Science

December 2008

Head-bangers: quick licks crick necks
18 December 2008
Rock fans who risk head and neck injuries when "head-banging" in time to heavy-metal music could reduce harm by wearing a protective brace or switching to slower tempo easy-listening artists, such...
Electronic nose sniffs out trouble
12 December 2008
Graffiti artists risk being sniffed out by an "electronic nose" that can detect paint, tip off security officers, and prevent the high cost of graffiti vandalism. Developed by UNSW and University of...
The popcorn effect: new way to make graphene
11 December 2008
There's a new and surprisingly simple way to make graphene, a single-layered sheet of carbon atoms arranged in honeycomb lattice with great strength and excellent electrical conductivity, according...
Big Bang and bio-sensors win awards
8 December 2008
One of the Faculty's most senior researchers in physics and one of its most outstanding doctoral students in chemistry have been recognised with major professional awards.Scientia Professor Victor...
Spider love: little guys get lots more
8 December 2008
Big males outperform smaller ones in head-to-head mating contests but diminutive males make ten times better lovers because they're quicker to mature and faster on their feet, a new study of redback...

November 2008

Atomic clock can shrink by "magic"
26 November 2008
The world's most precise clock - on which all time-keeping and navigation systems are based - might be made as small as a wristwatch with a new design proposed by an international team of physicists...
Mystery of missing hydrogen
25 November 2008
Something vital is missing in the far distant reaches of the Universe: hydrogen - the raw material for stars, planets and possible life. The discovery of its apparent absence from distant galaxies...
Oh, what a feeling! Brain-injured recover emotional perception skills
24 November 2008
People who have lost the ability to interpret emotion after a severe brain injury can regain this vital social skill by being re-educated to read body-language, facial expressions and voice tone in...
Restocking program a win for prawners and the environment
20 November 2008
Eastern king prawns are back on the menu after a seven-year absence at Wallagoot Lake, near the NSW south coast town of Merimbula, following a prawn-restocking program that is yielding wins for...
Science tops chart in LIEF grants
19 November 2008
UNSW has won the largest share of any Australian university in the latest round of Federal Government research funding, being awarded 15% of the $31.6 million awarded nationally under the  Linkage...
Computer theory cracks rainforest gene secrets
14 November 2008
An innovative approach to studying genetics has provided new information about how Australia's dwindling remnants of rainforest will cope as the planet grows warmer due to climate change.According...
Fiddler crabs reveal honesty is not always the best policy
13 November 2008
Dishonesty may be more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously thought. A team of Australian ecologists has discovered that some male fiddler crabs "lie" about their fighting ability by...
Southern Ocean to acidify much sooner than thought
11 November 2008
The Southern Ocean will acidify much earlier than previously thought from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, taking it past the point where the shells of sea creatures will start to...
Spring brings ‘jelly balls’ to NSW coast
6 November 2008
An unusual abundance of jelly-like creatures has been discovered in waters along the NSW coast from Sydney to Newcastle during a marine survey of the region by a team of scientists from the...

October 2008

A face by any other name: seeing racial bias
30 October 2008
If Barack Obama had taken his mother's surname and kept his childhood nickname, American voters might literally see "Barry Dunham" as a quite different presidential candidate, a new study suggests....
Watch how you rub: warning on eye spikes
28 October 2008
Normal activities such as wearing swim goggles, sleeping face down or doing a gym workout may contribute to glaucoma and other pressure-related eye diseases, a new study has found."The fluid...
Young science trio win excellence awards
23 October 2008
Three Faculty of Science researchers have won Young Tall Poppy Awards, announced last night at a gala event in the NSW Parliament. The awards recognise young scientists who excel at research,...
Announcement of the UNSW U Committee Award for Research Excellence in Science
21 October 2008
An award of $10,000 will be given to the doctoral student in Science who is judged to have produced the best PhD thesis, in the broadest sense, within the calendar year. Criteria for the award...
ARC success: the seal's whiskers
15 October 2008
The history and impacts of climate change are being revealed by a surprising source - the whiskers of seals in Antarctica.Marine mammal expert Dr Tracey Rogers, of the UNSW Evolution and Ecology...
"Extinct" mouse rediscovered
7 October 2008
A small mammal classified as "presumed extinct" in NSW - the desert mouse - has been rediscovered living in Sturt National Park in the State's far west. It had not been seen since 1857.University of...
World's largest wetlands study under way
2 October 2008
The largest ever survey of the health of Australia's vital wetlands has begun, with a team of environmental researchers from the University of New South Wales conducting a special aerial survey of...

