Science

December 2010

Mathematics and Chemistry researchers win swag of awards
16 December 2010
UNSW researchers from the School of Mathematics and Statistics and School of Chemistry have received a number of awards.Australian Academy of Science 2011 awards for scientific excellenceAn...
2010 Faculty of Science Staff Excellence Awards
16 December 2010
The UNSW Faculty of Science has celebrated the outstanding contributions from its staff during 2010.At a function held at the UNSW Roundhouse on 15 December 2010, the Dean, Professor Merlin Crossley...
Don’t call me obese
13 December 2010
Fat or obese? The labels we use to describe heavy-weight individuals can dramatically influence the judgments we make about people, a new study suggests.Using the term “obese people” results in more...
First Australians did not boost fire activity
6 December 2010
The arrival of the first people in Australia about 50,000 years ago did not result in significantly greater fire activity, according to a landmark new research report on the continent's fire history...
Teenage great white sharks are awkward biters
2 December 2010
The jaws of adolescent great white sharks may be too weak to capture and kill large marine mammals, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biomechanics by an international team of...
Scientists offer qualified support for Murray-Darling Basin Plan
1 December 2010
Public debate about plans to revive the ailing Murray-Darling Basin river system so far has been dominated by concern about negative, short-term impacts, with little consideration of the long-term...

November 2010

Pouched killers not poor cousins of carnivores: research
24 November 2010
Marsupial predators are not the poor cousins of the carnivore world, as has long been thought: new research shows that they have been just as diverse as placental carnivores over time."We've looked...
"Sugar high" is bitter-sweet for aggressive people: study
19 November 2010
Drinking a sweet beverage may either help or hinder people with aggressive personalities depending on the social setting, a new study has found.Consuming a sugary drink can make such people less...
Chemistry awards honour excellence
16 November 2010
Two outstanding researchers from the UNSW School of Chemistry have won national awards for excellence from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).The institute's most prestigious prize, the...
Blind to mother's love
16 November 2010
Aggressive and emotionally cold children literally do not see the love in their mother's eyes, according to new research findings that highlight the significance of poor eye contact in childhood....
Do holes make moles?
3 November 2010
The mysterious origins of Australia's bizarre and secretive marsupial moles have been cast in a whole new and unexpected light with the first discovery in the fossil record of one of their ancestors...
Successful mothers get help from their friends: dolphin study
2 November 2010
Female dolphins who have help from their female friends are far more successful as mothers than those without such help, according to a landmark new study.Previous research into reproductive success...

October 2010

Trees not so large carbon sinks: study
27 October 2010
The capacity of trees to counter rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may not be as great as previously thought, according to a new study with significant implications for predicting...
Killer spiders and bad memories win Young Tall Poppy success
15 October 2010
Two outstanding young researchers from the Faculty of Science have been recognised among five UNSW winners in the 2010 Young Tall Poppy Awards.The Tall Poppies recognise young scientists who excel...
High-res climate simulations to check bushfire risk
13 October 2010
UNSW researchers have received a $200,000 grant to help develop high-resolution climate simulations to better inform how climate change will affect bushfire risk on the heavily populated eastern...
Personality and exercise levels may be linked
11 October 2010
There may be a fundamental link between aspects of an individual's personality and their capacity to exercise or generate energy, recent research suggests.Humans are not the only animals that choose...
Can the past secure pygmy possum's future?
8 October 2010
Australia's ancient past may provide vital clues about how to secure the future of one of Australia's most endangered animals, the charismatic mountain pygmy possum, according to leading...
Climate change effort wins Future Justice Prize
8 October 2010
An international team led by UNSW climate change researchers has won the inaugural 2010 Future Justice Prize for its efforts to synthesize and update a massive volume of scientific research in the...
Statement on the Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
8 October 2010
Australia has embarked on a historic path of returning the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin to a more sustainable level. This decision of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is historically...

