Science

December 2015

Survey: Waterbird numbers in eastern Australia decline in dry
28 December 2015
Wetlands in eastern Australia have dried up in the drought and waterbird numbers have dropped to well below long-term averages, an aerial survey led by UNSW researchers has revealed.“The results are...
Discovery: ‘Red Deer Cave people’ bone points to mysterious species of  pre-modern human
18 December 2015
A thigh bone found in China suggests an ancient species of human thought to be long extinct may have survived until as recently as the end of the last Ice Age.The 14,000 year old bone – found among...
Discovery: Nearby star hosts closest alien planet in the “habitable zone”
16 December 2015
UNSW Australia astronomers have discovered the closest potentially habitable planet found outside our solar system so far, orbiting a star just 14 light years away.The planet, more than four times...
Profile: Underwater trailblazer
15 December 2015
UNSW's Professor Emma Johnston is passionate about Sydney Harbour because, despite being surrounded by almost 5 million people, it’s a global hotspot for marine and estuarine diversity. PROFILE: ...
Analysis: Without Einstein it would have taken decades longer to understand gravity
10 December 2015
If it hadn't been for Einstein's genius, it may have taken the discovery of the ‘twin quasar’ in 1979 before physicists linked mass/energy with the curvature of space, write Darren Dougan and John...
FactCheck: is there a link between early access to violent TV and domestic violence?
9 December 2015
Viewing violent television as a child probably increases aggression toward women later in life, write Tom Denson and Andy Ruddock.OPINION: We know that boys who observe their mother’s romantic...
Funding: $46m from industry and government to boost quantum computing race
9 December 2015
UNSW’s flagship quantum computing project has received pledges of $10m each from the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra, in addition to the $26m grant announced by the federal government on Monday....
Study: Warming oceans worsened Queensland’s fatal 2011 floods
8 December 2015
Long term warming of the Indian and Pacific oceans played an important role in making the Queensland floods of 2010/2011 far worse than they should have been, according to new research.The...
Funding: Major innovation boost for UNSW’s quantum mission
7 December 2015
UNSW Australia welcomes the federal government’s announcement today of a $26 million investment in the University’s world-leading quantum computing research.The major funding boost over five years...
Project: Plant an underwater tree this Christmas
4 December 2015
UNSW scientists are asking for help to restore Sydney’s lost underwater forests this Christmas and provide food and shelter for some of our most important marine animals.The disappearance of the...
Opinion: Why we can trust scientists with the power of new gene-editing technology
3 December 2015
A summit of experts from around the world is meeting in Washington to consider the scientific, ethical and governance issues linked to research into gene editing. Convened in response to recent...
The spectacular peacock spider dance and its strange evolutionary roots
2 December 2015
With their flamboyant dress, and fabulous song and dance routines, tiny peacock spiders have captivated the hearts of the internet.Many species have courtship displays, but few are as complex as...
Analysis: What comes out in the wash
2 December 2015
Ask most people about the problem of waste plastics in the environment and they will talk about plastic bags caught in trees and the vast slicks of plastic trash found in remote areas of the...
Opinion: In praise of the cliche, from 'strategic' to low-hanging fruit
1 December 2015
Many academics complain about buzzwords - but that achieves nothing.So I’ve decided to embrace buzzwords and share them with others, particularly with my colleagues in science who may be missing out...