September 2008

Climate letter to PM
29 September 2008
Top climate scientists urge PM to cut C02 emissions by 25%Australia's leading climate scientists have written to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, urging him to adopt an emission reduction target for...
Bugs at sea: fair or foul?
25 September 2008
As any boat owner knows, if you dip any object into the ocean its surface will quickly be covered in marine life in a progressive colonisation process known as marine "biofouling".But this doesn't...
Mapping climate change vulnerability in Australia's tropical north
16 September 2008
The risks and impacts of climate change on indigenous communities in Australia's tropical north is the subject of a new scoping study.The study will assess the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of...
Achievements of UNSW astronomers honoured by new stamp
16 September 2008
UNSW's pioneering role in showing the unrealised potential of ground-based astronomy in Antarctica has been celebrated on a new Australian postage stamp.The stamp depicts in the foreground a...
Scientists return to marine "treasure trove" on Sydney Harbour
12 September 2008
How many species of marine creatures remain of the dozens first discovered on a tiny island in Sydney Harbour 130 years ago?That's the question a team of biologists hope to answer this weekend when...
Bright marine science students catch the Next Wave
9 September 2008
"Going to sea is inspirational," says 21 year-old Adrienne Gatt, who has just made her first voyage aboard the Southern Surveyor, Australia's only marine research vessel. "It's the best way to see...
Climate: new spin on ocean's role
9 September 2008
New studies of the Southern Ocean are revealing previously unknown features of giant spinning eddies that have a profound influence on marine life and on the world's climate.These massive swirling...
A virtuous cycle: safety in numbers for riders says research
3 September 2008
It seems paradoxical but the more people ride bicycles on our city streets, the less likely they are to be injured in traffic accidents, say injury experts who will speak at a forthcoming cycling...
Air pollution worst inside cars: research
2 September 2008
Commuters inside slow-moving cars are exposed to far higher levels of air pollution in peak traffic times than those using any other form of transport, new research has revealed.Car drivers and...

August 2008

Heavy metal link to mutations, declining growth, low fertility in Parramatta River crustaceans: study
26 August 2008
Heavy metal pollutants are linked to genetic mutations, stunted growth and declining fertility among small crustaceans in the Parramatta River, new research shows.The finding adds to mounting...
Eats shoots and leaves: secret lives of plants
26 August 2008
A vast botanical study comparing 75 different ecosystems across the planet is revealing a wealth of surprising new facts about the secret lives of plants and what eats them - and some important...
Science shines at Eureka Prizes
20 August 2008
UNSW researchers have won an unprecedented six Australian Museum Eureka Prizes - the "Oscars" of Australian science. The UNSW tally is the highest by any institution in the 19-year history of the...
Last free-flowing river in Murray-Darling Basin threatened by floodplain development
15 August 2008
The Queensland Government's management of floodplains on the environmentally important Paroo River has been called into question by a new study by UNSW researchers.The study found that a new...
Climate change may boost Middle East rainfall
14 August 2008
The prospect of climate change sparking food shortages and water wars in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new UNSW research suggesting that rainfall will be significantly...
Unmanned observatory sets record in Antarctica
13 August 2008
It finally conked out in perishing cold and darkness, but the 204 days that a robotic astronomy station managed to successfully fulfil its winter mission in a dark, remote location on the Antarctic...
No evidence for human megafauna wipeout: study
12 August 2008
No evidence supports claims that human activity resulted in more than 60 species of Australia's large prehistoric animals - or megafauna - being rapidly wiped out in a brief "extinction window"...
Complex decision? Don't sleep on it: research
12 August 2008
Neither snap judgements nor sleeping on a problem are any better than conscious thinking for making complex decisions, according to new research.The finding debunks a controversial 2006 research...
A+ for science teaching
11 August 2008
Two science faculty staff have been recognised for their commitment to student learning by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.The ALTC has awarded Barbara Junghans and Wallace Bridge with...
Climate change: skippy to the rescue
8 August 2008
Skippy could be on more menus following a report that expanding the kangaroo industry would significantly cut greenhouse gases.A paper in the journal Conservation Letters says reducing cattle and...
Great white's mighty bite revealed
5 August 2008
The bite force of a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is the highest known for any living species, according to new research to be published in the Journal of Zoology. This is the first...
Swiss bankers and fire ants: predicting extreme risk
5 August 2008
What do Swiss bankers and fire ants have in common?  Not much at first glance, but an unusual new study notes that the banking industry has learnt a lot from bitter experience with rogue traders,...

July 2008

Where do Sydney’s bats hang out?
28 July 2008
Caragh Threlfall haunts Sydney by night in search of tiny insect-eating bats to learn more about one of Earth's least-studied mammals.Under cover of darkness, the 25 year-old UNSW PhD student...
Faculty stands out in Eureka Prizes
25 July 2008
Ten UNSW-affiliated researchers and research groups are in the running for eight prize categories at this year's Eureka Prizes, an unprecedented achievement for any research institution in the...
Award for UNSW climate researcher
21 July 2008
The Banksia Environmental Foundation has named Professor Matthew England the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Australian Research Award Winner.He was presented with the $30,000 award on Friday 18 July at the...
Men and women may need different diets: research
16 July 2008
Diet can strongly influence how long you live and reproduce, but now scientists have discovered that what works best for males may not be best for females.In the first study of its kind, the...
Floodplain policy a good start, but . . .
3 July 2008
The NSW Government's new draft floodplain harvesting policy is a welcome start in managing the diversion of water from the floodplains of the State's rivers, but implementing it will present...

