Science

December 2014

Opinion: More women needed in science and technology
19 December 2014
If we want to secure Australia’s future prosperity, challenging the stereotype of the scientist as a man in a white lab coat is a good place to start.Most Australians do appreciate that we’ve never...
Analysis: From disgust to deceit - a shorter path than you might think
18 December 2014
Feeling queasy? How about deceitful? New research shows feelings of disgust encourage unethical, self-interested behaviours such as lying to get more money.At first look, these findings would suggest...
Study: When you lose weight, where does the fat go?
17 December 2014
Despite a worldwide obsession with diets and fitness regimes, many health professionals cannot correctly answer the question of where body fat goes when people lose weight, a UNSW Australia study...
Awards: Excellence in teaching
10 December 2014
UNSW Science has been recognised for its outstanding teaching with two academics winning prestigious 2014 Australian Awards for University Teaching.Associate Professor Chris Tisdell, of the School of...
Lecture: Nobel laureate to deliver lecture on blue sky research
4 December 2014
French physicist and Nobel laureate, Professor Serge Haroche, will be awarded the Dirac Medal at UNSW next week and will deliver the 2014 Dirac Lecture.Professor Haroche, of the Collège de France in...
Schools: Girls identify secret to keeping Chrismas trees alive
3 December 2014
Sydney schoolgirls carrying out a research project with UNSW plant ecologists, Professor Angela Moles and Dr Julia Cooke, have identified a possible solution to the annual problem of Christmas trees...
Initiative: Top 5 under 40 - giving a voice to science thinkers
3 December 2014
UNSW and ABC Radio National today launched Top 5 under 40, an exciting initiative to discover a new generation of science thinkers and give them a voice.Applications are now open for outstanding...
Investment: Commonwealth Bank puts $5m into quantum computing
3 December 2014
Commonwealth Bank of Australia has committed $5 million in funding to help Australian-based researchers in their quest to build a silicon-based quantum computer.As part of the agreement, Commonwealth...

November 2014

Study: Weight stigma a daily experience for obese people
27 November 2014
Overweight and obese people experience many more episodes of being stigmatised in their everyday lives than was realised, with most suffering almost daily negative treatment, a UNSW-led study shows....
Analysis: Timing of Ferguson case may have made riots worse
26 November 2014
The announcement Monday evening in the US that there would be no charges against a policeman over the shooting of a teenager is puzzling and already the target of  critique.It’s not just the decision...
Analysis: Australia's coal and gas exports being left stranded
24 November 2014
In the last week the US and China announced goals to reduce emissions by 26-28% and cap emissions by 2030 respectively. India also signalled its aim to   end coal imports within 2-3 years.These are...
Honour: Academy awards for three UNSW scientists
24 November 2014
Three UNSW Science researchers have been awarded prestigious Australian Academy of Science medals for their outstanding research in mathematics and quantum physics.The Academy presents the annual...
Study: Collaboration improves glaucoma diagnosis
21 November 2014
Close collaboration between eye care professionals improves diagnosis of the blinding eye disease glaucoma and reduces unnecessary and costly referrals to ophthalmologists, a UNSW-led study shows.The...
Award: Optometry's highest honour
20 November 2014
UNSW’s Professor Brien Holden has been awarded the American Academy of Optometry’s highest honour for his lifetime of achievement in vision science.Professor Holden, who is CEO of the Brien Holden...
Analysis: Days could be numbered for a real interstellar explorer
20 November 2014
Australia’s Mopra telescope, nestled in NSW’s Warrumbungle National Park, is earmarked for closure in a year thanks to CSIRO funding cuts. But this one-of-a-kind telescope is well worth saving.Few of...
Victory: UNSW in first Australian team to win Biomod competition
13 November 2014
A DNA nanomachine designed to detect viruses such as Ebola has won the Grand Prize for a team that includes three UNSW students in Harvard University’s biomolecular Biomod Competition - a...
Review: Critical Mass vs big science
12 November 2014
I’m not sure who wrote the latest anonymously published scientific satire — Duronimus Karlof, Critical Mass — but I can be pretty certain it wasn’t Jane Austen. It’s closer to Voltaire’s Candide and...
Awards: UNSW Science stands out in Tall Poppies field
12 November 2014
Stand-out researchers in the UNSW School of Psychology have won three of this year’s 10 Tall Poppy Science Awards recognising excellence in science.The awards, run by the Australian Institute of...
Study: Weeds yet to reach their full potential as invaders
12 November 2014
Weeds in the UK are still evolving hundreds of years after their introduction and are unlikely to have yet reached their full potential as invaders, UNSW scientists have discovered.The study is the...
Analysis: Why experience matters when making decisions
10 November 2014
On June 24, 2013, Nik Wallenda took a very risky decision. He stepped out onto a 426-metre-long wire suspended 450 metres above the rocky floor of the Grand Canyon. He had no safety harness and no...
Award: Personal TB story wins science writing prize
7 November 2014
The Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing has been awarded to journalist Jo Chandler for her piece TB and me: a medical souvenir, about contracting the deadly disease in Papua New Guinea.The $...
Blog: Aerial waterbird survey checks health of wetlands
6 November 2014
An aerial survey of waterbirds in eastern Australia covering about a third of the continent is underway for another year.Led by UNSW’s Professor Richard Kingsford, researchers are using a small plane...
Grants: UNSW tops the country in ARC funding
5 November 2014
UNSW Science is a major contributor to UNSW securing the highest amount of Australian Research Council funding in Australia – with $45.3 million across three funding schemes announced today.Overall,...
Journal: Education Minister launches first Nature Partner Journal in Australia
4 November 2014
A new scientific journal focusing on the rapidly developing areas of quantum research that promise to revolutionise the processing and transmission of information has been launched today at UNSW by...

