Dr Rebecca Johnson to become Chief Scientist at Smithsonian museum

Smithsonian museum
Smithsonian museum

One of Australia’s top scientists is trading Sydney Harbor for the Potomac River, heading to Washington, DC to take on the prestigious role of Chief Scientist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Professor Johnson said nothing demonstrated the relationship between science and the real world better than the forensic laboratory’s work on bird strikes, which had protected animals while making airlines safer and providing opportunities to save money.

With about five bird strikes a day, the laboratory found more than 100 species of birds and flying foxes had hit planes. As a result, some airports changed departure times of flights to avoid wildlife.

During her tenure at the AMRI, Dr Johnson has implemented the following initiatives – Developed the strategic vision for the Australian Museum Research Institute (Australian Museum Science strategy 2017-2021);   Negotiated, for the first time in the history of the Australian Museum, joint curator positions with three Australian universities (in paleontology, amphibian conservation, ichthyology and archaeology); Introduced the concept of ‘flagship projects’ as a mechanism of capturing the multidisciplinary nature of museum research including FROG ID, AM ICONS, the Koala Genome Consortium, the AM Expeditions program.

Professor Johnson is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, the president of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, NSW Branch and Director of Membership and outreach of the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science.