Latest Science


Creating Possible Worlds - Ann Druyan's vision of hope

Ann Druyan, creator of Cosmos: Possible Worlds reveals what it takes to create a future vision of hope. Why This Matters: There is still so much we can change for the future. Ann Druyan is a woman who wants to share her vision, and in the latest season of Cosmos on National Geographic, she has done just that. Because to her, while it’s easy to see a dystopian future, she has a vision of a […] See more

Published 11 hours ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel
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From the frontline: Switzerland

Swiss correspondent Matthias Hertl reveals the COVID-19 situation on the ground in Zurich. Why This Matters: We’re all in this together. First case reported 25 February 2020 Cases 14,829; Deaths 300 (At 12:00 local time on Sunday 29 March) Switzerland is not a place which moves quickly. Even in Zurich, the largest city by a distance, the 350,000 inhabitants take their time. Coffee by the lake is enjoyed in the sun and dinners are eaten […] See more

Published 12 hours ago. Author: Matthias Hertl from Australia's Science Channel
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One-third of Aussies with epilepsy will injure themselves having a seizure

With people with epilepsy at least 15 times more likely to drown, we need to pay more attention to the risk of injuries during seizures, say doctors. Why This Matters: Injuries from seizures are the hidden toll of epilepsy. With around 1 in 10 Australians living with epilepsy getting injured during a seizure each year, Australian doctors have argued for more emphasis to be placed on the condition and its effects. With many of the […] See more

Published 16 hours ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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We can "shrink" the COVID-19 curve, rather than just flatten it

Flattening the curve of COVID-19 will not only reduce pressure on our health system – it can reduce the number infected too. Why This Matters: We all can play a role in reducing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Leaders and officials who are currently making crucial decisions about responses to COVID-19 can take heart that “flattening” the epidemic curve will not inevitably result in a need to apply drastic social distancing measures […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Tim Churches from University of New South Wales
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COVID-19 situation: 27 March 2020

A regular COVID-19 update full of coronavirus disease science, data, reporting and optimism. Why This Matters: During challenging times, it’s important to stay informed. The Numbers Global Confirmed cases: 532,788 Confirmed deaths: 24,077 Source: Johns Hopkins University (6:00pm AEDT 27 March 2020) Australia Confirmed cases: 3143 Confirmed deaths: 13 ACT: 62 cases, 0 deaths NSW: 1405 cases, 7 deaths NT: 12 cases, 0 deaths Queensland: 555 cases, 1 death SA: 257 cases, 0 deaths Tasmania: […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Ian Conellan from Australia's Science Channel
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Airlines take no chances with our safety. And neither should artificial intelligence

Flying is incredibly safe, due to regulation. An expert argues we need to apply the same thinking to AI. Why This Matters: We have to make sure we get the AI future right to take full advantage. You’d thinking flying in a plane would be more dangerous than driving a car. In reality it’s much safer, partly because the aviation industry is heavily regulated. Airlines must stick to strict standards for safety, testing, training, policies […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Monique Mann from Deakin University

How to survive isolation, by an expert (and astronauts)

Isolation sucks, but with some expert tips (and advice from astronauts) you can make it more bearable. Why This Matters: This is how we stop the spread of COVID. With more countries heading towards societal lock down, increasingly enforced social distancing, and people being ordered into isolation to control the spread of COVID-19, we’re going to be spending a lot more time by ourselves very soon. That means more time inside, less time socialising, and […] See more

Published 4 days ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Marine protected areas are often not where they should be

Marine protected areas are being implemented in areas with low human activity, so while the number of these parks are increasing, so are the numbers of threatened species. Why This Matters: Current systems are failing to protect our most important ecosystems. There’s no denying the grandeur and allure of a nature reserve or marine protected area. The concept is easy to understand: limit human activity there and marine ecosystems will thrive. But while the number of […] See more

Published 5 days ago. Author: Simone Stevenson from Deakin University
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This worm-like fossil is the earliest ancestor of most modern animals - including us

It’s got a mouth, gut, head, tail, is symmetrical, and it’s more than 555 million years old – this is where most animals started. Why This Matters: From little things big things grow. The ancient stone at Nilpena fossil site, about 600 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia, has yielded some of the world’s most important fossil finds. In 1946, geologist Reg Sprigg was exploring for minerals at the old Ediacara minefield in the western […] See more

Published 6 days ago. Author: Ian Conellan from Cosmos Magazine
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From the frontline: Singapore

One of our correspondents checks in with the COVID-19 situation on the ground in Singapore. Why This Matters: Australia can learn from how other countries manage the pandemic. First case reported 23 January Cases 308; Deaths 2 (At 12:00 local time on Sunday 22 March) I guess that I’m lucky I live in Singapore in these crazy times of COVID-19. We started taking this disease seriously quite early on – even before it had an […] See more

Published 6 days ago. Author: Nora Lee from Australia's Science Channel
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How humans are teaching AI to become better at second-guessing

Researchers are teaching AI systems the subtleties of human behaviour so they can better predict what we want. Why This Matters: Properly designed, artificial intelligence could assist humans not as tools, but as partners. One of the holy grails in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is giving machines the ability to predict intent when interacting with humans. We humans do it all the time and without even being aware of it: we observe, we […] See more

Published 6 days ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales

Feel like it's all getting too much? Don’t worry, you're not alone

Lots of people are experiencing intense feelings of stress and anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s important to remember we’ll get through this together. Why This Matters: “The sky is falling! A piece of it just hit you on the head! Now be calm. Don’t get panicky.” 🐣 As the worst pandemic in more than 100 years unfolds around the world, many people are feeling a range of emotions that are […] See more

Published 7 days ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia
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COVID-19 situation: 24 March 2020

