2017 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Unravelling the complexity of height, intelligence, obesity and schizophrenia

Jian Yang (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Professor Jian Yang

The publication of the human genome near fifteen years ago revealed that the human genome is complicated. Jian Yang has created pioneering new techniques to unravel that complexity and solve the ‘missing heritability paradox’.

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2017 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Watching the processes of life

Dayong Jin (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Professor Dayong Jin

We need new ways to detect the early stages of disease and cancer. Dayong Jin believes the key is for physicists, biologists, engineers and doctors to work together. And that’s what he’s doing with his team at the University of Technology, Sydney.

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2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

The outdoor classroom

Neil Bramsen (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Mr Neil Bramsen

In the outdoor classroom at Mount Ousley Public School in Wollongong, primary students are watching and recording bird sightings. They’re down at the beach assessing the level of marine debris. They’re reading, or just thinking, in the butterfly garden.

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2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Bringing science alive

Brett McKay (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Mr Brett McKay

Kirrawee High School has a rich history in sport and music. Its alumni include six Olympic athletes and several leading musicians. Today, thanks to the work of Brett McKay over the past twenty years, Kirrawee has become a force in science education as well.

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Videos: 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Final broadcast quality videos with and without music are now available for download via:

http://files.wildbear.tv/

Username: PMSCIENCE17

Password: PMSCIENCE17

Please note that both the username and password are case sensitive.

Once logged in you will be able to download either the final master videos or the master videos with no music.

YouTube links for embedding in websites and sharing via social media available below.  [click to continue…]

Microbial mass movements: the millions of species we ignore at our peril

Media releases

Michael Gillings (Credit: Chris Stacey, Macquarie University)

Science paper Friday, 15 September 2017

Background information below.

More high-res images available below.

Wastewater, tourism, and trade are moving microbes around the globe at an unprecedented scale. As we travel the world we leave billions of bacteria at every stop.

As with rats, foxes, tigers and pandas, some microbes are winners, spreading around the world into new ecological niches we’ve created. Others are losing, and might face extinction. These changes are invisible, so why should we care?

“Yes, our survival may depend on these microbial winner and losers,” say a team of Australian, Chinese, French, British and Spanish researchers in a paper published in Science today.

“The oxygen we breathe is largely made by photosynthetic bacteria in the oceans (and not by rainforests, as is commonly believed),” says Macquarie University biologist Michael Gillings.

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A 3D printed rocket engine – made in Melbourne

Media releases, Monash University Technology Research Platforms

Monash engineers have designed, printed, and test-fired a rocket engine.

Media call 9.30 am, Monday 11 September, Woodside Innovation Centre, New Horizons Building, 20 Research Way, Monash University, Clayton

HD footage of static rocket testing and metal printers at work
Media contact: Niall Byrne, 0417-131-977, niall@scienceinpublic.com.au

The new rocket engine is a unique aerospike design which turns the traditional engine shape inside out.

Two years ago, Monash University researchers and their partners were the first in the world to print a jet engine, based on an existing engine design. That work led to Monash spin-out company Amaero winning contracts with major aerospace companies around the world.

Now a team of engineering researchers have jumped into the Space Age. They accepted a challenge from Amaero to design a rocket engine, Amaero printed their design, and the researchers test-fired it, all in just four months. Their joint achievement illustrates the potential of additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) for Australian industry.

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Monash rocket engine test firing

3D printed rocket engine – backgrounder and links

Media releases, Monash University Technology Research Platforms

Quick facts

  • A joint Monash University/Amaero team of engineers successfully designed, built, and tested a rocket engine in just four months
  • The engine is a complex multi-chamber aerospike design
  • Additively manufactured with selective laser melting on an EOS M280
  • Built from Hasteloy X; a high strength nickel based superalloy
  • Fuel: compressed natural gas (methane); oxidiser: compressed oxygen
  • Design thrust of 4kN (about 1,000 pounds), enough to hover the equivalent of five people (about 400 kg)

The 3D printed or Additive Manufactured aerospike rocket engine is the result of a collaboration between a group of Monash University engineers and Amaero Engineering, supported by Woodside Energy and Monash University.

Engineers at Amaero approached a team of Monash engineering PhD students, giving them the opportunity to create a new rocket design that could fully utilise the near limitless geometric complexity of 3D printing.

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Science communicator role: Short term, immediate start

Other

We’re looking for a science communicator to join our team at Science in Public for 3 to 6 months with an immediate start.

We need someone who is organised, loves science and wants to help scientists get their work into the public space. Ideally you’ve got a couple of years professional work experience and can hit the ground running.

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The mystery of leaf size solved

Media releases

Click here for high-res images.

Background information below.

And feature story by lead author Ian Wright for The Conversation here.

A global team of researchers have cracked the mystery of leaf size. Their research was published today as a cover story in Science.

Why is a banana leaf a million times bigger than a common heather leaf? Why are leaves generally much larger in tropical jungles than in temperate forests and deserts? The textbooks say it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.

