Media releases

4,000 lives lost each day: ending the TB death toll

Tuberculosis (TB) is treatable and preventable. So why does it still kill more than 4,000 people each day? And what do we need to do to end the epidemic by 2030? We need to talk about solutions on World TB Day, Friday 24 March 2017.

Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Australian 130 years ago. Rates have plummeted since then, from 1,200 per million to four per million for males and from 900 to two per million for females, thanks to better living conditions, antibiotics, TB sanatoriums, immunisation and better screening.

Globally, we’re gaining ground in the fight to end TB:

  • Between 2000 and 2013, TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs saved an estimated 37 million lives.
  • The TB mortality rate fell by 45 per cent and the prevalence rate by 41 per cent from 1990 to 2013.

tbTB can lie dormant and undetected for months. But a weakened immune system leads to infectious ‘active’ TB, with fever, coughing up blood, and weight loss, the last of which gave the condition its historical name, ‘the consumption’. It’s a far cry from the Hollywood or BBC versions of TB, such as Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge! elegantly dying while singing ‘Come what may’.  [click to continue…]

Celebrating longer, healthier lives on International Women’s Day

What is saving and taking women’s lives in 2017?

The global average life expectancy for a girl born today is about 74 years. That’s 20 years more than women born in 1960.

An Australian girl born today can expect to live to 84 years. She’s gained a decade since 1960. Life expectancy for our Nepalese sisters has doubled from 35 to 71 years.

Around the world there’s been a remarkable transformation in the human condition. It’s come from a host of public achievements, including the following:

  • Improvements in living conditions in the early 20th century—better water supplies, sewerage systems, food quality and health education, have led to overall lower death rates and longer life expectancy at all ages.
  • In Australia, childbirth is 10 times safer for babies, and in USA, childbirth is 100 times safer for the mums than it was 100 years ago.
  • In Australia, we’ve seen a 95 per cent decrease in death rate for children aged zero to four years (including infants).
  • We’ve seen an 80 per cent reduction in cervical and uterine cancer mortality.
  • We have universal education for all children with no discrimination towards girls achieving their goals.
  • The protection of human rights of women and girls are improving, though we have more to do.
  • Women are less likely to die of breast cancer thanks to screening and improved treatments.

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  Melbourne hosts the world’s largest 3D printer—and it’s open for business

The biggest powder bed 3D printed metal aerospace component is on display at the Melbourne International Airshow at Avalon.

  • Press release below, and background information here.
  • Photos and video here
Barrie Finnin, CEO of Amaero, with a hand on the 3D printed door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner

Barrie Finnin, CEO of Amaero, with a hand on the 3D printed door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner

Monash University has commissioned the world’s largest metal printer, and has used it to print a large door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner. The aluminium hinge weighs 11 kg and is 40 by 80 by 39 cm in size. It is the largest powder bed 3D printed metal aerospace component printed to date.

The $3.5 million Xline 2000R printer acquired by Monash University is one of five made to date by German manufacturer Concept Laser. It’s the only one outside America and Europe, the only one based in a university and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere available for contract manufacturing.

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Expert advice: fix the ‘leaky pipeline’ for women in science

Picture by Lesley Martin 08 March 2016 International Women's Day 2016: Pledge for Parity. Heriot Watt University Edinburgh. © Lesley Martin 2016 t: 07836745264 e: lesley@lesleymartin.co.uk

© Lesley Martin 2016

Half of Australia’s science university students are women. Why are only 21 per cent of the professors teaching them women?

40 Australian universities and other research organisations are signed up and working towards a bronze award level of recognition for supporting women in science. What can they learn from the UK’s ten-year experience?

UK chemist Professor Tom Welton is in Australia to share how his team at the Imperial College London Chemistry Department achieved a gold Athena Swan Award for promoting gender equality.

“Australia and the UK both suffer from a ‘leaky pipeline’, with a disproportionate number of women leaving academia at all career stages. This loss of female talent is a loss for science and broader society,” says Professor Welton.  [click to continue…]

Innovative kids swapping the beach for Silicon Valley this summer

TiE-Vancouver-H-Positive-CMYKThree Victorian high-school students will visit Google, NASA, and Stanford University on an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley on the 19 January.

They’ll also get to network with other young entrepreneurs from around the world and practice their pitching skills, presenting their business idea to local industry leaders.

The students, aged 14, 16 and 17 from Bendigo, Box Hill, and Mount Waverly, won the trip with their idea for a DIY box-set to teach electronics and programming skills. It was presented at the TiE Young Entrepreneurs competition in Melbourne in late 2016. [click to continue…]

Anirudh Prakash, Devnith De Silva and Jackson Landry (L-R) are off to Silicon Valley

The quantum manifesto: why quantum is worth one billion Euro to Europe; and is being funded by the US big tech companies

Thursday 8 December 2016

Professor Alain Aspect firmly believes we’ve entered the second quantum revolution—an age which will see radical technological developments across industries, from manufacturing and measurement, to energy generation and computing.

