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Fresh Science in the pub; half a million in Science Week grants; and more training dates

Fresh Science turns 20 this year.

We’re giving 50 up-and-coming researchers from 25 organisations the chance to hone their communication skills, and practise presenting their science to journalists, schoolkids, science leaders, and down at their local pub.

We received close to 150 nominations for Fresh Science this year. It was tough to judge!

Hear the latest science and meet this year’s Fresh Scientists at pub events in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth – details below.

Thank you to the 17 universities, three museums, and other groups that have partnered with us to deliver Fresh Science this year.

Also this month:

And finally, media & communication training for scientists:

If you or any of your staff need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media, join us for one of our training courses. Or talk to us about a customised course.

We’ve got courses coming up in:

  • Sydney – 11 October
  • Melbourne – early December (TBC)
  • Perth – 7 December

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

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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The mystery of leaf size solved

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. [continue reading…]

How healthy is your relationship with your smartphone?

Are you a slave to your smartphone? Or have you mastered your mobile?

Researchers want your help to build a deeper understanding of our relationship with our smartphones.

Take part in Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—the online project for National Science Week.

How has having a smartphone changed your life?

Has it made your life easier? Or harder? How much time do you spend on it? Does it help you connect (or disconnect) with people? And could you live without it?

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey is asking you to share how you use your smartphone and what impact this ubiquitous device is having on your life.

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Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

New dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The international research led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.

This evidence of humans living in the Sumatra rainforest more than 63,000 years ago, also suggests they could have made the crossing to the Australian continent even earlier than the accepted 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Other Australian universities involved in the research included the Australian National University, the University of Queensland, the University of Wollongong, Griffith University and Southern Cross University.

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National Science Week 2017 showcases key importance of science to the community

Press release from: Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinous AO, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and Senator for NSW

National Science Week, which I am delighted to launch today, provides a valuable opportunity for all Australians to meet scientists, discuss hot topics, do science and celebrate its discoveries and impact on our society.

This is the 20th anniversary of National Science Week and it will be held from 12-20 August.

It has become one of Australia’s biggest festivals with 1.3 million people expected to participate in more than 2000 events, including hands-on and online activities and competitions from the Tiwi Islands to Antarctica and Christmas Island to Cape York.
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Fresh Science is open; National Science Week; prize reminders; events; and more

Fresh Science 2017 is seeking early-career researchers with a story to tell.

This national competition will offer 10 up-and-coming scientists in each state a day of media training, and the skills they need to present their work to the media, the public, schoolkids and at the pub.

If you know a colleague who you think could benefit from Fresh Science, encourage them to nominate.

Then join us later in the year to hear their stories and celebrate 20 years of Fresh Science.

More below.

National Science Week is almost upon us

1,800 events and activities are now registered for National Science Week, coming up from 12 to 20 August. That means that there’s plenty to choose from, but it’s also a great opportunity to promote your science.

Make sure you register your event, and let us help you shout about it. More below.

Also in this bulletin

And our upcoming media and engagement training dates

Do you (or any of your staff) need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media?

Join us for our scheduled one-day courses around the country or talk to us about a customised course.

  • Sydney – 31 August
  • Canberra – 5 September
  • Melbourne – 12 September
  • Adelaide – 19 September
  • Perth – 21 September

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Better batteries for electric cars; smartphone testing for diseases & clean water; Nobel Laureate who transformed fuels, plastic and drugs; and more

Thursday 27 July 2017, at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress, Melbourne Convention Centre

Today at the Centenary Chemistry Congress

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