Science in Public

Macquarie University to link Australia’s future smart satellites

As partners in the $245 million SmartSat CRC announced in Adelaide this morning.

Eighty-four research and industry partners are contributing $190 million investment in cash and in kind to the new Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics, and the Australian government is contributing a further $55 million. The CRC is led by the University of South Australia. 

“A new generation of low-cost smart satellite technology has the potential to enhance agriculture, mining, communication and national security,” says Associate Professor Sam Reisenfeld, who leads Macquarie University’s contribution to the CRC.

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Starving cells may control melanoma

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Centenary Logo

Could we treat melanoma by cutting off its food source?

The latest research from Sydney’s Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney suggests we could.

Last year the researchers showed they could starve prostate cancer. Now a further discovery opens up the prospect of a new class of drugs that could work across a range of cancers including melanoma.

Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. It is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and third most common cancer in Australia.

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Aussie science in a cold Chicago, Famelab, travel grants and more

I’m writing from a cold Chicago where, this weekend, I’m holding a dinner for international journalists (and a few policy-makers) to celebrate and showcase Australian science.

We’ll have science editors from the Economist, Asahi Shimbun, The Financial Times and many others.

International journalists love stories of Australian science and we will provide! We’ll have highlights from 2013 and from our coming edition of Stories of Australian Science. If you have any exciting developments you’d like me to mention on Sunday drop me one bullet point, and a weblink and I’ll see if I can fit it in.

Stories of Australian Science is being finalised but we can still take a few late submissions.

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Australia Day honours and awards, and women in physics: physics in February

Posted on behalf of Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Already, 2014 is shaping up to be an interesting year, in terms of both discoveries and the political and funding environment in which we operate.

But it’s great to start with a triumph, so we congratulate Professor Bruce McKellar who was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Australia Day honours. With his achievements in theoretical physics and his continuing contributions to scientific organisations here and overseas, this is an honour richly deserved.

For the AIP, this year we want to reinvigorate our Women in Physics programs. Physics has traditionally been a field dominated by men, and we must work to redress the deeply-rooted gender imbalances that prevent career advancement. [continue reading…]

Science in Cabinet, the Eurekas and the next Brian Cox: physics in October

Posted on behalf of Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Now that the federal election is over, things are starting to settle down and, while “Science” no long has its own named Cabinet seat, my own perception is that we may have a strong friend of science in Ian Macfarlane as the new Industry minister. I met with Mr Macfarlane twice last year—he visited us at ANSTO, and joined Science Meets Parliament, and he showed a keen and educated interest in a wide variety of research issues.

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Speakers celebrate our 50th, women in physics and Einstein: physics in September 2013

From Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Welcome to my round-up of physics news and events for September and beyond.

It’s 50 years since the Australian Institute of Physics broke away from the UK-based Institute of Physics to represent Australian physics in research, education, industry and the community.

To help us celebrate, Hans Bachor AM, Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, will give a series of 50th Anniversary talks across the country over the next few months. An expert in experimental quantum optics and an active promoter of physics, Hans is a Fellow of the AIP whose contributions to physics have been recognised with many AIP and other awards over his career. I’ll bring you details of his talks in future bulletins. [continue reading…]

AIP awards, Women in Physics tour and Brian Cox: physics in June 2013

From Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

First, I have great pleasure today in announcing two AIP awards: Lloyd Hollenberg from the University of Melbourne is the recipient of the 2012 AIP Walter Boas Medal, which recognises excellence in research in physics in Australia; and David Jamieson, also from the University of Melbourne, is the recipient of the 2012 AIP Outstanding Service to Physics Award. I congratulate them on the outstanding achievements that have led to their awards, of which more below. [continue reading…]

2013 Fresh Science State Finals

How might tooth stem cells help repair damaged brains? How do trees cope with thirst and starvation? Do whales need personal space? And is there an early blood test for Alzheimer’s?

These are some of the questions our 2013 Fresh Science State Finalists are working on.

We’ve picked some of Australia’s brightest early-career scientists to participate in a one-day media and communication boot camp where they’ll learn how to talk science to journalists, business and the public. The course is based on Science in Public’s national media training program.

We’re wrapping up the finalists’ training with a small networking reception where we’ll give them one last challenge. Can they excite and inspire over a glass of wine?

The receptions are invite-only but contact AJ if you’re interested to attend: aj@scienceinpublic.com.au

This year the state-final courses will run in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. Details of each event are below.

Perth: Tuesday April 16, University of Western Australia’s University Club

Adelaide: Thursday 18 April, The Science Exchange

Brisbane: Tuesday 23 April, the University of Queensland’s St Lucia Campus

Melbourne: Tuesday 30 April, Scienceworks in Spotswood

Sydney: Thursday 2 May, ANSTO in Lucas Heights

The 2013 Fresh Science State Finals are supported by ANSTO, Science Works, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland.

Remote reefs can be tougher than they look

Scott Reef had largely recovered from a catastrophic mass bleaching of corals within twelve years of the disturbance, despite the lack of connectivity to other reefs in the region. The rate of recovery was attributed to the lack of many local anthropogenic pressures affecting reefs around the world, such as degraded water quality and overfishing of herbivores (credit: N Thake).

WA’s Scott Reef has recovered from mass bleaching in 1998

Isolated coral reefs can recover from catastrophic damage as effectively as those with nearby undisturbed neighbours, a long-term study by marine biologists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) has shown.

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