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Cyanobacteria – The Photosynthesis Pioneer

Express your creativity! Celebrate the International Year of Light by entering our Sci-ku competition! From a bird’s eye view, algal blooms look both alien and beautiful. Luminescent tendrils of green that fringe the coastline, swirled against the deep blue of the ocean. Algal blooms are commonly caused by Cyanobacteria ... Continue Reading »


One of my parent’s favourite stories is about when I was a child and they took me to the reptile park. We followed the nice reptile man around and watched him feed all of the snakes. And then we got to the Death Adder. I was two, twenty years on ... Continue Reading »

What is COP21?

Today marks 150 days until COP21, and the start of RiAus’ journey with Tim Jarvis; 25zero. Needless to say, we’re all REALLY excited about the next few months as we go on a virtual journey with Tim across the equator. But it does raise the question, what is ... Continue Reading »

What is Dark Matter?

Before I started researching this blog I thought I would hazard a guess as to what dark matter is. In fact I’m sure I know already, based on my excessive consumption of Sci-Fi books I probably have enough knowledge to get a PhD in spacey-sciency stuff (OK so maybe I’m ... Continue Reading »


Volcanoes are such astonishing works of nature, in a moment they can completely recreate the world around us. Volcanic eruptions destroy the land around them and can relocate thousands of people in a day. And they are erupting all of the time; just here in Australia ... Continue Reading »

Blowing Away Reason

If you like this, then you should tune into ABC radio every second Thursday to hear Paul discuss science (and whatever else he's interested in). Last week I got very angry simply because of what I was hearing on the telly. In an interview crossbench Senator ... Continue Reading »

Humans and Hypergravity

This February, Italian scientists published data indicating that nerve cells can be grown faster and longer when experiencing hypergravity. Hypergravity is an increase in g-force, which you experience on theme park rides when you’re held to the sides of a spinning cylinder. Microgravity is a decrease in g-force, ... Continue Reading »

Cars on Mars

Mars has been in the media a lot lately, whether it’s because there are plans to fly people there in the next 20 years, or because of the chance that it may be hospitable to humans, The Red Planet has gained a lot of attention. And so it ... Continue Reading »

Sex in Space

If you like this, then you should tune into Weird Science on FiveAA on June 25th 2015 at 2:30pm and every second Thursday after that to hear Ben discuss weird science! Last week the international porn site PornHub announced a crowdfunding campaign to film the first zero-gravity space porno. ... Continue Reading »


Like dinosaurs? Come to our event Dinosaurs on the Big Screen! You can watch Jurassic World and our exclusive premiere of RiAus documentary, Dinosaurs on the Big Screen. Dinosauria lived on earth for approximately 135 million years, until the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago. Our understanding ... Continue Reading »

World Blood Donor Day

It’s World Blood Donor Day on the 14th of June, and this year the World Health Foundation are celebrating donors for their role in life-saving procedures. One in thirty Australians donate blood every year, and their donations help a huge range of people. What exactly do I donate? When you ... Continue Reading »

Why You Should Really Turn Down the Volume

When I first started going to see local bands play as a teenager, I always brought earplugs with me. Of course, my friends found this highly amusing, but I honestly didn't care; I wanted to avoid permanent hearing damage. And when they inevitably complained about the ringing in their ears ... Continue Reading »

The Genetics of Jurassic World

Like hearing Paul Willis talk about dinosaurs? Come to our event Dinosaurs on the Big Screen! You can watch Jurassic World and our exclusive premiere of RiAus documentary, Dinosaurs on the Big Screen. And so the next instalment in the Jurassic Park saga is almost upon us. As with ... Continue Reading »

The Secret Worlds of Forensic Science

If you like this, then you should check out our Forensics STEM Pack! Over the last few years, forensic science has risen in the public consciousness. There is a seemingly endless supply of television shows that explore the discipline. Forensic scientists have a love/hate relationship with these shows. On ... Continue Reading »

What is Forensic Science?

If you like this, then you should check out our Forensics STEM Pack! The slick production values, catchy opening themes and intriguing cases of TV programs, such as the CSI franchise, have popularised the work of forensic scientists. As these shows are made to entertain and often ... Continue Reading »

Through the Looking Glass: Notable forensic scientists throughout the ages

If you like this, then you should check out our Forensics STEM Pack! Forensic science spans a mammoth range of specialties, applying scientific knowledge to legal problems and criminal investigations. It encompasses a lot of different scientific flavours, including biology, chemistry, medicine, toxicology, and anthropology (the study of humans, ... Continue Reading »

The Career of the Future

Want to learn more about Careers of the Future? Download our Ultimate Science Guide today! Job Description: Senior Interplanetary Archaeologist, Space Heritage Unit, United Nations Committee for Space Environment Management (UNCSEM) Date: 2050 Reports to: Director-General, UNCSEM and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Space Heritage Committee Responsible for: Four field ... Continue Reading »

The Six Stages of Life

Love animals? Check out BBC's Life Story at Vivid in Sydney! Every animal, from the smallest insect to humans travels through life on a journey from birth to death. We all go through it, but there are six major stages that are familiar across all groups on land and ... Continue Reading »