During the first quantum revolution, we discovered the rules that govern the quantum realm, and how they differ from classical physics. Those discoveries, from 1950 onward, led to the invention of lasers, transistors and optical fibres.

Now in the second revolution we’re taking these rules and using them to develop new technologies in communications, measurement, and computing. Today at the Physics Congress, Alain Aspect from Institut d’Optique Graduate School will review how we got to where we are today, and share his hopes for what’s next.  [click to continue…]

Looking into fly eyes for the perfect solar cell; embracing chaos to improve solar power; and printing high-temperature superconductors

bannerThursday 8 December 2016

On the final day of the Physics Congress in Brisbane we’re hearing about inventions that could change the way we generate and store power.

Researchers available for interview, contact Toni Stevens on 0401 763 130 or toni@scienceinpublic.com.au

QUT researchers spot solar revolution in fly eyes

physics-7

The compound eyes of flies have inspired QUT researchers hunting for the perfect solar cell.

Fly eyes have evolved over millions of years to make the most of the tiny amount of visible light that hits them in a brilliant example of natural nanotechnology. The team’s zinc-oxide replicas pull off the same tricks, using a three-zone structure copied straight from a real-life fly. The bio-inspired nanomaterial captures energy across a wide solar spectrum using only one material, something that conventional solar panels struggle to achieve with a plethora of metals. The fly-eye solution comes “very close to perfection,” says Dr Ziqi Sun, and could readily be incorporated into modern solar cells for an impressive boost in energy harvesting.

At the conference Ziqi will talk about the underlying technology that he and his colleagues have developed to make nano-structures using sheets of metal oxides. The new solar cell design will be published in Materials Today Chemistry. [click to continue…]

The biggest discovery of 2016 was gravitational waves, but what’s next?

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Have more been found, what is Australia’s role, and why should we care?

Back in February 2016 it was Professor David Reitze who announced to the world that gravitational waves had been discovered at LIGO, 100 years after Einstein predicted them.

Credit: Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

Credit: Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

And now they want to find more. Last Thursday LIGO resumed the search for gravitational waves and the world is eagerly awaiting the results.

Today in Brisbane David Reitze will give a first-hand account of what it is like to make a potentially Nobel-prize winning discovery, which is being hailed as the beginning of a new era in astronomy.

[click to continue…]

Nanodiamonds to highlight cancer; plasma in the workplace; super-light night-vision glasses; science-art created by Synchrotron light; and more

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Nanorubies and diamonds make your cancer cells stand out in a crowd (Melbourne)

Near-infrared fluorescent nanomaterials could help surgeons better identify tumour tissue to remove, and healthy tissue to leave, according to researchers at RMIT. Dr Philipp Reineck and his team tested seven classes of red and near-infrared fluorescent materials in spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy experiments for the first time. They found that nanomaterials such as nanodiamonds and nanorubies are vastly more stable than the organic dyes currently in use—glowing brighter for longer. [click to continue…]

Australia set to ride the quantum computing wave

Tuesday 6 December 2016 banner

Scientists available for interview from the Physics Congress in Brisbane

We have the technology! The first simple quantum computers are being built all over the world as decades of research and development culminate in technology that accurately builds structures atom by atom.

Researchers already have practical plans for building usable quantum computers based on silicon, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Professor Michelle Simmons, at the University of New South Wales, will tell the Australian Physics Congress in Brisbane on Wednesday.  [click to continue…]

Australia helping to crack fusion power, bringing the energy of the sun down to earth for a zero carbon future

bannerTuesday 6 December 2016

It’s the world’s biggest experiment—a multi-billion machine, with first results in 2025.

Speakers from around the world, including senior advisor to the ITER project Professor Jean Jacquinot, will speak at the Physics Congress in Brisbane about the global race to master the process that powers our sun. Researchers from ANU will speak about Australia’s involvement.  [click to continue…]

Arc welders in the operating room; the physics of kangaroo’s knees; no more exploding smartphones; women in leadership; and more

Tuesday 6 December 2016

No more exploding smartphones: Australia-China supercapacitor collaboration (Brisbane)

The perils of lithium-ion batteries are well known to owners of the Galaxy Note 7, but battery fires have also plagued power plants and even passenger jets in-flight. The Queensland Government is getting behind an Australia-China collaboration to build supercapacitors: purely electric storage devices using graphene, which promise many advantages over their chemical-based cousins.

QUT’s Professor Nunzio Motta is leading the Australian end of the research. The major challenge is developing scalable ways of growing graphene sheets. At the Congress, he’ll present his work on growing graphene for other kinds of electronic components but he’s happy to talk about both areas and the potential of graphene. He imagines, for example, a car or train in which the body panels act as energy stores extending the battery range, and storing energy from braking.  [click to continue…]

Australian scientists stalking, sensing and trapping elusive dark matter

bannerMonday 5 December 2016

Scientists available for interview from the Physics Congress in Brisbane

Media contacts

Australian physicists are using all the skills of experienced hunters in their quest for dark matter, the 85 per cent of matter in the Universe we have not been able to detect. And they are getting closer to their quarry.