October 2014

Book: The Best Australian Science Writing 2014
31 October 2014
UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC will lead a celebration of the finest Australian science writing this week, launching an anthology and presenting the Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing on...
Project: Crowdsourced computer to solve microbe mysteries
22 October 2014
UNSW scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes from waters as far apart as Sydney’s Botany Bay and the Amazon River in Brazil, with the help of an international team of...
Analysis: Carbon capture and storage - reality or still a dream?
17 October 2014
To have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change we’ll have to reduce the carbon emissions from our energy sectors — currently the largest human source of greenhouse gas emissions globally....
Milestone: Green steel technology saves 2 million tyres from landfill
16 October 2014
‘Green steel’ technology invented at UNSW has achieved a major milestone, with its use in Australia preventing more than two million waste rubber tyres from ending up in landfill.The discarded tyres...
Research: New records for silicon quantum computing
15 October 2014
Two UNSW research teams have found distinct solutions to a critical challenge that has held back the realisation of super powerful quantum computers.The teams created two types of quantum bits, or "...
Grant: Father and son program to reduce aggressive behaviour
10 October 2014
Fathers will be critical to the successful treatment of their sons’ aggressive and antisocial conduct in a UNSW Science-led project, which has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from the Movember...
Analysis: Maximising ATARs - why studying maths doesn’t add up
10 October 2014
The percentage of students taking intermediate or advanced mathematics at school has declined significantly. Why is this happening and why does it matter?Why the decline?Some factors that influence...
Analysis: Gender segregation in e-sports is indefensible
10 October 2014
You likely couldn’t outswim Alicia Coutts or Ian Thorpe, or lift half of what Damon Kelly or Seen Lee can, but I bet you could beat them at a videogame.Welcome to e-sports, the future of competitions...
Conference: Time to break addiction to economic growth
3 October 2014
A capacity audience of more than 150 people attending the 2014 Fenner Conference on the Environment at UNSW this week was warned that the world is on an unsustainable pathway that threatens the...
Study: Previous sexual partner can influence another male’s offspring
2 October 2014
Scientists have discovered a new form of non-genetic inheritance, showing for the first time that offspring can resemble a mother’s previous sexual partner – in flies at least.This confronting idea,...
Study: Erectile dysfunction drugs could affect vision
1 October 2014
Sildenafil, the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra®, could cause unusual visual responses in people who carry a common mutation for eye disease and may have long-term...

