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A Tale of Two Doctors

The first shows of our national tour of The Science of Doctor Who are about to start! Tickets are on sale for shows right across the country so click here to find a venue near you. Last year two very important doctors celebrated 50 orbits of the Sun, me ... Continue Reading »

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Would you drink recycled water? That's the question we'll be asking public health and science experts on 6 May at The Science Exchange in Adelaide. If you can't make it in to The Science Exchange then make sure you watch the free livestream. Sign up for ... Continue Reading »

Wacky Water Facts

Would you drink recycled water? That's the question we'll be asking public health and science experts on 6 May at The Science Exchange in Adelaide. If you can't make it in to The Science Exchange then make sure you watch the free livestream. Sign up for ... Continue Reading »

Man stung 130 times by bees for science

I get to see a lot of weird scientific research in my role as a science communicator at RiAus but sometimes, well, studies like this one pop up. Honeybee sting pain index by body location Yes. This is a study done to determine if bee stings hurt more or less ... Continue Reading »

Failing The Great Antarctic Photo Quest

By now, if you have been following The Great Antarctic Photo Quest set for me during my recent trip to Antarctica, you’ll have seen my efforts to meet that challenge. The idea was very simple, we reached out on social media for suggestions of things I could try ... Continue Reading »

The Universes of Doctor Who

In preparation for our upcoming tour of The Science of Doctor Who we have asked the cast to write about some of their favourite bits of science and pop culture in Doctor Who. Tickets are currently on sale for The Science of Doctor Who! Click here to find ... Continue Reading »

How well do you know Antarctica?

RiAus Director Paul Willis went down in Antarctica earlier this year and he took a bunch of photos based on suggestions collected from social media. You can see all the submissions and the photos Dr Willis took at The Great Antarctic Photo Quest Antarctica is the largest cold desert ... Continue Reading »

The Lemon Detox Fraud

The Lemon Detox Diet, otherwise known as the Master Cleanser, has been around since the 1940s, when self-styled ‘healer’ Stanley Burroughs first developed it as a treatment for stomach ulcers. In later years, he began to promote it as a tool for weight loss, even going so far as to ... Continue Reading »

Skeptics of the detox

Find out more about the science behind the detox in the upcoming event Debunking the Detox on 25 March at 6:30pm ACST. If you can't make it in to The Science Exchange then make sure you watch the free livestream. Sign up for a ... Continue Reading »

Toxin Toxout – Book Review

Do you love reading science books and wish there was some sort of club of people who also do? Then you should check out #scibook on Twitter. Join us at 8pm (ACDT) to discuss 'Toxin Toxout' with other science book fanatics from around Australia. Toxin Toxout is a convincing ... Continue Reading »

Alix in Antarctica

RiAus Director Paul Willis is down in Antarctica taking photos for you! Make your photo submissions at The Great Antarctic Photo Quest Is this the coolest job for a long hot summer? While her family and friends are sweating through a record-breaking hot summer back in Canberra, Geoscience Australia marine ... Continue Reading »

That time Russia banned genetics

“EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Genetics is officially banned!” yelled a small Russian boy as he stood at the corner of a street trying to make a little more pocket money. Okay, I don’t know if that is exactly how it was announced, but yes, you read it correctly. ... Continue Reading »

The Arctic Vs. Antarctica

RiAus Director Paul Willis is heading down to Antarctica to take photos for you! Submit a photo option in the sidebar (under Samantha's bio) and see the list of submissions already made at The Great Antarctic Photo Quest One of them has penguins and Santa Claus is listed at ... Continue Reading »

From one Doctor to another…

In preparation for our upcoming tour of The Science of Doctor Who we have asked the cast to write about some of their favourite bits of science and pop culture in Doctor Who. Tickets are currently on sale for The Science of Doctor Who! Click here to find ... Continue Reading »

A transhuman future?

When looking to the future, my focus has been on getting the ecological questions right. As a palaeontologist, I view the future as I view the past: over long time spans. And I read the narrative of the past as lessons for the present upon which our future will be ... Continue Reading »

Our Adelaide Fringe Shows

RiAus jumped into the Adelaide Fringe with a big weekend of science-themed acts. Check out the reviews below. Remember, buying tickets helps RiAus and supports science themed entertainment in these festivals so make sure you tell everyone you know about the tickets you have bought! The Free Beer Show - ... Continue Reading »

A debate to defend science

Happy Birthday Chuck! Today, if he were unfeasibly still alive, Charles Darwin would be 205 years old. This has caused some to declare 12 February as Darwin Day; a celebration of his life and his enormous contribution to science. He has left an astounding legacy. Origin of Species and most ... Continue Reading »

