Latest Science

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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No, Aussie bats won’t give you COVID-19. We rely on them more than you think

“The fundamental issue is not the viruses in bats. SARS-CoV-2 is now a human virus, and we are responsible, knowingly or not, for its global spread.” Why This Matters: Bats should be our friends, not enemies. In this pandemic it’s tempting to look for someone, or something, to blame. Bats are a common scapegoat and the community is misled to believe getting rid of them could be a quick fix. But are bats really the problem? […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Pia Lentini from Australia's Science Channel
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The environment loses as subsidies drive Murray-Darling Basin extractions

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was implemented to help the basin’s rivers, but a new study reveals the plan appears to have the opposite effect. Why This Matters: Millions of Australians depend on the Basin. The Australian Government’s $4 billion irrigation efficiency program has led to irrigators who received irrigation infrastructure subsidies extracting up to 28 per cent more water in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) than those who did not receive any funds – affecting the […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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'When chemistry became biology': looking for the origins of life in hot springs

The hypothesis that hot springs may have been the ‘spark’ that helped organic matter turn into life has been put to the test in New Zealand. Why This Matters: Learning about the origins of life helps understand our place in the Universe. 50 years ago, a meteorite landed in Victoria carrying many of the building blocks for life, including amino acids, nucleobases and lipids. These organic molecules formed when compounds in stardust, which had collected on […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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A solar chimney that saves lives and energy

This solar chimney can slash energy costs and now research reveals it could also help save lives in a building fire. Why This Matters: Clever concepts like this can reduce the massive weight of energy resources on the environment. In a world-first, researchers have designed a solar chimney optimised for both energy saving and fire safety. Modelling shows the specially-designed solar chimney radically increases the amount of time people have to escape the new building […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: RMIT University from RMIT University

The history of pandemics shows our ability to rebound

As the COVID-19 pandemic re-defines our ‘normal’, archaeology shows how we’ve come out of previous pandemics stronger than before. Why This Matters: Humans are adaptable to a new “normal”. In the past, our species has faced extreme historical demographic and environmental events, and we’ve successfully emerged on the other side. According to Flinders University archaeologist and ancient historian Dr Ania Kotarba, archaeology points to responses from homo sapiens in the past as evidence that society – […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: News Desk from Flinders University
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Logging likely made this year’s bushfires worse, say scientists

A new review of research has suggested that logging increases the risk and severity of bushfires, and may have contributed to this year’s devastation. Why This Matters: Land management decisions need to be based on science, especially when dealing with bushfire risks. As Australia continues to recover from the devastating bushfire season, debate continues about how to reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future. A Royal Commission has begun into the spring- and […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from The University of Queensland
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Inside the high-security lab studying the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

At a high-security lab at UNSW Sydney’s Kirby Institute, scientists are working around the clock to develop treatments and therapies to manage COVID-19. Here’s what their days look like. Why This Matters: Scientists are working quickly to help keep people alive. Associate Professor Stuart Turville is one of the many scientists who dropped everything in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His office is the level three physical containment (PC3) lab at UNSW Medicine’s Kirby Institute. […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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Mars rover's methods for finding signs of life given Flinders Ranges test

Perseverance will soon head to Mars looking for life – now scientists have tested the same methods to look for evidence of the earliest forms of life on Earth. Why This Matters: What we learn on other planets can help us understand our own. A UNSW astrobiologist has put the technology of NASA’s soon-to-be-launched Perseverance Rover to the test to find out how it will fare detecting signs of life on Mars. And in a […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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How much does a koala need to drink?

Koala drinking habits that were previously thought to be caused by stress or disease, might actually be normal behaviour. An adult male koala licking water from a White Box tree in a rainstorm in Liverpool Plains. Credit: independent ecologists George Madani and Lachlan Hall. Why This Matters: Yet another way the drought can affect our native wildlife. This is a video of a koala licking rainwater from a tree. Not the most exciting viewing, perhaps, […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Nick Carne from Cosmos Magazine
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Debris from Halley’s Comet will light up the sky this week

Set your alarm and put the kettle on because this Eta Aquariid shower is set to be a cracker. Why This Matters: The Eta Aquariid shower will be one of the best all year. On Wednesday and Thursday morning this week, Australia will be treated to an early morning meteor shower, and it’s worth setting the alarm for. Called the Eta Aquariid shower, it should be one of the most spectacular of the year. Best […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australian National University
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Can't go outside? Even seeing nature on your screen can help cheer you up

Being cooped up at home doesn’t mean you can’t connect with nature in some way – and you’ll feel better for it. Why This Matters: Satisfying our biophilia can help not only during iso, but afterwards as well. Are you feeling anxious or irritated during the coronavirus lockdown? Do you constantly want to get up and move? Maybe you need a moment to engage with nature. Getting into the great outdoors is difficult at right […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Aini Jasmin Ghazalli from Australian National University
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No wonder isolation’s so tiring - all those extra decisions are taxing our brains

All the tiny everyday decisions that we make during the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation are beginning to take their toll. Why This Matters: Sometimes it’s best to take a step back and not do everything at once. Anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress are affecting our sleep patterns and how tired we feel. But we may be getting tired for another reason. All those tiny decisions we make every day are multiplying and taking their toll. Is it safe to […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Ben Newell from University of New South Wales
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Mining resources in space - what's legal and what's not?