November 2015

Study: Synapse discovery could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease
30 November 2015
A team of researchers led by UNSW Australia scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – work that opens up a new avenue...
Study: Discovery of ‘stainless magnesium’ could herald transport revolution
30 November 2015
The serendipitous discovery of a rust-proof ultra-light alloy in a UNSW laboratory could lead to improved fuel efficiency in transport vehicles and greatly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.The...
Study: New technique assesses threat to groundwater from coal seam gas extraction
30 November 2015
A UNSW-led research team has devised a technique for detecting if methane from coal seam gas extraction sites is leaking into nearby groundwater, and has tested it for the first time in Queensland....
Launch: New green manufacturing hub
19 November 2015
Representatives of industry, government and science have helped officially launch the $8.8 million Australian Research Council Green Manufacturing Hub, led by UNSW Scientia Professor Veena...
Graduation: Indigenous PhD graduate blends traditional medicine and modern science
18 November 2015
Thanks to knowledge from his elders, La Perouse community’s first indigenous PhD graduate, Dr Shane Ingrey, is using modern science to shine a spotlight on the medicinal potential of local plants....
Analysis: Microbes - the tiny sentinels that can help us diagnose sick oceans
17 November 2015
Microbes may be tiny, but their huge number and diversity mean they can be used to identify environmental impacts early, potentially limiting greater harm to larger organisms, write Katherine...
Award: Gold class for UNSW students at prestigious Harvard competition
16 November 2015
A group of UNSW science, engineering and medical students has returned home from Harvard University’s prestigious BIOMOD championships, where they were placed in the Gold category for their research...
Analysis: Delving deep into caves can teach us about climate past and present
16 November 2015
New discoveries concerning the connection between surface and cave climate will help improve the accuracy of climate signals contained in cave formations, write Gabriel Rau, Andy Baker, Mark...
Forum: Climate change grand challenge – can Paris live up to its promise?
12 November 2015
The promises and pitfalls of the imminent Paris climate summit were debated before a capacity audience by experts from climate science, political journalism, agriculture and business, as part of the...
Opinion: Astronomers go to the ends of the Earth to see cosmic carbon
10 November 2015
A new telescope built in one of the most remote regions of our planet is letting us see cosmic carbon in a new light, writes Michael Burton.OPINION: The carbon cycle is central to life on Earth. It...
Opinion: Australia must step up on emission cuts to rejoin world's enlightened countries
6 November 2015
Australia is one of the few industrial nations going to Paris with inadequate emissions reduction targets – and with no credible policies to achieve even modest goals, writes Stefan Rahmstorf....
Grants: UNSW tops state in ARC Discovery funding
3 November 2015
UNSW scientists have contributed to the University winning the highest amount of Australian Research Council funding in the state, with more than $36 million awarded in the federal government’s...
Event: Top thinkers come together at UNSW for forum on Paris climate talks
2 November 2015
One of the world’s foremost climate scientists, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, will headline a UNSW panel event on climate change as world leaders prepare to meet in Paris for crucial talks aimed at...
Study: Researchers design a full-scale architecture for a quantum computer in silicon
1 November 2015
Researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) have designed a 3D silicon chip architecture based on single atom quantum bits, which is...

October 2015

Opinion: The ins and outs of research grant funding committees
30 October 2015
“Why wasn’t my grant funded?” Given most research funding agencies have success rates of 20 per cent or less, this is a question that is asked by the majority of applicants every year. Often the...
Nature: Salps - the jelly beans of the sea, washing onto a beach near you this Spring
29 October 2015
Have you ever wondered what those strange jelly-like globs on Sydney’s beaches are, which seem to bloom or swarm in their hundreds, if not thousands, every Spring?Well they’re salps, and most ocean...
Award: Story of searching for a cure for Huntington's disease wins science writing prize
28 October 2015
The Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing has been awarded to journalist and author Christine Kenneally for her article The Past May Not Make You Feel Better, about the search for a cure for...
Journal: Inaugural articles from first Nature Partner Journal in Australia published
27 October 2015
The first edition of a new scientific journal focusing on the revolutionary field of quantum information research has been launched by Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and UNSW Australia (the...
Awards: Tall Poppies are pick of the crop
23 October 2015
Physicist Dane McCamey has been named NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year, one of four UNSW Science researchers recognised for excellence in science and science communication.One of 13 prize winners,...
Discovery: UNSW telescope helps identify asteroid in death spiral around white dwarf
22 October 2015
An international team of astronomers has used a new UNSW Australia telescope to help discover a large rocky object disintegrating in a death spiral around a distant white dwarf star.The asteroid is...
Book: The Best Australian Science Writing 2015
20 October 2015
President of the Business Council of Australia Catherine Livingstone will lead a celebration of the finest Australian science writing next week, launching an anthology and announcing the Bragg UNSW...
Award: Woman of influence in Australia
16 October 2015
For research into transforming waste materials into valuable commercial products, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla have been named among Australia's top 10 Women of Influence in the prestigious...
Study: 2 degree Celsius warming locks in sea level rise for thousands of years
15 October 2015
A jump in global average temperatures of 1.5°C–2°C will see the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves and lead to hundreds and even thousands of years of sea level rise, according to new research...
Study: Expert passport officers better at detecting fraud using face recognition technology
15 October 2015
Face-matching experts at the Australian Passport Office are 20 per cent more accurate than average people at detecting fraud using automatic face recognition software, new research shows.The UNSW-...
Forum: Building stronger links with industry
13 October 2015
Representatives of Cochlear, Dow Chemical Australia, NSW Water Solutions and CSIRO have participated in UNSW Science’s annual Industry Forum, which is aimed at strengthening the Faculty’s...
Analysis: More people will cycle when everyone accepts cyclists' rights to be on the road
13 October 2015
Despite the health, environmental and social benefits of cycling, efforts to boost the number of people travelling by bike have hit a plateau. Recent data show no significant change in cycling...
Analysis: Disaster reporting may encourage people to live in riskier places
12 October 2015
The hot weather over the October long weekend brings a reminder that Australia’s “disaster season” is fast approaching.The summer brings bushfires, cyclones and floods to the forefront of our minds...
Grant: Study to improve care for people with macular degeneration
9 October 2015
UNSW optometrist Dr Isabelle Jalbert has received $100,000 over two years from the Macular Disease Foundation to study factors that prevent people obtaining optimal care for the age-related disease...
Award: Physicist wins NSW Premier's Prize
8 October 2015
For his research in theoretical physics, Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum has been awarded a prestigious 2015 NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering.Professor Flambaum, of the School of...
Opinion: Bans on kangaroo products are a case of emotion trumping science
7 October 2015
Campaigners against commercial kangaroo harvesting say it's unsustainable and have convinced California to extend a ban on kangaroo imports, buit their concern is misplaced and misleading, write ...
Feature: Psychology's rising stars
6 October 2015
They’re young, smart and forging new frontiers in the science of the mind. Meet psychology’s emerging research leaders.After studying at UNSW’s then College of Fine Arts in the late 1990s, aspiring...
Invention: Memory ink could revolutionise data storage in printed electronics
2 October 2015
A new material developed at UNSW Science that can store digital information and be printed onto various surfaces could be used for memory cells in next-generation, large-scale printable electronics....
UNSW moves up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
1 October 2015
UNSW has reinforced its reputation as one of the fastest movers in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, jumping 27 places to 82 for 2015-16.Last year, the UK-based Times Higher...
Study: New water-tracing technology to help protect Sydney Basin groundwater
1 October 2015
UNSW researchers have used new water-tracing technology in the Sydney Basin for the first time to determine how groundwater moves in the different layers of rock below the surface.The study provides...

