SA

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…]

One unlucky letter causes an infant epilepsy

A 20 year old mystery was solved this week with the discovery that an epilepsy that affects infants is caused by the change of a single letter in one gene. Seizures in infancy are not rare, but this familial epilepsy occurs in probably 60 families across Australia. It can also cause a movement disorder later in life.
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A part of her students’ lives: 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Jane Wright

Students at Adelaide’s Loreto College have been investigating extra-sensory perception, finding the best way to neutralise spills of household cleaners, and testing the antibiotic effects of Manuka honey. They present their results not just by writing reports, but using talks, videos, role-plays and stories. Their activities are typical of the practical, can-do attitude of their science coordinator, Dr Jane Wright. It’s an attitude she’s also applied in her leadership of her chosen profession.

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Ultrasound puts water back in the Murray Darling…

…by putting the squeeze on mining waste

You may not be able to squeeze blood out of a stone but, by applying the right amount of ultrasound during processing, Jianhua (Jason) Du and colleagues from the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) have been able to squeeze a considerable amount of fresh water from mining waste.

Honeycomb-like structure which retains significant amount of water in tailings before ultrasonic treatment. (Photo: Jason Du)

As well as conserving water the technique reduces the waste bulk, which could also save mining companies millions of dollars in operational costs and help postpone significant capital expenditure, Jason says. Jason is one of sixteen winners of the national 2010 Fresh Science program – highlighting the work of leading young scientists.

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Nano-sand to improve lotions and cosmetics

Patented South Australian technology

South Australian researchers have invented and patented a new technology for delivering cosmetics and drugs to the skin.They are using nanoparticles of silica (essentially sand) to create longer lasting cosmetics and creams that control the delivery of drugs through the skin.

They already have a family of international patents on their technology, and are now actively looking for commercial partners to get their invention out of the lab and on to your skin.

 

“We are using specially engineered nanoparticles of silica—so small that about a thousand of them could fit across a human hair—to create the emulsions on which many cosmetic and therapeutic products are based,” says Nasrin Ghouchi-Eskandar from the University of South Australia’s Ian Wark Research Institute.

The work is being presented for the first time in public through Fresh Science, a communication boot camp for early-career scientists held at the Melbourne Museum. Nasrin was one of 16 winners from across Australia.

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