September 2014

Study: Handprint of human-caused climate change in Australia
30 September 2014
Australia's hottest year on record in 2013, along with the accompanying droughts, heat waves and record-breaking seasons of that year, was virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused...
Book: Code-breaking in the Pacific
29 September 2014
A new book tracing the history of Allied code-breaking against the Japanese in World War II, co-authored by Dr Peter Donovan of the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, has been released this...
Art: Science and art combine to transform a microscopic world
25 September 2014
The electron microscope image appears to be of a normal ant until you suddenly spot the hexagonal pattern of holes drilled into the dead insect’s body.In another image taken by artist Stephanie...
Conference: Addicted to growth - moving to a steady state economy
24 September 2014
Leading international and Australian experts on economics, the environment and business will gather at UNSW for a public forum on sustainable development next week.The 2014 Fenner Conference on the...
Analysis: Can you train your brain to eat healthy foods?
22 September 2014
The mere sight of a slice of gooey chocolate cake, a cheesy pizza, or a sizzling burger can drive us to eat these foods. In terms of evolution we show preference for high calorie foods as they are an...
Study: Tropical fish a threat to Mediterranean Sea ecosystems
22 September 2014
The tropical rabbitfish which have devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea pose a major threat to the entire Mediterranean basin if their distribution continues to expand as the...
Opinion: Scientists need support to solve global challenges
19 September 2014
In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a 33-year-old software engineer at CERN, Europe's largest Physics Laboratory, was frustrated with how the internet would only enable sharing of information between...
Award: Two decades of protecting the Lake Eyre Basin
18 September 2014
UNSW biologist Professor Richard Kingsford is a key scientific member of the Lake Eyre Basin Partnership that has won the prestigious Australian River Prize of $200,000 for its work in protecting...
Rankings: Psychology and Materials Science shine
16 September 2014
UNSW Science has been ranked 15th in the world in psychology and 17th in the world in materials science – the highest in Australia – in the QS World University Rankings.Biological Sciences was also...
Forum: Links with industry strengthened
15 September 2014
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, was the keynote speaker at UNSW Science’s Annual Industry Forum.Associate Dean for Strategic Industry Engagement, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla...
Research: Microbes evolve faster than oceans can disperse them
12 September 2014
A new study has overturned the long held view that microbes in the world’s oceans are highly mobile and the same cells can be found anywhere across the planet, unhindered by geographic boundaries.An...
Study: Groundwater and human evolution
11 September 2014
Our ancient ancestors’ ability to move around and find new sources of groundwater during extremely dry periods in Africa millions of years ago may have been key to their survival and the evolution of...
Study: Shared pain brings people together
11 September 2014
Pain may have positive social consequences, acting as a sort of “social glue” that fosters cohesion and solidarity within groups, new research suggests.A team led by UNSW psychologist Dr Brock...
Discovery: First signs of water ice clouds on brown dwarf
10 September 2014
The first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System has been discovered by an international team including UNSW’s Professor Chris Tinney.Water ice clouds exist on our...
Expedition: Call for sailors to become citizen oceanographers
10 September 2014
Recreational sailors who become “citizen oceanographers” could help provide vital scientific knowledge about the world’s oceans by sampling and testing remote waters from their yachts, according to a...
Symposium: Smart Science and release of a national STEM strategy
9 September 2014
Professor Merlin Crossley and Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons were among five national experts chosen to speak at a Smart Science symposium at Parliament House with Chief Scientist Professor Ian...
Celebration: International Year of Crystallography
8 September 2014
A glowing sphere sits in the gardens at Centennial Parklands in Sydney. The huge ball is changing colours and attracting the attention of people striding past on their way to the playground.It’s a...
Study: Tracking down the origin of ocean garbage patches
3 September 2014
UNSW mathematicians and oceanographers have developed a model that could reveal who is to blame for litter in the floating garbage patches in the world’s oceans.The best known area of concern is the...
Analysis: Advertisements on the road could distract drivers
3 September 2014
People have to take in a lot of information when driving, including the locations of other road users, lane markings, signals, speed limits, directions and the dashboard display. It only takes a...
Research: Search for clues to stop teenage male aggression
2 September 2014
UNSW researchers are recruiting for a study that could reveal the drivers of aggression in boys, opening up new treatments to stem violent offenders in future generations.The researchers are using...
Analysis: Bureau of Meteorology is not fiddling its data
1 September 2014
Over the past week or so, the Bureau of Meteorology has stood accused of fudging its temperature data records to emphasise warming, in a series of articles in The Australian.The accusation hinges on...

August 2014

Study: How junk food changes eating behaviour
28 August 2014
A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, according to UNSW research.The study,...
Facilities: New Centre of Excellence for nanomedicine
28 August 2014
Drugs tailored to an individual patient and delivered directly to a target organ are being developed by UNSW researchers at a new Centre of Excellence that explores medical innovation at the...
Study: Gratitude can win you new friends
27 August 2014
Parents have long told their children to mind their Ps and Qs, and remember to say thank you. Now the evidence is in on why it matters.A UNSW-led study has shown for the first time that thanking a...
Analysis: Brain size matters when it comes to remembering
26 August 2014
Before we had mobile phones, people had to use their own memory to store long phone numbers (or write them down). But getting those numbers into long-term memory could be a real pain.People had to...
Analysis: Don't dismiss a 2014 super El Nino just yet
26 August 2014
It looks like it’s all over bar the shouting for the chance of this year bringing on a “super” El Niño. Or is it?The Bureau of Meteorology has brought the odds of an El Niño event down to 50%, from...
Research: Microplastic threat to Sydney Harbour
25 August 2014
The first survey of the presence of tiny fragments of plastic in the sediments has revealed concerning results that warrant more research to determine the severity of the problem.The research was led...
Award: Laureate Fellowship for Veena Sahajwalla
25 August 2014
Research to transform toxic electronic waste into high value products has won Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla a prestigious Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship.Professor Sahajwalla,...
Study: Vulnerability in photo-ID security checks revealed
19 August 2014
Security systems based on photo identification could be significantly improved by selecting staff who have an aptitude for this very difficult visual task, a study of Australian passport officers...
Opinion: Virtual worlds can be as fulfilling as real life
18 August 2014
Step aside Olympians – the new sporting pursuit of choice may soon be professional gaming. Electronic sports (or esports) are now mainstream, drawing more than a million viewers in large tournaments...
Analysis: Human races: biological reality or cultural delusion?
15 August 2014
The issue of race has been in the news a lot lately with the canning of proposed amendments to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, attempts by extremists to commit genocide on cultural minorities...
Lecture: Chief Scientist calls for national science strategy
14 August 2014
Australia risks being left behind as the only country in the OECD that does not have a national science and technology, or innovation policy, the Chief Scientist has told a capacity audience when...
Study: New measure of biodiversity
12 August 2014
A new approach to analysing biodiversity that makes use of the growing mass of data from digitised museum collections is helping identify regions that need to be prioritised for conservation.The...
Analysis: Can a mathematical formula predict happiness?
12 August 2014
What makes people happy? Finding a definitive answer to this question could certainly make someone very rich (but whether that would in turn make them happy is another matter).The problem is that...
Finalists: Six Eureka moments
8 August 2014
UNSW Science has finalists in six categories of the Australian Museum Eureka prizes – prestigious national awards that celebrate excellence in fields including scientific research, leadership, and...
Prizes: Research students shine
8 August 2014
Three research students studying obesity, cancer and the reintroduction of Tasmanian devils to mainland Australia have each won $5000 in the UNSW Science Postgraduate Research Competition.Three...
Teaching: UNSW launches Physics MOOC for high school students
7 August 2014
High school students can better prepare for science, engineering and technology courses at university, with the launch of UNSW’s first science Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Coursera...
Funding: Crowdfunding boost for younger scientists with big ideas
4 August 2014
Members of the public have the opportunity to financially support younger scientists who want to carry out cutting-edge research, with the launch of a new crowdfunding platform called Thinkable.org....
Study: Atlantic warming turbocharges Pacific trade winds
4 August 2014
New research has found rapid warming of the Atlantic Ocean, likely caused by global warming, has turbocharged Pacific Equatorial trade winds. Currently the winds are at a level never before seen on...

