NSW

More safe havens for native plants and animals needed in NSW’s west

The squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) is listed as a vulnerable species in New South Wales. Photo: Wikimedia CC/Brisbane City Council

Location matters for species struggling to survive under a changing climate.

A new study led by Macquarie University has found we need to provide more safe havens for wildlife and plant species to survive under climate change in New South Wales’ west.

Along the Great Dividing Range, the vulnerable spotted-tailed quoll will be forced to move into higher habitats as the climate changes, but can find sanctuary in protected areas like Kosciuszko National Park.

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How close are we to quantum computers?

Quantum computers promise ultra-powerful, high speed number crunching. They’ll help us to search vast databases and model biological molecules at an atomic level. They will crack the encryptions we rely on for banking and online security but also help us make new, unbreakable codes.

How close are we to building a quantum computer? Australian scientists are working on it.

Also at the national physics congress today: meet the man in charge of planning and designing the NBNdesigning a cheaper high-precision clock for GPS, astronomy and space tracking; and fighting greenhouse gases and arc-welding fumes with super-heated thermal plasma.

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Solving the puzzle of complex inherited diseases

Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize goes to young Brisbane researcher

Jian Yang, 2012 Centenary Lawrence Creative Prize winner (credit: Centenary Institute)

The winner of the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize is Dr Jian Yang, from the Diamantina Institute of the University of Queensland.

He has solved one of the great puzzles of human genetics—why the genes typically implicated in inherited diseases like schizophrenia, obesity and diabetes only account for a small amount of their heritability. [continue reading…]

Turmeric could spice up malaria therapy

A Centenary researcher is off to New Delhi to study the impact on cerebral malaria of the major ingredient of turmeric, curcumin.

Dr Saparna Pai has been awarded an Australian Academy of Science Early-Career Australia-India Fellowship to investigate curcumin’s action on immune cells during malaria infection. The Fellowships were announced by the Academy during the visit to India of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

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Single-atom writer a landmark for quantum computing

Posted on behalf of the University of New South Wales

A research team led by Australian engineers has created the first working quantum bit based on a single atom in silicon, opening the way to ultra-powerful quantum computers of the future.

In a landmark paper published today in the journal Nature, the team describes how it was able to both read and write information using the spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron bound to a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon chip.

“For the first time, we have demonstrated the ability to represent and manipulate data on the spin to form a quantum bit, or ‘qubit’,  the basic unit of data for a quantum computer,” says Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak. “This really is the key advance towards realising a silicon quantum computer based on single atoms.”

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Fresh Science 2012 state finalists

This year, thanks to funding from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education through the Inspiring Australia initiative, and partners in other states, we’ve expanded the program to include state finals in:

Here’s the state finalists – we’ll announce the national finalists in the next week or so. [continue reading…]

The language of taste, the science of taste bubbles, what lurks beneath the surface of Sydney Harbour and more

Kicking off in Sydney this Thursday 16 August, it’s 11 days of serious science fun, with 50 events running day and night around the Powerhouse Museum, the ABC Ultimo Centre, Ultimo TAFE and the University of Technology, Sydney.

So far, we’ve blogged about:

Vietnam and Australia join forces to fight ancient killer

Photo: Centenary Institute's Greg Fox. Credit: Centenary InstituteAustralian and Vietnamese medical researchers are meeting in Sydney this week to plan their next move against tuberculosis (TB), a disease that once was Australia’s top killer and still kills 54,000 people each year in Vietnam.

The researchers are coming together in Australia to share their progress and build stronger ties in fighting a disease which threatens Australia through its presence in neighbouring countries.

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Why did a young footballer drop dead?

Centenary Institute’s Prof Chris Semsarian available for comment on sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Two fit, young professional footballers – apparently completely healthy – have suffered sudden heart attacks mid-match in recent weeks.
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