But it’s not that simple.

The research, led by Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University, reveals that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves. [click to continue…]

The mystery of leaf size solved – photos

Media releases

Click here for media release and background information.

Click on photos for the high-res version.

Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, New Jersey Pine Barrens. Credit Peter Wilf

Conifer needles. Credit Peter Reich

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Are you a slave to your smartphones? Or master of your mobile?

ABC projects, Media releases, National Science Week

We spend three hours a day on our phones, on average, with almost one in five of us admitting we check our phone at least once every 15 minutes.

These are some of the early findings from Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey, which is looking at how we use our smartphones and how we feel about them.

More than 10,000 people have taken part in the survey so far, but there’s still plenty of time to participate with the survey running until Friday, August 25.

In particular, researchers want to hear from more young people, especially those aged between 12 and 25.

Psychology PhD student Bep Uink from Murdoch University, says: “Young Australians are digital natives so it’s possible they have more sophisticated relationships with their smartphones than their parents’ generation.”

“It’s really important for researchers to hear from young people about the benefits they get from their smartphones, and conversely the downsides of having such a ubiquitous device in their lives, that we might not otherwise be aware of,” she says.

Other early findings from the survey show: [click to continue…]

Super Hornet simulators; sporty science; Robotronica; Aboriginal astronomy; Pokémon GO with real animals; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Sunday 20 August 2017

Highlights for the final day of National Science Week

142 events and exhibitions, 16 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Sydney

Gold Coast

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Sex, genes and rock ‘n’ roll; inside a dodgy drug lab; physics of recycling; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Saturday 19 August 2017

Highlights for day eight of National Science Week’s nine-day ‘week’

177 events and exhibitions, 16 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Hobart

Perth

Blue Mountains

Canberra

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Keeping the lights on; Mayan astronomy; Whisky Academy; bull science; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Friday 18 August 2017

Highlights for day seven of National Science Week

446 events and exhibitions, 23 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Melbourne

Sydney

Darwin

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Our earthquake science epicenter; new recycling plant opening; ‘tree lobsters’ and peacock spiders; the physics of beer; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Dozens of stories and interesting people at 120+ Science Week events in ACT

  • Opening of Canberra’s re-vamped recycling facility…tour the facility, meet the experts and see how physics sorts trash from treasure. Drone footage available.
  • ‘Tree lobster’ stick insects and small peacock spiders on the big screen. And meet the man who discovered these tiny dancing spiders.
  • Scienceability: young adults with a disability running a free science workshop open to the public.
  • Ask scientists to explain physics using beer.
  • Geoscience Australia open day—see inside Australia’s epicenter for earthquake detection, how we use satellites to find water for agriculture, and precious rocks for our smartphones.
  • Dancing with the Science Stars: astronomy, gravitational waves and Antarctic research explained…with the help of dancers.
  • 1,000 science Scouts and Guides saving the planet.
  • How to turn a ‘dead’ seed into a living plant.
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone? Researchers want to know.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

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The botany of booze; drones on the farm; wildlife forensics; plastic oceans; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Thursday 17 August 2017

Highlights from day six of National Science Week

448 events and exhibitions, 22 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Sydney

Charters Towers (near Townsville)

Hobart

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The ‘Madhouse Effect’; evil weevils; the funniest physicist; the language of plants; dingo puppies; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Highlights from day five of National Science Week

476 events and exhibitions, 22 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Canberra (10am, Parliament House)

Sydney

Melbourne

Western Australia and South Australia

Perth [click to continue…]

Wine science; pulse checks for politicians; microplastics; a kids’ coding hackathon; and more

Media releases, National Science Week, Other

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Highlights from Day 4 of National Science Week

454 events and exhibitions, 21 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

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From Antarctica to ocean plastics, and fighting MS to the science of whisky…Tassie science on show

Media releases, National Science Week

Dozens of stories and interesting people at 150+ Science Week events in Tasmania

  • The barista scientist, the insect lover, and other Young Tassie Scientists tour the state.
  • What did a voyage to Antarctica tell us about women in science? Meet the scientist studying the scientists.
  • What do rabbits and sea urchins taste like? Fighting invasive species by making them gourmet—Launceston.
  • Behind the scenes—how do you make an Attenborough documentary?
  • From the ocean’s food chain to the good oil, why krill is crucial, and why Hobart is the krill capital.
  • Whisky Academy: the science behind Tassie’s whisky boom—Strahan.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: meet the Tassie scientists looking for solutions for the 23,000 Australians affected.
  • Fluorescence—from forensic science to highlighter pens and spinach. Sydney chemist Elizabeth New reveals all.
  • Tasmanian climate science experts on the big changes that are happening in our oceans and ice—local differences in global warming, sea level rise, acidification and reefs—Sandy Bay and Launceston.
  • Trash in the tummies of seabirds, microplastics, and a surfboard fin made from recycled plastic waste: the problems and solutions of ocean plastic pollution.
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone? Researchers want to know.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

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