September 2015

Analysis: This summer’s El Niño looks set to bring more heatwaves to Australia’s north and east
29 September 2015
The 2015 El Niño is well and truly here: heat is building in the equatorial Pacific Ocean; subsurface temperatures in the middle of the affected region are more than 6C above average, and the ocean’...
Speech: Michelle Simmons calls for more Australian government support for quantum industry
28 September 2015
Australia may be poised to win the international race to build a quantum computer, but without investment to scale-up and industrialise the technology, the long-term benefits could be lost offshore...
Award: UNSW spearheads list of Australia's most influential women
24 September 2015
Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla and Associate Professor Barbara Junghans have been recognised in the '100 Women of Influence Awards for 2015’In total, six high-achieving UNSW academics and four...
Award: Lake Eyre Basin partnership wins $500,000 International River Prize
23 September 2015
For helping protect the Lake Eyre Basin from development, pollution, mining and other threats, a team including UNSW scientist Richard Kingsford has won one of the world’s most prestigious water...
Invention: futuristic alloys three times stronger than steel
18 September 2015
UNSW materials scientists have created an ‘instruction manual’ for developing metallic glass – an ultra-tough yet flexible alloy described as the most significant materials science innovation since...
Talk: Helping choose the Mars 2020 rover landing site
10 September 2015
When the next Mars Exploration Mission is launched in 2020, UNSW Professor Martin Van Kranendonk will have the satisfaction of knowing he helped select the site where the expedition’s robotic rover...
Honour: Award for dementia researcher
8 September 2015
For her research showing that people with dementia lose their ability to envisage the future, not just remember the past, UNSW cognitive neuroscientist Dr Muireann Irish has been awarded a $25,000 L...
Study: Forensic examiners pass the face-matching test
2 September 2015
The first study to test the skills of FBI agents and other law enforcers who have been trained in facial recognition has provided a reassuring result – they perform better than the average person or...
Alumnus: Chemist in CSIROseven top researchers campaign
1 September 2015
UNSW alumnus and Prime Minister’s Science Prize winner Matthew Hill is developing tiny crystal particles with big potential to store carbon emissions. And he's also making waves by being named one...