September 2010

New call to arms in female beauty
30 September 2010
Youth, tallness and shapely long arms are among the key features found most attractive in women, regardless of cultural differences, a new study has found.Most studies of attractiveness have focused...
Quantum computing advance: single electron reader
28 September 2010
A team led by UNSW engineers and physicists has achieved a breakthrough that brings a super-fast quantum computer a step closer to reality by developing a "single electron reader" – a key building...
Communicating climate science - it's about how we make decisions
20 September 2010
The idea that greenhouse gas emissions are warming Earth's atmosphere is one of the most certain concepts in natural science yet as the level of scientific certainty has grown, so has the level of...
Seeing through Fog: study sheds new light on fat
17 September 2010
The Friends of GATA may sound like a social support group but a new study reveals that they are a very different kind of support act – they are proteins that play a previously unknown role in the...
UNSW wins three Scientist of Year awards
17 September 2010
The quality and peadth of UNSW's research talent has been recognised with three wins at the NSW Scientist of the Year awards for new insights into dementia, climate change and industrial chemistry....
Oxygen production may have begun 270 million years earlier
9 September 2010
Bacteria that produce oxygen may have evolved hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought, a new study into ancient rock formations in Western Australia suggests.Well-preserved...
Laws of physics vary throughout universe, study finds
9 September 2010
The laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe, according to new evidence uncovered by a team of Australian and British astrophysicists.One of the supposed fundamental...
Playboy males live fast, die young
3 September 2010
Promiscuous males are so intent on pursuing sexual partners that they can neglect even essential tasks such as eating, says a new study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.The finding...
Gentle bilby had "killer" ancestor
1 September 2010
The gentle rabbit-like bilby – Australia's stand-in for the Easter bunny - had an ancient relative that was a far more fearsome little beast, a new study has found.Although modern bilbies are mild-...
Schools race to power of Sunsprint
1 September 2010
[UPDATE: results and pictures from the 2010 Susnsprint Challenge can be found here.]Excited secondary students from across NSW and the ACT are making the final touches and adjustments to their solar...

August 2010

Promiscuity, disgust, anxiety and sex: prizes for postgrad research
27 August 2010
Why aren't males more promiscuous? Why are feelings of disgust so hard to get over? Why do some bad memories make you feel like a failure?  How long will you live if you're small, hungry and lonely?...
New chlorophyll found in ancient algae
20 August 2010
The first new chlorophyll discovered in 60 years has been found on the Western Australia coast, in bacteria so primitive they may date back to the origins of life on Earth.It is only the fifth known...
“Terror bird” was Muhammad Ali of predators: study
19 August 2010
Scientists have used sophisticated computer modelling to reveal that an ancient “terror bird” used an agile attack-and-retreat fighting strategy of which Muhammad Ali would approve. Andalgalornis...
Butchered giants and headless bodies – Pacific mystery exposed
17 August 2010
Remains of giant horned turtles found at an even older human cemetery in Vanuatu have revealed that the first settlers shared a Pacific island with the turtles for at least two centuries.Researchers...
Biochar has huge carbon offset potential: study
11 August 2010
Up to 12 percent of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be sustainably offset by producing biochar from plants and other organic material, according to a new study published in...
Bronwyn's star leads to Harvard
9 August 2010
Outstanding UNSW psychology doctoral student Bronwyn Graham will travel the US next year to undertake postdoctoral research into anxiety disorders, after being awarded a Neurological Fellowship by...
Surf safety video: 100,000 views and counting
3 August 2010
More than 100,000 people from around the world have now watched an award-winning UNSW-TV video on beach safety, featuring UNSW surf scientist Dr Rob pander.The five-minute video, titled Don't Get...

July 2010

Warmest decade on record: new climate report
29 July 2010
A major international climate study has confirmed that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.The 2009 State of the Climate...
Sorrow at death of Stephen Schneider
21 July 2010
Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford biology professor and a leading researcher in climate change, has died, aged 65.An outstanding scientist, climate researcher and activist, Professor Schneider was a...
Two new Centres of Excellence to come
20 July 2010
The Faculty's national research leadership in quantum computing and climate science have been recognised with the award of two new Centres of Excellence by the Australian Research Council.The...
Outstanding teaching recognised
19 July 2010
Outstanding contributions of UNSW staff to student learning have been recognised with five citations from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), notably including Dr Louise Lutze-Mann...
Remarkable fossil cave shows how ancient marsupials grew
14 July 2010
The discovery of a remarkable 15-million-year-old Australian fossil limestone cave packed with even older animal bones has revealed almost the entire life cycle of a large prehistoric marsupial,...
Body beauty: what do we really want?
6 July 2010
With skinny catwalk models and digitally altered photographs in women's magazines being blamed for creating problems with negative body images, Australian researchers are questioning traditional or...
UNSW excels in Laureate awards
6 July 2010
UNSW's excellence in science, engineering and environmental sustainability has been recognised with the award of three of the 25 new Australian Laureate Fellowships - one-fifth of the total awarded...