July 2014

Analysis: Malaysian Airlines faces stark choices to survive
29 July 2014
The airline industry has a history of poor financial returns. On a global basis the cost of capital hasn’t been recovered any time in the past 25 years, and in 2014 the industry-wide profit forecast...
Awards: Eight Future Fellowships for Science
23 July 2014
The evolutionary forces shaping bacteria and the psychology behind obsessive thinking are among the research projects led by the newest UNSW Science Future Fellows.Eight new Future Fellowships worth...
Innovation: Adapting green steelmaking to other industries
22 July 2014
Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the inventor of “green” steelmaking (which uses discarded tyres as a raw material in mini-mills), aims to transform other ­industries through a $2.2 million...
Analysis: Renewables are ready to supply all of our electricity
21 July 2014
Professor Mark Diesendorf dispels the myths and explains how current renewable energy sources are ready to supply 100% of Australia's energy needs, right now.In a recent article on The Conversation,...
Alumni: Geology graduate helps shape Australia's future
16 July 2014
In his address to the recent Australian Earth Sciences Convention in Newcastle, BBC “rock star” Professor Iain Stewart mused about the weird and wonderful, but often misunderstood and...
Speech: Why science communication is important
15 July 2014
Professor Merlin Crossley outlines why he established the Scientia Lecture and UNSW Medal for Science Communication in a speech introducing the inaugural recipient, Scottish geologist and documentary...
Study: Beautiful but a threat - Tropical fish destroy kelp
9 July 2014
The migration of tropical fish as a result of ocean warming poses a serious threat to the temperate areas they invade, because they overgraze on kelp forests and seagrass meadows, a new study...
Conference: Conservation of Pacific Island environments
9 July 2014
The world has an obligation to help the Pacific Islands conserve their unique ecosystems, because they are a vital reservoir of biodiversity and important source of natural resources, according to...
Explainer: One day science may cure sickle cell anaemia
9 July 2014
Genetic mutations that affect our blood cells' haemoglobin are the most common of all mutations. It has been estimated that around 5% of the world’s population carry a defective globin gene....
Study: Changing Antarctic winds create new sea level threat
8 July 2014
New research shows projected changes in the winds circling the Antarctic may accelerate global sea level rise significantly more than previously estimated.Changes to Antarctic winds have already been...
Study: Kangaroos use their tails as a fifth leg
2 July 2014
Kangaroos may be nature's best hoppers, but when they are grazing on all fours - which is most of the time - their tail becomes a powerful fifth leg, new research shows.While such activity appears...

