John Hardie AM

Curiosity is inherent in all of us, according to new Member of the Order of Australia, John Hardie.

Unfortunately, "by the time we get to five, six or seven, it's socialised out of us", he said, and those who manage to remain curious become stereotypes of "nerdy people not welcome at parties".

Mr Hardie, from Leura, has spent a lifetime working to dispel the "nerdy" image of scientists.

He strives to instead show them as normal people dedicated to their profession.

"The main message is scientists are not a breed apart. They are one of us, motivated very much by curiosity," Mr Hardie said.

And rather than them being locked in some ivory tower doing obscure study, "they are actually doing things that are relevant to all of us".

Mr Hardie has been made an AM for his significant service to science education, and to professional societies.

He has been a long-time member of the Royal Society of NSW and of the Royal Societies of Australia.

Royal societies exist to promote intellectual inquiry and discussion, through journals, books, lectures or any other means of communication.

"[They] are about advancing knowledge and about trying to ensure that there's an actual bridge between research and the general public," Mr Hardie said.

And they work across disciplines, embracing not just science but art, literature and philosophy. As an example, one of the members of the NSW society is author Tom Keneally.

Mr Hardie has served the societies for decades. He has been president of the Royal Societies of Australia since 2012 and has served two terms as president of the Royal Society of NSW and eight years as vice-president. He is its current honorary librarian.

John Hardie AM: Pictured giving an address to science graduates at Sydney University.

John Hardie AM: Pictured giving an address to science graduates at Sydney University.

His extensive work experience includes as a project and research officer at Sydney University and holding top positions at the Centre for Learning Innovation, the NSW Adult Migrant English Service and the Open Training and Education Network.

He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK, of the Geological Society of London and the Royal Society of NSW.