UNSW x National Science Week

A team of big thinkers from UNSW Sydney is available over the next two weeks to discuss bold ideas for the future.

  • 90 per cent of today’s solar cells use Aussie technology. But we’ve only just started on the journey to cheap solar – look out for solar roof tiles, solar windows, and farmers making hydrogen, says Ms Justine ‘JJ’ Jarvinen. JJ will join former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for a live panel discussion, Zero Carbon World, online from 13 October.
  • We’re going back to the Moon this decade. Aussie mining tech will be there to help build permanent settlements, predicts Professor Andrew Dempster. Professor Dempster also says that the cost of putting a kilogram in orbit is now hundreds of dollars. It used to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. But is it worth it?
  • Australian farms will be feeding the world with legumes and cellular meat invented by Professor Johannes le Coutre. They’ll also be ‘growing’ hydrogen, says Ms JJ Jarvinen. Professor le Coutre is part of free event The Future of Food online from 16 August.
  • Our cells touch and feel their way in the body. Touch guides their development. So how will they cope with a long mission to Mars? Dr Kate Poole is finding out.
  • Is artificial intimacy a threat? Will the machines move in and take over our love lives, asks Professor Rob Brooks.
  • Associate Professor Neeraj Sharma is planning batteries that don’t die #buttonsand phones that only need charging once a year, but he needs to fine tune the chemistry to stop the electrodes dissolving like sugar in tea.
  • Could the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin one day be given long-term to at risk young patients to counteract the effects of early life stress and head off mental health issues, asks Dr Sarah Baracz. Sarah will present the online event Can the ‘love hormone’ alleviate the impacts of childhood trauma? on 19 August.
  • If women learn more about their bodies, we can save lives from ‘unmentionable’ cancers, says Associate Professor Caroline Ford. She’s developing blood tests for early cancer diagnosis. But she says that lack of knowledge means that easy to treat cancers can become deadly.
  • Plus, changing ocean currents; seaweed forests; fighting STIs with data; tiny machines in nature; teaching us to recognise rips; and putting carbon back in the ground.

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