June 2014

Funding: UNSW outperforms in Linkage grants
30 June 2014
UNSW Science has helped UNSW outperform every other university in the country to receive $10.5 million for industry-based collaborative research projects in the latest funding round from the...
Discovery: Possible nearby Earth-like planet
27 June 2014
A UNSW-led team of researchers has discovered a potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away.The “super-Earth” planet, GJ 832 c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star...
Analysis: Linear depictions of human evolution are misleading
25 June 2014
Search "human evolution" in Google images and what you'll get is an abundance of stereotypical images of an idea deeply embedded in our subconscious, the inevitable line or ladder of human evolution:...
Meeting: Nobel cause for UNSW researchers
25 June 2014
Dr Maria Markoulli, of the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science, has been chosen to meet some of the world’s finest minds at the annual Nobel Laureate meeting in Lindau, Germany, next week....
Analysis: On board the World Cup emotional rollercoaster
24 June 2014
Let’s imagine this all-too-familiar scene: a fan, perched on the edge of his or her seat, eyes wide open in anticipation, a quick inhale at a goal attempt – quickly followed by either a joyous and...
Analysis: Sydney’s artificial reef is like an ecological wind farm
20 June 2014
In a first for Australia, a purpose-built and carefully designed artificial reef was deployed in the ocean off the coast of Sydney in October 2011. It is located in 38 metres of water, about 2...
Study: Does offsetting make up for habitat loss from mining?
19 June 2014
“Biodiversity offsetting” – protecting animals and plants in one area to make up for negative impacts in another – is increasingly used by companies such as mining firms, as a way to boost their...
Analysis: why artificial sweetener can be dangerous for some
19 June 2014
When you buy a diet coke, or any other consumables containing the artificial sweetener aspartame, you’ll see a warning against consuming the product if you have phenylketonuria, an inherited...
Study: Quantum biology - algae evolved to switch quantum coherence on and off
17 June 2014
A UNSW-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird quantum phenomenon that occurs during photosynthesis.The...
Grant: Research Hub for green manufacturing
13 June 2014
Mixed plastic and glass waste is set to become a valuable commodity with the establishment of an $8.8 million “Green Manufacturing” research hub at UNSW led by Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla.The...
Analysis: Drought in store as El Nino's cousin grows stronger
13 June 2014
Over the past few months, a lot of attention has been paid to the potentially strong El Niño event brewing in the Pacific Ocean. But there is also the potential for an emerging climate phenomenon in...
Honour: Optometry staff elected to Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society
11 June 2014
Professor Fiona Stapleton and Professor Mark Willcox in the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science have been elected as members of the international Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society....
Opinion: Australia should acknowledge the real cost of coal
10 June 2014
US President Barack Obama’s latest plan to reduce carbon emissions is a welcome one, and not just because it addresses climate change. In publicising the plan to cut emissions from old coal power...
Documentary: Red Deer Cave people discovery
10 June 2014
UNSW scientist Associate Professor Darren Curnoe features in a new TV documentary about his discovery of the remains of prehistoric humans in China - dubbed the Red Deer Cave people.The hour-long...
Analysis: Nudging people towards changing their behaviour
6 June 2014
Earlier this week an impressive cast of academics, policy experts and business leaders gathered in Sydney at the inaugural Behavioural Exchange meeting to talk about “nudges”.Made famous by Richard...
Explainer: Why it's important to understand people
5 June 2014
Social cognition is our ability to understand people and it enables us to predict their behaviour and share experiences.Social cognition is also critical to understanding the many nuances...
Study: Cave research could improve climate predictions
5 June 2014
Researchers studying the hydrology of Wellington Caves in western NSW have made a discovery that challenges a key assumption used to reconstruct past climates from cave deposits.Published in Nature's...
Analysis: Building the nation will be impossible without engineers
3 June 2014
Australian industries need the flexibility, insight and foresight that comes from thinking creatively, asking critical questions, forming and testing hypotheses and reasoning quantitatively – and...
Analysis: Some stats methods are like Rick Astley - better left in the 1980s
2 June 2014
It’s an exciting time to be doing statistics. You heard me – statistics: exciting.It often gets a bad rap, but stats is after all at the business end of the research process. When I’ve collaborated...

May 2014

Analysis: Time to search deeper in the ocean for missing flight
30 May 2014
The search for missing flight MH370 isn’t over in the Southern Indian Ocean – it’s just going deeper in an attempt to cover the ocean floor over a much wider area.Much of the search effort so far has...
Study: Recreational fishing poses threat to shore-nesting birds
30 May 2014
Fish waste left on beaches by recreational fishers could harm shore-nesting birds by attracting native crows that eat the birds’ eggs, a UNSW-led study shows.Researchers found that the activity of...
Opinion: Reduce speed limit to 30 km/h for safer roads
28 May 2014
The decision by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay to lower the speed limit in the Sydney central business district to 40km/h is a step in the right direction. But it does not go far enough.As a community...
Event: UNSW Science shines at Academy's Shine Dome
27 May 2014
Six UNSW researchers have the honour of speaking at this year’s Science at the Shine Dome event in Canberra.The three-day gathering held in the Australian Academy of Science’s Shine Dome from Tuesday...
Analysis: Winter heatwaves are nice, for extreme weather events
27 May 2014
If you’ve stepped outside at lunchtime in Sydney over the past few days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was more like early summer than the beginning of winter.On each of the past 23 days,...
Analysis: Think before you wink
23 May 2014
During a radio show this week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott winked - in and of itself, hardly a newsworthy event. The context of the wink, though, appears to have made all the difference in making this...
Facilities: Fowlers Gap a unique site for research and creativity
21 May 2014
It is the site of a remarkable rainfall record spanning more than 40 years, the only place where scientists study zebra finches – the bird equivalent of lab rats – in the wild, and the land where...
Study: Record broken in method for detecting proteins
20 May 2014
UNSW chemists have smashed a decade-old record for packing charges onto proteins – a development which will improve the detection and identification of these important biological molecules.Ann Teo...
Analysis: The science of romance and relationship breakups
19 May 2014
Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin seemed to have the perfect marriage until their “conscious uncoupling” earlier this year. Was the split destined to happen?...
Study: World's oldest fossil sperm found at Riversleigh
14 May 2014
Preserved giant sperm from tiny shrimps that lived at least 17 million years ago have been discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil Site by a team including UNSW Australia researchers.The...
Teaching: Videogames should be a teacher's best friend
13 May 2014
Although videogames are seen by many as a waste of time, one thing they do undeniably well is teach. The problem is that educational games are about as much a game as low-fat ice cream is delicious....
Event: Science and Art at Fowlers Gap Research Station
9 May 2014
Experts on natural science, artists and senior UNSW staff are visiting Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station near Broken Hill on Friday 9 May in recognition of the artistic and scientific...
Awards: Royal Society Trifecta
7 May 2014
NSW has won three of four prizes at the Royal Society of New South Wales awards, including a coveted medal not presented for 20 years. At a gala dinner in Sydney, UNSW Professor of Optometry Brien...
Analysis: The genetics of aggression and self-control
7 May 2014
Everyone knows someone with a quick temper – it might even be you. And while scientists have known for decades that aggression is hereditary, there is another biological layer to those angry flare-...
Analysis: Say hello to our new close, but cold, neighbour
5 May 2014
Author Douglas Adams famously had his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remark that “space is really big”. But to my mind the sheer vastness of space is better encapsulated in the recent announcement...
Students: Female students win defence scholarships
2 May 2014
Three female science and engineering students from UNSW have been awarded Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) scholarships. The recipients, who will each receive up to $40,000 over...
Analysis: Are we heading for a worrying Super El Nino?
2 May 2014
We have only just moved into May and despite being seven months away from next summer in the southern hemisphere, climate researchers are seeing the beginnings of what could be the most powerful El...
Study: Tsunami database reveals threat to continent
1 May 2014
Australia’s coastline has been struck by up to 145 possible tsunamis since prehistoric times, causing deaths previously unreported in the scientific literature, a UNSW study has revealed.The largest...

