Science

December 2009

Loud and lazy but didn't chew gum: Ancient koalas
21 December 2009
Skull fragments of prehistoric koalas from the Riversleigh rainforests of millions of year ago suggest they shared the modern koala's "lazy" lifestyle and ability to produce loud "bellowing" calls...
2009 Faculty of Science Staff Excellence Awards
18 December 2009
Recipients of the 2009 Faculty of Science Staff Excellence Awards have been recognised for excelling in their respective fields this year.Candidates for the awards are nominated by their colleagues...
Students sequence genome of the Wollemi Pine
17 December 2009
UNSW students have sequenced the chloroplast genome of the ancient Wollemi Pine - a world first that could reveal how a "dinosaur" of the tree kingdom survived 200 million years of shifting...
New planets around sun-like stars
14 December 2009
An international team of planet hunters has found four new planets orbiting two nearby stars that are very similar to the Sun. These discoveries point the way to the detection of potentially...
PhD a new string to violin-maker’s bow
8 December 2009
Eighty-four year old amateur violin-maker John McLennan has capped a lifelong love of the violin by graduating with a PhD in Physics from UNSW.John's thesis concerns a comparative study of the...
Seven new Diamond aircraft for UNSW Aviation
7 December 2009
The UNSW Department of Aviation signed an agreement with aircraft sales and services company Hawker Pacific to acquire seven new Diamond aircraft for its aviation training fleet.Under the agreement...
Climate change research team grows
5 December 2009
UNSW's Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) is going from strength to strength, with two new high-profile appointments bringing its academic staff ranks to nine, along with almost 30 post-doctoral...
Fish with attitude: some like it hot
4 December 2009
Coral reef fish can undergo a personality change in warmer water, according to an intriguing new study suggesting that climate change may make some species more aggressive.Experiments with two...

November 2009

Climate change accelerating beyond expectations, urgent emissions reductions required, say leading scientists
25 November 2009
Global ice-sheets are melting at an increased rate; Arctic sea-ice is disappearing much faster than recently projected, and future sea-level rise is now expected to be much higher than previously...
More fresh water, no weir: Coorong science review
23 November 2009
About one-third of the Murray River's natural flow at its lower end is needed to sustain the collapsing ecosystems in the wetlands of the Lower Lakes and Coorong, a new scientific review has found....
Evolutionary history rewritten for NZ giant birds
18 November 2009
The evolutionary history of New Zealand's many extinct flightless moa has been re-written in the first comprehensive study of more than 260 sub-fossil specimens to combine all known genetic,...
SPECIAL FEATURE - The upside of feeling down
7 November 2009
A chill wind chases you into the door of your local newsagent. Rain is drumming down outside. As you pay for your newspaper, you briefly notice a number of strange items on the checkout counter - a...
Samoan tsunami was too close to prevent deaths: research
5 November 2009
Samoa's tsunami detection, monitoring and warning system works well and could not have prevented the more than 100 deaths caused by the devastating tsunami that hit the region on September 29, a...
Plague on their house, but bush rats fight back
3 November 2009
Sydney's native bush rats were unintended victims of a campaign to exterminate foreign black rats during a plague epidemic in 1900, according to new research by scientists who plan to reintroduce...
Melbourne Cup: winning formula
2 November 2009
UNSW mathematicians have crunched the numbers on two decades of Melbourne Cup race results to provide insight into how professional gamblers consistently back the winners - and have devised a...
Free eye tests at new Centre for Eye Health
2 November 2009
A new state-of-the-art eye health centre on campus has an unusual twist: thanks to public generosity, all its services are completely free of charge.Thousands of people at risk of developing eye...

October 2009

Tall Poppies are the pick of the crop
30 October 2009
Three Science Faculty scholars have been honoured at the 2009 Young Tall Poppy Awards hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science. Dr Marcus Cole, (Chemistry), Dr Donna Green (Climate...
Science wins $23m in ARC Project and Grants
27 October 2009
The UNSW Faculty of Science has won more than $23 million in the Australian Research Council's latest round of grants, helping UNSW achieve the highest funding level ($47.8m) for any university in...
Sensors to protect marine and freshwater ecosystems
12 October 2009
An ambitious initiative designed to track the health of Australia's marine and freshwater ecosystems was launched today by the NSW Chief Scientist, Professor Mary O'Kane. The $9.6 million multi-...

