UNSW - Science

Annual archive of News from the Faculty of Science
Great weather for ducks: floods rejuvenate rivers and wetlands
19 December 2011
Widespread flooding across the Lake Eyre and Murray-Darling Basins this year has rejuvenated rivers and wetlands and produced an explosion of waterbird breeding, one of Australia’s longest-running...
2011 Faculty of Science Staff Excellence Awards
14 December 2011
 The UNSW Faculty of Science has celebrated the outstanding contributions from its staff during 2011. Mr Malcolm Good from the School of Aviation was awarded the 2011 University of New South Wales...
Biodiversity and climate change - from bad to worse
7 December 2011
A major new scientific review, involving more than 30 scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands sets out our current knowledge of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity...
Academy honours four young UNSW researchers
6 December 2011
Four early-career researchers have been honoured by the Australian Academy of Science with awards as part of the Academy’s 2012 awards for scientific excellence.Three of the winners were from the...
Plunge in CO₂ put the freeze on Antarctica
2 December 2011
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels plunged by 40% before and during the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet 34 million years ago, according to a new study. The finding helps solve a long-standing...
OPINION: More water needed for rivers
28 November 2011
The release of the Draft Murray-Darling Basin plan, and the announcement that 2,750 gigalitres would be returned to the environment, was followed by predictable outrage. Irrigators said that the 2,...
Bio-sensors and nanomaterials win top awards
28 November 2011
The Faculty of Science have been honoured with two prestigious national awards by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute at its 2011 Annual Awards Dinner in Melbourne.Scientia Professor and ARC...
Simmons is Scientist of the Year
23 November 2011
UNSW researchers have been honoured by winning six out of the 10 categories in the NSW Government’s 2011 Science and Engineering Awards by, including the main honour of NSW Scientist of the Year.The...
Global warming dominates regional effects of land-use change
20 November 2011
Changes in snow and rain caused by global warming dominate the effects of land-use change on regional climates, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.The study by a team led...
Four new Future Fellows
17 November 2011
Four new Future Fellowships worth $2.6 million – for research projects examining climate change, nanoscience and dingoes - have been awarded to the Faculty of Science in the latest round of grants...
Light from the void: landmark experiment shows space is not empty
17 November 2011
An ingenious experiment in which tiny parcels of light, or photons, are produced out of empty space has confirmed a long-standing theory that a vacuum contains quantum fluctuations of energy.In a...
OPINION: Coal seam gas - filling the knowledge gap
8 November 2011
There are many good reasons why the general public, and in particular farmers, are concerned about coal seam gas (CSG) extraction. There are major gaps in our knowledge about the future impacts of...
Greenhouse gases to overpower ozone hole
1 November 2011
One set of human-created gases is starting to relinquish its hold on Antarctic climate as another group of emissions produced by human activity is starting to take hold, according to a paper in...
UNSW best in State
1 November 2011
UNSW researchers have been awarded $33 million for 110 projects in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants, topping the state and ranking third nationally.The new projects, to...
UNSW science student wins Rhodes Scholarship
1 November 2011
Eleanor Bath, a UNSW science student with a fascination for evolutionary biology, has won the 2012 NSW Rhodes Scholarship.Eleanor will travel to Oxford next year to undertake a PhD in the field of...
BACKGROUNDER: The laws of Nature
31 October 2011
A radical discovery by my colleagues and I – reported this week in Physical Review Letters – could help explain why it was possible for life (at least as we know it) to develop on Earth, but not in...
Across the Universe: does physics have local by-laws?
31 October 2011
One of the laws of nature may change with location in the Universe, a study published today in the journal Physical Review Letters suggests.A cherished principle in science - the constancy of...
Talk on the birth of stars
26 October 2011
Although our Sun formed about 4.5 billion years ago, star formation is an ongoing process in our Galaxy: Dr Tyler Bourke, an astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will explain how...
Extreme machine is king of spin
26 October 2011
At long last the first exciting research is starting to happen in an extraordinary machine in the UNSW School of Physics, with the installation of the world's largest cryogen-free vector magnet...
Archaeopteryx was first bird after all
26 October 2011
The crown of the famous 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx fossil as the first bird has been restored by a new evolutionary tree.In a study published today in the journal Biology Letters, Australian...
World population reaches 7 billion
26 October 2011
The world’s population is growing astonishingly fast – adding another billion people in a little over a decade. Is this a triumph of human ingenuity or a recipe for global disaster?Now, with 7...
ANALYSIS: Of mice and men
25 October 2011
How have humans and mice changed since we diverged about 75 million years ago from a small, furry common ancestor? Apart from the obvious, of course.As a starting point, it’s worth noting there’s...
Komodo dragon has “pussycat” bite but plenty of punch
21 October 2011
The world’s largest lizard – the Komodo Dragon – has an astonishingly weak bite, but a new study has revealed that the key to its killing power is a lethal combination of poison, brute strength,...
Vale Alan Wilton (1953 - 2011)
14 October 2011
It is with much sorrow that colleagues, students and friends at UNSW record the death of Associate Professor Alan Wilton of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.Professor Wilton...
Six years and 12,000 holes: Cyprus mapped
11 October 2011
It was a marathon project that took six years and the collection and analysis of some 12,000 soil samples, but an international team of geologists has managed to create the Geochemical Atlas of...
Dating drought or purple patch? How males choose mates
11 October 2011
Males decide how much effort they put into courtship and which females to court based on how many others they have recently encountered and how attractive they were, according to a new study into...
FEATURE: Dolphins value good friends and relatives
5 October 2011
Researchers have known for a long time that dolphins associate in something like human “mums’ clubs”. How important is this for successful reproduction compared with the importance of having good...
Black elected to top ISCU post
5 October 2011
One of the Faculty's most senior and distinguished chemistry academics, Professor David Black, has been honoured with election to the post of Secretary General of the International Council for...
OPINION:Time for quad bike safety upgrade
4 October 2011
The tragic quad-biking death of an 11-year-old boy from northwest Victoria on Monday takes the 2011 death toll from all terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents to 17.The boy reportedly died after his ATV...
OPINION: Laureate Fellows offer best recipe for interdisciplinary soup
28 September 2011
Do you ever worry when you are promised something for nothing? I am worried every time I hear - “by collaborating in this multidisciplinary high-level enterprise we can be more than the sum of our...