Latest Science


Artificial sweeteners may be doing more harm than good

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but artificial sweeteners may be causing weight gain and contribute to type 2 diabetes. Why This Matters: Sticking to a healthy diet is a better option than artificial sweeteners. A $2.2 billion industry to help people lose weight through artificial sweeteners may actually be contributing to type 2 diabetes. A review, by researchers from the University of South Australia, reveals that people who use low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are more likely […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia
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2020 promises to be a better year for meteor showers - here's when to look up

The big three aren’t the only meteor showers lighting up our night skies this year. Here’s a guide of the showers to watch in 2020. Why This Matters: Why not treat yourself to a night of meteor showers? Where 2019 was a disappointing year for meteor showers, with two of the big three (the Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids) lost mainly to moonlight, 2020 promises to be much better. The year starts with a bang with […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Jonti Horner from Australia's Science Channel
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Bushfires are threatening our drinking water

Bushfires pose a serious risk to the quality of our drinking water – expert Stuart Khan explains the immediate and long-term effects. Why This Matters: The effects of bushfires last well after the fire is put out. Regional and metropolitan areas around NSW are facing water quality concerns in the face of the bushfire crisis. In some areas of the state, drinking water treatment plants have been physically damaged by fire or impacted by fire-related power […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Meet Chax - turning reality virtual

VR technical artists like Chax combine skills in tech and art to recreate real world objects in a virtual world – putting the real into virtual reality. Why This Matters: Boosting the reality of virtual reality makes it a far more useful tool. From Disney to Deakin University’s VR/AR research lab, Chax Rivera’s love of art and technology has helped him put the real in virtual reality. While he admits that as a student maths […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel

Nine things you love that are being wrecked by climate change

From your daily caffeine hit to the risk of extreme weather interrupting your travel plans, climate change is ruining a lot of things we love. Why This Matters: Even your coffee and wine aren’t safe. There are so many stories flying around about the horrors already being wrought by climate change, you’re probably struggling to keep up. The warnings have been there for decades but still there are those who deny it. So perhaps it’s time to look […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Rod Lamberts from Australian National University
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Six things you can do to keep safe from bushfire smoke

As our cities are blanketed with smoke, there are some basic things you can do to keep yourself safe from its effects. Why This Matters: We’re going to be dealing with this more and more. For the second time this week, Canberra is the world’s worst city for air pollution as it is blanketed by smoke and hazardous haze from the ongoing bushfire crisis. Here are six ways you can deal with and protect yourself […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Hunter or hunted? When the world catches on fire, how do predators respond?

Millions of animals have perished in the bushfires ravaging our country – those that survive will feel the effects long after the fires are put out. Why This Matters: How bushfires affect predator species is vital to restoring destroyed ecosystems. 2019 might well be remembered as the year the world caught fire. Some 2.9 million hectares of eastern Australia have been incinerated in the past few months, an area roughly the same size as Belgium. Fires in […] See more

Published 3 weeks ago. Author: Euan Ritchie from Deakin University
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In 2019 a whole bunch of awesome Aussie women in STEM got Wikipedia pages

If you want to talk about merit, these women have it in spades and deserve to be recognised. Why This Matters: Science isn’t just old white dudes – raising visibility for women in STEM because you gotta see it to believe it. A group of Australian science icons have had their achievements recognised on the world’s biggest information repository thanks to an intrepid group of volunteers. And because profiles of women in STEM are woefully […] See more

Published 4 weeks ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Over 150 years old, destroyed by a bushfire, now this epic Aussie telescope is on its way back

A group of volunteers are restoring the ridiculously awesome Great Melbourne Telescope, and it’s open to the public. Why This Matters: It may look like an epic ray gun, but the Great Melbourne Telescope was the start of western astronomy in Australia. When you first see it, it looks like a ray gun from the mind of Jules Verne. Its swirling lattice-like barrel stretches skyward, as if about to zap a planet out of existence. […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Australia's first baby dinosaur fossils found in NSW

Baby dino’s found in NSW and Victoria show that dinosaurs were breeding in polar areas. Why This Matters: Australia’s got our own dinosaur story, and it’s completely different to everywhere else. A collection of tiny fossilised thigh bones, some just 2.5 centimetres in length, are the first remains of baby dinosaurs ever found in Australia. Discovered in New South Wales and Victoria, the bones belonged to baby herbivores that were small enough to sit in […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: John Pickrell from Australia's Science Channel
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Top 10 science stories of 2019

2019 has been another massive year in science. Here’s the ten best science stories of the year. Why This Matters: Here’s what we learnt during the year. Check out the weirdest science stories of the year. It felt like much of the world was burning Australia’s 2019 fire season arrived early with devastating effect, beginning with bushfires in QLD in September, followed by unprecedented November blazes which ripped through NSW and QLD, as well as […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Joseph Milton from Australian Science Media Centre
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Top 10 weird science stories from 2019

This year got weird. Here’s the highlights of a weird year in science – from screaming birds to fungus cannons. Why This Matters: Sometimes, someone has to ask the dumb questions. Rats learned to drive tiny cars and loved it To the ratmobile! In October, we learned a team of US scientists had been spending their time wisely – teaching rats to drive tiny cars in return for sugary cereal treats. There were no reported […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Joseph Milton from Australian Science Media Centre
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Eyes in the sky keep bridges safe

Drones could be used to carry out faster, cheaper and safer bridge inspections. Why This Matters: Why send a human in when a drone can do it instead? Australia has approximately 50,000 bridges that need to visually assessed every two years – it’s a huge job. Now, researchers from the Western Sydney University have shown that drones could take on some of the burden. Bridge management researcher, Maria Rashidi from the Centre for Infrastructure Engineering […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Western Sydney Newsroom from Western Sydney University

