Australia plans ‘national-interest’ test for research grants

From Nature, 31 October 2018: Australia’s government is set to introduce a ‘national-interest test’ for research projects seeking grant funding from next year. The policy will require that researchers outline how their project will advance the country’s interests, said education minister Dan Tehan in a statement released on 31 October. “The value of specific projects Continue reading Australia plans ‘national-interest’ test for research grants

Australian academics fear political interference following vetoed projects

From Nature, 30 October 2018: Australian universities and researchers have condemned the actions of a government minister who vetoed projects that had been selected for funding by expert panels. Academics say that the government’s interference has undermined the integrity of the peer-review system and could damage the country’s reputation as a desirable place to do Continue reading Australian academics fear political interference following vetoed projects

Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

From Nature, 4 October 2018: A third rover has touched down on the surface of asteroid Ryugu, marking a hat-trick of successful landings for the Japanese Hayabusa2 space mission. Earlier today, the shoe-box-sized Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) separated from the Hayabusa2 probe, which had moved temporarily to 51 metres from the asteroid’s surface. The Continue reading Japanese rover lands on ancient asteroid for 16 hour-mission

Australian fur-seal pups in decline for first time in three decades

From Nature News, 5 September 2018: Numbers of Australian fur-seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) pups have declined for the first time in more than three decades, according to a study published on 5 September. Researchers compared the latest count, collected in 2013-14, with an overall trend in the population since monitoring began in 1986. Pup numbers Continue reading Australian fur-seal pups in decline for first time in three decades

The six best places to stargaze in Australia

From National Geographic Travel, 26 June 2018: Want to explore the wonders of the universe without the light-years of travel and gravity sickness? Welcome to the exciting world of astro-tourism, where terrestrial astronomers and their telescopes take you on a journey to the stars. Australia’s clear skies and vast tracts of uninhabited land make it Continue reading The six best places to stargaze in Australia

Australia makes its mark in biotechnology

From Nature, 10 May 2018: In 1999, an Australian federal government briefing paper on biotechnology in the country concluded that the sector “hardly rates as an economic force” because of its small size and the financial challenges that it faced in getting products to market. Now, barely two decades later, Australia has ranked in the Continue reading Australia makes its mark in biotechnology

Making the unpalatable palatable

From A*STAR Research Highlights, August 25, 2017 (not bylined): Encapsulating the antioxidant quercetin in carnauba wax could mask its bitterness and enable its use in a wide range of food products, according to new research from Singapore. Quercetin is a type of plant pigment called a flavonoid, and is one of the most abundant antioxidants Continue reading Making the unpalatable palatable

Talking science on Triple J with Linda Marigliano and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I got to join Dr Karl and astrophysicist Professor Tara Murphy in the Triple J studio with Linda Marigliano, and talk science with Triple J callers. We had questions coming in on everything from whether burning hydrocarbons in fossil fuels add water to the hydrosphere to why some people Continue reading Talking science on Triple J with Linda Marigliano and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Milky Way’s fast-moving galactic hypervelocity stars may have come from another galaxy

From ABC Science, 5 July 2017 The fastest-moving stars in our galaxy may have been shot off the bow of a passing smaller galaxy. These so-called “galactic hypervelocity stars” are large and short-lived but travel up to 1,000 kilometres per second. Strangely, most of them appear to be in an unusual cluster in the northern Continue reading Milky Way’s fast-moving galactic hypervelocity stars may have come from another galaxy