Science

September 2019

UNSW scientist first woman honoured with top chemistry prize
17 September 2019
Professor Martina Stenzel is the first woman in almost 90 years to be awarded the Royal Society of NSW's Liversidge Medal.  One of the world’s leading experts in polymer chemistry, UNSW Sydney...
Marine Biology alumna casts her net wide for career success
16 September 2019
Photo: Tashya Miranda working in the field: "It’s been really invigorating to pitch ideas to tackle topics like Sydney’s current drought, and ways we can re-use our waste resources."You will equally...
Top honour awarded to three UNSW research pioneers
12 September 2019
Three leading researchers have been awarded Australian Laureate Fellowships to tackle some of the world’s big issues, including ageing, clean energy and quantum computing. UNSW academics have been...
World leader in genomics joins UNSW
12 September 2019
Geneticist Professor John Mattick will join the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences in October as the University's latest SHARP hire. One of the world’s foremost experts on the human...
UNSW rockets up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
12 September 2019
UNSW Sydney continues its steady progress towards its goal of becoming a top 50 global university, rising 25 places to 71st in the THE World University Rankings.  UNSW has jumped 25 spots to 71st in...
Face facts: we need to know more about super recognisers
6 September 2019
People with superior facial recognition abilities are being recruited for surveillance and security roles while the science behind the phenomenon is having to play catch-up.Super recognisers – or...
Coastal infrastructure urgently needs a rethink, marine ecologists say
5 September 2019
How should we be building along the global coast? A framework by UNSW scientists delivers some much-needed answers.UNSW scientists have released a world-first framework for guiding the building and...
NASA and European Space Agency join UNSW in outback for training crucial for Mars 2020 missions
2 September 2019
UNSW scientists have shown a group of Mars specialists the secrets of the remote Pilbara's ancient rocks - all in preparation for NASA's and ESA's Mars 2020 missions.NASA and European Space Agency (...

August 2019

Recycling technology wins prestigious award
30 August 2019
UNSW Sydney’s Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre has won a prestigious award for its ground-breaking recycling research in collaboration with industry partners.The 2019...
UNSW in top three Australian universities for latest NHMRC funding
30 August 2019
UNSW researchers have secured $47 million for 31 world-leading projects in the latest National Health and Medical Research Council funding round.Projects to treat and prevent HIV, reduce the impact...
UNSW researchers awarded at annual ‘science Oscars’
30 August 2019
UNSW researchers have won coveted Eureka Prizes for their contributions to science communication and national citizen science outreach.UNSW Associate Professor Darren Saunders has won a prestigious...
How to solve Indonesia’s ‘taboo’ mental health crisis
22 August 2019
Psychology PhD student Sandersan Onie is working on removing the stigma surrounding mental health and improving science-based interventions in his home of Indonesia.We often consider mental health in...
Tackling antimicrobial resistance: NUW Alliance to develop a joint taskforce
20 August 2019
A workshop hosted by the NUW Alliance has resulted in the creation of a joint Antimicrobial Research Taskforce (NUW-ART) involving academics from UNSW Sydney, the University of Newcastle and the...
UNSW Sydney tops ARC Research Hub grants
19 August 2019
More than $8 million worth of ARC grants have been awarded to two UNSW projects that will involve research into the major global challenges of antibiotic resistance and recyclable waste.UNSW Sydney...
Technology available to achieve COAG waste crisis goals
13 August 2019
A UNSW professor’s Microfactory technology is the solution to Australia’s waste and recycling crisis.The professor who invented ‘green steel’ technology that diverts millions of vehicle tyres from...
 Marine heatwaves a bigger threat to coral reefs than previously thought, scientists find
8 August 2019
Marine heatwaves are a much bigger threat to coral reefs than previously thought, research revealing a previously unrecognized impact of climate change on coral reefs has shown.In the study,...
 Platypus decline likely underestimated
8 August 2019
Declines in platypus have likely been underestimated, new research by UNSW scientists has shown. The iconic species was listed as ‘Near-Threatened’ in 2016, given mounting evidence of recent...
 New app tests how mood affects cognitive performance
5 August 2019
How much do you think your mood affects your brain’s ability to perform under pressure?An app developed by UNSW researchers in conjunction with University College London (UCL) will not only allow you...