September 2009

Killer tsunami – UNSW spearheads research in Samoa
30 September 2009
UNSW scientists will assess the impact of the regional tsunami that has struck Samoa, American Samoa and surrounding islands when they arrive next week in the remote South Pacific island group....
Nanotechnology gets a new light touch
30 September 2009
Building the super-fast computers of the future has just become much easier thanks to an advance by Australian researchers that lets them grab hold of tiny electronics components and probe their...
Micro-gravity a health hazard for astronauts: research
30 September 2009
Australian scientists may have pinpointed the cause of muscle wasting and bone-density loss experienced by astronauts who fly lengthy missions under the weightless conditions of space, new research...
Time fast running out on climate change
23 September 2009
Years of inaction mean that time is fast running out for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous global climate change, say researchers from the UNSW Climate Change...
$3m boost to biofuels and protein research
18 September 2009
The research capacity of two UNSW research facilities has been strengthened by a $3m upgrade from UNSW and the NSW and Federal Governments.UNSW's revamped Recombinant Products Laboratory and...
New Dean of Science appointed
15 September 2009
The Faculty will soon have a new Dean of Science following the appointment of distinguished molecular geneticist Professor Merlin Crossley to the key leadership role. Professor Crossley will take up...
Terry Tao: a beautiful mind to speak at UNSW
9 September 2009
The Australian whiz kid who became a UCLA maths professor at age 24 will reveal the mysterious world of prime numbers on Wednesday 16 September at UNSW.Terry Tao had won virtually every top research...
Symposium to hear of new green materials
9 September 2009
New environmentally friendly plastics, bricks and concrete can be made by recycling the great quantities of waste ash left over when coal is burnt in thermal power stations, according to UNSW...
Genomes reveal bacterial lifestyles
8 September 2009
Sampling just a few genes can reveal not only the "lifestyle" of marine microbes but of their entire environments, new research suggests.The finding means researchers may be able to predict the...
Safety award for science video
3 September 2009
A specially made UNSW-TV video on beach safety that has been viewed by tens of thousands of people has won an Australian Safer Communities Award, sponsored by Emergency Management Australia (EMA)....
HPV vaccine may prevent breast cancer
3 September 2009
Vaccinating women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may prevent some forms of breast cancer and save tens of thousands of lives each year, new Australian research suggests.Using genetic probes...
Astronomers find coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth
1 September 2009
The search for the best observatory site in the world has lead to the discovery of what is thought to be the coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth. No human is thought to have ever been there but...

August 2009

Animals cause thousands of road accidents: study
25 August 2009
Kangaroos and wallabies are the most likely species to be involved in animal-related road accidents that result in human death or injury and vehicle damage on NSW roads, a new study has found.More...
Eureka Prize wins for Gooding, Neilan
19 August 2009
Two Faculty of Science researchers have been honoured with wins in the 2009 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, Australia's most prestigious science awards.Professor Brett Neilan, a Federation Fellow...
Call for grass roots action on climate - UNSW public forum and book launch
19 August 2009
Citizens should demand greater action by federal and state governments that are failing to enact effective climate change reduction policies, according to Mark Diesendorf, a UNSW academic and author...
Anti-psychotic drugs could help fight cancer
12 August 2009
The observation that people taking medication for schizophrenia have lower cancer rates than other people has prompted new research revealing that anti-psychotic drugs could help treat some major...
New drug-resistant TB strains could become widespread says new study
11 August 2009
The emergence of new forms of tuberculosis could swell the proportion of drug-resistant cases globally, a new study has found. The finding raises concern that although TB incidence is falling in...
New acting Dean at the helm
4 August 2009
Distinguished molecular biologist Professor Ian Dawes takes over today as acting Dean of the Faculty of Science to replace Professor Mike Archer, AM, whose term as Dean has ended after almost six...

July 2009

Bizarre walking bat has ancient heritage: research
30 July 2009
A bizarre New Zealand bat that is as much at home walking four-legged on the ground as winging through the air had an Australian ancestor 20 million years ago with the same rare ability, a new study...
Extinction crisis looms in Oceania: landmark study
29 July 2009
Governments must act urgently to halt loss of habitats and invading species that are posing major threats to biodiversity and causing species extinctions across Australia, New Zealand and the...
Rising stars vying for Eureka Prize
24 July 2009
Two of the rising stars in the Faculty of Science were selected today as finalists for the 2009 Eureka Prizes, Australia's most prestigious science awards. They are among five individual UNSW...
Tsunami threat: are we vulnerable?
17 July 2009
Australian tsunami experts say the small tsunami triggered by an earthquake in New Zealand on Wednesday was the 41st to strike the "shaky isles" in the past 190 years, and demonstrated that our...
Wagner's "difficult" reputation unwarranted says research
3 July 2009
The composer Richard Wagner is well-known, even notorious, for writing operas that can challenge both performers and listeners. A new study published in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of...
New class of black holes discovered
2 July 2009
The first solid evidence of a new class of medium-sized black holes has been discovered in a distant galaxy by an international team of astronomers.The black hole is more than 500 times the mass of...
Global patterns in plant height revealed for first time
1 July 2009
A global study of more than 7,000 plant species has revealed what biologists expected but no one had proved - plants are taller in the tropics than those in temperate zones away from the equator....