April 2014

Study: Lab-on-a-chip overcomes miniaturisation problems
30 April 2014
UNSW chemists have invented a new type of tiny lab-on-a-chip device that could have a diverse range of applications, including to detect toxic gases, fabricate integrated circuits and screen...
Research: Satellite data used in Congo rainforest study
30 April 2014
A UNSW Science researcher has contributed data and expertise to an international study on the decline of vegetation greenness and water content in Congolese rainforests over the past decade.Dr Yi Y....
Study: New genes found on male sex chromosomes
28 April 2014
Scientists are a step closer to discovering what determines the sex of Australia's iconic platypus and echidna, after an international study involving UNSW Science's Dr Paul Waters unravelled new...
Analysis: Video games could be good for our brains
28 April 2014
Video games have got a bad press in the past mostly due to the accusation that they make people who play them more violent.The violent content that many computer games contain and engrossing nature...
Honour: Pioneer physicist joins elite academy
24 April 2014
Scientia Professor of Physics Michelle Simmons has joined the likes of Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ...
Opinion: When prize-fighters become our reluctant heroes
24 April 2014
Australians are allergic to tall poppies, vanity, and standing on ceremony. Those inducted into halls of fame usually look uncomfortable as they enter.The announcement the titles Sir and Dame will be...
Study: Australia's dirty secret - who's breathing toxic air?
17 April 2014
Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed...
Study: Beards may be hip, but not for long
16 April 2014
If you haven’t been outdoors in a few years, you might not have noticed that beards are back. Back in such a big way that apparently many New York hipsters are paying north of US$8,000 for “facial...
Analysis: What are the chances your dad isn't your dad?
16 April 2014
How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all....
Study: Whooping cough bacterium evolves
15 April 2014
The bacterium that causes whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has changed – most likely in response to the vaccine used to prevent the disease, with a possible reduced effectiveness of the vaccine...
Opinion: CSIRO cuts could stifle long-term research
15 April 2014
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, is said to be preparing for cuts of up to 20% of government funding – that’s around A$...
Study: Oysters as sensitive indicators of contamination
13 April 2014
Sydney rock oysters could have a role as biomonitors of the health of our waterways, acting as sensitive indicators of harmful levels of contaminants in water and sediments.A UNSW-led team of...
Analysis: What spider sex reveals about mate selection
11 April 2014
Males will mate with anything - well, that is the general view, one that exists because of a simple biological underpinning: females are reproductively limited by costly gestation, while males are...
Opinion: Uncertainty isn't cause for climate complacency
11 April 2014
If we’re not certain that the problem’s there, then … we shouldn’t take actions which have a high severity the other way.This was the response from David Murray – then chairman of Australia’s Future...
Analysis: What a black box can tell us about the missing flight
10 April 2014
As the search continues for wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane it’s probable that answers surrounding the mystery of flight MH370 will not be available until the recorders are...
Study: Riversleigh fossil reveals a fearsome ancient killer
10 April 2014
An ancient fox-sized cousin of the Tasmanian tiger was a fearsome killer that hunted large prey, a study of an extremely well preserved skull from the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil Site in...
Opinion: Alcohol, sex and cute monogamous mammals
8 April 2014
How does alcohol consumption affect romantic life? Let me count the ways.If popular advertising is to be believed, the consumption of high-end spirits almost guarantees a steady variety of glamorous...
Study: Exploring a microbial arms race
7 April 2014
A rapid evolutionary “arms race” between bacteria and the killer viruses they contain has been observed by a UNSW-led team of scientists in a sophisticated genetic study of the micro-organisms....
Study: Dingo a distinct species
1 April 2014
The dingo has been classified as a distinct Australian animal following research that sheds new light on its defining physical characteristics.The study also resurrects the species name Canis dingo,...
Analysis: Happily disgusted? It could show all over your face
1 April 2014
Your face plays an important role in the experience and expression of emotion. Yet despite the complexity of the human face, which has 43 muscles in all, most of existing facial expression research...

