Latest Science


Flirty finches live up to their name

Galápagos Islands finches that helped Charles Darwin develop his theory of natural selection are showing clear signs of further evolutionary development. The latest study by researchers from the Flinders University Bird Lab has further shown that the birds commonly known as Darwin’s finches are the world’s fastest-evolving vertebrates, with their appearance and behaviour quickly adapting to rapidly changing environments. Researchers Dr Katharina Peters and Professor Sonia Kleindorfer, from the Research Centre for Animal Behaviour at […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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To Mars and back - health impacts from radiation in space

In September Adelaide hosted the 2017 International Astronautical Congress. Elon Musk spoke about his SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to Mars while Lockheed Martin unveiled their plans for a Mars Base Camp. A multitude of countries and companies who are active in the international space industry displayed exhibits. Anyone who attended would leave with a sense that travel by human beings to Mars is changing from a dream to a goal. An expedition to the surface of […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ian Furness from University of South Australia
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How Google and artificial intelligence helped NASA find a missing exoplanet

Scientists have unveiled an eighth planet orbiting a distant star in the solar system dubbed as Kepler-90, about 2,500 light years away from us. The planet, Kepler-90i, was previously overlooked in the data from the Kepler Space Telescope as the signals were weak. But Google’s machine learning approach revisited the data and unearthed the hot rocky planet that orbits its star every 14.4 days. The artificial intelligence system allows computers “learn” – in this case to […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Astronomy is great in any sign language

Sign language is now officially practised in almost every country, but diverse heritages and cultures has meant that many have slightly different signs for words. Now, a project by the International Astronomical Union has sought to build a translation book to help deaf communities – and fill in the gaps of astronomical words that don’t have signs. The project started with 47 words that were the most used in astronomy, such as comet, telescope and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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The science behind your latte layers

The secret to a perfect latte comes down to the impatience of your barista and some nifty fluid dynamics, according to new research. Researchers at Princeton University, after having their curiosity piqued by the neat layers of a latte, have investigated how layers develop when espresso is poured into hot milk. However more than just creating Insta-worthy coffees, the findings will have important implications for industry. “The structure formation in a latte is surprising because […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Everything you want to know about the SKA's Murchison Widefield Array

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is the world’s newest telescope, built in Western Australia as part of the worldwide Square Kilometre Array (SKA) network. One of four planned precursor facilities, it is the first to be completed. The MWA is located 315km northeast of Geraldton at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, a “radio quiet” area larger than Tasmania. Within this area, radio transmissions are strictly restricted and monitored, making it one of the quietest places in […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: ICRAR Outreach from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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Electric eels inspire new biomedical batteries

Electric eels are the inspiration for a new power pack design that could soon be used to drive biomedical devices. Researchers have built the battery based on the cells that eels use to shock their prey. It consists of lumps of gels, arranged in rows much like the eel’s electrocytes. “Our artificial electric organ has a lot of characteristics that traditional batteries don’t have,” Thomas Schroeder, a chemical engineer at the University of Michigan in Ann […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie

The Check Up - parasites, drug policy, and gaps

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. Toxoplasmosis hijacks our immune system Having a cat around is basically inviting toxoplasmosa gondii into your house. But that’s cool, it’s pretty easy to use basic hygiene and make sure you don’t get infected with the mind-altering parasite. Seriously, wash your hands after you change your kitty litter! For most […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Clinical trial shows potential against food allergies in children

Food allergies affect millions of people around the world and have been on the rise for decades. Children are particularly at risk, with around one in 20 children affected compared with two in 100 adults. Not only are these allergies becoming more common, they are also growing in severity. And while there are several treatment options, there is no cure. Now, a new promising study suggests that an allergy drug, omalizumab, combined with food desensitisation treatments can […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Life's building blocks may have been created in space

It’s one of the great mysteries – where did the organic molecules that would be the ingredients for life on our young Earth come from? One possible source is becoming increasingly plausible thanks to new research released this week, that those basic organic molecules formed in space itself. Throughout space there are lumps of ice packed with chemical molecules, called molecular ices. Formed due to the low temperature of space, gases such as methane and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Quasar from the dawn of time gives window on infant Universe

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole and a quasar from the Universe’s infancy – around 690 million years after the Big Bang. The black hole has a mass that is 800 million times that of the Sun and is 13 billion light years away – the most distant we have ever detected and a window on what the Universe was like before the deionisation of hydrogen into the form it exists in today. What […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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New sodium battery could be the beginning of the end for lithium

A new battery technology offers the chance for a cheaper, greener and safer replacement to lithium batteries. The key is replacing the lithium with the far more common, and less flammable, sodium. Recharge your battery facts To understand this technology, let’s quickly refresh the basics behind batteries. All batteries convert chemical energy into electrical energy by moving metal ions from one side of the battery to the other. In a battery, a metal ion reacts […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel

Duck-billed predator dinosaur discovered in Mongolia

A bizarre new species of dinosaur has been discovered in Mongolia, that had penguin-like flippers as forelimbs, the neck of a swan, the bill of a duck, except lined with teeth like a crocodile’s. The animal, which is believed to have lived around 71-75 million years ago, is thought to have spent part of its life in the water and used its razor sharp claws to hunt down prey. The species, Halszkaraptor escuilliei, is described in […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Genetic technology is ‘changing the way we do medicine’

Aldgate schoolboy Angus Bond is the human face of the genomic revolution being led by South Australian researchers. The nine-year-old, who has the rare bone marrow disease Diamond-Blackfan Anemia (DBA), has given UniSA and SA Pathology researchers a global breakthrough in genetic mapping. Thanks to state-of-the-art genetic DNA sequencing technology being employed by UniSA and SA Pathology Professor Hamish Scott and his team at the Centre for Cancer Biology, the cause of Angus’s condition has […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Hilary Jones from Australia's Science Channel
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Latest images from Juno's close fly-by of Jupiter

The Juno mission to Jupiter has produced another stunning image of the giant planet, this one taken from just 18,906 kilometres about the tops of the planet’s clouds. The colour-enhanced image is of a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, taken on 24 October from a latitude of 57.57 degrees – 60% of the way Jupiter’s equator to its north pole. It was the spacecraft’s ninth close fly-by. An earlier release of an image from […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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Chemists say watering down whisky improves the taste

Science has confirmed that the whisky purists are right. Nick Lucas explains. Just like wine, whisky is an amazingly complex beverage, with as many ways to drink it as there are drinkers. Purists will tell you the only thing you should add is a few drops of water just before drinking to improve the flavour, and scientists have just figured out why – but we’ll get back to that. On a chemical level, whisky contains […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Nick Lucas from Australia's Science Channel
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