There are serious concerns around how mining in space and the role of private corporations will be governed. Why This Matters: Laws regulating space are complex and in some cases incomplete. As the world tries to cope with the challenges of 2020, discussions around the use of mined resources from outer space continue to ratchet up. On April 6, the US White House released an executive order that Americans “should have the right to engage in […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Steven Freeland from Western Sydney University
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Behold, the “Crazy Beast”

It might look like a badger, but internally the Crazy Beast has got some crazy-weird seemingly nature-defying anatomy. Why This Matters: Madagascar keeps throwing up evolutionary weirdness. When in isolation, animals evolve bizarre features and behaviours. And sometimes, it gets really weird. Madagascar already has its fair share of weird and wonderful fauna. But now researchers have uncovered a mammal the size of a cat, that resembled a badger, and roamed amid dinosaurs and giant […] See more

Published 3 months ago. Author: Natalie Parletta from Australia's Science Channel
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Seven industries that are being transformed by drones

From pizza delivery to a flying medical toolbox – drones are taking off in all sorts of industries. Why This Matters: Drones can add a level of convenience, efficiency, and safety. This article is sponsored by Bright-r. Everyone is getting in on the drone action. They’re not just toys for flying around your suburb spying on neighbours (don’t do this), or for filmmakers getting killer shots for Game of Thrones. A huge range of industries […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel

6 countries, 6 curves: how nations that moved fast against COVID-19 avoided disaster

Individually, the graphs tell their own story. Together, they have one clear message: places that responded quickly were more effective at getting COVID-19 under control. Why This Matters: Different responses explain why COVID-19 devastated some countries. To understand the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic is more usefully viewed as a series of distinct local epidemics. The way the virus has spread in different countries, and even in particular states or regions within them, has been quite […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Hassan Vally from La Trobe University
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Queensland dolphins intentionally beach themselves to trap food

Beached as bro! Dolphins in Queensland’s Fitzroy River chase fish onto muddy banks and beach themselves, before sliding back into the water. Why This Matters: Dolphins keep surprising with their cleverness (and risk-taking). When it comes to finding food, Dolphins are pretty ingenious. They cover their noses in sea sponges to protect their snouts and uncover more fish hiding in the sandy sea floor. Others use shells as filters, carrying them through the water before […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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If we can put a man on the Moon, we can save the Great Barrier Reef

As the Great Barrier Reef continues to suffer from mass bleaching events, it’s clear action is needed to save this great wonder. Why This Matters: There is no silver bullet to the regular bleaching, but it is still possible. Scientists recently confirmed the Great Barrier Reef suffered another serious bleaching event last summer – the third in five years. Dramatic intervention to save the natural wonder is clearly needed. First and foremost, this requires global greenhouse gas […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Peter J Mumby from The University of Queensland
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Measurements of a distant quasar suggest one of the universe's constants is weirdly inconsistent

Not only does a universal constant appear to change at the outer fringes of the cosmos, it occurs in only one direction, which is downright weird. Why This Matters: If this is confirmed, the fundamental concepts underpinning physics may need a revision. New measurements of a quasar 13 billion light-years away have found that one of the cosmological constants used in physics can in fact be awkwardly inconsistent. The fine structure constant is used to […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: UNSW Newsroom from University of New South Wales
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COVIDSafe tracking app reviewed: the government delivers on data security, but other issues remain

Whether you download COVIDSafe or not is up to you, but it’s important to be informed before making that decision. Why This Matters: Be an informed decision maker. About 1.13 million people had downloaded the federal government’s COVIDSafe app by 6am 27 April, just 12 hours after its, said Health Minister Greg Hunt. The government is hoping at least 40% of the population will make use of the app, designed to help reduce the spread of the […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Mahmoud Elkhodr from Australia's Science Channel

AI can write a song as good as anything you've heard on Eurovision*

*That can be good or bad depending on your own interpretation. But there’s a European AI song contest to find out, and Australia has a team (of course). Why This Matters: We’re not getting Eurovision this year, so the AI Song Contest is our substitute. Eurovision might be cancelled, but an Australian tune written using artifical intelligence is in the running to win a new international song competition. You can even vote to help. The […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: RMIT University from RMIT University

Hubble turns 30 - The images that changed our view of the universe

As the Hubble Space Telescope turns 30, astrophysicist Alan Duffy shares his favourite images and how they changed the way we understand the universe. Why This Matters: Hubble has shown us the universe in ways we never thought possible. On 25 April 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery. Lifted from the cargo bay, the astronauts onboard, including future NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, unfolded the telescope’s solar arrays and antennae […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Part of a disCERNing crowd

Australian physicist Martin White reveals what life is like working on the world’s most exciting science experiment – CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Why This Matters: Living in Australia doesn’t exclude you from being part of science history. It’s lunchtime, and I am standing with a colleague under the main site of the CERN laboratory, trying to work out whether to go right or left. With the rainy Geneva winter in full swing, he informs me […] See more

Published 4 months ago. Author: Martin White from Cosmos Magazine

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