Dopamine hits; Antarctic art; a mass rocket launch; and will we have enough prawns for Christmas?

Media releases, National Science Week

This year’s festival runs 13 to 21 August, with thousands of events around Australia.

Entertainment, business, environment, food and wine, Indigenous media, the arts, health, technology, farming and agriculture, lifestyle, education, and disability media…

EVERY round can find a story in this year’s National Science Week. Here are some of the early top picks:

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President Biden to release first pics from the $US10 billion James Webb Space Telescope Tuesday 12 July, 7.30 am AEST

Other

What will Australians see with Webb?

Aussie astronomers available for interviews in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

They’re using Webb to look for the first stars, the first galaxies, baby planets, massive black holes.

Media contacts: Niall Byrne, niall@scienceinpublic.com.au, 0417-131-977 or
Jane Watkins, jane@scienceinpublic.com.au, 0425 803 204

Over the past 30 years, Hubble has transformed science and culture, revealing a Universe of 200 billion galaxies. Webb will see further, solving today’s mysteries and creating new ones.

Image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, known as Webb’s First Deep Field, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Courtesy of NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

On Tuesday morning Joe Biden will release ‘the first picture’ then NASA will release a suite of images early Wednesday morning from the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble.

Nearly 40 researchers across Australia are eagerly awaiting data from web for their projects. Many of them are available to talk on Tuesday about what they hope to see with Webb and about their reaction to the first pictures.

Much of the Webb data is flowing back to Earth through Tidbinbilla, and some comes from an instrument designed by Peter Tuthill at the University of Sydney. He is relieved and excited. “This is a day I have been looking forward to for a big part of my career. Everything about the Webb is so over-the-top audacious – from the titanic articulated mirror down to its orbit out in the cold voids of interplanetary space.”

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First James Webb pictures – comments from Australian users

Other

Professor Karl Glazebrook, Swinburne University/ASTRO 3D

Dr. Elisabete da Cunha, UWA/ICRAR/ASTRO 3D

Dr Nicha Leethochawalit, University of Melbourne/ ASTRO 3D,

Dr. Kathryn Grasha, ANU/ASTRO 3D

Professor Peter Tuthill, University of Sydney

Dr Benjamin Pope, University of Queensland

Professor James Miller-Jones, Curtin University

Dr Christophe Pinte, Monash University, Melbourne

Professor Simon Driver, UWA, Perth

Associate Professor Kim-Vy Tran, Astrophysicist, UNSW

Professor Orsola De Marco, Macquarie University

Tidbinbilla (Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex)

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74 per cent of Norway’s new cars are electric. Australia? Just 0.7 percent.

Griffith University, Monash Energy Institute, Monash University

Tax tweaks needed to fast-charge EV take up

Electric share of new car market in 2020 (%). Australians bought just under a million new cars in 2020. Less than 7,000 were electric.

Buying and running electric vehicles for business fleets is too costly under Aussie tax rules, say researchers from Griffith University and Monash University.

Their report, published today by the RACE for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre, proposes practical tax changes to support home charging and allow fleet managers to quickly adopt battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

“Some of our recommendations could be implemented right now,” says Griffith University tax law expert and lead researcher Dr Anna Mortimore.

“Because of the turnover of business fleets, these vehicles would start flowing into used car markets within three to four years, so more Australians could afford to go electric.”

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Clinical trial to test potential new combination therapy for aggressive breast cancer

Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Media releases

Media call 11 am, Garvan Institute with researchers and the late Rebecca Wilson’s brother, Jim Wilson

Meet in the foyer of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, 370 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Researchers are recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial they hope will improve survival rates for an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects about 1,500 women each year in New South Wales.

The trial will test a new strategy in cancer treatment: using a new therapy to target a ‘defence switch’ on cancer cells that alerts cancer to the threat of chemotherapy.

The trial aims to improve survival rates for patients with triple negative breast cancer, a treatment-resistant form of cancer that can quickly adapt against chemotherapy. It will commence in August.