July 2019

 Online program helps traumatised refugees overcome mental health stigma
29 July 2019
An online intervention by UNSW Sydney scientists, in partnership with Settlement Services International (SSI), has successfully helped traumatised refugee men overcome the stigma associated with post...
 3D bioprinter co-developed by UNSW researchers wins top design award
26 July 2019
A 3D bioprinter that can print replicas of tumours has won the prestigious 2019 Good Design Award of the Year. The printer was co-designed by two leading UNSW medical and science academics.The prize...
 200 times faster than ever before: the speediest quantum operation yet
18 July 2019
A group of scientists led by 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons have achieved the first two-qubit gate between atom qubits in silicon – a major milestone on the team’s quest to...
 Cave secrets unlocked to show past drought and rainfall patterns
6 July 2019
A first-ever global analysis of cave drip waters has shown where stalagmites can provide vital clues towards understanding past rainfall patterns.In a study published recently in the prestigious...
 Ignoring cues for alcohol and fast food is hard – but is it out of our control?
4 July 2019
Have you ever tried to stay away from fast food, but found hard-to-ignore signals that represent its availability – like neon lights and ads – are everywhere?If you’re stressed, tired or otherwise...
Plenty of life in them yet: 25 years since World Heritage listing of Riversleigh fossils
2 July 2019
The Riversleigh section of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites in north-west Queensland – which Sir David Attenborough has described as one of the four most important fossil deposits in the world – is...
Birdwatchers highlight declines of seabirds off south-eastern Australia
1 July 2019
Thirteen species of seabirds are declining off the coast of south-eastern Australia, a 17-year study by researchers at the Centre for Ecosystem Science at UNSW Sydney revealed. The species include...
Science Profiles of Excellence: Associate Professor Isabelle Jalbert
1 July 2019
Isabelle is our Associate Dean International and Engagement, Deputy Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science and winner of the 2018 Science Staff Award for Teaching Innovation. She shares a...

June 2019

UNSW scientists shine on the ABC’s Q&A Science Special
25 June 2019
Where did life originate? How did the galaxies evolve? How is climate changing? What’s the role of science in our politics? Why should we study STEM? The Australian public put a UNSW-centric panel to...
Researchers develop new sensor to help detect early-stage cancer
20 June 2019
A new device that can detect very low concentrations of cancer markers in blood tests could one day help doctors diagnose cancer at its earliest stages, researchers say.A group of chemists from UNSW...
UNSW launches events for Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week
19 June 2019
A virtual dive into the state’s hidden reefs, a lecture by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn and immersive virtual reality experiences are some of the highlights of UNSW Sydney’s participation...
Leaving microbes out of climate change conversation has major consequences, experts warn
19 June 2019
More than 30 microbiologists from 9 countries have issued a warning to humanity – they are calling for the world to stop ignoring an ‘unseen majority’ in Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem when...
UNSW community recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours
11 June 2019
After being named Australian of the Year in 2018, UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons has become an Officer of the Order of Australia.  The professor of physics and Director of the UNSW-based...
1 in 2 people in NSW’s coastal community don’t think sea level rise will impact them directly
7 June 2019
Half of NSW’s coastal community thinks rising sea levels will not impact them directly, new data released today by UNSW scientists has shown – and 25% of surveyed accommodation businesses situated...
Celebrating World Oceans Day
7 June 2019
World Oceans Day is a global awareness day on the United Nations' calendar, with hundreds of events around the world celebrating oceans on June 8.This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is “Gender...
UNSW and public schools help children with severe behavioural problems
6 June 2019
UNSW Sydney has partnered with a network of public primary schools and preschools in south-western Sydney to establish one of the world's first school-based clinics to provide evidence-based early...

