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What is fire?

Are you ready for the upcoming Australian bushfire season? RiAus, in association with the Country Fire Service, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, have put together a great event to test how you will respond if a bushfire threatened you. Take part ... Continue Reading »

Does alpine grazing reduce blazing?

Are you ready for the upcoming Australian bushfire season? RiAus, in association with the Country Fire Service, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, have put together a great event to test how you will respond if a bushfire threatened you. Take part ... Continue Reading »

Transdisciplinary science is research synergy

When the Fellowship began their perilous journey toward Mordor, they took a transdisciplinary approach. They involved individuals of different expertise, worked toward a common goal and their work had a social purpose, saving all that was good from the evil of Sauron. As in 'Lord of the Rings', transdisciplinary science frequently ... Continue Reading »

The Scientific Pick-and-Mix

Interdisciplinary science is the combination of two or more academic fields (kind of like a scientific pick-and-mix) and it has been steadily growing in popularity, although it has been prevalent throughout much of scientific history. However, it makes you wonder, which academic disciplines can be combined, which are often merged ... Continue Reading »

Geodesy – The Math of Planet Earth

This blog is the first in the series ‘Contours, Coordinates and Cartography’ – A blog series about measuring the shape of the earth and how the results are used to create maps. Upcoming blogs will build on the concepts of Geodesy to discuss Projection and Coordinate systems, GPS and Cartography. We ... Continue Reading »

A Sonnet to Science

Some would argue that science and poetry are two conflicting practices. Science is method, peer review, experimental protocol, words that do not normally come to mind when reading a poem. But science can be a fertile ground for poetry. Both science education and poetry use similar techniques to educate or inspire ... Continue Reading »

Top 10 Best-selling science books of 2013

Books like those listed below often open up new avenues into the sciences, allowing readers a glimpse of a different world or even changing the perspective of one (personally I no longer look at mathematics as the stodgy, boring subject I once thought it was). But where to begin? The editors ... Continue Reading »

Who’s The Hobbit?

Sometimes we forget that scientists are only human. Given their head, most scientists would assume almost superhuman qualities of rationality, impartiality and objectivity. But these qualities are frequently tested when an hypothesis is shown to be wrong. Most scientists are not prepared to give it up their cherished ideas even ... Continue Reading »

Quirk by Hannah Holmes – Book Review

What is it that makes us tick? Why are some of us more inclined to cooperate than others? How does our personality influence our voting preferences? Could there be a beneficial side to anxiety? In Quirk, Hannah Holmes does an excellent job of exploring the science behind human personality and the evolution of each ... Continue Reading »

Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon – Book Review

I invite you then, to travel in imagination through the aeons that lie between your age and mine. I ask you to watch history of change, grief, hope, and unforeseen catastrophe, as has nowhere else occurred, within the girdle of the Milky Way. (Stapledon, xviii) Last and First Men is not ... Continue Reading »

Simple Science Is Not Risk Free

People often tell me that they find science difficult or complicated and that this complexity scares them away from engaging with science. I, in turn, have difficulties understanding this view because, to me, science is about simplicity and clarity, it even has in-built mechanisms to keep things simple. Anyone who ... Continue Reading »

Biological Membranes – Surface, Undulation and Interface

As part of the 2014 SALA Festival of South Australian Living Artists, the RiAus FutureSpace Gallery is proud to present Under the Surface. Using different artistic forms and media, Malcolm Koch joins Christopher and Therese Williams in an exploration of what lies beneath the surface of the world ... Continue Reading »

Christopher Williams on Under the Surface: Salt Dance

I’ve been working as a sound artist since the mid-nineties. Salt Dance originated when I was invited to Lake Tyrell by Paul Carter and John Wolseley, along with other artists including photographer Harry Nankin and dancers Michaela Pegum and Sióbhan Murphy, to investigate how artists may be able to ... Continue Reading »

Malcolm Koch on Under the Surface

Recently, my painting MA#41 was highly commended in this year's prestigious Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, an international competition that invites artists to investigate the environment around us and present their own perspective on natural science. It’s an achievement just to be recognised. Likewise, I'm also thrilled to be invited ... Continue Reading »