August 2015

Survey: Helping fathers manage aggressive behaviour in sons
31 August 2015
With the participation rates of fathers in parenting programs non-existent in some parts of Australia, UNSW researchers are leading a $2.6 million effort to engage and support fathers to help manage...
Lecture: Quantum physicist to deliver Dirac lecture
30 August 2015
Harvard University physicist Professor Subir Sachdev will be awarded the Dirac Medal at UNSW this week and will deliver the 2015 Dirac Lecture.His talk, to be hosted by UNSW Science and delivered on...
Awards: Science shines at Eurekas
27 August 2015
UNSW scientists have won three prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes – for leadership, science communication, and environmental research.Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of the...
Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson on life, the universe & chocolate biscuits
26 August 2015
Time makes us all prisoners of the present; city life and selfies are preventing people from connecting with the cosmos; and humankind may be destined for extinction, like the dinosaurs before us,...
Communication: Fresh Scientists take the sparkler challenge
25 August 2015
UNSW has six finalists in the NSW Fresh Science competition which provides training to early career researchers on how best to communicate their science to the general public, media, government and...
Survey: Fully-protected reserves needed to boost fish numbers
24 August 2015
Partially protected aquatic reserves are failing to protect fish, a survey of marine life on Sydney’s rocky reefs has revealed.Divers found that aquatic reserves with only partial protection were no...
Opinion: What is disappointing about the Ashley Madison leak
21 August 2015
Today, millions of very nervous adults are furtively checking sites like “Have I been Pwned” to check if their account details at Ashley Madison have been leaked. Others are checking if their...
Study: Safety ratings for quad bikes would prevent deaths
19 August 2015
UNSW transport safety researchers have released the findings of a $1.3 million Quad-Bike Performance Project aimed at developing a safety rating system for vehicles used in workplaces including...
Honour: Chemist appointed Editor-in-Chief of new journal
19 August 2015
Scientia Professor Justin Gooding has been appointed inaugural Editor-in-Chief of a new international journal on sensor science, to be published by the American Chemical Society.This is the first...
Rankings: UNSW continues to climb global research rankings
18 August 2015
UNSW Mathematics and Statistics has ranked first in Australia for the fourth year in a row in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).UNSW was the only Australian University to rank...
Study: Tasmanian devils could restore mainland ecosystems
17 August 2015
Reintroducing Tasmanian devils to the mainland could improve biodiversity by limiting the spread of red foxes and feral cats in habitats where dingoes have been culled, a new study suggests. ...
Event: Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week
12 August 2015
The weird world of quantum computing and teleportation, how Sydney will meet its power needs in the future, and the latest discoveries about the universe are among the topics UNSW staff will discuss...
Opinion:Australia must articulate a vision for pure research
12 August 2015
What do we need to do to get more young people interested in science? One obvious solution may be articulating a ­national ­vision for pure fundamental research, or what used to be called curiosity-...
Participation: People sought for distracted driving study
7 August 2015
When you get behind the wheel, do you speak to your car? And does it listen? Are you on close terms with Siri, or other voice-controlled smartphone apps? If so, UNSW transport safety researcher...
Aviation: QantasLink and UNSW give student pilots a head start
6 August 2015
QantasLink and UNSW Australia’s School of Aviation have announced a new collaboration that will give student pilots a flying start in their career.UNSW Aviation students can now apply to become ‘...
Communication: Postgraduate research students shine
3 August 2015
Three research students studying quantum computing, facial recognition, and the molecular biology of blood disorders have each won $5000 prizes in the 2015 UNSW Science Postgraduate Research...
MOOC: New Massive Open Online Course in Maths
2 August 2015
UNSW has become the newest member of the FutureLearn’s newest member in the Asia-Pacific and one of five new global partners of the leading massive open online courses (MOOC) social learning...

July 2015

Opinion: Merit-based appointments are not free from gender bias
31 July 2015
A growing chorus of female Liberal MPs are calling for their party to preselect more women to address the party’s gender imbalance. Sharman Stone wants mandatory quotas, while Teresa Gambaro has...
Vale: Professor Brien Holden         6 January 1942 - 27 July 2015
29 July 2015
UNSW Science is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Professor Brien Holden OAM of the School of Optometry who was a global leader in eye care and vision research, an internationally...
Study: Friend or foe - what the shape of your face says about you
29 July 2015
Imagine a prototypical thug. A real bruiser. Chances are they are male – no surprises there – but picture what his face looks like.If you’ve imagined a man with a short, wide face, then you’ve...
Opinion: Engaging the public can yield unexpected rewards
28 July 2015
As a young(ish) female, I have been cautioned many times over the years that if I want to be taken seriously then I shouldn’t make jokes about my work on sperm, and that it is probably better to...
Study: We don't look like we think we look
27 July 2015
People are so poor at picking good likenesses of their own faces that strangers make better selections, a study by UNSW's Dr David White and colleagues shows.“In face-to-face encounters with...
Study: Mammoths killed by abrupt climate change
26 July 2015
Abrupt warming, that closely resembles the rapid man-made warming occurring today, has repeatedly played a key role in mass extinction events of large animals, the megafauna, in Earth’s past, new...
UNSW shines in Eureka Prize line-up
24 July 2015
In fields as diverse as quantum computing, human evolution, water use and solar power, nine UNSW researchers and a collaborative research team are finalists in this year’s prestigious Eureka Prizes....
Award: Honour for UNSW chemist
23 July 2015
UNSW chemist Alex Donald has won the inaugural Michael Guilhaus Research Award – a national prize for research in mass spectrometry that honours the memory of the late innovative UNSW instrument...
Research: Global study of seed consumption
21 July 2015
The first worldwide study of animals and the seeds they eat has overturned a long-held assumption – that large animals mainly eat large seeds.The finding by UNSW Australia scientists has...
Study: Sexism in video gaming is just another form of bullying
16 July 2015
Many people have experienced harassment or bullying online. However, the victims of such harassment are disproportionately women.Women receive up to 10 times more negative comments than men in...
Research: Brain study gives insights into genetics of autism
14 July 2015
UNSW scientists have discovered a link between autism and genetic changes in some segments of DNA that are responsible for switching on genes in the brain.The finding is the result of a world-first...
Study: Red gums and land plants tell story of a drying wetland
13 July 2015
One of the Murray-Darling Basin’s most important wetlands, the Macquarie Marshes, has become drier during the past 20 years, leading to severe loss of ancient red gum trees and invasion of...
Discovery: 50 million year old volcano cluster off Sydney
13 July 2015
Australia’s new ocean-going research vessel Investigator has discovered extinct volcanoes likely to be 50 million years old about 250 kilometres off the coast of Sydney.The chief scientist for the...
Analysis: Close encounter with Pluto will reveal its icy secrets
10 July 2015
At around 10 pm AEST on Tuesday July 14 the New Horizons spacecraft will sweep past the dwarf planet Pluto at a distance of less than 12,500 kilometres. In doing so, it will bring one of humankind’s...
Grants: UNSW tops country in industry-linked grants
8 July 2015
Faculty of Science researchers have performed strongly to help UNSW secure the highest level of funding in the country in the latest round of the federal government’s Australian Research Council (...
Video: Catastrophic Science series launched
7 July 2015
Cutting edge UNSW research projects resulting from catastrophes such as fires, tsunamis, terrorism, climate change and infectious diseases are the focus of a new video series produced by UNSWTV....
Study: Red List identifies Australian ecosystems at risk
7 July 2015
Climate change has emerged as a key threat to a wide range of Australian ecosystems according to a study which is the first to implement a new Red List system for identifying ecosystems at high risk...
Study: Birds at Fowlers Gap convey meaning with calls
2 July 2015
Research on chestnut-crowned babblers at UNSW’s Fowlers Gap Arid Research Station near Broken Hill has revealed that these social birds can communicate in a way that was thought to be exclusive to...
Analysis: Video games are sexy
2 July 2015
There is abundant research and controversy on the effects of playing violent video games. But, strangely, there’s precious little looking at why people choose to play violent games at all.So we,...
Honour: Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia
2 July 2015
Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential  Engineers in Australia, in a list compiled by Engineers Australia magazine.Professor Sahajwalla, of the...