The Search for Einstein’s Monster

I don’t know about Australia, but in the United Kingdom our education system is a bit of a dog’s dinner at the moment. We have a man in charge of the Ministry of Education who believes that learning is all about the retention of facts, and that the best way ... Continue Reading »

Science and Eastern religions

Modern science and its disciplines arose in the West, following on from the ancient Greek tradition of natural philosophy. The new scientific method was embraced by many cultures, including those with very different belief systems such as China and India. But prior to Western influence, how good was the science ... Continue Reading »

Mindful of Mindfulness

The science of Mindfulness will be discussed in an upcoming event at RiAus - Mindfulness: Finding Calm In The Chaos on 7 February at 6pm ACDT. If you can't make it in to The Science Exchange then make sure you watch the free livestream. Sign up ... Continue Reading »

Italian Science through the Ages

In the spirit of Carnevale, below we celebrate with a small collection of Italian inventions and the scientists who invented them. Come along on the day to see our event on Volta and Galvani – Spark of Genius Italy has always been a science and ... Continue Reading »

Stumbling on Happiness – Book review

Looking for a book club? This review will be part of the discussion when the RiAus Science Book Club meets at 6pm ACDT on 22 January at The Science Exchange. We'd love to see you there. I’ve lost count of how many times orange-tinged television presenters with limited facial ... Continue Reading »

Science predictions for 2014

In addition to Paul's predictions for 2014, make sure you check out our science predictions for 2014 special episode of A Week In Science Predicting the future is a tricky business. The various supernatural techniques have all been thoroughly debunked. Despite this, every year begins with psychics making predictions ... Continue Reading »

Faking a Tan

Alice had kindly let us re-post her great blog here at RiAus. You can find the original at Alice's blog with more links and all the references at - Kleinstien Summer has arrived, and the usual orange-streaked ankles and doughnut-smelling limbs are already out in full force. To celebrate ... Continue Reading »

The Working Worm

Maybe you fish with them, maybe there are a few chilling out in your backyard. Ever wonder what prospects an adventurous young worm might consider, though? Whilst the term “vermiculture” speaks more to most of pasta than biotechnology, it turns out that the humble worm is the industrious worker behind ... Continue Reading »

The variable stars in our sky

In mid-September last year, a quiet, unassuming New Zealand amateur astronomer by the name of Albert Jones died. He started making observations of stars whose brightness varies over time in the 1940s and by 1963 Albert had logged around 100,000 observations. Like botany and palaeontology, astronomy is a scientific discipline ... Continue Reading »

Remembering to exercise

Exercise has long been associated with health benefits over and above those related to physical fitness, such as improved mood, cognition and memory. Having recently taken up running after a long bout of laziness, and given my interest in neuroscience, I thought I’d share with you some new ... Continue Reading »

Making policy with science

Earlier this year I wrote about science and politics, framing my comments in terms of the then up-coming election and looking for both a fair deal for science and a respect for scientific information in the formulation of policy. There have been other provocative articles written about the role ... Continue Reading »

The Practical Problems of Time Travel

The recent 50th anniversary of Doctor Who makes it seem only fitting that we have a chat about time travel. The Doctor manages it with the help of his TARDIS, some amazing, high budget sound effects and a fancy bow-tie, but can it actually be done? 'Is time travel ... Continue Reading »

Learning to sleep

It seems the advice to “sleep on it” is not just a clichéd old saying. New research has identified how our brains use sleep to lock in learning, particularly for important visual tasks - like finding Where’s Wally! Brainwaves Sleep helps the brain consolidate what we learn during the day, but ... Continue Reading »

Why Antarctica?

In March next year RiAus Director Paul Willis will be returning to Antarctica on a 20 day tour aboard Aurora Expeditions small ship, the Polar Pioneer. Want to join him? Click here to find out how you can claim a 20% discount on this amazing tour and support ... Continue Reading »

Dogs Tell Tails

Do you own a dog? Is it wagging its tail at you? If so, you are looking at a powerful symbol of evolution, brain structure and raw emotion. Honest. Tail wagging is a universal code among dogs that indicates happiness or panic, scientists have revealed. Not only does tail wagging in different ... Continue Reading »

Odd betting odds

Fascinators, champagne and an unproductive day at the office. Melbourne cup is certainly an odd day, and the oddest thing of all are the odds. My betting analysis has historically been restricted to a well-considered, 2 minute name analysis. How well does the horse’s name roll off the tongue? Does it ... Continue Reading »

Is this a trick or treat?