June 2010

Faculty researchers shine in linkage grants
24 June 2010
UNSW Faculty of Science researchers have again performed strongly in the recently announced Australian Research Council linkage grants round for funding commencing in July 2010. UNSW topped the...
Hatchery fish are going well . . . and wild
18 June 2010
Young mulloway fish reared in hatcheries and released in NSW waters are adapting quickly and well to life in the wild, a new study has found.Led by Dr Matthew Taylor from the University of New South...
Australian amber is treasure trove of ancient life
17 June 2010
A study led by UNSW scientists has confirmed the discovery of Australia's most northerly fossil site  - deposits of the precious mineral amber that contain a treasure trove of trapped animal and...
Tillegra Dam threatens wetland and birds: study
10 June 2010
Significant impacts on the most important wetland for migratory shorebirds in NSW are likely from the proposed Tillegra Dam on the Williams River, according to an independent study by the UNSW...

May 2010

Quantum leap: world's smallest transistor built with just 7 atoms
24 May 2010
Scientists have literally taken a leap into a new era of computing power by making the world's smallest precision-built transistor - a "quantum dot" of just seven atoms in a single silicon crystal....
New quantum computing director appointed
21 May 2010
UNSW is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Michelle Simmons as Director of one of the university's largest and most high-profile research initiatives - the Centre for Quantum Computer...
Schwab award recognises Holden's vision
21 May 2010
Professor Brien Holden of the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science and his colleague from South Africa, Professor Kovin Naidoo, have been jointly awarded the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award...
New species of human ancestor identified
20 May 2010
Our family tree has grown once again with the identification of another new species of early human ancestor, based on a fresh analysis of a partial skull found decades ago in South Africa's famous...
Allure of avatar to unlock secrets of sex
14 May 2010
There's more to what makes a man or woman attractive than mere shape or weight, but what else do we take into account when we make that judgement?That's what a team of Sydney scientists is trying to...
2010 Faculty of Science Dean's List
14 May 2010
In recognition of outstanding academic performance in 2009, Science is pleased to announce the 2010 Faculty of Science Dean's List. The Dean's List is an opportunity to recognise and congratulate...
Psychology's rising popularity focus of award
7 May 2010
The rising popularity of undergraduate psychology courses is the focus of a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship awarded today by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council to Associate...
Sex and powders: Academy rewards excellence
7 May 2010
One of them is shedding new light on the battle of the sexes and the other is helping Australian industry come to grips with its own powdery products, but two UNSW researchers do have something in...
Global warming heat stress could make life intolerable: study
4 May 2010
Heat stress would make life intolerable for humans in most currently inhabited regions on Earth if the worst-case global warming scenario were to happen, according to a new study.In an often...
River declines now causing havoc in birdlife
4 May 2010
The slow death of one of Australia's iconic wetlands is causing dramatic upheavals in its bird populations, with species from surrounding farmland moving in to replace many small woodland birds as...

April 2010

Obesity bias based on disgust: study
27 April 2010
Negative attitudes towards obese people are based on an emotional response of disgust, a new study suggests.Previous research had focused on the fact that overweight individuals are blamed for being...
Circle of fourths: maths meets music
19 April 2010
The UNSW Orchestra's next performance certainly will be one of nice round numbers. It will be its 100th concert in over 20 years and even the music will have a numerical bent: the musicians will...
Out there and down there: Super Science wins
16 April 2010
Projects to search for planets beyond our own Solar System and to better understand the impact of climate change on Australia's groundwater resources have won five Super Science Fellowships for two...
Inbreeding is costly for dolphins: study
15 April 2010
New evidence of the costs of inbreeding among the bottlenose dolphins of East Shark Bay, in Western Australia, has been found as part of a long-running study.Inbred females tend to have a lower...
New report tackles natural disaster risks in Pacific
14 April 2010
Cyclones, tsunami, earthquakes, volcanic activity and climate change all pose major potential risks to Pacific Island nations and development projects aimed at reducing those risks need to be much...
Rat whiskers versus human fingertips: touch and touch alike
14 April 2010
Rats use their whiskers much like humans use their fingertips to feel objects, but despite these great differences they both process those sensations in the same part of the brain and in the same...
Science leaders honoured by Royal Society of NSW
12 April 2010
Seven eminent senior scientists - including three former leaders of the UNSW Faculty of Science - have been appointed as inaugural Fellows of one of Australia's oldest scientific societies, the...
Jenna tops optometry
9 April 2010
Jenna Owen is an outstanding student by any standards: with a distinction average in her studies in a demanding course, she has now won the CooperVision Australia Prize for the best Year 4...
New hope for ultimate clean energy: fusion power
9 April 2010
Imagine if you could generate electricity using nuclear power that emitted no radioactivity: it would be the answer to the world's dream of finding a clean, sustainable energy source.That is the...
Front Page Video
7 April 2010
Test for the front page.