May 2019

Call to consider raising minimum legal length of tailor in NSW
30 May 2019
Size limits of the key fishing species tailor in NSW waters may need to be reconsidered after researchers noted that its biology has changed over the last few decades.In a paper published recently in...
UNSW scientist selected as Australia’s APEC Science Prize nominee
29 May 2019
Dr Nicholas Murray from UNSW Sydney's Centre for Ecosystem Science in the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) has been selected as Australia’s nominee for the US$25,000 APEC...
From honours degree to a deep dive into the abalone industry
29 May 2019
Five years ago, Mathew Skye was scuba diving among giant kelp along Australia’s eastern coastline, researching how rising sea temperatures affected the kelp forest ecosystem. Today, the UNSW Sydney...
Finding the perfect recipe for space: HUMMUS1 takes off
27 May 2019
A rocket has carried a bacterial experiment – and the aspirations of UNSW Science students – to new heights during the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition. Inside the rocket was an...
UNSW and ABC reveal Australia’s Top 5 science scholars
24 May 2019
UNSW Sydney and the ABC are proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 Top 5 media residencies for emerging science scholars, which will enable some of Australia’s brightest minds to share their...
Putting the spotlight on the environment: celebrating International Biodiversity Day
22 May 2019
International Day of Biodiversity on May 22 – a part of the United Nations’ awareness day calendar – is an annual event that aims to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. UNSW...
Birdwatchers boost NSW economy
21 May 2019
A group of birds that are not usually found in Australia attracted hundreds of birders to a relatively remote town on the north coast of NSW, resulting in a significant boost to the Australian...
Scientists find ‘molecular destruction code’ for enzyme involved in cholesterol production
17 May 2019
A team of UNSW scientists at the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences led by Professor Andrew Brown have shown how a key enzyme that contributes to cholesterol production can be...
Predator exposure can help vulnerable species survive in the wild
15 May 2019
Exposing vulnerable species like the bilby to an environment with predators before releasing them into the wild could help improve the species’ ultimate survival, new research by UNSW ecologists has...
How does Shorten's electric vehicle sales target stack up?
13 May 2019
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten last month revealed his party’s plan to have half of new cars sold in 2030 be electric vehicles (EVs). But is this realistic?The answer is yes, and ultimately it...
Culture clubs: why sporting culture is vital for wellbeing
10 May 2019
When UNSW-ES Bulldogs president Stephen Dunkley arrived at the club, his initial impression was that it lacked the culture required to become successful. When he assumed the role of president in 2017...
Labor commits $15m for National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW
9 May 2019
A new UNSW Sydney centre that will investigate the major health risks Australians face from climate change will receive $15 million in funding under a Labor government.Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for...
UNSW rocketry team over the moon about successful launch
2 May 2019
A group of UNSW Science and Engineering students celebrated its highest achievement after competing in the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC) over the Easter weekend.As part...

April 2019

Don’t even think about it: why thought control is so difficult
30 April 2019
Whatever you do, don’t think about a red apple.Chances are, when you read the sentence above, that’s exactly what you did do. But not to worry, that’s quite a normal reaction for our chattering human...
Mentoring and allowing serendipity is the key to great science: Sir Fraser Stoddart
26 April 2019
Sir Fraser Stoddart – Scottish chemist, 2016 Nobel Laureate and UNSW Sydney SHARP Hire – does not want to be remembered just for his research.“In the fullness of time, I don’t want to be remembered...
Taking sustainability to the next level
23 April 2019
The size and complexity of the waste challenge facing society dominated discussion at the first stakeholders’ meeting of the newly announced Circular Economy Innovation Network (CEIN).The CEIN is an...
Huge feral-free safe haven ready for return of missing desert mammals
22 April 2019
One of the largest rabbit-free areas in Australia has been created in Sturt National Park in far western NSW in a major project preparing to reintroduce locally extinct mammals like the bilby to...
UNSW alumnae off to Antarctica with women leadership program
15 April 2019
A STEMM education advocate and a biophysical chemist are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition that will place them in the company of future female leaders … and penguins.Dr Jeanette McConnell...
STEM is worth investing in, but Australia’s major parties offer scant details on policy and funding
12 April 2019
This article is part of a series examining the Coalition government’s record on key issues while in power and what Labor is promising if it wins the 2019 federal election.Evidence from around the...
Project to bring Sydney Rock Oyster reefs back from extinction receives ARC funding
12 April 2019
Projects working with marine scientists and experts to bring the Sydney Rock Oyster reefs back from extinction, redefining the static museum visit into an interactive experience and building more...
Dogged researchers show that dingoes keep feral cats in check
8 April 2019
A UNSW Sydney study has ended an argument about whether or not dingoes have an effect on feral cat populations in the outback, finding that the wild dogs do indeed keep the wild cat numbers down.In a...
Whooping cough evolving to beat antibiotics and possibly vaccine
5 April 2019
A new strain of Bordetella pertussis – the bacterium that causes whooping cough – has become resistant to antibiotic treatment and may also be resistant to the vaccine used in China. A UNSW Sydney...
Maths whiz solves 48-year-old multiplication problem
4 April 2019
A UNSW Sydney mathematician has helped solve a decades-old maths riddle that allows multiplication of huge numbers in a much faster time.Associate Professor David Harvey, from UNSW’s School of...
Scientists prove that binary stars reflect light from one another
2 April 2019
One of the first things we learn in astronomy is that some of the objects in the sky (the Sun and the stars) produce their own light, whereas others (the Moon and the planets) are only visible...
UNSW academics honoured in national awards for teaching excellence
2 April 2019
Academics from Science and Art & Design have taken out accolades in the 2018 Australian Awards for University Teaching.Associate Professors Elizabeth Angstmann and Kim Snepvangers will be...