June 2009

Celebrating excellence: 2009 Faculty of Science Undergraduate Scholarships & Prizes
29 June 2009
The 2009 Faculty of Science Undergraduate Scholarships & Prizes presentation evening marked an opportunity to recognise and reward students for their outstanding academic performances.Students,...
Climate variability, not land-clearing, main trigger of salinity
26 June 2009
Natural climate variability over the past century has emerged as the main trigger of soil salinity problems in south-eastern Australia, according to the surprise outcome of a major new groundwater...
You'd be dead lucky to win OZ Lotto
26 June 2009
Many Australians are getting excited about the record $90 million dollar jackpot in the next OZ Lotto draw on Tuesday 30 June, but you should understand that your chances of winning it are almost...
Bryant wins Laureate Fellowship
23 June 2009
A major long-term research program aimed at reducing violence and mental health problems in Aboriginal communities is the focus of a prestigious new award for one of the Faculty's most distinguished...
Average women more attractive than centrefolds: study
12 June 2009
Average-looking women are more attractive to young men than shapely Playboy centrefold models, according to a surprising new study.The finding suggests that there's much more to the visual appeal of...
Australian men risk being lonely and isolated in retirement: survey
3 June 2009
Men are planning for their financial security in retirement but not for their happiness, according to a survey revealing that more women than men plan for their health and leisure interests before...
Bilbies bring new life to desert dunes
2 June 2009
Bilbies and bettongs-the desert forms of bandicoots and rat-kangaroos-can bring degraded desert landscape back to life, according to new study by UNSW PhD student, Ms Alex James.The two foraging...

May 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has childhood roots: research
28 May 2009
Clear evidence of impaired thought processes can be detected in children at risk of later developing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), two new psychological studies have found.The studies are the...
Floodplain studies win rich reward
21 May 2009
Research into the sustainable management of floodplains has netted UNSW doctoral student Ms Celine Steinfeld an important $60,000 award  - the inaugural Peter Cullen Postgraduate Scholarship.The NSW...
Floods bring mass bird breeding frenzy
19 May 2009
Flooding rains have brought large numbers of flocking birds to breed and feed in the rivers of Australia's Lake Eyre Basin, but numbers appear to have fallen compared to previous surveys because of...
Komodo dragon even deadlier than thought: research
19 May 2009
The fearsome Komodo dragon is deadlier than previously thought, with new research revealing that the giant lizards weaken and immobilize their prey with a potent venomous bite before using razor...
Eyes on the prize at UNSW: Indigenous scholarship in optometry
14 May 2009
Indigenous students who plan to study optometry next year at UNSW could benefit from a new scholarship program announced today. The eye care manufacturer Luxottica and UNSW have signed an agreement...
Sydney Institute of Marine Science wins $19.5m grant in Budget 09: researchers to tackle threats to Australian coasts and marine ecosystems
13 May 2009
Sydney Harbour will be the focus of a world-class marine research program to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Australian coasts thanks to a $19.5m grant to the Sydney Institute of...
The Clean Industrial Revolution: growing Australian prosperity in a greenhouse age
7 May 2009
The energy superpowers of the looming greenhouse age will be nations that decarbonise their economies so they can prosper from the next industrial revolution that runs on renewable energy sources,...
Medicine: why we don't take what's good for us
1 May 2009
Ineffective traditional remedies are more likely to spread and be used than effective medical therapies because their ineffectiveness prolongs use that can be uncritically copied by others, new...

