Latest Science


Just how hot will it get this century?

The latest climate models suggest a much hotter future for Australia than what was previously expected. Why This Matters: We need to take swift decisive action now to minimise the effects of global warming. Climate scientists use mathematical models to project the Earth’s future under a warming world, but a group of the latest models have included unexpectedly high values for a measure called “climate sensitivity”. Climate sensitivity refers to the relationship between changes in carbon dioxide in […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Julie Arblaster from Australia's Science Channel
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Australia Post puts a stamp on citizen science

A new set of stamps celebrates citizen science projects around Australia, and they’re available now. Why This Matters: Putting citizen science front and centre. Get ready philatelists and letter writers – Australia Post has released a set of stamps celebrating four Australian citizen science projects. We think they look great! Now you can rep science as you’re sending your snail mail. Available online and in-store, the stamps each feature a different project. QuestaGame (Green) QuestaGame […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Bushfires are increasing in size and frequency

Major bushfires can no longer be looked at as infrequent events, and major changes are needed to protect lives and ecosystems, say researchers. Why This Matters: Bushfires have always happened, but not like this. A new study by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) has shown for the first time the full extent of the areas burned by Victorian bushfires over the past two decades. Researcher Professor David Lindenmayer says the results indicate a major overhaul […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: ANU Newsroom from Australian National University
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The mystique of mathematics shown in 5 beautiful maths phenomena

From fractals to The Golden Ratio – there’s plenty of beauty to find in maths, and even more maths to find in beauty. Why This Matters: Maths is all around us. Mathematics is visible everywhere in nature, even where we are not expecting it. It can help explain the way galaxies spiral, a seashell curves, patterns replicate, and rivers bend. Even subjective emotions, like what we find beautiful, can have mathematic explanations. “Maths is not […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales

Destructive starfish is delicious to some

Fish might be our best weapon for controlling Crown-of-Thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef. Why This Matters: Crown-of-Thorns are devastating the Reef. Crown-of-thorns starfish, the scourge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, may have more natural predators than we thought. A novel study of fish faeces and gut contents suggests a number of fish are interested in Acanthaster solaris, including popular eating and aquarium species. The native starfish has surged to plague proportions three times […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Nick Carne from Cosmos Magazine
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How unhealthy your supermarket is depends on how rich you are

The supermarkets push unhealthy eating choices in store, particularly to shoppers living in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage. Why This Matters: By improving the healthiness of displays and discounts, supermarkets could have a positive effect on diet choices. New research has found that it is nearly impossible to pay for groceries without being bombarded by promotions for unhealthy food. But how much depends on where you live. Researchers from Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation surveyed […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Deakin University
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Seven unbee-lievable facts for World Bee Day

They pollinate a third of the world’s food, but bees are capable of so much more – their tiny yet powerful brains are full of surprises. Why This Matters: We’ve been buzzing with anticipation for World Bee Day. It’s World Bee Day, a chance to show some love for our little mates who play an underappreciated role in our lives. But they’re capable of far more than just pollinating plants. One of the leading bee […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: RMIT University from RMIT University
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Rare elaphrosaur unexpectedly found in Victoria

The fossilised bones of rare elaphrosaur found in Victoria suggest the species were more widespread than thought. Why This Matters: Australia’s prehistoric history continues to shed more secrets. A chance discovery has unearthed an unusual toothless dinosaur that roamed Australia around 110 million years ago – a time when it was still attached to Antarctica. Discovered by a volunteer on Victoria’s Cape Otway, the bone belongs to a two-legged elaphrosaur. Meaning “light footed lizard”, elaphrosaurs have […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Bees are good at maths, but bad at counting

Previous studies have found that bees can add, subtract, and understand zero – but the little geniuses can’t tell the difference between 4 or 5 flowers. Why This Matters: Unbee-lievable. If you were a honeybee, how would you choose where to find flowers? Imagine your first flight out of the hive searching for food. What would you do if you saw flower patches with one flower, or three, or twelve, or twenty? Our new study, […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Scarlett Howard from Deakin University
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Ancient Australians lived with three-tonne marsupials and lizards as big as cars

Newly unearthed fossils suggest it was environmental change that wiped out the giants that once roamed northeast Australia, not humans. Why This Matters: Ancient Australia keeps getting more extreme. When people first arrived in what is now Queensland, they would have found the land inhabited by massive animals including goannas six metres long and kangaroos twice as tall as a human. We have studied fossil bones of these animals for the past decade. Our findings, published […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Scott Hocknull from Australia's Science Channel
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Why astronomy matters in times of crisis

A major international project is on the brink of construction and with it comes opportunities for Aussie companies, strengthened international bonds and inspiration. Why This Matters: “The SKA will be unlocking the secrets of the universe long after COVID-19 has subsided into memory.” In an international emergency like the present one, you might expect the science of the stars to be the last thing on people’s minds. The problems facing both individuals and governments are […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Fred Watson from Australia's Science Channel
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Aussie film about rewiring a journalist’s mind wins Best Film at SCINEMA International Science Film Festival

A worldwide odyssey exploring mindfulness and whether it can help handle the crazy world we live in takes home top prize – and you can see it free. Why This Matters: You might have a different perspective on mindfulness after watching My Year of Living Mindfully. The world is confusing and unsettling, even more so now than ever before, and more of us than ever are finding it affecting our mental wellbeing. We are more […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Tim Jarvis: The COVID-19 pandemic is a huge opportunity for the environment

We have an opportunity to come out of the pandemic with a new approach to protecting the environment, says environmental scientist Tim Jarvis. Why This Matters: The pandemic has provided an opportunity to change the “normal”. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our fraught relationship with the environment. Changes due to climate change, wanton destruction of the natural world, and exploitation of species world have brought wildlife into contact with people. According to […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Tim Jarvis from Australia's Science Channel
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‘Dr Google’ is almost always wrong