June 2015

Event: International Nanomedicine Conference
30 June 2015
The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at UNSW will co-host the 2015 International Nanomedicine Conference beginning on 6 July.Advances in nanotechnology and nano-fabrication are fundamentally...
Opinion: Science funding should go to people, not projects
30 June 2015
Prominent American biologist Ronald Germain, has recently published a remarkable suggestion about research funding in the top bioscience journal Cell.He concludes that the historical US project...
Research: Controlling Parkinson's hallucinations
26 June 2015
A discovery by a UNSW and University of Sydney research team on how Parkinson's patients experience visual mental imagery is providing hope that their uncontrolled hallucinations can be treated. ...
Opinion: Movie shows well-being is more than chasing happiness
25 June 2015
Pixar’s new animated feature, Inside Out, is based on a rather straightforward premise: emotions situated in 11-year-old Riley’s brain control her behaviours, help organise her memories and, overall...
Study: Distance to bizarre galactic X-ray source determined
24 June 2015
Astronomers have been able to measure the distance to one of the Milky Way’s most bizarre objects for the first time using the Australian Mopra radio telescope near Coonabarabran.Circinus X-1 is a...
Opinion: Misleading reporting disguises need to protect workers
23 June 2015
The Western Australian parliamentary inquiry into mental health issues associated with fly-in fly out (FIFO) work, has made several important recommendations, so it’s a shame that some of the...
Awards: Science awarded three Laureate Fellowships
23 June 2015
Research on climate system science and the development of a cutting-edge biosensor device have won three UNSW scientists prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships.Professor Steven Sherwood,...
Comment: Cat videos lower stress and make you happy
22 June 2015
Watching cute cat videos and looking at their online pictures may not be a waste of time. A new study has found doing so could boost energy levels and increase feelings of happiness.Published in the...
Study: Fossil of large walking bat discovered in NZ
18 June 2015
Fossilised remains of a new bat species, which lived 16 million years ago, walked on four limbs and was three times larger than today’s average bat, have been discovered in New Zealand. The fossils...
Funding: Program to help refugees overcome mental health stigma
17 June 2015
An innovative UNSW program designed to help traumatised refugees overcome the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has received a $450,000 grant from beyondblue today. Tell...
Science in silos isn't such a bad thing
17 June 2015
Nearly all management speeches within academia champion interdisciplinary research. They talk about the importance of dismantling “silos” and getting people to work together.Closer to the coalface...
Study: Cave study reveals 3000 years of climate variation
15 June 2015
Research on limestone formations in a remote Scottish cave has produced a unique 3000-year-long record of climatic variations that may have influenced historical events including the fall of the...
Study: Digging in the dirt benefits ecosystems
12 June 2015
Bilbies, bettongs and echidnas play a beneficial role in the arid environment by foraging for food in the soil, UNSW research shows.Their digging alters the composition of fungi and bacteria that...
Conservation: Extinct native mammals to be returned to NSW
5 June 2015
UNSW scientists will reintroduce burrowing bettongs, bilbies and other native mammals that are extinct in NSW into large, predator-free enclosures in the western part of the state, as part of a NSW...
Astronomy: Giant Telescope to unlock secrets of universe
4 June 2015
UNSW astrophysicists led by Professor Chris Tinney will search for habitable planets outside our solar system using the world’s most powerful optical telescope, which is to be constructed in Chile....
Opinion: All academic metrics are flawed but some are useful
2 June 2015
Why are bean counters so fixated on counting? Why are universities overrun by metrics? Are we heading for a world where we know the cost of everything and the value of nothing?Is an obsession with...