It will be led by Associate Professor Christine Chaffer and Dr Beatriz San Juan from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and Senior Staff Specialist in medical oncology Dr Rachel Dear of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. The trial will be conducted at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Darlinghurst.

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Massive X-ray blasts, thousands of black holes revealed; a universe in a computer and more

Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA), Media releases

Next generation astronomers win national recognition

A Sydney student, early-career researchers from Perth and Melbourne, and a fast telescope have received awards for changing our view of our galaxy and the Universe.

The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) will honour the five at its Annual Scientific Meeting in Hobart 27 June – 1 July.

“Australian astronomers are among the best in the world, and the breadth of these prestigious awards shows why we lead the world in so many areas. It is a pleasure to recognise these examples of individual brilliance, as well as teamwork, and technical innovation,” says ASA President Professor John Lattanzio.

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DeadlyScience and Merck to bring physics, chemistry, and biology experiments to young Indigenous scientists

Media releases, Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, is proud to support DeadlyScience’s new program DeadlyLab to create STEM learning kits for students in remote areas. The kits will explore chemistry, physics, and biology with experiments based in Indigenous science.

DeadlyScience was founded in 2019 by proud Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt OAM, and has delivered more than 20,000 books, 500 telescopes and countless other learning tools to students in remote communities.

Now, Merck and DeadlyScience are partnering with Indigenous communities, Elders, and Indigenous subject-matter experts to create experiments, complete with worksheets and video tutorials, that can be used in school classrooms or at home.

“We work with hundreds of remote schools, who collectively have more than 28,000 students. Over 75% are Indigenous.

“We want to get them engaged with science, help them learn with play and hands-on experience, and show them Indigenous scientists. You can’t be what you can’t see,” says Corey.

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‘Sharkskin’ makes planes faster, smoother, cheaper

Australian National Nanofabrication facility, Media releases

A sharkskin-inspired coating on planes will save thousands of dollars per flight and slash carbon emissions, says Aussie start-up, MicroTau.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) today announces a $5.6 million investment in MicroTau’s ‘sharkskin’ technology developed with the help of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).

Sharks famously swim smoothly and quietly, helped by their unique skin with thousands of overlapping layers of tiny ‘scales’ or denticles to reduce their drag in the water.

Mimicking this structure on airplanes reduces turbulence, increases flying speed, and cuts fuel emissions and cost. Unfortunately, it is excruciatingly difficult to replicate the microscopic grooves and bumps with traditional manufacturing.

MicroTau have solved this puzzle using specialist laser manufacturing technology to rapidly produce the shark skin pattern in a light-curable material onto large, self-adhesive patches. Today’s funding announcement will allow them to scale-up manufacturing and grow their team of scientists, engineers, and business development specialists.

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Stem-cell models reveal glaucoma secrets  

Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Media releases

Australian researchers uncover hidden genetic markers of glaucoma.

Stem cell models of the retina and optical nerve have been used to identify previously unknown genetic markers of glaucoma, in research jointly led by scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the University of Melbourne, and the Centre for Eye Research Australia. The findings open the door to new treatment for glaucoma, which is the world’s leading cause of permanent blindness.

“We saw how the genetic causes of glaucoma act in single cells, and how they vary in different people. Current treatments can only slow the loss of vision, but this understanding is the first step towards drugs that target individual cell types,” says Professor Joseph Powell, joint lead author at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

The research, published today in the journal Cell Genomics, comes out of a long-running collaboration between Australian medical research centres to use stem-cell models to uncover the underlying genetic causes of complicated diseases.

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Rocks smashing into planets give clues about planetary evolution

Australian Institute of Physics

Images and media kit download

Planetary scientist Katarina Miljkovic is discussing how she uses “space rocks” to understand how planets form. She’s available for interview and is giving free public talks this week in North Sydney, Wollongong, and Canberra.

The planets in our solar system are vastly different although they all formed from the same cloud of gas and dust around a star – our sun. Why is this?

Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic works at Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Centre and School of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

She thinks the answers lie in studying how asteroids, comets and meteors bombarded the planets in the past, changing the surface conditions.

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