Science in Public

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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Scott Reef images

Below are a series of photos and videos taken from Scott Reef. To access the high resolution version of the images, click on them to open them in high res then right/command click and select save as.
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Nuclear reactions; Bragg’s legacy; physicists elected to the Academy – physics in April, 2013

From Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Nuclear reactions reveal ground-water consumption, art fraud and contribute to emerging communications technologies. Dr Joseph Bevitt, of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), will discuss nuclear reactions and how we utilise them at a free public tour and lecture on Tuesday 14 May, for the NSW AIP Branch’s May meeting.

Also coming up in branch events, Dr John Jenkin from La Trobe University will give an account of Lawrence Bragg’s achievements and legacy. November marked the centenary of the announcement of Bragg’s Law, and his inauguration of the science of X-ray crystallography in collaboration with his father. X-ray crystallography has transformed the physical and biological sciences from engineering to ecology, and much more. John will give an SA AIP Branch public lecture at the University of Adelaide on Thursday 4 April. [continue reading…]

Saving lives from TB and is Australia top in Asia-Pacific science?

Faster diagnosis for tuberculosis could help stop the spread of this killer disease. Sydney’s Centenary Institute is helping a rural Chinese hospital to more quickly diagnose TB and to monitor how its 1,300 TB patients respond to treatment.

This is the first in a series of stories in the lead-up to World TB Day this Sunday 24 March.

TB was the leading cause of death in Australia 130 years ago but today the developing world suffers the brunt of the disease, with a third of all new cases occurring in India and China.

This week we’ll announce a new centre opening in Sydney to contribute to a world-wide campaign to eliminate TB by 2050. We’ll also be talking about Australian efforts to fight TB in Vietnam, where 54,000 people die from TB every year.

And is Australia top for scientific research in the region? Which is Australia’s top-performing institute? This week Nature will reveal its 2012 Asia-Pacific research rankings.

And in Melbourne 2,000 students from 80 countries gather for a youth UN.

More below:

  • Sydney scientists on the hunt for faster TB diagnosis for China’s millions of TB cases
  • Nature releases 2012 research rankings for the Asia-Pacific
  • Future leaders meet in Melbourne to change the world
  • Genetics, nanotech and cancer cures: Dubbo talks science at the club
  • The end of absolute poverty – Gates Foundation policy maker to visit Australia [continue reading…]

Weighing the Earth with a Nobel Laureate; the physics of Luna Park, and more

Do you weigh more in Melbourne or Canberra? How much does your weight change as you travel across the country? How much does the earth weigh?

Later this morning we’re launching a national experiment with 2011 physics Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, and year nine students at Albert Park College in Melbourne.

They’ll discover how much the Earth weighs and also that as you travel across Australia your weight changes (just a bit). Over the year, the Australian Institute of Physics hopes to involve thousands of people around the country as part of their 50th anniversary.

Also in this bulletin:

  • Roller coasters and the Roulettes – the physics of Luna Park
  • The end of absolute poverty – Gates Foundation leader vising Australia
  • The killer on our doorstep – World TB Day, 24 March
  • Bringing science to pubs from Hobart to Broome
  • “Star-Craving Mad” launches [continue reading…]

Weighing the Earth with a Nobel Laureate

 

 

 

Launch: Friday 1 March 2013, 9-10.30am

Albert Park College, 83 Danks St, Albert Park, Victoria

Do you weigh more in Melbourne or Canberra?

What does our planet weigh?

Australia’s 2011 physics Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, is today launching the start of a national physics experiment that everyone can participate in.

School students and the public will follow Galileo to measure local gravity. They’ll measure the weight of the Earth, and discover that your weight changes (just a little) as you travel around Australia.

Brian Schmidt will introduce Year 9 students at Albert Park College to the experiment first performed by Galileo, and together they’ll make the first contributions to a new map. Over the year, the Australian Institute of Physics hopes to involve thousands of people around the country. [continue reading…]

Little g, the Roulettes and roller coasters – physics in March, 2013

From Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Australia’s 2011 physics Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, will launch the AIP’s national physics experiment tomorrow, Friday 1 March.

Brian will introduce Year 9 students at Albert Park College, Melbourne, to a classic experiment first performed by Galileo, and together they’ll make the first contributions to a new dataset that may even be able to tell you where in Australia you should go if you want to weigh less.

As you might recall, the experiment is called ‘The BIG little g project’ and is open to people around Australia to participate. Read on for more information.

In  other news, we are considering lodging a bid to host the 13th Asia-Pacific Physics Conference here in Australia in 2016. The triennial meetings  are dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the latest developments and ideas in physics and related science in the Asia-Pacific physics communities. [continue reading…]

Weighing the earth at school – physics in February 2013

From Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute  Physics

It is a great pleasure and honour to be the incoming president of the Australian Institute of Physics, and to be joined by Warrick Couch, of Swinburne University, the incoming Vice-President.

For me, one of the highlights of 2012 was to help organise the recent Congress in Sydney:  one of my main roles was as overall Scientific Program Chair, and I got to know more about the wide range of physics activities, beyond my own interests in condensed-matter physics.  I like the idea of a “big physics” that asserts inclusion of all the overlap with chemistry, astronomy, biology and indeed engineering and medicine.  The alternative of a small “ivory-tower” of pure research will lead, I fear, to marginalisation of our subject.  So I think that we need to be relentless in promoting ourselves to physicists (and others who are really doing physics) as broadly in society as possible. [continue reading…]

Video gaming addiction can control your thoughts

A psychology researcher from Canberra has collected some of the first scientific evidence that video gaming can be addictive in a way similar to gambling and alcohol.

“People who spend an excessive amount of time playing video games are powerless to stop themselves from thinking about gaming,” says Olivia Metcalf, who did the research for her PhD at the Australian National University. “This is a pattern typical of addiction,” she says.

 

“Many people have claimed that video games can be addictive. But this is some of the first hard evidence.” [continue reading…]