ABC projects

We help the ABC from time to time.

Wildlife Spotter, the ABC\’s citizen science experiment for National Science Week 2016 launched on Monday 1 August and will run into September.

Four weeks in: more than 45,000 citizen scientists have identified 1.7 million animals in 1.3 million images. 

For media enquiries, to organise interviews, or for more information about Wildlife Spotter:

How do you feel about climate change?

Researchers want to know

Media contacts: Lynette Plenderleith, lynette@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0413 912 536; Tanya Ha, tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863

Talent available for interview and quotes

Does cutting your contribution to climate change also improve your mental health? Researchers want to know how you’re dealing with eco-anxiety.

The public health scientists – from Melbourne’s Deakin and Monash universities – are exploring how bad news about the environment brings us down and whether taking even small actions on climate change boosts our mental health.

To find out, they are asking people to take a survey which aims to understand the mental health impacts of climate change.

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How much carbon will you pledge to save this National Science Week?

See how much carbon you could save with just one small change and join our national online challenge to cut carbon emissions.

Media release: Wednesday 12 August

Media contacts: Andrew Masterson, andrew@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0488 777 179; Ben Keirnan, ben@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 184 858.

Put on a jumper when you’re cold, cut your shower time, eat roo or fish instead of beef, cycle instead of driving. These are some of the small changes that you, your household or your school can adopt to reduce your carbon footprint.

Sign on at Carbon Counter, a countrywide challenge produced by the ABC Science for National Science Week. See what savings your lifestyle hacks will make and pledge to make a difference.

The Carbon Counter project – which launches onWednesday 12 August– invites individuals, households and schools to pledge small changes to day-to-day energy, food and transport use with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas production.

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Searching for insight? Maybe get into nature

Early results from Australia-wide experiment suggest being outdoors can be a good way to trigger “aha” moments.

People are most likely to have a sudden bright idea when out in the bush – or lying in bed.

That’s one of the early observations arising from The Aha! Challenge, the month-long Australia-wide science experiment that kicked off during National Science Week and runs until the end of August.

The experiment, which revolves around a series of online brainteasers, aims to explore sudden bursts of clarity and insight, and their role in problem-solving. In effect, it’s a nationwide quest to find the things that make you go “aha!

And so far the results have been very revealing.

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National challenge seeks to get inside your head

Researchers set up Australia-wide experiment to explore why and when the pennies drop.

Scientists want to know the things that make you go “aha!”.

Throughout August, researchers from the University of Melbourne are conducting a country-wide citizen science project to better understand how the human brain works.

The focus of the project, dubbed The Aha! Challenge, is to investigate the kind of sudden problem-solving insight that makes you spontaneously exclaim “yes!” or “at last!” or, indeed, “aha!”. It’s the ABC’s community project for National Science Week.

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Aussie citizen scientists unite to help the Great Barrier Reef

Citizen scientists from around Australia are helping scientists and reef managers get a much better picture of the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

So far, they have looked at over 2.7 million points on more than 170,000 underwater images of the Reef and told us whether they can see coral, algae or sand.

They’re all taking part in Virtual Reef Diver—the ABC’s online citizen science project for National Science Week.

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Help protect the Great Barrier Reef without getting your feet wet

The Great Barrier Reef is big, so big that scientists need your help to track its health.

We’re inviting every Australian to dive through their computer screens into the Reef by taking part in Virtual Reef Diver—the ABC’s online citizen science project for National Science Week and the International Year of the Reef.

“We need the community to pitch in to help us classify thousands of underwater images of the Reef,” says spatial scientist and project leader Dr Erin Peterson from Queensland University of Technology.

“Tell us whether you can see coral, algae or sand, and we’ll be able to get an estimate of the coral cover in that image.”

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Are you a slave to your smartphones? Or master of your mobile?

We spend three hours a day on our phones, on average, with almost one in five of us admitting we check our phone at least once every 15 minutes.

These are some of the early findings from Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey, which is looking at how we use our smartphones and how we feel about them.

More than 10,000 people have taken part in the survey so far, but there’s still plenty of time to participate with the survey running until Friday, August 25.

In particular, researchers want to hear from more young people, especially those aged between 12 and 25.

Psychology PhD student Bep Uink from Murdoch University, says: “Young Australians are digital natives so it’s possible they have more sophisticated relationships with their smartphones than their parents’ generation.”

“It’s really important for researchers to hear from young people about the benefits they get from their smartphones, and conversely the downsides of having such a ubiquitous device in their lives, that we might not otherwise be aware of,” she says.

Other early findings from the survey show: [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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Wine science, outer-space, hackerspaces, the scent of death, and are you a slave to your smartphone?

A taste of some of the 1,800+ National Science Week events and activities around the country.

  • What’s your relationship with your phone? (national)
  • Is your future written in your genes? (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth)
  • NASA scientists and potential Martians on the Red Planet (NSW)
  • Science Gallery International’s bloody Australian debut (VIC)
  • Hunting pests in pantries (WA and SA)
  • Plus many more

International guests

  • Canadian astronaut and ‘Space Oddity’ Chris Hadfield
  • The man behind the visual effects of the movie Interstellar Oliver James
  • US science writer Dava Sobel, author of The Glass Universe, revealing more hidden figures from the history of astronomy
  • English physicist, writer and broadcaster Paul Davies

Local science stars

  • Katie Mack—the astrophysicist J K Rowling follows—will be the Women in Physics Touring Lecturer, before heading back to America in 2018
  • Astrophysicist and science communicator Alan Duffy, Mamamia’s ‘hot astronomer
  • Lee Constable—Steminist, host of Network Ten’s science show SCOPE, and the brains behind Co-Lab: Science Meets Street Art
  • 17-year-old inventor, social entrepreneur and educational pioneer Taj Pabari, who developed a build-it-yourself tablet and creativity kit for kids
  • Forensic chemist and modern-day Sherlock Holmes Shari Forbes, who uses a ‘farm’ of buried bodies to study the smell of death and decay
  • Comedian, science communicator and Mars One candidate Josh Richards

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Last call for wildlife spotters; innovative kids off to Silicon Valley; and who will win the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science?

Today: ABC’s Wildlife Spotter project and competition closes at midnight tonight. 

But the project has been so successful that the wildlife spotting will continue at Australian Museum.

“We’ve had reports of northern quolls, foxes stealing malleefowl eggs, wedge-tailed eagles, and ‘lion-like’ dogs,” says Kylie Andrews, coordinator of the project at the ABC.

Scientists are available to talk about the impact of the project, and how it will change their research on how our native wildlife are going in the wild.

Media release below, or contact Ellie Michaelides for interviews on ellie@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 809 789.    [continue reading…]