Don’t recycle your specs – new is cheaper for Africa; NASA boss in Sydney; L’Oréal Fellowships expand to NZ

Bulletins, Media bulletins

You might feel good sending about your old reading glasses to a developing country. But it would actually be more beneficial to give $10 towards providing new spectacles when you buy your new glasses, according to an international study led by Sydney scientists.

The study found that only 7% of a test sample of 275 recycled glasses were useable, and that this helped push the delivery cost to more than $US20. Ready-made glasses can be supplied for half that cost.


  • Sydney today: Marine, astronaut and NASA head honcho Dr Charles Bolden Jr discusses the important role that NASA plays in shaping the future of space exploration.
  • L’Oréal support for women in science expands to NZ – nominations open for Australian and NZ women now.
  • 17 April: Jim’s Mowing founder talks at NICTA about his work, his research, and what makes people tick in the Meet-the-Founder lecture series.

Today: The real cost of recycled specs

Supplying recycled spectacles to the developing world costs twice as much as simply providing ready-made spectacles, according to a study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science by researchers from the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), Johns Hopkins University, Brien Holden Vision Institute, the University of New South Wales and Vision CRC.

Although the intention is good, recycled spectacles are not a cost-effective method of correcting eyesight, says Dr David Wilson, Research Manager Asia-Pacific for ICEE and Sydney-based head author on the paper.

He says the practice should be discouraged as a strategy for assisting developing countries.

Contact me for interviews with David Wilson, 0417 131 977.For the full release, go to

Today in Sydney: Marine, astronaut and NASA head honcho—Dr Charles Bolden Jr

We’re not organising this one. But NASA’s administrator is in Australia. I’m excited, but then I remember Apollo 8 going behind the Moon on Christmas Day.

Today the head of NASA, Charles F Bolden Jr, will speak at a public event at the University of Sydney co-hosted by the US Studies Centre, CAASTRO (ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics) and the US Consulate General.

We don’t know what else he’s got on.

They say he’ll talk about the next chapter in America’s story of space exploration and will include a Q&A with students and academics.

Retired Marine Corps Major General Charles Bolden Jnr travelled into orbit four times between 1986 and 1994 and was appointed the twelfth administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by President Obama in 2009.

Media contact is Nina Fudala, 0409 321 918,

Looking ahead: L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships – Nominations now open, winners announced in August

Nominations for the 2012 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships are now open.

This year the three Fellowships increase in value to $25,000 each. And for the first time they’re open to New Zealanders.

Each year since 2007, L’Oréal Australia has offered three Fellowships to help early-career women scientists consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science.

The winners will be announced on August 24 at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Read about past fellows here:

17 April: Jim’s Mowing founder talks at NICTA about his research and what makes people tick in the Meet-the-Founder lecture series

Jim Penman started a part-time gardening business while undertaking his PhD in history at La Trobe University. He launched a full-time mowing business in 1982 with just $24.

Jim’s Group now has more than 3,200 franchisees and a turnover of about $350 million.

Jim is still actively involved in the running of the business, and is directly accessible to all his franchisees and to any client with a serious complaint.

He is currently funding a research program at La Trobe University on the biological basis of social behaviour. It is based on his PhD thesis. The Australian Research Council has further aided this project with a $1 million matching grant.