March 2019

UNSW research has the highest impact on society, new assessment shows
29 March 2019
Off the back of outstanding results in the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) analysis, UNSW Sydney has topped all Australian universities for...
Nothing compares to the humble frog
29 March 2019
Dr Jodi Rowley has dedicated much of her career to illuminating what she calls ‘the black hole’ in the world’s knowledge of amphibian life in South-East Asia. Her original impetus started following...
UNSW Science leads the way in research excellence, says ERA analysis
28 March 2019
Research from UNSW Sydney is among the best in the world with the University receiving more top ratings in broad fields of research than any other Australian university in the 2018 Excellence in...
When the student is the scientist: gaming brings STEMM to life
26 March 2019
The complex challenges of teaching evolutionary biology to students – from primary school to university level – propelled UNSW Sydney Associate Professor Michael Kasumovic to turn to gaming...
The sky should be the limit: meet the researcher working towards new horizons for women in astronomy
22 March 2019
As an observational astronomer, Associate Professor Sarah Brough looks to the stars for answers – but that wasn’t always crystal clear.  After completing...
UNSW researcher wins ARC grant to study world’s most vulnerable ecosystems
19 March 2019
A UNSW Sydney project to tackle one of the world’s most difficult environmental problems has received a $779,000 grant in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding.Professor...
Future Minds Lab investigates the thinking that will change how we work
15 March 2019
Most businesses need to innovate to guarantee long term success. But what does true innovation look like? Understanding the science behind innovation, and what makes some start-ups thrive and others...
What an effective Murray-Darling water policy should look like
14 March 2019
Rivers running dry, algal blooms, more fish kills and towns running out of water will all continue to plague the next NSW government if it persists with the same, inadequate policies on water...
Universities welcome NSW government backing for Sydney Quantum Academy
12 March 2019
The NSW government has announced support for the establishment of a new Sydney Quantum Academy with $15.4 million in funding, bringing together four leading universities in NSW.The Sydney Quantum...
Flow the STEM to get young women into well-paid jobs of future
8 March 2019
We live in an age of incredible change and enormous possibility. The boundaries of human knowledge are expanding at an unprecedented rate, and with them, the pace of technological innovation is...
Sea ice plays pacemaker role in abrupt climate change
7 March 2019
The growth or shrinkage of sea ice is often viewed as a symptom of climate change, but new research shows it may have played a more causative role in abrupt climate changes thousands of years ago.The...
MIND over Mediterranean: Australian study suggests MIND diet reduces the risk of dementia
7 March 2019
Following a diet designed to increase brain health in the long term appears to reduce the odds of cognitive impairment and disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a study led by...
Our brains reveal our choices before we’re even aware of them: study
6 March 2019
A new UNSW study suggests we have less control over our personal choices than we think, and that unconscious brain activity determines our choices well before we are aware of them.Published in the...
UNSW team helps revolutionise eye care for millions
5 March 2019
A group of UNSW Sydney academics have formed a partnership with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, to train optometrists and transform access to eye care services for thousands of people...
All creatures great and small: celebrating World Wildlife Day
4 March 2019
World Wildlife Day on March 3 in the United Nations calendar is a global annual event that raises awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. Through their work, UNSW Sydney researchers are...