A regular COVID-19 update full of coronavirus disease science, data, reporting and optimism. Why This Matters: During challenging times, it’s important to stay informed. Confirmed cases: 378,601 Confirmed deaths: 16,505 Source: Johns Hopkins University Science The research community’s response to coronavirus has been swift, rigorous – and largely unseen. Research funders and more than 300 world scientists met at WHO on 11–12 February to identify urgent priorities for research. The WHO maintains a hub for a range of […] See more

Published 7 days ago. Author: Ian Conellan from Australia's Science Channel
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Telcos are picking up where the NBN is failing during the Coronavirus pandemic

Many consumers will be let down by the NBN at a time when they’re depending on it – now telecommunication providers are stepping in to meet the increasing demand. Why This Matters: Services need to adapt to a new way of life along with us. Telecommunication providers are taking positive steps to meet consumers’ demands in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the National Broadband Network (NBN Co) is being urged to reduce […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Mark A Gregory from RMIT University

The Antarctic Ice Sheet has a snowball effect on Australia

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is shrinking faster and faster, affecting the surrounding ocean currents and ice loss, say international researchers. Why This Matters: The ice sheet might be far away, but the impacts will be felt right here by our coastlines. Antarctica contains most of the Earth’s fresh water in two large ice sheets – the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets. And while a huge block of ice might seem too far away and […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: Olivia Henry from Australian Science Media Centre
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COVID-19 will devastate Aboriginal communities if we don’t act now

Existing chronic conditions and overcrowding means a real risk of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in our Aboriginal communities. Why This Matters: We need to ensure we’re protecting vulnerable people – including our Indigenous communities. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we need to ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities aren’t left behind. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially those living in remote and very remote areas. COVID-19 particularly impacts the elderly and those […] See more

Published 1 week ago. Author: James Ward from The University of Queensland
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We can learn a few lessons from Singapore’s response to COVID-19

From regular and consistent communication to strict home quarantine measures – there are a few key takeaways from how Singapore is handling COVID-19. Why This Matters: “You know what happens when people don’t adapt – we end up closing things down.” Singapore’s response to COVID-19 has been held up by many around the world as a model. As of this week, the country has reported over 300 cases (with zero deaths), and its infection rate is much […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Dale Fisher from Australia's Science Channel
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Ancient fish fossil reveals missing link in evolution of hand bones

A complete ancient fish fossil with finger-like digits in its fin reveals the evolution of hand bones started before animals came onto land. Why This Matters: One of the most significant events in the history of life was when fish evolved into tetrapods. An ancient Elpistostege fish fossil found in Miguasha, Canada, has revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins. An international team of palaeontologists from Flinders University in Australia and Universite du Quebec a […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Here's the maths behind how social distancing flattens the curve

The term ‘social distancing’ has been widespread on social media, but how does it help to flatten the curve? Three mathematicians explain. Why This Matters: We can ease the strain on public health services by working to flatten the curve. People travelling into Australia will now have to self-isolate for 14 days – one of a range of measures announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with the aim of slowing the spread of the coronavirus and easing […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Lewis Mitchell from The University of Adelaide
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Can flashing footpath LEDs break the smartphone spell?

A new approach to mobile phone distraction uses flashing lights to alert ‘distracted walkers’ of potential dangers. Why This Matters: Distracted walkers not only pose a safety to risk to themselves but other road users too. Flashing LED lights at ground level may be the newest tool in breaking the smartphone spell and alert distracted walkers as they approach a road or rail intersection. A new study by the Queensland University of Technology, wanted to […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: QUT Newsroom from Queensland University of Technology

Pets can protect against suicide in older people

According to new research, the mere presence of a dog, cat, or even birds could be enough to stop some older people from taking their own life. Why This Matters: Pets can be a vital lifeline for older people. It’s a sad fact that suicide rates among people over 60 are the highest of any age group in Australia, but a new study from the University of South Australia has found an unexpected saviour – […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia
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Australian experts answer more coronavirus questions

Does surviving COVID-19 give you immunity? How do we minimise anxiety and panic? Australian experts break down COVID-19. Why This Matters: You’ve got coronavirus questions, we’ve got answers (from experts). The coronavirus situation is continuing to rapidly evolve and people have a lot of questions and worries. We’ve got the information straight from a number of Australian experts. Read even more expert answers here.  Does surviving COVID-19 give you immunity? The answer is that we […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Australian experts answer those burning coronavirus questions

Will our healthcare system hold up under the weight of coronavirus? What’s the deal with herd immunity? Two Australian experts talk facts. Why This Matters: You’ve got coronavirus questions, we’ve got answers (from experts). The coronavirus situation is evolving by the hour. It’s important we listen to the experts to provide the facts and guide our decision-making. Professor Allen Cheng from the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University and Professor Bruce […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Australian police are using the Clearview AI facial recognition system with no accountability

If police agencies are going to use powerful facial recognition systems, systems need to be in place to ensure security and accountability. Why This Matters: The use of facial recognition systems raises some very real concerns around security. Australian police agencies are reportedly using a private, unaccountable facial recognition service that combines machine learning and wide-ranging data-gathering practices to identify members of the public from online photographs. The service, Clearview AI, is like a reverse image search for faces. […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Jake Goldenfein from Swinburne University of Technology

Save our furry animals after the bushfires, but our river species are suffering too

In bushfire recovery saving mammals is important, but we also need to prioritise giving river species a helping hand too. Why This Matters: The impact of the bushfires will be long-felt by river species. The hellish summer of bushfires in southeast Australia triggered global concern for our iconic mammals. Donations flooded in from at home and around the world to help protect furry species. But there’s a risk the government and public responses will not see the fish […] See more

Published 2 weeks ago. Author: Jamie Pittock from Australian National University
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