Current science stories

Other

Designer crops, animals, babies? In Science, why plumbers and teachers should have a say on designer babies and genetically enhanced potatoes.

Elements of surprise: neutron stars contribute little, but something’s making gold, research finds – Colliding neutron stars were touted as the main source of some of the heaviest elements in the Periodic Table. Now, not so much …

Scent of life on Venus
Microbial life may be present in the atmosphere of Venus, according to a paper published in Nature Astronomy today. Here’s our take, from our resident planetary geoscientist, Rohan Byrne @Buildmeaplanet.

Minimising severe injury from blast events on military vehicles: new research provides insights to injury prevention

Technology to make flexible phone screen chemicals kicks off new industry partnership for South Korea and Australia

Can you see the stars?: Tell us what you can see on the longest night, help us map Australia’s light pollution, and set a world record

Cyclones can damage even distant reefs: Research finds current models underestimate the impact of hurricanes and typhoons on coral reef communities

Astronomers see ‘cosmic ring of fire’, 11 billion years ago: Unusual galaxy set to prompt rethink on how structures in the Universe form

All our Science Week stories.

Why plumbers and teachers should have a say on designer babies and genetically enhanced potatoes

Media releases


Content available:
Image and caption,
Extended quotes from selected authors as supplementary content,
Genepool release – Filmmaker becomes co-author on paper published in top international journal, ‘Science’,
Paper details
– Media release below

Ethical and social implications of powerful DNA-altering technology are too important to be left to scientists and politicians, researchers find.

Illustration by Alice Mollon

Designer babies, mutant mozzies and frankenfoods: these are the images that often spring to mind when people think of genome editing.

The practice – which alters an organism’s DNA in ways that could be inherited by subsequent generations – is both more complex and less dramatic than the popular tropes suggest.

However, its implications are so profound that a growing group of experts believe it is too important a matter to be left only to scientists, doctors and politicians.

Writing in the journal Science, 25 leading researchers from across the globe call for the creation of national and global “citizens’ assemblies”, made up of lay-people, tasked with considering the ethical and social impacts of this emerging science.

[continue reading…]

Elements of surprise: neutron stars contribute little, but something’s making gold, research finds

ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in Three Dimensions (ASTRO-3D), Media releases

Colliding neutron stars were touted as the main source of some of the heaviest elements in the Periodic Table. Now, not so much

Neutron star collisions do not create the quantity of chemical elements previously assumed, a new analysis of galaxy evolution finds.

The research also reveals that current models can’t explain the amount of gold in the cosmos – creating an astronomical mystery.

The work has produced a new-look Periodic Table, showing the stellar origins of naturally occurring elements from carbon to uranium.

[continue reading…]

Scent of life on Venus

Other
Artist’s impression of Venus, with an inset showing a representation of the phosphine molecules detected in the high cloud decks.
Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / L. Calçada & NASA / JPL / Caltech

Microbial life may be present in the atmosphere of Venus, according to a paper published in Nature Astronomy today.

(Written by Rohan Byrne, our resident geoscientist. Follow him at @buildmeaplanet)

Traces of a telltale gas called phosphine have been detected in sunlight bouncing off the planet. The gas, a rare chemical sometimes used as a pesticide, has never before been observed on rocky planets other than Earth, where it is almost always a product of life.

[continue reading…]

Minimising severe injury from blast events on military vehicles

Fresh Science

Research conducted by former Fresh Science participant Dale Robinson has been covered in the 2020-2021 edition of Defence Science and Technology’s Outlook magazine.

Dr Robinson is a biomedical engineer at the University of Melbourne.

Minimising severe injury from blast events on military vehicles

Blast events inflicted on military vehicles are a consistent threat in contemporary conflicts. Developing equipment that better protects soldiers from this threat has become the focus of significant military research. It is critical to understand how severe injuries are inflicted and how forces from blast events are transmitted to the human body in order to strengthen blast protection for soldiers.

[continue reading…]

Thousands pledge to tackle global warming through individual actions

Media releases, National Science Week

National Carbon Counter project proves a hit as individuals, families and schools pledge to lower emissions.

Media release: 25 August, 2020

Media contacts: Andrew Masterson, andrew@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0488 777 179; Ben Keirnan, ben@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 184 858.