February 2019

UNSW academics receive top honours from the Australian Academy of Science
28 February 2019
Two UNSW academics have been honoured by Australian Academy of Science for their research on the impact of ocean currents on the global climate and how forests evolve and vary across Australia....
UNSW Science graduate awarded Westpac scholarship
27 February 2019
Two outstanding UNSW students from Science and Medicine have been awarded Westpac Future Leaders scholarships worth up to $120,000 each to undertake postgraduate studies.Two outstanding UNSW students...
Topological defects could be key to future nano-electronics
22 February 2019
• Ferroic and multiferroic topological structures offer exciting potential in future nanoelectronics• Commentary piece published this week in Nature MaterialsThe connection from fridge magnets to...
Why does your work matter? Research summit asks global thought leaders to answer the big question
22 February 2019
More than 200 of the world’s brightest minds converged on UNSW Sydney this week for the 2019 Times Higher Education Research Excellence Summit: Asia-Pacific to explore powerful ways universities and...
 Technology to transform local manufacturing and waste comes to town
21 February 2019
We need to rethink our attitudes to the materials we discard and instead see them as renewable resources, says a UNSW leader in recycling who is taking vital new technology to rural NSW cities next...
 Introduced daisy changes its appearance on Australian beaches, defying evolutionary expectations
19 February 2019
A species of beach daisy from South Africa has undergone substantial and unexpected changes since arriving in Australia in the 1930s, a new study led by UNSW researchers has uncovered.The findings...
 Leading “the space race of the 21st century”
15 February 2019
UNSW Sydney – and Australia – is at the forefront in the quest to develop the world’s first commercial scale quantum computer.“We want to build not just a quantum computer,...
National centre of excellence in quantum opens at UNSW
15 February 2019
The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW Sydney has been officially launched.The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre...
Building a STEM future
15 February 2019
As a leading authority in marine ecology, Professor Emma Johnston is a prominent advocate for more women at the top tiers of science.Professor Emma Johnston AO is one of Australia’s pre-eminent...
 Fighting the war on waste
15 February 2019
Waste microfactories are revolutionising recycling as the world’s waste crisis continues to escalate.Where do all our obsolete mobile phones, laptops and tablets go?Professor Veena Sahajwalla,...
Meet the scientist leading a tidal wave of climate change communication
13 February 2019
Professor John Church wants everyone to speak up about one of the biggest issues facing the world.Professor John Church – the world's top scientist in sea level research – has always...
Careful using that f-word to describe dingoes, study warns
13 February 2019
A UNSW Sydney study says more evidence is needed before declaring the dingo a feral animal, casting a shadow over state governments’ justification for culling Australia’s largest carnivorous mammal....
Cycling fatalities almost halved since introduction of mandatory helmet laws
8 February 2019
The evidence is in: Australian mandatory helmet laws brought in to reduce fatalities in cycling have worked, with a world-first study of such laws at UNSW Sydney showing they led to an immediate 46%...
UNSW Chemist Honoured in Auckland
4 February 2019
UNSW Chemist Alex Donald has been awarded the Bowie Medal – a national prize recognizing excellence in research in mass spectrometry by a mid-career scientist.Dr Donald, who applies and develops this...
Car crash deaths: speed limit in busy pedestrian areas too high
1 February 2019
In a bid to reduce the likelihood of pedestrian deaths, motor vehicles shouldn’t be allowed to go faster than 40km/h in high pedestrian active areas – preferably 30 km/h, a new UNSW Sydney study has...

January 2019

Pioneers in mental health, climate and ageing lead UNSW recipients of Australia Day honours
29 January 2019
Academics from Science and Medicine lead the list of UNSW Sydney alumni and staff recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours.Scientia Professor Helen Christensen FASSA FAHMS, the Executive...
Prouder than ever to be Australian
24 January 2019
Just under a year ago, I was one of eight nominees in the running for the 2018 Australian of the Year award and I was confident that I would not win. After all, awards of this nature are not usually...
Panic attacks tackled in one-week intensive online therapy
23 January 2019
Scientists from UNSW Science’s School of Psychology and St. Vincent’s Hospital are leading world-first research to learn more about a novel therapeutic approach for people who suffer from panic...
Think big, celebrated scientist tells new home Down Under
22 January 2019
Few countries have taken scientists to their heart like Australia has embraced Michelle Simmons. The British-born physicist is coming to the end of her term as Australian of the Year, a title that...
Environmental ‘timebomb’ warning for world’s groundwater reserves
22 January 2019
An international research team has, for the first time, provided a global insight into what will happen if our groundwater systems start to see changes in their replenishment.In a new paper published...
Cholesterol protein discovery raises hope for smarter drugs
18 January 2019
Scientists at UNSW Sydney have made a breakthrough discovery about cholesterol transportation in cells that opens the way for new drugs to increase the body’s ‘good cholesterol’ levels.And the...
World-renowned astrophysicist and champion of women in STEM joins UNSW
16 January 2019
Australia’s first ambassador for Women in STEM, astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, is joining UNSW as Professor of Practice in Science Communication. UNSW has also been named the host...
Faint stellar glow reveals the location of dark matter in galaxy clusters
11 January 2019
UNSW scientists have found a way for astronomers to map elusive dark matter – by using the light of lonely stars that drift freely in clusters of galaxies.The faint glow of the stars accurately...
Global sea level expert John Church wins leading climate change award
10 January 2019
The world’s top sea level expert, UNSW Sydney Professor John Church, has become the first Australian to win the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change for his work projecting...
Quantum scientists demonstrate world-first 3D atomic-scale quantum chip architecture
8 January 2019
UNSW researchers at the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) have shown for the first time that they can build atomic precision qubits in a 3D device –...