May 2015

Voyage: Expedition to study offshore eddies
27 May 2015
UNSW marine biologist Professor Iain Suthers will lead a scientific expedition aboard the brand new Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator next week to study the secrets of small...
Opinion: Fine-tune fellowships to get most from them
27 May 2015
Research fellowship schemes have been the focus of a lot of attention recently. So let’s ask the question: should Australia invest in more fellowships or fewer fellowships, and should they be for...
Study: Antarctic iceberg helps reveal ecological impact of sea-ice
20 May 2015
The grounding of a giant iceberg in Antarctica has provided a unique real-life experiment that has revealed the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to sudden changes in sea-ice cover.UNSW scientists...
Opinion: Nuclear power isn't worth the risks
19 May 2015
The case for expanding nuclear energy is based on myths about its status, greenhouse gas emissions, proliferation, accidents, wastes and economics. Let’s take each in turn.StatusNuclear is not, and...
Opinion: Science communication can be its own reward
18 May 2015
If we want a well-informed public, then it is of utmost importance that science is communicated effectively by those who excel at it.But there are challenges to effective science communication. Bill...
Backgrounder: Using genetic mutations to fix nature's problems
15 May 2015
Everyone is different. That’s a simple truism, but it’s is also true when it comes to how people respond to diseases; some people are laid low and others shrug off the same ailment.And it’s true of...
Study: Genome editing could lead to cure for sickle cell anaemia
15 May 2015
Professor Merlin Crossley and his team have shown that changing just a single letter of the DNA of human red blood cells in the laboratory increases their production of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin...
Study: Solution to corrosive ocean mystery reveals future climate
14 May 2015
Researchers have discovered the cause of a highly corrosive deep-water current that once flowed through the North Atlantic Ocean, revealing important ramifications for the climate's sensitivity to...
Study: Dine with a light eater if you want to consume less
11 May 2015
How much food your dining companion eats can have a big influence on how much you consume, a UNSW-led study concludes.This psychological effect, known as social modelling, leads people to eat less...
Research: Best of both worlds to clean up pollution
8 May 2015
Combining two remediation approaches – the injection of pollution-eating microbes and the installation of a reactive iron barrier – could significantly speed up the degradation of toxic industrial...
Opinion: The other red meat on the real palaeodiet
8 May 2015
The so-called palaeodiet, and now even the palaeo-epigenetic diet, has come under a lot of scrutiny of late for making wild and unsubstantiated claims and for being downright dangerous to our health...
Study: Warm oceans caused US dust bowl in 1930s
5 May 2015
Two ocean hot spots have been found to be the potential drivers of the hottest summers on record for the central United States in 1934 and 1936. The new research may also help modern forecasters...
Analysis: Video games make you less sexist? It's not that simple
4 May 2015
The latest article exploring sexism in academia suggests that it no longer exists. Some have already grumbled about flaws in the study’s design. But more than that, I simply don’t believe the...
Invention: News lenses to create clearer vision
1 May 2015
The world’s first Extended Depth of Focus contact lenses for people with presbyopia, invented at the Brien Holden Vision Institute at UNSW, have been granted approval by the US Food and Drug...

