Latest Science

Bushfire smoke is choking the east coast and it's more dangerous than a dust storm

Even hundreds of kilometres away, people are feeling the life-threatening effects of bushfires. Why This Matters: Sydney and surrounding areas are choking on some of the worst quality air in the world. As large parts of Queensland and New South Wales continue to burn, a hazardous, thick haze of smoke has settled over Sydney. The bushfire smoke is thick enough to give the city the unwanted title of the worst air in the world. On […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Queensland University of Technology
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Nemo's cousins have a special way of finding him

The ability to see ultraviolet light creates a secret channel for clownfish to communicate – giving them an advantage over other species. Why This Matters: Keep your friends close and your anemones closer. Clownfish, made famous by the movie Finding Nemo, may have their own secret way of finding friends and anenomes. They can see ultraviolet (UV) light and are good at discerning different colours, according to a team of scientists from the University of Queensland and […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Cosmos Magazine
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Lessons from an astronaut: "We have to teach students how to fail"

An astronaut is challenging students and teachers to change education to embrace failure – and enhance success. Why This Matters: We’re beating the fun out of learning. Charles Camarda was involved in NASA’s return from one of their biggest failures – the loss of the Columbia space shuttle. As an astronaut and engineer, he saw how failure happened. Camarda then helped find a solution, and then flew on the first NASA mission to space after […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel
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SCINEMA 2020 opens with new Indigenous filmmaking award

SCINEMA 2020 is kicking off, and they want your science film. Plus a new category will celebrate the voices and stories of Indigenous and First Nations people. Why This Matters: The largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere is cranking it up another notch. The largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere, SCINEMA International Film Festival, has officially opened entries for 2020. And this year they’ve established an award for the best Indigenous […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel

"We are now in uncharted territory" - Experts respond to bushfire crisis

While politicians point their fingers, the experts weigh in on the role climate change has played in the bushfires. Why This Matters: Listen to the experts, not the people who shout the loudest. Bushfires have ravaged more than one million hectares across NSW and QLD, and the finger-pointing over who – or what – is to blame for the scale of these tragic disasters has begun. Politicians have blamed everything from arson to ‘greenies’ and […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Olivia Henry from Australian Science Media Centre
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What is a ‘mass extinction’ and are we in one now?

Research indicates we’re headed for a sixth mass extinction – fuelled by human activities. Why This Matters: The damage that humans are doing will take millions of years of natural processes to reverse. For more than 3.5 billion years, living organisms have thrived, multiplied and diversified to occupy every ecosystem on Earth. The flip side to this explosion of new species is that species extinctions have also always been part of the evolutionary life cycle. […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Frédérik Saltré from Flinders University
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Climate warnings from the distant past

By studying sea levels from the last inter-glacial period, scientists have revealed what may happen on our current temperature trajectory. Why This Matters: Clock’s ticking. Sea levels rose 10 metres above present levels during Earth’s last warm period 125,000 years ago, according to new research that offers a glimpse of what may happen under our current climate change trajectory. Our paper, published in Nature Communications, shows that melting ice from Antarctica was the main driver of […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Fiona Hibbert from Australian National University
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Bad medicine: it’s not us, it’s the other lot, they say. So who do we believe?

Professional societies of doctors, surgeons or physiotherapists are more likely to criticise healthcare provided by others, research shows. Why This Matters: Even professional societies aren’t immune to finger-pointing. Patients might not be getting the best advice about which treatments do or don’t work, according to a new study. We found professional societies are more likely to call out other health professionals for providing low-value treatments rather than look in their own backyard. Our study in BMC Health […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Ian Harris from University of New South Wales
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Milky Way's supermassive black hole flings star across the galaxy

A star has been yeeted by the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy like a drunk ejected by a club bouncer. Why This Matters:  We’re watching a star that originally lived in the very centre of the Milky Way on its way to depart the galaxy. A star travelling through the Milky Way at more than six million km/h has been discovered by a team of international astronomers. They predict that the […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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Diversity in STEM boosts Australia

If we want to maximise Australia’s potential in STEM, we need to make sure we’re including the best people available. Why This Matters: Let’s get back to being the clever country. Australia is a wonderfully diverse country, and yet women and people from other cultures face barriers in Australia’s STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) workforce. 30 of Australia’s top researchers and STEMM identities come together to tell their stories of why it’s important […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel
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How technology is changing the future of cancer treatment in Australia

The future of cancer treatment in Australia is being revolutionised as technology allows new possibilities – including the intersection of particle physics and gaming. Why This Matters: Welcome to the future of medicine. Medical Physicist Sean Geoghegan talks about the future of cancer treatment in Australia, where technology is improving patient results. As technology improves, medical physics is changing with it to revolutionise how we treat cancer. This includes taking inspiration from gaming an the […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel
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Firestorms and flaming tornadoes: how bushfires create their own ferocious weather systems

Intense bushfires can create their own weather systems, making the conditions on the ground even more deadly. Why This Matters: One of the many factors that make bushfires so deadly. As the east coast bushfire crisis unfolds, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Rural Fire Service operational officer Brett Taylor have each warned residents bushfires can create their own weather systems. This is not just a figure of speech or a general warning about the unpredictability […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Rachel Badlan from University of New South Wales
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Driverless cars could lead to more traffic congestion

Commuter attitudes towards ride-sharing and car ownership are getting in the way of the transition to driverless cars. Why This Matters: Sharing is caring – and the key to cutting down traffic congestion. Driverless car could worsen traffic congestion in the coming decades according to new research. The research from the University of Adelaide indicates that this congestion could be partly because of drivers’ attitudes to the emerging technology and a lack of willingness to share […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: University of Adelaide Newsroom from The University of Adelaide

If now is not the time to talk about climate change, when is?