More than 11,000 people have signed up to Carbon Counter, the countrywide challenge produced by the ABC Science Unit for National Science Week.

The challenge shows families, individuals and schools how to reduce their contributions to global warming by making simple and easy changes to everyday routines.

[continue reading…]

Fossil fight, wildlife under fire, and the astro-origins of your smartphone

Media releases, National Science Week

Sunday 23 August 2020

Highlights from the FINAL DAY of National Science Week

62 events, 202 competitions and online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • National: Lifehacks to cut your carbon and your fuel bills
  • National: Discover new species, map wildlife, track the effects of climate change
  • ACT: Find out what robot makers, illustrators and Indigenous storytellers have in common
  • SA: Giant wombats versus ichthyosaurs: which would win? Adelaide palaeontologists fight over which is the best fossil
  • SA: Forget the Telstra shop. Your smartphone came from the stars. Find out how.
  • VIC: 76 women in science at sea: catch up with Ili Baré’s compelling documentary, The Leadership
  • VIC: Possible Impossibles: what’s next for the human species?
  • WA: Sign me up!—four scientists and an Auslan interpreter in Bunbury
  • Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

National Science Week 2020 runs from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

[continue reading…]

Dancing with stick insects, healing nature, and what’s in your sourdough?

Media releases, National Science Week

Saturday 22 August 2020

Highlights from day eight of National Science Week

115 events, 235 competitions and online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • National: Discover storms on Jupiter in a virtual reality tour of the solar system
  • National: Discover new species, map wildlife, track the effects of climate change
  • NSW: Fit or fat? How your postcode affects your health
  • NSW: ID a frog and meet a radioecologist on the Sydney Science Trail
  • VIC: How is nature good for your health and wellbeing?
  • VIC: Phasmid of the opera: performances featuring music, dance and a stick insect
  • TAS: What microbes are growing in your sourdough?
  • TAS: Make a canoe and hear about local Aboriginal engineering and navigation

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

Coming up:

Fossil fight, wildlife under fire, and the astro-origins of your smartphone – see a preview of Sunday’s highlights.

National Science Week 2020 runs from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

[continue reading…]

Storms on Jupiter, swim with sea dragons, and Australia’s first scientists

Media releases, National Science Week

Friday 21 August 2020

Highlights from day seven of National Science Week

171 events, 325 competitions and online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • National: Take a virtual reality trip around the solar system
  • VIC: Taste tomorrow: want to try some fake meat, sautéed spider and lobster lollies?
  • VIC: What will beer taste like in the future?
  • ACT: Who are the Indigenous STEM leaders, from maths to medicine?
  • NSW: Stones, bones, irrigation, and eel farming: hear about Australia’s first engineers
  • SA: What can you learn about gravitational wave detection via Minecraft?
  • NT: STEMfit: Can sport kick off a love for science and technology?
  • WA: Shrink your plastic footprint with a sea shepherdess

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

Coming up:

Dancing with stick insects, healing nature, and what’s in your sourdough? – see a preview of Saturday’s highlights

National Science Week 2020 runs from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

[continue reading…]

Herding caterpillars, good science, and bad behaviour in space

Media releases, National Science Week

Thursday 20 August 2020

Highlights from day six of National Science Week

209 events, 401 competitions and online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • NSW: When artificial light becomes pollution
  • NSW: How do you take climate change action that works?
  • NSW: What do algae have to do with beer making?
  • QLD: Finding Nemo—and checking the water quality of his home
  • QLD: Cover coming eco-anxiety to survive and thrive: Generation Z to the rescue
  • SA: What’s good and bad behaviour in space?
  • SA: How can you tell good science from bad? Ask the experts (if you trust them!)
  • SA: Discover the love-hate relationship between butterflies and ants
  • TAS: Beauty from the ashes: recovery after bushfires
  • WA: A visit to the (ancient) beach – Kalgoorlie-Boulder style
  • NT: Water, desalination and sugary drinks—water is life in Arnhem Land
  • National: Lifehacks to cut your carbon and your fuel bills

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

Coming up:

Storms on Jupiter, swim with sea dragons, and Australia’s first scientists – see a preview of Friday’s highlights

National Science Week 2020 runs from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

[continue reading…]