April 2009

Converting waste rubber to steels wins Inventor prize
24 April 2009
Professor Veena Sahajwalla has won the Science and Engineering category of the 2009 NewSouth Innovations Inventor of the Year awards announced last night at a gala event attended by 120 leaders from...
Creaser digs deep to CREATE
22 April 2009
Wily public servant, accidental vertebrate palaeontologist, and widely regarded as a "good bloke", Phil Creaser has acquired a new epithet: philanthropist.He has made a significant donation to...
Cool discovery 40 light years from Earth
21 April 2009
One of the coolest star-like bodies outside our solar system has been spotted orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light years from Earth.UNSW Professor Christopher Tinney and a team of international space...
Memory better in bad weather: research
14 April 2009
There's an upside to feeling down when the weather is gloomy: your memory is far more accurate than it is on bright and sunny days, an intriguing new study suggests.Researchers from the UNSW School...
Good news and bad on climate extremes
8 April 2009
The increases in temperature extremes Australia faces this century due to global climate change will not be quite as large as some have feared, according to a new study by UNSW researchers published...
Blows reveal sex drive in whales
8 April 2009
Using a 13-metre long carbon fibre pole to place nylon stocking above whales' blowholes as they surfaced to breath, an international team of scientists has pioneered a harmless new way to monitor...
McNally is psychology's "rising star"
7 April 2009
UNSW behavioural neuroscientist Associate Professor Gavan P. McNally has been recognised as an international "rising star" by the Association for Psychological Science (APS).Dr McNally is a Queen...

March 2009

Growing slow – secret of human success?
26 March 2009
New light has been shed on one of the secrets of human success - the relatively delayed development of human children - in a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...
Climate change will hit indigenous health
9 March 2009
The generally poor health and other disadvantages experienced by many indigenous Australians living in remote areas will be worsened by the impact of climate change, according to Dr Donna Green, a...
Adam Micolich wins Edgeworth David Medal
5 March 2009
Adam Micolich has won the Edgeworth David Medal, a prestigious early career award made by the Royal Society of New South Wales.Awarded annually to a scientist under the age of 35 for distinguished...
Used car tyres can be turned into steel
4 March 2009
Hundreds of thousands of Australia's used car tyres could be recycled every year and turned into steel, thanks to a discovery that rubber can be partially substituted for coke in electric arc...

February 2009

Sydney’s colourful marine life is back in the headlines
27 February 2009
With fish, dolphins, whales, sharks, turtles, shellfish and even fairy penguins returning to the increasingly clean and healthy Sydney Harbour, the need has never been greater to better understand...
Red gums dying in central NSW wetlands
26 February 2009
Ancient red river gums are dying in vast numbers due to water diversions from the Lachlan River in central NSW, according to a new report. It reveals 85 percent mortality over the past 12 years...
Seminar: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation... Trade-off or Complement?
25 February 2009
The UNSW Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) will host a seminar by one of the founders of climate change research, Professor Stephen Schneider from Stanford University.Professor Schneider will...
Water vapour doubles global warming: case closed
23 February 2009
Water vapour released into the atmosphere adds one degree Celsius to global warming for every one contributed by humanity through greenhouse gas emissions.The evidence for this phenomenon, long-...
Padded headgear won't stop concussion
19 February 2009
Padded headgear does not reduce the rate of concussion or head injury for Rugby Union players, a major new Australian study has found.  It concluded that although individual players may choose to...
Tsunami, fisheries and 10 years of research partnership in Indonesia
17 February 2009
A celebration has been held to mark the involvement of UNSW researchers in a 10-year partnership on sustainable, brackish-water aquaculture in Indonesia.Funded by the Australian Centre for...
Putting the brake on road fatalities
17 February 2009
Safety experts hope that a new research vehicle can put a brake on road fatalities.Subaru Australia has handed over the keys to a unique research vehicle that could help UNSW researchers reduce road...
UNSW trauma research backed with elite grant
16 February 2009
A leading research program in the UNSW School of Psychology into the mental aftermath of trauma has won $7.1 million backing from the National Health and Medical Research Council.The program, led by...
Indian Ocean causes Big Dry: drought mystery solved
5 February 2009
The causes of south-eastern Australia's longest, most severe and damaging droughts have been discovered, with the surprise finding that they originate far away in the Indian Ocean.A team of...

January 2009

UNSW leading on biochar research
29 January 2009
UNSW is accelerating research into biochar, an organic product derived from biological waste that harnesses carbon emissions, boosts crop yields and improves sustainable land use for horticulture...
UNSW wins major role in new groundwater centre
22 January 2009
UNSW will take a senior role in the new $60 million National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), announced today by the Federal Government.The centre is jointly funded by $15...
Fossil suggests New Zealand did not drown
22 January 2009
The discovery of the fossil of a lizard-like New Zealand reptile dating back 18 million years has sparked renewed debate over whether the continent was fully submerged some 25 million years ago.The...