April 2015

Scholarship: Global competition winner to study e-waste
29 April 2015
Winning a global competition to study in Australia was a passport to a brighter future for Indian student Uttam Kumar, who has now received a prestigious PhD scholarship to continue his studies....
Study: Heat still on despite warming slowdown
28 April 2015
The recent slowdown in the rise of global average air temperatures will make no difference to how much the planet will warm by 2100, a new study has found.The peer-reviewed study, published in ...
Study: Horizontal architecture to help nanoelectronics industry
28 April 2015
The nanoelectronics industry has invested substantially in efforts to produce vertically-oriented, gated nanowires, with aspirations to scale these up to forests of nanowire transistors.But...
Medals: UNSW honours Stephen and Lucy Hawking
26 April 2015
The world’s most famous physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking, and his daughter Lucy, a renowned author, have been awarded the 2015 UNSW Medal for Science Communication.UNSW Dean of Science Professor...
Explainer: The wild storms lashing Sydney
22 April 2015
During the past 24 hours, the Sydney, Central Coast, and Hunter regions of New South Wales have experienced very heavy rain, gale-force winds with gusts over 100 km per hour, and waves of more than...
Launch: Australia’s biggest driving study to make roads safer
21 April 2015
An Australian-first study into everyday driving behaviour, led by road safety scientists at UNSW in collaboration with Transport for NSW and university, government and industry partners has been...
Study: Cane toads versus dung beetles - the cattle miss out
14 April 2015
Reducing the number of cane toads in Australia’s tropical rangelands would benefit the cattle industry by increasing the number of dung beetles that carry out the vital job of burying dung, a UNSW-...
Award:CSIRO scholarship supports star researcher
13 April 2015
A scholarship created to honour the memory of four CSIRO scientists killed in a helicopter crash in 2013 has been awarded to UNSW astronomy researcher Claire-Elise Green to further her research into...
Profiles: Transformative teaching
10 April 2015
UNSW academics don’t just do outstanding research, they also excel at passing on their knowledge to students.Louise Lutze-Mann is determined to convey to her students the excitement and wonder of...
Profile: Professor Graciela Metternicht, IES Director
9 April 2015
The Institute of Environmental Studies director talks to Fran Strachan about growing up in Argentina and her work with the UN.What was it like growing up on a farm in outback Argentina?I rode my...
Rankings: Quantum research pushes UNSW into nation's top 3
7 April 2015
Research breakthroughs in quantum computing have helped make UNSW one of the top three institutions in the country for high-quality science research publications, the latest Nature Publishing Index...
Discovery: Quantum Psychology taps into telepathic abilities
1 April 2015
A visiting Professor in Parapsychology has wowed audiences with his breathtaking discoveries on the power of the human brain.“We only use ten per cent of our brain," he explained. “In fact, some...

March 2015

Study: Good luck reverses global forest loss
31 March 2015
Analysis of 20 years of satellite data has revealed the total amount of vegetation globally has increased by almost the equivalent of 4 billion tonnes of carbon since 2003. This is despite ongoing...
Forum: Embracing risk for a better future
27 March 2015
Australia needs to view uncertainty as an opportunity, rather than feel threated by it, if the nation is to prosper in a rapidly transforming world, the Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull...
Study: Why some people plan for retirement and others don't
26 March 2015
A person’s “psychological  clock”, or innate tendency to focus more on the past, present or future, strongly influences how well they plan for retirement, a UNSW-led study shows.With governments...
Communication: New science video series on human evolution
26 March 2015
A new UNSW science video series on evolution that explores some of the big questions and myths about what it means to be human has been launched.How Did We Get Here? is produced by UNSW TV and...
Event: An Evening with Stephen Hawking
25 March 2015
UNSW’s Big Questions Institute is partnering with the Sydney Opera House and Cisco to present An Evening with Stephen Hawking, a night celebrating the phenomenal story of physicist and cosmologist...
Study: Impact of boating infrastructure on Sydney Harbour
24 March 2015
UNSW scientists have begun surveying the sea floor as part of the first comprehensive study of the impact of boating infrastructure on marine habitats in Sydney Harbour.Transport for NSW, UNSW and...
Opinion: Keeping Australian native animals as pets is a good idea
20 March 2015
I did not set out to be an advocate for native animals as pets — it just happened. As a lover of all animals and PhD student in the late 1960s focused carnivorous marsupials, a friend offered me the...
Event: Risky Business Panel Discussion and Q&A
19 March 2015
The Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, will join the new UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs, for a public event next week exploring how best to manage risk in life, politics,...
Research: New cheap and efficient electrode for splitting water
18 March 2015
UNSW scientists have developed a highly efficient oxygen-producing electrode for splitting water that has the potential to be scaled up for industrial production of the clean energy fuel, hydrogen....
Analysis: Age of jawbones means the origins of humans is older
17 March 2015
There’s plenty of excitement this month amid reports that scientists had identified the “dawn of humankind” in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.With reports this discovery of a jawbone could “rewrite the...
Analysis: It's time to tackle our marine 'urban sprawl'
16 March 2015
How would you feel if half of Sydney’s beaches were replaced with concrete walls? Unfortunately, this scenario is already common in urban estuaries around the world.According to our research,...
Analysis: Finding meteorite impacts in Aboriginal oral tradition
12 March 2015
Imagine going about your normal day when a brilliant light races across the sky. It explodes, showering the ground with small stones and sending a shock wave across the land. The accompanying boom...
Analysis: Is there a single ideal body shape for women?
10 March 2015
Many scholars of Renaissance art tell us that Botticelli’s Birth of Venus captures the tension between the celestial perfection of divine beauty and its flawed earthly manifestation. As classical...
Launch: Science 50:50 Sydney launch
6 March 2015
More than 200 female high school students heard inspiring stories from leading female scientists and industry representatives and had the opportunity to question them about their careers at a Women...
Opinion: When too much science communication is barely enough
4 March 2015
The message about climate change still faces opposition in a few ideologically-driven quarters. Print media is struggling to support specialist science journalists. And surveys about science...
Analysis: Words, genes and the science of past human deeds
2 March 2015
Human languages have long been known to be a marker of human cultural affiliation and biological ancestry, used by linguists and archaeologists alike as a marker of human population movements in the...
Analysis: Could Ebola mutate faster than treatments develop?
2 March 2015
As the worst known epidemic of the Ebola virus continues in West Africa, scientists around the world are trying to develop treatments for those infected. But a process of viral mutation, known as “...

