Galaxies get more chaotic as they age

A comparison of a young (top) and old (bottom) galaxy observed as part of the SAMI Galaxy Survey. Subaru credit: Image from the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program

An international team led by Australian research centre ASTRO 3D reports that age is the driving force in changing how stars move within galaxies.

Galaxies start life with their stars rotating in an orderly pattern but in some the motion of stars is more random. Until now, scientists have been uncertain about what causes this – possibly the surrounding environment or the mass of the galaxy itself.

A new study, published in a paper today in MNRAS (Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society), has found that the most important factor is neither of these things. It shows the tendency of the stars to have random motion is driven mostly by the age of the galaxy – things just get messy over time.

“When we did the analysis, we found that age, consistently, whichever way we slice or dice it, is always the most important parameter,” says first author Prof Scott Croom, an ASTRO 3D researcher at the University of Sydney.

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Gippsland plumber wins Australian astronomy medal for 400,000 star measurements over decades

Plumber and award-winning amateur astronomer Rod Stubbings pictured with his telescope.
Plumber and award-winning amateur astronomer Rod Stubbings, pictured with his telescope. Credit: Rod Stubbings

Every clear night for decades, Rod Stubbings from Tetoora Road in Gippsland has looked at a set of about 700 stars annually, recording changes in their brightness.

He is just one of three people worldwide to have made 400,000 measurements of the brightness of variable stars. His observations have helped astronomers in over a dozen countries to understand stars in the Milky Way. “When I report an interesting outburst, ground and space telescopes can zoom in for a closer look,” Rod says.

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Talk to your family on Sunday, World Hearing Day, about their hearing issues. Help is available.

Sunday is World Hearing Day. Many people wait too long to act with hearing issues that could be improved. MindEar’s audiologists and tinnitus researchers are available for media interviews Saturday and Sunday morning to encourage people to do something about their hearing issues. Details below

Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all!

World Hearing Day Changing Mindsets. Changing mindsets is crucial for improving access and reducing the cost of unaddressed hearing loss. Let's make ear and hearing care a reality for all! 03 March 2024 #WorldHearingDay
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Help is available for 1.5 million Australians with serious tinnitus

Let them know during International Tinnitus Awareness Week, from 5 to 11 February. 

  • Millions of people have been told there is nothing they can do about their tinnitus.
  • That’s bad advice and for many it leads to more stress anxiety and depression.
  • Our researchers in Auckland, Sydney, France, Belgium, the UK and the USA are available for interview throughout Tinnitus Week.
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Train your brain to overcome tinnitus

An app can change the lives of those affected by tinnitus

  • Millions of people have been told to there is nothing they can do about their tinnitus.
  • That’s bad advice and for many it leads to more stress anxiety and depression. 
  • With specialist psychological support you can train your brain to ignore tinnitus. But that’s expensive and not widely available. 
  • Now, a research team led by the University of Auckland have developed an app that, in a trial published today in Frontiers in Audiology and Otologyreduced the impact of tinnitus in two-thirds of users in weeks. 
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New approaches to blood and liver cancer therapies recognised with $2.5 million CSL Centenary Fellowships

Boosting exhausted T cells: Dr Daniel Utzschneider, Melbourne and
On the path to a liver cancer vaccine: Dr Ankur Sharma, Perth are the two research programs selected as a part of the global biotechnology company’s long-standing promise to support scientists in Australia

MELBOURNE – 12 October 2023 – Two Australian scientists have each been awarded CSL Centenary Fellowships, valued at $1.25 million over five years. They are each developing new kinds of potential cancer therapies, based on their fundamental research into cancer biology.

The Fellowships were presented at the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Annual Meeting on Thursday 12 October 2023 in Brisbane.

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How cancer’s similarities to embryonic cell development could lead to a life-saving vaccine

Dr Ankur Sharma, Laboratory Head at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, 2024 CSL Centenary Fellow

Dr Ankur Sharma has discovered how liver cancer cells work together in a similar way to the rapidly dividing cells in a human embryo. He is now trialling ways to identify which liver cancers may respond to immunotherapy.

The 2024 $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship will support his next bold step at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth. His vision is for vaccines against cancer, which could one day allow us to manage it as a chronic disease.

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Training T-cells for a marathon against cancer

Daniel Utzschneider, The Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, 2024 CSL Centenary Fellow

Immunotherapy is transforming cancer outcomes but only for about a third of patients.

Dr Daniel Utzschneider believes the reason for this may lie with T cells, white blood cells that are a key component of our adaptive immune system, which can become exhausted from the constant fight against cancer.

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Finding the exact location of a power fault in minutes

New technology that could help restore power quickly even on high bushfire risk days

Some of Victoria’s worst bushfires have been started by power lines. So, power distribution companies have installed devices that limit the energy flowing to the fault to cut the fire risk. However, in networks equipped with these devices, communities might experience power outages for hours while network operators attempt to track down a fault along tens of kilometres of power line.

“In trials in China and Switzerland we demonstrated that our technology can find the fault location to within hundreds of metres in a few minutes, instead of hours or days,” says Monash University engineering researcher, Dr Reza Razzaghi.

“In Australia, that would allow power to be restored to the community quickly, which can be vitally important for air conditioning during extreme heat, for people who rely on life-supporting electric medical devices, and for the many other home and business users.”

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Patrolling honey bees expose spread of antimicrobial resistance

Insects prove their strength as environmental biomonitors

Bees could become biomonitors, checking their neighbourhoods to determine how far antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has spread, according to research by Macquarie University scientists.

At least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that 10 million people will die due to AMR by 2050. But we have few tools to keep track of its spread in the environment.

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