Opinion: This is the exact time to be talking about climate change. Why This Matters: Climate deniers need to get the hell out of the way. Over the past several days New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia have been devastated by bushfires. The ones in NSW and Queensland in particular are unprecedented in scale and ferocity. Sadly, they have already claimed lives and destroyed countless properties and communities. “The devastating bushfires in NSW and […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Drought and climate change were the kindling, and now the east coast is ablaze

“These unprecedented fires are an indication that a much-feared future under climate change may have arrived earlier than predicted.” Why This Matters: It’s nonsensical to dismiss the effects of climate change. Last week saw an unprecedented outbreak of large, intense fires stretching from the mid-north coast of New South Wales into central Queensland. The most tragic losses are concentrated in northern NSW, where 970,000 hectares have been burned, three people have died, and at least […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Rachael Helene Nolan from Western Sydney University
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Endometriosis sufferers are turning to cannabis

The pain of endometriosis has Australian women turning to cannabis, with a study finding it’s effective for more than just pain. Why This Matters: A lack of support for endometriosis patients is turning some to illicit approaches. One in eight Australian women with endometriosis are turning to cannabis in a bid to relieve their chronic pain. Researchers from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, and UNSW Sydney surveyed 484 women on how they self-manage […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Amelia Nichele from Australia's Science Channel
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Oh, oh, oh! The clitoris gives pleasure, but does it also help women conceive?

New research suggests the clitoris is equally as important for reproduction as it is for sexual pleasure. But the evidence behind that claim is up for debate. Why This Matters: After centuries of religious and moral outrage, let’s think objectively about the clitoris. New research reported in the media says the clitoris plays an important role in fertility and reproduction, making it more than an organ that exists purely for sexual pleasure. But some media […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Michelle Moscova from University of New South Wales
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NSW Coroner's pill testing report agrees with research, common sense

The NSW Deputy Coroner has recommended a pill testing trial, the decriminalisation of personal drug use and no sniffer dogs at music festivals. Why This Matters: Current efforts to minimise drug harm are not working. Let’s try something that does. After an inquest into the deaths of six music festival-goers, the NSW  Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame has recommended a pill testing trial, big changes to the use of sniffer dogs at music festivals, and […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Game on, Ping-Pong: VR sport improves real life performance

Strap on a headset – training in VR can really help your real-world sport skills. Why This Matters: Gaming has a huge range of benefits, don’t listen to the naysayers. Pulling on a headset and entering a virtual world might seem like a complete disconnect from the real world. But, new research has shown how sports skills we build in a computerised playground do translate into the real world. And while it’s been tested using […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: UniSA Newsroom from University of South Australia

Bringing the real world into classrooms makes STEM more engaging

“Let’s design a waterproof shoe for a refugee child.” Why This Matters: Teaching endless equations won’t stop declining rates in STEM subjects. In a May 2019 speech, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, noted participation in science and maths was slipping in Australian schools. Specifically speaking about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), he said: “STEM education addresses real world problems and is useful to us and the wider community in many, many ways.” Finkel’s predecessor made similar assertions, […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Paula Mildenhall from Edith Cowan University
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Would you trade privacy for security?

With a law that would increase facial verification systems in Australia currently being drafted, the tracking and sharing of information about Australians could be closer than we realise. Why This Matters: You have an internationally guaranteed right to privacy, but could mass facial recognition surveillance put it at risk? Imagine a world where your every move is captured on camera – where your name is shamefully announced on billboards the minute you jaywalk, or your […] See more

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

How Adam Gilmour took the leap from business to space

From banking to space, Adam Gilmour is at the forefront of the Australian company working towards getting Australians into space. Why This Matters: Adam Gilmour is helping Australians reach for the stars, literally. A business career and space innovation might seem like worlds apart, but not for Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space Technologies. After studying business at Univerisity, specialising in banking and finance, Adam worked in banking for over 20 years. While he might […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Amelia Nichele from Australia's Science Channel

Sean Geoghegan - Meet a Medical Physicist

Meet Sean Geoghegan, a medical physicist at at the forefront of a revolution in Australian cancer care. Why This Matters: As particle therapy becomes more established in Australia, we’re going to need more medical physicists. Medical Physicists are going to play a huge role in Australian cancer care in the future. As the revolutionary Particle Therapy begins to be established in Australia, people like Sean and his knowledge of both physics and medicine will be […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: from Australia's Science Channel

Huge-clawed predatory dinosaur discovered in Victoria

The discovery of the new species suggests that megaraptorid theropods roamed far and wide across Australia. Why This Matters: Ancient Australia continues to get even more deadly. Several megaraptorids theropod bones, including a 20 centimetre long hand claw, have been discovered in the Otway Coast of Victoria. The bones were found in the Eumeralla Formation, a geological deposit that is approximately 107 million years old. Fossils of theropods – the group of dinosaurs that includes such […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Swinburne University of Technology Newsroom from Swinburne University of Technology
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Robots are rubbish at Jenga, but this one is getting a grip

A new project is training robots to think on the move, and it might be the key to making them grasp items more effectively. Why This Matters: A lot of robots are rubbish at everything except one specific task. We need to broaden their abilities. When we play games, like Jenga or Pick Up Sticks, we don’t sit still. Nor do we close our eyes, think and then blindly grasp at the objects in a […] See more

Published 2 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel