch people of the 2010s who had had the vision to support the construction of what was by then a 165-year-old building (undoubtedly much refurbished over the years).

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, one of the guests of honour at the launch, spoke next, pointing out that the new science facility was to be named in honour of a man of law — Sir Zelman Cowen — who, when speaking to the Royal Society of NSW in 1981, had said: ‘My qualifications and capacities to “talk science” are very poor’. ‘With all due respect to Sir Zelman and to Lady Cowen,’ Dr Finkel said, ‘we don’t believe his claim to have known very little about science. The project of his life was to make the world a better place. He approached the law as one of the tools we humans can use to go about it.

And he approached science in exactly the same way — with the triple benefit of an incisive legal brain, a curious spirit, and a humanist heart. In that way he saw the future more clearly than many of the scientists of the day.’

School Council Chairman, Hon Dr David Kemp (‘59), spoke of ‘the wonderful journey through which the Scotch Family has shown its amazing support to this project, which will put Scotch at the forefront of school education in science’. It was then time for the building’s official opening, performed by guest of honour Lady Anna Cowen, as she cut the cardinal, gold and blue ribbon and declared the building open, to sustained applause.

Lady Cowen spoke next, describing the Centre for Science as ‘a brilliant facility, the likes of which may not exist in any comparable school’. She congratulated Scotch and its ‘remarkable close-knit and proud community for this wonderful achievement’. Lady Cowen said her husband had a special interest in architecture, and was delighted when the Royal Australian Institute of Architects named a building in his honour. ‘If I were one of the judges,’ she said, ‘this building would have my vote for 2016!’

Following a blessing of the building by School Chaplain, Rev Doug Campbell, the Scotch Symphony Orchestra ably performed Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets suite, accompanied by a spectacular laser light show projected onto the north facade of the building.

It was a highly successful launch of a building for the ages.

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View the film of the launch here


Controlling cancer in the 21st century – a global challenge


Professor Ian Frazer captivated the audience at the 2015 Scotch College Science Oration.

World-renowned cancer scientist and winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Professor Ian Frazer, delivered the third annual Scotch College Science Oration on 20 August, in the Geoffrey McComas Theatre.

Scotch Principal Mr Batty opened the evening by discussing the presence of science in our world; the idea that almost everything around us can be explained in a logical and evidence-based manner. He linked this to how vital science education is in the modern world and its relevance for every Scotch boy. This was followed by School Captain James Zagame’s thoughtful reflections on his experiences of science during his time at Scotch.

James also introduced Dhruv Verma (Year 10), a remarkable current student who is the inventor of the ‘PROTEGO’ (Proactive Technology for the Elderly on the Go) system. PROTEGO is a device that uses a combination of radio frequency identification technology and triangulation theory to enable elderly people to maintain an independent lifestyle in their own home, by allowing others to monitor their movements remotely. Dhruv is the winner of the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Award for 2015, and recently attended the International Science and Engineering Fair in the USA.

Professor Frazer was then introduced by Dr Bhargava, Scotch Science Ambassador, who highlighted the pre-eminent role Professor Frazer plays in Australian science, and his significant contributions throughout his career to benefit the health of people around the world.

The Oration was then delivered by Professor Frazer, who is director of the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, and advises the World Health Organisation and the Gates Foundation. He developed the first vaccine for the human papillomavirus which causes cervical cancer, and this has led him on to further research on other cancers and herpes.

As he spoke, Professor Frazer touched on many important and current issues for society, both in current times and for the generations to come; such as how funding for medical research should be administered and distributed, how to combat growing bureaucracy and inefficiencies in dealing with an ageing population, and how the world must deal with diseases like cancer.

His towering intelligence and authority was accompanied by a lovely charm and sense of humour, which captivated the audience as we were led on a journey of scientific achievements that are often restricted by budgetary and commercial factors. Professor Frazer’s broad appeal to all in the audience was evident in the numerous questions asked at the end of the Oration, facilitated by School Vice Captain Thomas Anderson. Tom also thanked the professor for what was a truly outstanding oration, from a charismatic ambassador for scientific research.

Mr Batty concluded the evening by highlighting the importance of Professor Frazer’s words about the future, reinforcing the message that ‘science is a pathway for the future, especially for our boys, and we have many challenges in the coming years to deal with’.

We are extremely grateful to Professor Frazer for his inspiring oration, and especially for making the time to come to speak to us at Scotch.
Any enquiries about the 2016 Science Oration should be directed to the Scotch College Science Ambassador, Dr Atit Bhargava: atit.bhargava@scotch.vic.edu.au.

Health Professionals’ Information Evening

Scotch and the Old Scotch Collegians’ Association are proud of the contributions that members of the Scotch Family have made in the health and medical professions.

Members of the health professions and of the Scotch Family,  attended the Scotch College Health Professionals’ Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Science information evening on Wednesday 25 March in the Boykett Room.

The aim of the evening was to be informative, as well as an opportunity for some networking and fellowship.

Prof Andrew KayeThe guests heard from Professor Andrew Kaye AM (’67) who heads the Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne and Director of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

After leaving Scotch in 1967 Andrew graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1973, and subsequently trained in Neurosurgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. To read more about Andrew click here.

Turning of the first sod

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The Turning of the First Sod ceremony was held at Scotch on Tuesday 9 December 2014 on the site of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Science.

2014 School Captain Jack Otter and his deputy Paul Colman, with the internationally acclaimed Scotch College Pipes and Drums, presented a sample of the sandstone that will adorn the new building. Lady Cowen was joined by Charles Goode AC (’56), John Hilton-Wood (’41) and Junior School leaders to turn the first sod, announcing the formal commencement of construction.

The silver spade used at the ceremony was the one used at similar functions for the Cardinal Pavilion, the Lithgow Centre and the James Forbes Academy. Over 250 guests attended this memorable occasion. The sandstone was piped away in the safe hands of 2015 School Captain James Zagame and Vice-Captain Tom Anderson.

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Click to view a brief highlights package from the  Turning of First Sod event.


Campaign launched with a big bang

In 84 years coming to Scotch, I’ve never experienced an event like it!’ Geoff Tolson (’39) was enthusing about the spectacular ‘Big Bang’ event at Scotch on the warm, balmy evening of 20 March at Scotch, attended by nearly 1,000 equally enthusiastic Scotch Family members. They were there to celebrate the start of a critical phase of Scotch’s biggest ever project, and they partied as never before in the School’s 163 years. In plain words it was the community phase capital campaign launch for the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Science, but in so many ways it was a celebration of all things Scotch.

Guests flocked in their hundreds to the Quadrangle – and it was a scene rarely witnessed before in the place that is the heart and soul of Scotch College. The Quad was packed almost to capacity with Scotch Family members of all ages in a great celebratory mood. They enjoyed finger food and drinks as an organ recital was performed in the Mem Hall, the Junior and Senior School choirs sang the College Anthem, the Symphony Orchestra performed a piece from Holst’s The Planets, speeches were made, and the capital campaign’s community phase was officially launched by the Campaign Chair, Michal Robinson AO (’55). As darkness fell, the Pipes and Drums led the guests to the Main Oval, for a dazzling fireworks display that could be seen from kilometres away. It was a highly appropriate end to a night that will live long in the memory of everyone present.

They may never be an event like it again – unless it’s the grand opening of the Centre for Science in 2017. It will be a hard act to follow.