Stranded

I’ve written before about how science and business talk different languages and also about how business can take the lead on topical issues in science such as Climate Change. Despite all the thunder science can muster, not as much gets done as when insurance companies such ... Continue Reading »

A Voyage to Terra Australis

It’s July 18 1814, summer in England, and Matthew Flinders has 24 hrs left to live. His untimely death from an illness he picked up in Mauritius years earlier only just allowed him to see in the day that the world would finally get to view his most important work ... Continue Reading »

Salyut-ing Soviet Science

43 years ago, the Soviet Union launched humanity’s first space station. Salyut 1, meaning ‘salute’ or ‘fireworks’, orbited the Earth nearly 3,000 times in 175 days, but following some disastrous events, it was eventually directed back into a lower orbit and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Despite the problems that it ... Continue Reading »

Studying Science Overseas

As a first year undergraduate student I remember listening to my lecturers introduce themselves. As they described their careers, almost all of them included postdoctoral work overseas. I had worked overseas before coming to university, as a remedial massage therapist on cruise ships, and I love to travel for holidays, ... Continue Reading »

What causes breast cancer? Ancient theories to modern facts

Breasts have been long cherished across cultures for their nourishment of babies, their sensual appeal and their feminine symbolism. The destruction that cancer wreaks on breasts therefore attacks the very notion of womanhood. For most of history, ‘cancer’ often simply referred to breast cancer; even in the ancient world, tumours ... Continue Reading »

Order In Nature

When you see the apparent chaos of a forest or a woodland, it can be difficult to think of there being any order in nature. The tangle and interplay of so many different life-forms appears to be a game with few rules or ethics. But in the approximate regularity of ... Continue Reading »

Clear as crystal – the story of X-ray crystallography

Here is a brief history of the work of two of Australia’s most famous scientists, Sir William Bragg and his son Sir Lawrence Bragg. Jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1915 for their ground breaking research into the use of x-rays to study the chemical structure and function of molecules, ... Continue Reading »

Today is hug a climate scientist day

The science is so staggeringly clear on climate change it should not need repeating, 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. Yet despite the overwhelmingly confident position of the scientific community there are still those that ... Continue Reading »

Discoveries in the world of stem cells

Stem cells offer some of the most exciting – and the most controversial – potential medical treatments around today. Research is proceeding at a cracking pace and notching up revolutionary finds all over the shop, with scientists learning how to grow them faster and use them in a wider variety ... Continue Reading »

A different perspective

I am now the proud owner of seven chickens. It’s been a long time coming, I’ve always wanted to have some chooks, but the opportunity only presented itself late last year when I moved to my new home in the Adelaide Hills. I didn’t expect them to be such wonderful entertainment. ... Continue Reading »

Stem Cells 101

Stem cells. The words sound so futuristic, bringing to mind science fiction movies involving clones, but stem cells are a commonly-used research tool and have been for quite some time! In fact, there are some incredibly exciting things happening with stem cells right now, even as you read this blog, ... Continue Reading »

Who’s afraid of GMOs?

Don’t you hate it when another of your favourite foods or other indulgences turns out to be bad for you? I was doubly taken aback when this article came across my desk recently suggesting that I should stop drinking some of my favourite beers. Not that I hold ... Continue Reading »

Concussion Management in Sport

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is particularly common on the sporting field. Concussion is due to the jarring or shaking force on the brain that results when the head or neck collides with a blunt object or surface. Head injury in high-profile professional sport receives ... Continue Reading »

The Anatomy of a Concussion

In 2010, Melbourne Football Club player Daniel Bell retired at age 25, and the following year sought compensation from the club on medical grounds. He was suffering from ongoing concentration and memory problems, which his doctor attributed to repeated concussions sustained throughout his football career. Public interest in this and ... Continue Reading »