June 2008

We've got the numbers: UNSW Mathematics Competition
25 June 2008
Six hundred students from 26 schools across NSW and the ACT will today sit the UNSW Schools Mathematics Competition. The three-hour exam poses six problems assessing knowledge from areas of...
Hot licks from robo-clarinet
24 June 2008
A remarkable Australian-designed robot clarinet player has won first prize at an international orchestra competition.Developed by a team of engineers and scientists from NICTA and the University of...
Oldies look on the bright side of life
19 June 2008
Elders are as satisfied with their social lives as younger people despite spending more time alone, according to a study by Queensland University and UNSW researchers.Published in the June issue of...
Honour for UNSW mathematician
10 June 2008
One of UNSW's most distinguished mathematicians, Scientia Professor Ian Sloan, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the latest Queen's Birthday Honours list.Professor Sloan, AO...

May 2008

International award for UNSW physics learning materials
30 May 2008
Physclips, a set of multimedia learning and teaching materials developed for introductory physics, has won the Physics division of the 2007 Pirelli Prizes for Science Communication.Funded by the...
Faculty’s big green win on Linkage Grants
29 May 2008
Two teams led by prominent Faculty of Science researchers studying cleaner water and greener steel have helped UNSW to win the highest level of funding for any Australian university for Linkage...
Life on Earth began much earlier: new research
29 May 2008
New studies of the world's most primitive living things - colonies of bacteria found on the Western Australia coast - suggest that life on Earth may have begun much earlier than the accepted date of...
UNSW scientist advising government on Murray Darling water plan
22 May 2008
UNSW Professor Richard Kingsford has been named as member of the Federal Government's stakeholder consultative committee to advise the government on the Commonwealth Government's commitment to buy...
China's global greenhouse challenge
6 May 2008
China's growing greenhouse gas emissions and the problems they present for the rest of the world will be tackled by an expert panel, including acclaimed China specialist Professor Orville Schell, at...

April 2008

Climate change: will capital save the world?
29 April 2008
Australia could become a "carbon energy economic super power" if government and business leaders gave greater incentives to invest in, and use, renewable and efficient low carbon-emission technology...
Prize for quantum physics advance
24 April 2008
UNSW physicist Frank Ruess has been awarded the 2007 UNSW Science Prize. Awarded by the U Committee, the prize recognises the best science PhD thesis passed each year.Dr Ruess is pioneering a new...
Federation Fellowships trifecta for UNSW
23 April 2008
Three UNSW academics have been named 2008 Australian Research Council Federation Fellows by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim...
UNSW, India join forces in nanotechnology research
22 April 2008
UNSW's Faculty of Science will team with Indian counterparts in two major research projects in the field of nanotechnology, following a funding announcement by the Federal Government.The projects...
Ancient dragon has space-age skull
15 April 2008
A new international study has revealed how the Komodo dragon can be such an efficient killing machine despite having a wimpy bite and a featherweight skull.A member of the goanna family with...
Shorebird numbers crash: survey alarm
10 April 2008
"Three-quarters of eastern Australia's millions of resident and migratory shorebirds have disappeared in just one generation."- Professor Richard KingsfordOne of the world's great wildlife...
Sydney harbours deadly diet for sea creatures
7 April 2008
Contaminated seaweeds in Sydney Harbour could be threatening the small animals that feed on them, according to a new study revealing that the harbour's seaweeds have the world's highest levels of...
New hope for prolonged grief
2 April 2008
Strong feelings of grief are normal and healthy after the death of someone you love, but recent research findings suggest that some people grieve for so long that it becomes a significant mental...

March 2008

Living fossil still calls Australia home: study
25 March 2008
They are separated by a vast ocean and by millions of years, but tiny prehistoric bones found on a Queensland farm have been directly linked to a strange and secretive little animal that lives today...
More Aussies dining on Skippy
12 March 2008
More Australians are dining on kangaroo but most are unaware that the national icon is being wild harvested rather than farmed, according to a new report.Australia has no kangaroo farms and...

February 2008

Floodplain development threatens Macquarie Marshes
25 February 2008
A landmark study by a team at the University of New South Wales has mapped more than 2,000 km of levee banks, channels and storages on the floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes, an internationally...
Good sax? Vocal tract control is key: research
8 February 2008
Unlike amateurs, professional sax players can play notes in the very high altissimo sound register by tuning their vocal tract to assist the instrument, new research in the journal Science reveals....
Pregnancy hits your memory
5 February 2008
Many women believe that they become more forgetful during pregnancy: a new study by Australian researchers suggests that they are right - and that their memory can be significantly impaired for at...
Brave new observatory in Antarctica
4 February 2008
An unusual new astronomical observatory has been established on the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau, in a multi-national collaboration including China, the US, UK and Australia.An expedition...

January 2008

Dean wins national honour
26 January 2008
Almost four decades of distinguished research, teaching and public promotion of science and conservation by Professor Mike Archer have been publicly recognised in the Australia Day honours list....
Marsupial lion: fast and efficient killer
18 January 2008
Australia's extinct marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) would have made minced meat of today's African lion (Panthera leo) had the two big hyper-carnivores ever squared off in a fight to the death....