March 2014

Analysis: Search for the missing black box under the ocean
31 March 2014
As the effort to find Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 moves inexorably towards the recovery stage, the challenge of finding the plane’s flight recorder (called the “black box” even though it’s...
Opinion: Closing the gap between science and business
31 March 2014
In the 1950s, scientist and novelist C.P. Snow wrote a famous essay, “The Two Cultures”. He lamented the fact that those who were interested in knowledge worked in either the sciences or the arts,...
Profile: Emma Johnston Making Waves
27 March 2014
Marine ecologist Emma Johnston’s high-profile work in Sydney Harbour is changing the way young women view science, writes Deborah Smith.Professor Emma Johnston still gets a buzz whenever she goes...
Publishing: UNSW ranked fourth in Nature papers in Asia-Pacific
27 March 2014
UNSW is the “rising star” in high-quality research publications, according to the latest Nature Publishing Index (NPI) for the Asia-Pacific region. Released today as a supplement to the Nature...
Honour: New Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
26 March 2014
UNSW Science's Professor Matthew England has been honoured by being elected to the Australian Academy of Science.The Academy announced today that two UNSW researchers - Professor England and Scientia...
Opinion: Australia can nurture prosperity through biology
25 March 2014
One of the 20th century’s most famous scientists, physicist Ernest Rutherford, explained:When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is built up we shall have found the greatest secret of all —...
Analysis: Why locating MH370 in the Southern Ocean is so difficult
24 March 2014
Searching for the debris of flight MH370 in the Southern Ocean is not just a case of looking for a needle in a haystack; it is a case of searching for a needle that moves hundreds of kilometres every...
Industry: Garuda Indonesia CEO addresses aviation students
21 March 2014
The President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia Airlines, Emirsyah Satar, visited UNSW in March and delivered the 2014 School of Aviation keynote address to more than 250 students.Mr Satar, who returned...
Study: Social behaviour shapes genetic makeup of dolphins
20 March 2014
A UNSW-led team of researchers studying bottlenose dolphins that use sponges as tools has shown that social behaviour can shape the genetic makeup of an animal population in the wild.Some of the...
Study: New theory why dietary restriction can extend lifespan
18 March 2014
UNSW scientists have developed a new evolutionary theory on why consuming a diet that is very low in nutrients extends lifespan in laboratory animals - research that could hold clues to promoting...
Study: Dingo poisoning leads to decline in small native mammals
12 March 2014
Poisoning of dingoes - the top predators in the Australian bush - has a deleterious effect on small native mammals such as marsupial mice, bandicoots and native rodents, a UNSW-led study shows.The...
Analysis: What could have happened to flight MH370
11 March 2014
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – with 239 people on board – is unusual in that two days after the plane lost communication there is no reliable evidence of debris.No radio calls...
Award: Marine ecologist wins new Academy medal for women
8 March 2014
UNSW Science congratulates Professor Emma Johnston on being the first recipient of a new Australian Academy of Science award for female scientists. The Academy announced today that the UNSW marine...
Ghostly art made from debris that menaces marine life
6 March 2014
With more than half a million people participating in last Sunday’s Clean Up Australia Day, it’s perhaps not surprising that some odd objects came to light. Not all the rubbish was on land, and not...
Project: Quad bike testing
6 March 2014
Performance research and testing on quad bikes project - a clarification.WorkCover NSW is leading the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities’ (HWSA) industry strategy to reduce fatalities and injuries...
Alumni: Psychology graduate to talk at TEDx Sydney
6 March 2014
Adam Alter, author of the New York Times bestseller, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, will be one of the speakers at TEDx Sydney in April.Dr...