February 2015

Opinion: Blue-sky research under a cloud
25 February 2015
Who is responsible for the fact that investments in blue-sky, curiosity-driven or exploration research are under threat? Many scientists tackle politicians on this issue. But as scientists we also...
Communication: Top 5 under 40 finalists announced
24 February 2015
Twelve young researchers, including UNSW's Dr Michael Kasumovic, have been selected for a spot in the ‘Top 5 under 40’ program, an initiative of UNSW and ABC Radio National to mark 40 years of The...
Analysis: Berry scare - what you need to know about hepatitis A
23 February 2015
School students in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland are the latest group thought to have eaten frozen berries linked to hepatitis A, which has now infected 14 people nationally. All food-...
Analysis: In pursuit of happiness - how pain can build pleasure
23 February 2015
The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular. The truth is, however, very different. Pleasure alone cannot make us happy.Take...
Analysis: Beyond genetics - illuminating the epigenome
20 February 2015
If you are attracted to the more mysterious areas of science, such as quantum mechanics and cosmology, and your special interest is Lamarckian epigenetic inheritance, then you may be aware that...
Honour: Two Fulbright Scholarships for Science
17 February 2015
Dr Renxun Chen, a nanotechnologist developing antimicrobial coatings for medical devices and implants, and Isaac Donnelly, a PhD student in applied mathematics working on transport networks, have...
Analysis: If you could clone yourself, would you still have sex?
16 February 2015
Imagine how easy life would be if you could produce offspring without a mate. Sexual reproduction is the most common mating system in the animal kingdom. But in many species, females do not require...
Analysis: Love, romance and rejection on Valentine's Day
13 February 2015
Take care lovers, wherever you are, as Valentine’s Day is soon upon us. Whether you’re in a relationship or want to be in a relationship, research over a number of years shows that February 14 can...
Study: UNSW scores world first for fruit fly genetics
6 February 2015
UNSW scientists have achieved a world first, publishing the complete DNA sequence of the Queensland fruit fly – a development which will improve both biosecurity and methods for controlling this...
Research: First study showing long-term control of cane toads
4 February 2015
Preventing cane toads from entering man-made dams to cool down in the hot, arid zones of Australia kills them in large numbers and is an effective way to stop their spread, UNSW-led research shows.“...
Study: Holiday parks near unpatrolled beaches a concern
3 February 2015
More than 90 per cent of coastal tourist parks in NSW are located adjacent to surf beaches that are rated moderately to highly hazardous for swimming, a UNSW study shows.About a third of these...
Study: How false beliefs could affect patients’ decisions
2 February 2015
People who falsely believe that a bogus drug works find it harder to accept the evidence that a truly effective medication is beneficial, a study by researchers at the University of Deusto in Spain...

January 2015

Analysis: Facebook shapes women's body image
30 January 2015
If you’re one of the world’s 1.3 billion regular Facebook users, you’ll know the feeling of being consumed by your news feed.If you don’t use Facebook, you need only get on a busy train or bus to...
Research: Satellite study identifies water bodies for conservation
27 January 2015
Using satellite images to study changing patterns of surface water is a powerful tool for identifying conservationally important “stepping stone” water bodies that could help aquatic species survive...
Opinion: Rating your professor - five myths about teaching quality
20 January 2015
Prospective students, their parents, and taxpayers deserve to know about the quality of teaching in our universities. But how do you measure teaching quality? Based on student results? Results...
Analysis: What happens when we lose information we have learnt
19 January 2015
Throughout our lives we have multitudes of experiences that shape how we then behave in the world. Some of these lessons are learnt rapidly, such as why we shouldn’t put our hand on a hot pan on the...
Launch: Science 50:50 initiative
15 January 2015
A new program to inspire young women to pursue degrees and careers in science and technology – led by UNSW’s Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla – has been launched in Canberra.The Science 50:50...
Research: New facility at Fowlers Gap records extreme downpour
14 January 2015
The NSW desert has been hit by a record-breaking extreme rainfall event, with the biggest downpour in 45 years recorded over a two-day period at UNSW’s Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station near...
Analysis: Climate "hacking" would be easy but is fraught with danger
13 January 2015
Some people might argue that the greatest moral challenge of our time is serious enough to justify deliberately tampering with our climate to stave off the damaging effects of global warming....