A Force For Evil, A Force For Good

Are we entering an age of a more mature internet? Has the online environment grown out of pointless blathering and the spreading of misinformation and gossip towards effective governance and evidence-based thinking? I’ll argue that yes, there are encouraging signs that we may have turned some kind of corner and ... Continue Reading »

Biological Diversity

May the 22nd is the International Day of Biological Diversity. Biological diversity (sometimes abbreviated to biodiversity) refers to all the amazing life forms on earth – the colourful parrots, the intelligent rats, the tallest trees and the toxicity of some fungi. Biological diversity measures range from genes to landscapes, but most ... Continue Reading »

Cerumen: The Unsung Hero of our Ears

Cerumen, more commonly called earwax, is secreted by glands in our ears and protects the vital organs inside from dust, debris and damaging pathogens. Although there have been some conflicting results, most recent data shows that earwax is able to kill several of the most common infection causing bacteria and ... Continue Reading »

Should Films be Scientifically Accurate?

Like films with a scientific theme? Come to our event Dinosaurs on the Big Screen! You can watch Jurassic World and our exclusive premiere of RiAus documentary, Dinosaurs on the Big Screen. The ability to suspend disbelief is essential to the enjoyment of storytelling. Humans innately understand this. Differentiating ... Continue Reading »

The Evolution of Family

When we think of human families, we think of a group of people that look alike and care for each other. These similarities in appearance are a result of shared genetic material, but the caring is something that has also been shaped by evolution. Like all other species on Earth, natural ... Continue Reading »

Conspiracies, Cognition and Control

If you are ever in need of an evening’s worth of fascinating reading, type the name of any major event from the last few years into Google alongside the word “conspiracy”. A supposedly alternative explanation - in the form of a conspiracy theory - exists for everything, from the ... Continue Reading »

An Unusual Presentation

The Patron of RiAus (and the reason we have ‘Royal’ in our title) is His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Recently he visited Australia as the Queen’s Representative for the centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings and, while here, he visited us in Adelaide at The Science Exchange. As ... Continue Reading »

Dr. Andrew S. W. Thomas AO

Dr. Andrew S. W. Thomas AO is a Bragg member of RiAus and as part of a joint project with DSD is talking to South Australian students on Tuesday 5 May 2015. Growing up, a lot of kids want to become an astronaut. Who wouldn’t? You get to travel ... Continue Reading »

What Are Stars?

If you like this, then you should come visit the The Winning Sky Photographs: The David Malin Awards 2014 in the Future Space Gallery! Star-gazing is a bit of a hobby of mine. I don’t take it very seriously, and I can’t name many constellations beyond the ‘Southern Cross’ ... Continue Reading »


I dread spring time. When my friends are all enjoying picnics in the park or walking through the bush, I'm stuck indoors snivelling into a tissue with itchy red eyes feeling very sorry for myself. I am one of the 3 million Australians who have allergic rhinitis, or ... Continue Reading »

Melbourne Immunology Day Lectures 2014

Visions for a disease-free world: Vaccinations against infectious diseases, was the theme for the 2014 free public lecture held at the Melbourne Brain Centre. This was just one in a series of Day of Immunology Melbourne events, which also included research laboratory discovery tours and educational workshops. Overall, more than ... Continue Reading »

A Jab in the History Books

World Immunization Week is coming up – that means it’s time to celebrate our remarkable microscopic workhorses of preventative medicine! This initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is run in the last week of April (24-30th), and ‘aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people ... Continue Reading »

Artificial Intelligence

The term Artificial intelligence (AI) was first coined by the computer scientist John McCarthy in 1955, who defined it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs”. Intelligence is made up of a number of components that allow for behavioural ... Continue Reading »

The Social Acceptance of PTSD

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls' tongues wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, — but what slow panic, Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets? Ever from their hair and through their hand palms Misery ... Continue Reading »

What is RiAus Up To?

This is a slightly redacted speech recently presented at a dinner for the Patron of RiAus, HRH the Duke of Kent. Here I explore what RiAus is up to and why it is important. We live in a marvellous time! A moment in history filled with potential. We are healthier, wealthier ... Continue Reading »

Hallo Space Boy, You’re Sleepy Now

This week’s A Week in Science episode certainly had me thinking, plus it started a few very random discussions in the office! Well, any discussion about the impending doom of the Earth fascinates and entertains the RiAus staff, actually anything scientific and slightly off-kilter is classed as entertainment ... Continue Reading »

How Your Breasts Change During Your Periods

Women see big changes to their breasts during pregnancy and lactation, but did you know changes also occur during their periods? Normally these changes are subtle but noticeable increases in breast tenderness or swelling during different parts of the cycle. Just as the uterus grows a tissue lining, which it ... Continue Reading »

Algal Biofuel

If you’re outside enjoying a lunch under clear skies, each square metre surrounding you is receiving about 1,000 watts of energy from the Sun. As we well know, plants and algae convert this light energy into chemical energy via the process of photosynthesis. What may seem ... Continue Reading »

The Science Of ‘Smart’ Cars

Smart cars are, generally, traditional style cars that incorporate new technology to enhance the experience for the driver, make the car safer and to improve the energy efficiency of the car. With a large emphasis being placed on energy efficiency and sustainability, many different types of fuel sources are being ... Continue Reading »
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