At the risk of sounding like a nanna at the ripe old age of 26, what’s with Halloween?! When I was a kid (uh oh, here’s my geriatric alter ego) Halloween virtually didn’t exist. It was a crazy American tradition that made me incredibly envious, and really only meant there ... Continue Reading »

The Importance of Consilience in Science

Science is not a democracy. A consensus of evidence may be interesting, but technically it may not be significant. The thoughts of a majority of scientists doesn’t mean a hill of beans. It’s all about the evidence. The science is never settled. These are refrains that I and other science ... Continue Reading »

A Snip For The Planet

It seems that everywhere I look, I see nasty problems in the very near future, for us as a civilisation and even as a species. Climate Change; the over-exploitation of finite resources; the chemicalisation of our environment producing toxic effects; the loss of forests and other natural environments; the ever ... Continue Reading »

Could vasectomies stabilise population growth?

World Vasectomy Day, on the 18th of October, is being supported by doctors and scientists in a bid to lower the impact that increased population has on the environment. Professor David Griggs, from the Monash University Sustainability Institute says that there is a direct relationship between increased ... Continue Reading »

Volunteers needed to save an overpopulated planet

An overwhelming problem starts with small steps, often close to home. Next Friday, 18 October 2013, hundreds of men around the world have volunteered to end their childbearing years simultaneously during the inaugural World Vasectomy Day. These guys probably have many and varied reasons for volunteering for the event. ... Continue Reading »

Measuring Martians

It's World Space Week! Why not head over to the World Space Week page to see all the activities on offer near you. There is a global calendar of events so you're sure to find one nearby.People have long been both fascinated and frightened by the idea of ... Continue Reading »

Standing on the Moon

It's World Space Week! Why not head over to the World Space Week page to see all the activities on offer near you. There is a global calendar of events so you're sure to find one nearby. Almost every human that has ever existed on our little planet has ... Continue Reading »

The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain

RiAus, in association with the Australian Museum, will be hosting a great event on digital technology on 8 October in Sydney. Join Baroness Prof Susan Greenfield, Oxford University, along with Dr Neil Levy, Head of Neuroethics at the Florey Neuroscience Institute, to ... Continue Reading »

The Thinking Species

This week I present to you the Occasional Address that I gave to a Graduation Ceremony at Flinders University last week. While writing this speech I started thinking that education and graduations are all part of the unique attribute of humanity – our ability to think. And so my thoughts ... Continue Reading »

Research to make you smile

How are you today? I hope you’re feeling happy because, according to the latest research, we’re slightly happier and more generous than we were five years ago, and we have the numbers to back it up. Earlier this month the United Nations (UN) released its World Happiness Report for ... Continue Reading »

What does the NBN look like?

The rollout of the NBN will represent a huge improvement in Australia’s online capacity whether or not it goes to the home or only to the node. A lot has been said about the network but what about the actual cable that is going to be bringing your downloads? We ... Continue Reading »

Don’t Believe Ian Frazer

As I’ve said several times before, belief is not part of science. Recently there has been some startling evidence of problems that can arise out of treating science as a belief system and choosing to accept or reject science based on personal beliefs. By now many of you will have heard ... Continue Reading »

What is Hydrography?

There is no branch of the public service where surveyors are ‘more anxious to do their duty, not only to the letter, but to the utmost of the spirit, and to such as these, no day seems long enough. To them, the interest is constantly kept up. Every day has ... Continue Reading »

Bacteria, Viruses and Cancer

On 18 September RiAus will proudly welcome Professor Ian Frazer to The Science Exchange as 2013's Science Inspiration. Prof Frazer is well known as one of the creators of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, marketed as Gardasil, that prevents HPV infections and in ... Continue Reading »

Great Scot! – Celebrating Scottish Science

With Glasgow-born Australian Professor Ian Frazer set for the RiAus annual Science Inspiration event this year, we thought it apt to take a closer look at what other pioneering science Scotland has produced over the years. From physicist James Clerk Maxwell to physician Alexander Fleming, Scotland has seen ... Continue Reading »

The Spiritual Scientist

Early this year my 7 year old son Chester began his current obsession with the computer game Minecraft. It seems he got this bug from school and we soon had copies downloaded onto iPhones and iPads so he could play along, despite some reservations about getting involved with computer games. ... Continue Reading »

Sci-ku 2013 Winners

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Sci-ku competition! Below you will find the winning Sci-kus read by the poets who wrote them. FIRST PRIZE WINNERS Clothesline (OPEN CATEGORY) by Kristin Hannaford, QLD On the gentle curve of catenary lines - clothes billowing. Asymptote (SECONDARY CATEGORY) by Matthew (17yrs), ... Continue Reading »

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