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Two citizen science projects and one project with exciting potential for citizen scientists were among winners of the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, announced at an Award Dinner held last night at Sydney Town Hall. Fifteen prizes were given for outstanding contributions to Australian science.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards. The Eureka Prizes have been rewarding science since 1990—celebrating 25 years in 2014.

For more information about all the winners visit australianmuseum.net.au/eureka. Read the full article →

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2014 Eureka Prize Award Dinner at Sydney Town Hall. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

2014 Eureka Prize Award Dinner at Sydney Town Hall. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Aus Musuem Eureka Prizes logo

A $2 smartphone microscope and floaties for choppers: Australians rewarded for excellence in science

Last night the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes winners were announced at an Award Dinner held at Sydney Town Hall. A total of 15 prizes were given for outstanding contributions to Australian science. With so many fabulous entries it was difficult to pick the winners.

“I’m extremely impressed by the amazing scientific work happening around our country,” Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay said. “I want to extend an enormous thank you to all the sponsors and supporters of the Eureka Prizes for helping us continue to reward excellence in Australian science.”

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards. The Eurekas have been rewarding science since 1990—celebrating 25 years in 2014.

Full media releases for each prize winner are available at australianmuseum.net.au/eureka.

The 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes: Read the full article →

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The shape of a centuries-old Buddhist singing bowl has inspired a Canberra scientist to re-think the way that solar cells are designed to maximize their efficiency.

Dr Niraj Lal, of the Australian National University,  found during his PhD at the University of Cambridge, that small nano-sized versions of Buddhist singing bowls resonate with light in the same way as they do with sound, and he’s applied this shape to solar cells to increase their ability to capture more light and convert it into electricity.

“Current standard solar panels lose a large amount of light-energy as it hits the surface, making the panels’ generation of electricity inefficient,” says Niraj. “But if the cells are singing bowl-shaped, then the light bounces around inside the cell for longer”. Read the full article →

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national-stem-cell-foundation-of-australiaAusSMC briefing 11 am Melbourne Convention Centre and online at: www.aussmc.org.au

Free public forums and media interviews in Sydney (25 August), Brisbane
(26 August), Adelaide (28 August), and Melbourne (1 September).

When will stem cell medicine deliver on its promise for:

  • Cancer
  • Brain diseases and spinal cord injury
  • Repairing organs and tissue.

What’s holding us back after the years of hype?

Why you shouldn’t pursue unproven stem cell treatments?

 

Free public forums and media interviews in Sydney (25 August), Brisbane (26 August), Adelaide (28 August), and Melbourne (1 September).

Professor Irv Weissman and Dr Ann Tsukamoto discovered human blood stem cells in 1992 and have experienced all of the joy and frustration of researching developing stem cell medicines.

Today they’re trialling treatments for cancer and for degenerative diseases. But they’re also deeply concerned about the over promising of stem cell medicine, and of the unproven treatments that cost desperate patients tens of thousands of dollars.

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Media call: 11am, 17 August 2014 with researchers and dogs at The University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital, NSW Lydia Tong Credit OK-White Lane

Pet abuse and domestic violence are closely linked. Animals can’t talk but University of Sydney vet Dr Lydia Tong has shown vets how to tell the difference between bone fractures caused by accidents and those caused by abuse. Her fracture identification methods are giving vets the added confidence to identify cases of violence against pets and could serve as a warning of domestic violence.

Now, in a new study with Domestic Violence NSW, Lydia is looking deeper into the connections between animal abuse and domestic violence to assess the need for better services to protect both human and animal victims.

“Around 70% of women escaping violent homes also report pet abuse,” says Lydia. “So vets are often the first to see evidence of abuse in a family, when they treat injured pets.”

“Different forces on bones can tell a story—the skeleton of an animal keeps a distinct record that indicates the force applied to bones from past injuries, breaks or fractures. But it can often be difficult for vets to say with confidence whether a fracture has resulted from abuse or accident.”

To give vets this confidence, in a 2014 study, Lydia collected cases of abused dogs who were punched, hit with a blunt weapon or kicked, and examined the fractures from these injuries. She then compared these fractures to those caused by genuine accidents. Her results, published in The Veterinary Journal, identified five key features of fractures that vets could look for to distinguish accidents from abuse.

Now, having given vets this reference to diagnose abuse, Lydia and her colleagues at The University of Sydney are gathering more information on the connections between domestic violence and animal abuse. Read the full article →

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