UNSW - Science

Annual archive of News from the Faculty of Science
Quad bike safety experts meet at UNSW
20 December 2012
Thirty of the world’s leading experts in quad bike safety assembled at UNSW this week as part of a project to improve the safety of the vehicles.The $1 million quad bike crash performance research,...
2012 Faculty of Science staff excellence awards
20 December 2012
The UNSW Faculty of Science has celebrated the outstanding contributions made by its staff during 2012, with staff excellence awards handed out by the Dean, Professor Merlin Crossley.This year, for...
New neighbours? Closest single Sun-like star may have habitable planet
19 December 2012
One of the closest stars to Earth, Tau Ceti, may host five planets - with one in the star’s habitable zone  - an international team of astronomers has discovered.Only 12 light years away, Tau Ceti...
Nobel Laureate presents prize to high school students
14 December 2012
It’s not every day that school students get to present their science project to a major scientific conference, and rarer still to receive a prize for it from a Nobel Laureate.That was the happy...
Veena Sahajwalla wins Innovation Challenge award
12 December 2012
Professor Veena Sahajwalla has won the $30,000 top prize in the Innovation Challenge awards run by The Australian.A passionate recycler, she was honoured for her patented “green steel” process, in...
New ideas about the evolution of homosexuality
12 December 2012
When I give talks about the relevance of evolution to modern life, I can count on one regular question interrupting an orderly transition from lecture theatre to bar. Sometimes it comes with a “bet-...
Opinion: How to Improve Excellence in Research Evaluations Process
12 December 2012
There is a lot to celebrate in the results of the Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 evaluations. And everyone is talking them up, with almost no one complaining. It's a bit like a birthday...
Nerd Nite Becomes Popular Sydney Event
11 December 2012
Dr Jessica Grisham, a senior lecturer in the UNSW School of Psychology, is helping bring science to Sydneysiders in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, with the establishment of a local version of the...
Red Carpet Awards for Young UNSW Researchers
11 December 2012
UNSW has hosted its inaugural Postdoctoral Academy Awards for researchers in Medicine, Science and Engineering whose names don’t often get up in lights.If it’s good enough for movie stars, why not...
The Princess and The Pregnancy: Fully Sick News
5 December 2012
Your ancient Greek-Latin binomial for the day is hyperemesis gravidarium (HG for short) - a particularly extreme form of pregnancy sickness (or morning sickness). Brought to you today by Catherine,...
Top Science Student Wins Prime Ministerial Award
5 December 2012
Advanced Science student Mukhlis Mah has won a Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Award, receiving up to $53,000 to study and undertake an internship in China.  Designed to enhance students’ global...
An Explanation of Biogeography
4 December 2012
How did you get to work today? I walked to the station, caught a train, then walked to a bus stop and hopped on the 891 express.All this time, while I was travelling, I moved in space – in fact a...
Leading science journalist joins UNSW
4 December 2012
Deborah Smith, the former Science Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, has joined UNSW as journalist in the Faculty of Science, the Dean, Professor Merlin Crossley, has announced.Deborah, who will...
Sydney harbours a surprise: fish thrive amid pollution
4 December 2012
Despite heavy human impacts – including record-breaking toxic sediments and rising nutrient pollution - Sydney Harbour’s marine life is richer than in more pristine marine parks nearby, new studies...
Are You Furious? Body Cues Reveal More Than Faces
3 December 2012
As social creatures, non-verbal communication through facial expression is important in portraying emotions – and because of this, it’s interpreted rapidly and accurately.Regardless of culture,...
OPINION: Science alone won't change climate opinions, but it matters
28 November 2012
Does scientific knowledge matter in the climate debate? Recent research suggests that it is not “what you know” but “who you are” that counts in making up your mind about climate change.What are the...
Renewable Energy Sector Grows but Barriers Remain
28 November 2012
Energy production must shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources within four decades to avoid the most damaging consequences of climate change, a government report has found.The Climate...
Sisters and Brothers: It's Complicated
27 November 2012
Family life just got even more interesting. Just in time for Christmas, too!Families bustle with the push and pull of conflict and cooperation. But just how profoundly in the end do family members...
The Tree of Life: an Explanation of Biological Classification
27 November 2012
For taxonomists, days often start, and sometimes end, with the question: what is that?Whether you’re an entomologist, staring at a new species of riffle bug from a rainforest stream, or a...
One Step Forward, Two Steps back for Asylum Seeker Mental Health
27 November 2012
The recent overhaul of Australia’s immigration policies aims to protect the lives of asylum seekers by removing any advantage of arriving by boat. Whether this goal will be achieved remains unclear...
Finally: Murray-Darling Basin Plan signed into law
23 November 2012
Yesterday, Minister for the Environment Tony Burke signed the Murray-Darling Basin Plan into law, after the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had made the final changes he requested.One hurdle remains...
Treetop marsupial was a real swinger
22 November 2012
It used massive sharp claws to haul its hefty body up trees, hugging the trunk like a bear, and its huge hands and long arms let it hang from branches like an orang-utan – weighing in at 70 kg,...
OPINION: Driver fatigue is as deadly as drink
21 November 2012
Fatigue is a major road-safety problem but it is also one of the most intractable. At least as many deaths on our roads are caused by fatigue as by drink-driving, probably more.We understand a great...
OPINION: Price to pay for freezing fellowships
21 November 2012
It takes a long time, sometimes a lifetime of specialisation, to become a professor. Specialisation and focus is critical and individual scholars sometimes fall in love with their discipline. This...
After 120 years, bizarre grave-robber is identified
20 November 2012
The evolutionary relationships of a bizarre fossil mammal from South America that has baffled scientists for over 120 years have finally been solved, according to a paper published today in the...
OPINION: Is Human Intellect on a Downward Slide?
20 November 2012
Rob Brooks argues that, from where we stand, it is almost impossible to discern what directions human evolution, including the evolution of our intellects, might currently be taking. I would wager...
OPINION: Camera Traps Bring The Wild into Homes
15 November 2012
For 60 years Sir David Attenborough has brought the extraordinary of far off lands closer to home. In some aspects, Sir Dave has brought it so close that the only experiences you miss from not...
Longer-lived sperm produce fitter offspring
15 November 2012
Sperm that swim for longer before fertilising an egg produce offspring with a higher survival rate, a new study has found.The finding suggests that it’s not just the genes they carry but also the...
Excellence all round: we sparkle at Scientist of the Year awards
15 November 2012
Five distinguished UNSW researchers – four of them from the Faculty of Science - have been recognised for excellence across three very different categories in this year’s New South Wales Scientist...
OPINION: China's biggest problem? Too many men
15 November 2012
In the mid-19th Century, two devastating floods of the Yellow River, and the famine that followed, ravaged northeastern China.Outlaw bands, known as nien, attracted young men in unprecedented...