Practice Makes Perfect: Until Overuse Injuries Strike

When an athlete or dancer is practicing a move, they are placing their bodies through a series of repetitions that will allow them to build the necessary skills, strength and stamina required for the result in mind. However, as individuals with different conditions and natural abilities, we all need to ... Continue Reading »

Living with The Doctor

We have asked the cast of The Science of Doctor Who to write about some of their favourite bits of science and pop culture in the iconic series to help prepare audiences for the amazing live show. Tickets are still on sale in all remaining cities for The Science of ... Continue Reading »

The Safety of Contact Sports around the World

Contact sports are loosely defined as sports in which players inevitably come in contact with each other, or equipment, on the field. There are a wide variety of sports that fall under this banner, and they are played from an early age right through to a professional level. The types ... Continue Reading »

My Brief History – Book Review

I enjoy reading autobiographies, this one absolutely included. Naturally, one of the facets of an autobiography that people find alluring is the nosy peek into someone's life. Whilst Hawking does talk about his private life in the sense that he explains it factually, I wouldn't say that he throws juicy ... Continue Reading »

Stephen Hawking: Black Holes And Revelations

One of the most decorated scientists of our time, Stephen Hawking has been integral in developing deeper human understanding of physics and the Universe through both his scientific research as well as (in collaboration with Leonard Mlodinow) his more widely accessible book publications such as “A Brief History of Time” ... Continue Reading »

Travelling Through Time

We are approaching the halfway point of our national tour of The Science of Doctor Who. With three more cities to visit and tickets selling fast we suggest you head to The Science of Doctor Who page. Unless, of course, you can travel backwards in time. For ... Continue Reading »

Looking to the future

I've aired my suspicions of futurists before. Most of them seem to be bedazzled by the possibilities of the gadgets and widgets of tomorrow. But I seriously wonder if there will be a future where the tech-heads can indulge their future fantasies. A few articles and reports have ... Continue Reading »

Freely Radical

Our current art exhibition, Insight Radical, will only be here till the end of the month. Now is the time to see this amazing artistic exploration of the chemistry of free radicals. What is a free radical? Wikipedia defines a free radical as an atom, molecule or ion that ... Continue Reading »

Who are the Braggs?

If you are lucky enough to be in Adelaide over the next few days you will be able to see some great events on Adelaide's place in the history of science. On 6 May you can join a walking tour that looks into the life and times of the ... Continue Reading »

Five of Adelaide’s Greatest Scientists

The timeline for these five talented and creative individuals’ achievements encompasses the 20th century and bears witness to Australia maturing beyond its colonial ties and developing a national identity in all fields of human endeavour including science. These scientists, who all called Adelaide home at some time in their lives, ... Continue Reading »

Bragging about the Braggs

Like most people I know, the first time I heard the name “Braggs” was in relation to the shiny new building at Adelaide Uni. Being a Flinders student at the time, I didn’t take much notice, until I showed up on Adelaide Uni’s Open Day and took a tour of ... Continue Reading »

Waterborne Diseases

What are they? Waterborne diseases are infections, caused by bacteria, protozoa, viruses or parasites, which are transmitted by consumption of water containing these disease-causing organisms. This is different to those diseases carried by, for example, insects, which might live in water at some stage during their life cycle. The need to maintain ... Continue Reading »

From my toilet to the gold mine

Flush the toilet in Bathurst and your effluent may soon be recycled for use at a new gold mine near Orange. While the mine would be a boon for central New South Wales by providing new employment and flow-on benefits to local businesses, securing a water supply for the thirsty mine ... Continue Reading »

Aliens on my planet

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 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

The star of Yann Martel’s novel ‘The Life of Pi’ knew all too well the importance of water purification. As he bobbed along the ocean with only a fully-grown tiger for company in his stranded lifeboat, Piscine Molitor Patel, or Pi, was ironically dehydrated. He was floating on the substance ... Continue Reading »

Wacky Water Facts

Water is all around us – it makes up two-thirds of the human body and covers around 70% of the earth’s surface. Considering its ubiquity, simple structure, and necessity to life, you’d think that we would know everything there is to know about water. Instead, we are still unravelling the ... 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 »

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