Hermit crabs are making homes in plastic waste and it's killing them

An estimated half a million hermit crabs have been killed by plastic waste on some of the most remote islands in our oceans. Why This Matters: Our plastic waste is slowly destroying even remote areas. It’s known that plastic pollution has devastating effects on marine environments. Now, a first of its kind study shows the direct impact plastic pollution is having on hermit crabs on some of the most remote islands in our oceans. A […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: University of Tasmania Newsroom from University of Tasmania
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Using lasers and toaster-sized satellites to beam information through space

The radiowave frequencies we use for satellites is full up – so to get them talking researchers are looking at lasers. Why This Matters: Harder, Better, Faster Stronger satellite comms. Satellites are becoming increasingly important in our lives, as they help us meet a demand for more data, exchanged at higher speeds. This is why we are exploring new ways of improving satellite communication. Satellite technology is used to navigate, forecast the weather, monitor Earth […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Gottfried Lechner from University of South Australia

Koalas move like a marsupial and climb like a primate

This Aussie icon has the koalafications of both marsupials and primates. Why This Matters: Koalas just might be the closest thing to primates in Australia. Australia’s cuddly koala seems to have evolved tree clambering abilities that rival those of the apes and monkeys that never made it to the continent. Technically a marsupial – bearing its young in a pouch-like kangaroos and wombats – the koala (Phascolarctos cinerus) has relatively long limbs with two thumb-like digits […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Cosmos Magazine
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Naughty or nice? Your Christmas shopping could harm or help the environment

Aussie retailers are responding to environmental concerns this Christmas. Why This Matters: All I want for Christmas is youuuuu (to be environmentally friendly). Australian shoppers are set to spend $52.7 billion this Christmas. In the words of the retail industry, we are “stampeding” to empty our wallets, both online and in stores. The Christmas shopping frenzy is not good for the planet. It generates a mountain of waste including plastics, and decorations, wrapping paper and party paraphernalia only used once. […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: Louise Grimmer from University of Tasmania
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Is it better to run heel-toe or toe-heel?

When it comes to preventing running injuries sometimes it’s better to stick with a style that you know. Why This Matters: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Running is the world’s most popular form of exercise. Along with improving the condition of your heart and lungs, it can also promote bone health. But, it does have it’s downsides – like painful shin splints, sore knees and other injuries. In a bid to avoid these injuries, […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: La Trobe Newsroom from La Trobe University
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Shape-shifting stretchy hydrogel is like a self-healing skin

Even better than the real thing – this super-strong gel that mimics skin, ligaments and bone – and it can even heal itself. Why This Matters: Forget Flubber, this could be the real super gel. Like a stretchy jelly, a new material developed by Australian scientists  mimics many of the properties of living tissue. Described as being very strong, self-healing and able to change shape, the new hydrogel could be used as a substitute for […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University

Splitting hydrogen from water just got a whole lot cheaper and easier

Scientists have created hydrogen using only water, iron, nickel and electricity, and much cheaper than before. Why This Matters: This is a gamechanger for Australia’s transition to the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen-powered cars may soon become more than just a novelty after a UNSW-led team of scientists demonstrated a much cheaper and sustainable way to create the hydrogen required to power them. In research published in Nature Communications, scientists from UNSW Sydney, Griffith University and Swinburne University […] See more

Published 1 month ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales

How to talk about climate change like Greta Thunberg

Take some tips from Greta Thunberg to keep those family climate change talks on track this Christmas. Why This Matters: We’ve all got those family members who don’t accept the science. As bushfires rage and our cities lie shrouded in smoke, climate change is shaping as a likely topic of conversation at the family dinner table this Christmas. Such discussions can be fraught if family members hold differing views. You may not all agree on the urgency of […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Peter Ellerton from The University of Queensland
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Meet the ancient penguin that started the downsizing trend

We love giant penguins – but this ancient penguin is when they started to get small. Why This Matters: K. Stilwelli is a crucial piece in the penguin evolution puzzle. What waddled on land but swam quickly in subtropical seas more than 60 million years ago, after the dinosaurs were wiped out on sea and land? Fossil records show giant human-sized penguins zipped through Southern Hemisphere waters – alongside smaller forms, similar in size to […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Virtual museums become reality

The future may be logging on and wandering the halls of virtual museums – and an Australian group is leading the way. Why This Matters: Preserving our history and knowledge, and making it accessible to people, is vital for our future. Deep in the bowels of museums around the world are treasure troves of unseen artefacts. Some museums just don’t have the space to show them all, others are too fragile to be put on […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Deakin University

Tick, tock... how stress speeds up chromosomes' clock

In a study that looked at different non-human animal species, scientists have found how stress makes the cellular body clock tick faster. Why This Matters: Stressing less won’t make you live forever, but it will keep cells nice and healthy –  in animals at least. Ageing is an inevitability for all living organisms, and although we still don’t know exactly why our bodies gradually grow ever more decrepit, we are starting to grasp how it […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Szymek Drobniak from University of New South Wales
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No, an alcohol tax doesn't only punish the poor

A new study debunks the myth that imposing an alcohol tax drives less-wealthy, heavy drinkers to drink even more. Why This Matters: Alcohol is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment in Australia – and it’s completely preventable. There is no evidence that a introducing a minimum unit price on alcohol as a deterrent against binge drinking would effectively make the poor poorer, finds a new study from UNSW. Opponents of a minimum unit […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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