Turning to Google for a self-diagnosis may be doing more harm than good, with advice to seek medical attention only appropriate some of the time. Why This Matters: While convenient, using Dr Google for a self-diagnosis is no replacement for a doctor. Many people turn to ‘Dr Google’ for a self-diagnosis of their health symptoms and seek medical advice, but online symptom checkers are only accurate about a third of the time, according to new Edith […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: ECU Newsroom from Edith Cowan University
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Carbon emissions fell during COVID-19 - but it's the shift away from coal that made the difference

The transition to cleaner, cheaper energy is putting us in a position to maintain momentum after the pandemic. Why This Matters: Australia is in prime position to make the most of renewable energy. Much has been made of the COVID-19 lockdown cutting global carbon emissions. Energy use has fallen over recent months as the pandemic keeps millions of people confined to their homes, and businesses closed in many countries. Projections suggest global emissions could be around 5% […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Mousami Prasad from Australian National University
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Got rhythm? Astronomers listen to the heartbeats of pulsing stars

The inner workings of young stars have been disentangled by an international team of researchers – the first time they’ve been detected in delta Scuti stars. Why This Matters: Stars could be used to trace the building blocks of the Milky Way. By listening to the beating hearts of stars, astronomers have for the first time identified a rhythm of life for a class of stellar objects that had until now puzzled scientists. The international team […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Is the dark web a wild west for fake coronavirus ‘cures’? The reality is more complicated

“It seems, despite the activities of a few dodgy operators, the vast majority of dark web traders are steering clear of exploiting the pandemic for their own profit.” Why This Matters: Darknet cryptomarkets self-regulate more than you might expect. The coronavirus pandemic has spawned reports of unregulated health products and fake cures being sold on the dark web. These include black market PPE, illicit medications such as the widely touted “miracle” drug chloroquine, and fake […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: James Martin from Swinburne University of Technology

Using a pocket rocket to explore distant planets

Researchers have adapted a miniature rocket, called the Pocket Rocket, to replicate the conditions of distant planets’ atmospheres. Why This Matters: Even small packages can answer big questions. A plasma thruster, developed at ANU to power miniature satellites, is being used to look for evidence of life on distant planets – but not in the way you might expect. The Pocket Rocket is not propelling a satellite towards planets, but instead helping replicate the conditions […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Phil Dooley from Australian National University
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The mystery of the giant X-shaped galaxy with a monster black hole as its engine

The X-rated galaxy PKS 2014-55 may be best described as a “double boomerang” – and now we know why it has the odd shape. Why This Matters: The universe never fails to blow our minds. A team of US and South African researchers has published highly detailed images of the largest X-shaped “radio galaxy” ever discovered – PKS 2014-55. Notably, they’ve helped resolve ongoing confusion about the galaxy’s unusual shape. The spectacular new images were taken using the 64-antenna MeerKAT telescope […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Baerbel Koribalski from Australia's Science Channel
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A world of languages may be at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic

Regions of the world hit the hardest by COVID-19, like Italy, are also at risk of having regional dialects die out. Why This Matters: One language is lost every two weeks. The world’s languages have been a silent victim in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the damage may be irreparable, warns a language expert from Edith Cowan University. Dr Annamaria Paolino, a language researcher in ECU’s School of Education says the loss of the world’s older generations […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: ECU Newsroom from Edith Cowan University
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Study confirms governments repeatedly ignored scientific advice when approving Adani coalmine

The finding that the approval of the Adani Carmichael mine was not based on independent scientific evidence comes as vitally important environment and biodiversity laws are under review by the Federal Government. Why This Matters: Governments listen to scientific advice about COVID, why not other issues? Australia’s relative success in stopping the spread of COVID-19 is largely due governments taking expert advice on a complex problem. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of decisions on […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Matthew Currell from RMIT University
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Ancient DNA reveals the genetic portrait of Andes civilisations

A study of DNA belonging to ancient humans in South America has revealed a story of 9000 years of civilisations and surprising genetic continuity. Why This Matters: This is the first large-scale genomic portait of Andean civilisations. Across the central Andes, remnants of ancient civilisations such as Machu Picchu attract archaeologists and tourists alike. The hillside settlements reveal fascinating stories of agriculture, complex societies, and the rise and fall of powerful empires. Now, the first large-scale […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from The University of Adelaide
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The US military has officially published three UFO videos. Why doesn’t anybody seem to care?

For the first time, the Pentagon has publically confirmed UFO footage but it seems to have barely moved the needle on the UFO controversy. Why This Matters: The truth is out there. Maybe. On April 27, 2020, the US Department of Defense issued a public statement authorising the release of three “UFO” videos taken by US Navy pilots. The footage appears to depict airborne, heat-emitting objects with no visible wings, fuselage or exhaust, performing aerodynamically in ways […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Adam Dodd from The University of Queensland
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Odds are good for baby number two using IVF

The chances of a couple having a second child with the help of fertility treatment have been studied for the first time. Why This Matters: IVF can be a tough experience on many couples. IVF is not a silver bullet. Many couples who struggle to conceive turn to in vitro fertilisation in hope, only to find it still involves multiple rounds of invasive procedures, anticipation, heartache and loss before achieving a successful pregnancy. For those […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Cosmos Magazine
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How a 100-year-old TB vaccine boosts the immune system

The TB vaccine helps fight against infections by boosting immune cell production, and it could have a place in the fight against COVID-19. Why This Matters: The TB vaccine may be valuable for more than just TB. Australian scientists have revealed the answer to a decades-old mystery – why does the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) protect infants from a range of other diseases as well as TB? Scientists from Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute have […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Joseph Milton from Australian Science Media Centre
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