February 2014

Study: No warming hiatus for extreme hot temperatures
27 February 2014
Extremely hot temperatures over land have dramatically and unequivocally increased in number and area despite claims that the rise in global average temperatures has slowed over the past 10 to 20...
Rankings: Psychology 15th in world and Materials Science 17th
26 February 2014
UNSW Science has once again performed strongly in the QS World University Rankings, with Psychology placed 15th in the world and Materials Science ranked the highest in Australia and 17th in the...
Opinion: Good deed research makes a better world
26 February 2014
A politician once asked me if begging for gifts had become universities’ unifying core business.It wasn’t meant to be an offensive question; many worthwhile human enterprises are charities. The...
Teaching: Top honour for optometry educator
24 February 2014
Associate Professor Barbara Junghans, in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, is the first person from outside North America to have been honoured with the Michael G Harris Family Award in...
Study: Remote Antarctic telescope reveals giant gas cloud
20 February 2014
Using a telescope installed at the driest place on earth - Ridge A in Antarctica – a UNSW-led team of researchers has identified a giant gas cloud which appears to be in an early stage of formation....
Funding: Outstanding results in medical research grants
18 February 2014
A team from the School of Psychology, led by Scientia Professor Richard Bryant, has been awarded $10.6 million for research into posttraumatic mental health problems from the National Health and...
Opinion: Ideology threatens renewable energy future
17 February 2014
I was astonished to read advice in The Canberra Times by Nicole Lawder, a Liberal MLA in the ACT parliament, that Canberrans should focus on ''keeping ponds clean and viable'' instead of building a...
Research: PhD student leads race for instant DNA detection
14 February 2014
PhD candidate Evelyn Linardy is working on a portable DNA testing device that will allow doctors, researchers and border security to identify samples within 10 minutes. The diagnostic technology,...
Analysis: Physics - a fundamental force for future security
13 February 2014
What is matter? What is energy? What holds matter together? How do the various constituents of the universe interact at the most basic level? Where does the Earth sit in relation to the rest of the...
Analysis: Happy Darwin Day
12 February 2014
Happy Darwin Day! Is that even an appropriate thing to wish somebody? Especially so close to Valentine’s Day?Darwin Day, according to the International Darwin Day Foundation, is “a global celebration...
Study: Trade winds stall global surface warming - for now
10 February 2014
Heat stored in the western Pacific Ocean, due to an unprecedented strengthening of the equatorial trade winds, appears to be largely responsible for the hiatus in surface warming observed over the...
Opinion: Let's debate nuclear power
7 February 2014
Nuclear power is back on Australia’s radar, writes Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf.In its recent issues paper released as a preface to September’s Energy White Paper, the Abbott government...
Documentary: Expert insight into ADHD
7 February 2014
UNSW child psychologist, Professor Mark Dadds, features in a new documentary series on ABC TV which explores the controversial childhood condition, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD....
Discovery: New whale species
6 February 2014
Researchers have identified a new species of mysterious beaked whale based on the study of seven animals stranded on remote tropical islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans over the past 50 years....
Analysis: Ocean debris leads way for castaway fisherman
5 February 2014
The fisherman who washed up on the Marshall Islands last weekend was very lucky to have stranded on a remote beach there.The currents in the Pacific Ocean would have inevitably taken him into the...
New student sets sights on innovation
3 February 2014
Isha Deodhar is just about to start her first year of university, but she already has big plans to combine her love for maths, science and engineering to solve the big problems facing society.After...

January 2014

Analysis: Neanderthals and humans: an interspecies affair
31 January 2014
New research firms up estimates of interbreeding between the now extinct Neanderthals and the ancestors of living Eurasians, write Associate Professor Darren Curnoe.It also provides new explanations...
Opinion: ATAR system not perfect but impartial
31 January 2014
If you were going to pick the school basketball team, you could line everyone up and pick the tallest players. That would be logical because it helps to be tall in basketball.But we all know that not...
Address: Exciting time to study science
29 January 2014
Trevor Danos, chair of the faculty's Science Advisory Council, encouraged graduating scientists to strive for excellence in his recent occasional address at a UNSW graduation ceremony.I congratulate...
News: Academy Awards for UNSW Scientists
21 January 2014
Two UNSW Science researchers have been awarded prestigious Australian Academy of Science prizes for their work in statistical ecology and climate change science.Presented by the Australian Academy of...
Analysis: How heat can make your body melt from the inside out
16 January 2014
How hot is too hot? Climate change projections indicate that many areas of the world will begin to experience conditions inhospitable to humans, writes Donna Green.Just as Ray Bradbury’s novel ...
Opinion: Future Fellowship scheme a great success
15 January 2014
The Future Fellowship Scheme has been a well executed initiative to build the intellectual capital of our country, and it should be allowed to continue, writes Professor Merlin Crossley.Most...
Study: Bald reef gets seaweed transplant
15 January 2014
Marine ecologists have successfully restored a once thriving seaweed species, which vanished along a stretch of Sydney's coastline during the 1970s and 80s during high levels of sewage outfalls.A...
Merlin Crossley reappointed Dean
14 January 2014
Professor Merlin Crossley has accepted the offer of a second five-year term as Dean of the Faculty of Science at UNSW. Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer says the early announcement of a new term...
Study: Dingoes vital for ecosystem health
10 January 2014
Urgent action is needed to protect large carnivores, such as the Australian dingo, from the “unforseen” environmental consequences that will accompany further declines in their numbers.An...
Study: Survival in the cold
9 January 2014
Research has revealed the order in which flowering plants evolved strategies, such as shedding leaves or retreating underground, which let them spread around the globe by surviving cold climates.The...
Study: Solution to cloud riddle reveals hotter future
9 January 2014
Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, according to new research published in Nature.The finding...
FAQ: Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014
8 January 2014
UNSW's Professor Chris Turney and his team answer some commonly asked questions about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, whose research vessel became trapped in ice in December.We have...
Opinion: Expedition with strong scientific purpose
6 January 2014
Critics of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition are wrong: the team was prepared, the risks were known and much was achieved, writes expedition leader, Professor Chris Turney.The last 24 hours have...
Opinion: The science message is out there, so how do we get people to listen?
5 January 2014
There are many who lament the poor state of affairs of science communication in Australia. But it's not all bad news, writes Professor Merlin Crossley.Some commentators wonder why there is still so...
Opinion: Don't get sucked in by the rip
3 January 2014
On average 21 people drown each year in rip currents on Australian surf beaches. Professor Rob Brander shares his tips for surviving rip currents at the beach this summer.Rip currents are strong,...