March 2010

Inventor of Year Awards
25 March 2010
Enterprising science students could earn substantial prize money and a coveted UNSW award by submitting an entry in the 2010 UNSW Inventor of the Year Awards by April 22.Carrying a total cash prize...
Brain talent wins Fulbright
19 March 2010
She's a whizz at maths, has Honours degrees in physics and fine arts and is studying for a doctorate in neuroscience: now Angela Langdon has won a prestigious scholarship to help her develop a...
Dingo may be world's oldest dog
18 March 2010
Australia's dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog may be the world's oldest dog breeds, according to a major new genetic study into the domestication of the animal dubbed man's best friend.The...
New Basin plan "must get it right", say scientists
11 March 2010
The forthcoming Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to restore the ailing river system, more than 30 of Australia's leading freshwater scientists say in a statement today...
Weightless cells win NASA prize
10 March 2010
New insights into the effects of weightlessness on human cell functions have won a talented UNSW doctoral student the VSSEC‐NASA Australian Space Prize.Elizabeth Blaber, 21, will now get to spend 10...

February 2010

To see Mars, visit Australia
24 February 2010
Ever wondered what it would be like on the planet Mars? You can see the next best thing right here on Earth in Australia's vast and ancient desert regions, according to a new scientific study.The...
Everyone looks the same - when you drink
22 February 2010
People are much better at recognising faces of their own racial group than those of different races, but a new study suggests that drinking alcohol almost eliminates that bias.When given enough...
Dean wins genome medal
17 February 2010
The Dean of the UNSW Faculty of Science, Professor Merlin Crossley, has been awarded the prestigious Julian Wells Medal at the 31st annual Lorne Genome Conference, in Victoria.The medal was awarded...
New fiancée formula for marriage
11 February 2010
Women of the world, beware: men now have a new reason to avoid marriage commitment - the "theory of optimal stopping".Just in time for Valentine's Day, UNSW statisticians have used probability...
Whooping cough vaccine may be losing its punch: study
10 February 2010
Vaccination programs against whooping cough may not be fully effective because the bacteria that cause the disease have evolved new strains, a new study has found.A team of Australian scientists has...
What science knows: new book
5 February 2010
Special feature A new book by UNSW mathematician and philosopher Jim Franklin* examines what science knows and how it knows it. The following is from the preface of the book.Any time is a good time...
Algae have mastered quantum physics: study
4 February 2010
Simple single-celled algae use highly sophisticated quantum physics to harvest and convert solar energy for their survival, a new study suggests.The study, published today in the prestigious science...
Nobel Laureate public lecture at UNSW
4 February 2010
Professor Ada Yonath, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009, will give a free public lecture at UNSW.The lecture, titled "Polar Bears, the Genetic Code and Tiny Antibiotics that Paralyse...

January 2010

Surgery without stitches wins major grant
28 January 2010
A new technology to seal surgical wounds without needles and stitches has been awarded a major Federal Government grant to help its development for delicate brain surgery.A team led by Associate...
Conformists at more risk of eating disorders: study
14 January 2010
Young women who conform to the expectations of others and follow the crowd are more likely than non-conformists to have a negative image of their bodies and signs of eating disorders, a new...
New CFL lamps low on energy and light
11 January 2010
Think your new energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp doesn't throw as much light as the old incandescent bulb it replaced? You're right, a new independent study has found.Most new CFLs fail to...