Members of three separate groups from across the continent will give the latest updates from the hunt at the APPC-AIP Physics Congress in Brisbane.

Dark matter is so called because it does not interact with light or any other electromagnetic radiation. So the physicist hunters need to use all their ingenuity to track it down.  [click to continue…]

Satellites the size of bread; why making anti-matter matters; telescopes on a chip; our neutrino world and more

Monday 5 December 2016

A new constellation of Australian satellites – packed up and ready for launch in 2017 (Canberra)

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Australia is heading into space: Professor Christine Charles (ANU) was part of the Australian team of Universities that are launching Australian research satellites into space for the first time in over a decade.

Three Australian designed and built cubesats – satellites the size of a loaf of bread – are soon to be launched into space as part of the EU QB 50 Program.

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Charles’ plasma thruster system for spacecraft is just one of the Aussie ideas which is being studied to extend the capabilities of nano-satellites. Christine Charles will explain the possibilities for this renaissance of Australian space science.

[click to continue…]

Shape shifting particles; underground labs; QLD’s forgotten Nobel Prize winner; and more

Sunday 4 December 2016

  • Highlights from Day 1 of the Physics Congress
  • Australian and international researchers available for interview throughout the week
  • For more highlights, and daily updates visit www.scienceinpublic.com.au/physicscongress

Our neutrino world – explained by 2015 Nobel Prize winner Professor Takaaki Kajita

We live in a world of neutrinos. Thousands of billions of neutrinos—mostly created by the Sun—are flowing through your body every second. You cannot see them and you do not feel them. So how did we discover they have mass, and why does that challenge our standard model of the Universe?

Professor Kajita will give a public lecture, telling the story of shape-shifting particles and underground super-labs on Monday night hosted by Australian physicist Hans Bachor (ANU), with early career astrophysicist Tamara Davis (UQ) and neutrino physicist Yvonne Wong (UNSW).  [click to continue…]

Transforming Indonesia and Australia with science and innovation

We’re assisting with media for the Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium, held in Canberra from Monday 28 November – Thursday 1 December.

Transforming Indonesia and Australia with science and innovation

Australian and Indonesian Ministers open international science symposium

 

Monday 28 November at the Shine Dome, Canberra
Opening ceremony 8.30 am, press call with Ministers 9:20 am with

  • Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific
  • Dr Bambang PS Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning
  • Professor Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science
  • Professor Sangkot Marzuki, President of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences

Indonesia is on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050. It’s undergoing massive economic and social change. Poverty is falling, health is improving, the nation is urbanising. The nation is hungry for energy, health, water and food security. Its people are early adopters of new technologies from social media to big data.

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Media Kit – 2016 CSL Young Florey Medal

After 160 years, it’s time to throw away the needle and syringe
Nanopatch starts clinical trials in Brisbane, with Cuba next

Rocket scientist Mark Kendall (UQ) reinvents vaccination and wins $25,000 CSL Young Florey Medal

Press materials available:

The 2016 CSL Young Florey Medal was presented at the Association of Australian medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) dinner at on Wednesday 9 November in the Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra

  • Professor Mark Kendall helped create a small rocket for vaccine delivery.
  • Then he invented a radically simpler concept that could replace the needle and syringe we’ve been using for 160 years.
  • A small square of silicon with 20,000 microscopic spikes delivers vaccines directly to the skin’s immune cells.
  • It’s painless, requires a fraction of the dose, doesn’t need refrigeration, and eliminates needle phobia.
  • Now human clinical trials are underway in Brisbane, and the WHO is planning a polio vaccine trial in Cuba in 2017.

[click to continue…]

Melbourne’s 3D jet engine technology flies into production in France

Launch at the Australian Embassy in Paris, France

Representatives from Monash and Amaero available for interview in Melbourne and Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday. Call Niall (in Paris) on +61 417 131 977 or Toni (in Melbourne) +61 401 763 130.

Amaero and Monash media release

Prof Xinhua Wu

Professor Xinhua Wu. Credit: Monash University

The Monash University-led team who printed a jet engine last year have enabled a new venture for manufacturing aerospace components in France.

Melbourne-based Amaero Engineering—a spin out company from Monash University’s innovation cluster—has signed an agreement with the University and Safran Power Units to print turbojet components for Safran, the French-based global aerospace and defence company.

“Our new facility will be embedded within the Safran Power Units factory in Toulouse and will make components for Safran’s auxiliary power units and turbojet engines,” said Mr Barrie Finnin, CEO of Monash spin-out company Amaero.

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