The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide SA 5000 [View map]


The science behind climate change

Climate change is said to be the biggest issue facing the world at the moment - but what is climate change, what is causing it, and what can we do about it? Well, with COP21 kicking off in Paris how about we turn up the heat on climate change! To start ... Continue Reading »

Top 3 men’s health tips – Movember

Look out for the men (and anyone and everyone) in your life and share these tips with them. We recently asked the two 2015 Movember Clinician Scientist Award recipients that were awarded up to $450,000 each for prostate cancer research for their top 3 men’s health tips. Dr Kate Mahon: My top 3 ... Continue Reading »

Movember research gets hairy

You may have heard of Movember – an annual initiative to raise awareness for men’s health by growing a moustache. Whilst it means that for a month the little upper lip tickler will have food caught in it and questionable germs, it’s all for a good cause. One of the main ... Continue Reading »

In a bind with vitamin B

Vitamins are essential to our survival, but our bodies don’t make their own. A recent research breakthrough into the immune system showed traces of Vitamin B2 were the clue to unlocking a secret about how our immune system works. Professors Jamie Rossjohn (Monash University) and James McCluskey (The University of Melbourne) ... Continue Reading »

Driverless Futures

It’s not without a dose of déjà vu that last week I sat through two days of the first International Conference on Driverless Cars held in Adelaide. As we all sat breathlessly contemplating a future that cannot be too far away, I was continually taken back to a childhood steeped ... Continue Reading »

The Innovation Celebration

I, for one, am often banging on about how little recognition our scientists get, particularly in comparison to sports stars, celebrities and actors. The fact is we have world-class scientists in Australia conducting world-class science and they make a greater contribution to the health and happiness of all Australians than ... Continue Reading »

First Day of Uni

I just submitted my PhD thesis (!) so naturally I have been reflecting on my first year of university, when it was all ahead of me. That first day, or first year, is an experience that I will never have again, truly once in a lifetime. My overall university experience ... Continue Reading »

Making Mars Habitable

I was first introduced to the concept of terraforming – the process of altering a planet’s surface, atmosphere and temperature to make it habitable for humans – in the 2008 video game Spore. In the simulation game, you start off with a single-celled organism and help it evolve into a ... Continue Reading »

Anxiety – The Original Early Warning Signal

Anxiety today is seen as a mental health condition, one that is at the least inconvenient, at the most a debilitating state that can affect many aspects of your life. But this isn’t how it started. Anxiety is an evolutionary advantage, an activation of the bodies fight or flight response to ... Continue Reading »

Behind Every Door is a New Opportunity

How did winning the prize impact your teaching? Being awarded the PM Science Prize for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching has impacted my teaching in a positive way. Having a range of opportunities to meet scientists has allowed my classroom to be extended, providing my students with more real-world experiences, connections ... Continue Reading »

Science is Our Best Hope

The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science Teaching in Secondary Schools represents the highest achievement for a Science teacher in Australia, and recognises the importance of high school teaching in the promotion of science literacy and careers. It has been an honour to receive this award and accept it on behalf ... Continue Reading »

Connecting Maths with Biology

Winning the PM’s Science Prize was a great honour for me, a source of deep satisfaction for me and other people who do my sort of research, and an opportunity for the media to connect mathematics and statistics with biology. Receiving a science prize late in life is a strange thing. ... Continue Reading »

The Future of Ecology

Musings on the future of ecology and the impact of winning a science prize In many fields of science, progress is virtually impossible without cutting edge technology. However, in my part of ecology, it is still possible to make paradigm changing discoveries with a tape measure, a notebook and a pencil ... Continue Reading »

Bringing Science to the Students

Since winning the Prime Ministers’ Science Prize for Excellence in Primary teaching last year, my life has been filled with unbelievable excitement; dealing with mud-slides, riding on the wings of a plane, weathering fierce sand-storms, combatting the warming of the world’s oceans, dodging speeding objects and visiting one of the ... Continue Reading »

Just Give Me the Truth

It irks me when people talk about ‘truth’ in science. Science isn’t about truth and you can’t prove a hypothesis to be true, you can only show that it is wrong (if it is wrong). This is the logic that scientific knowledge is built on. Understanding anything in science is ... Continue Reading »

The Different Diets of the World

Many countries around the world are battling increasing obesity rates and related health issues, both in adults and children. It is interesting to note that these health issues, though present, were far less widespread in the generation of our grandparents. So it only seems appropriate to look back on some ... Continue Reading »

The Beginnings of Palaeontology

Palaeontology – a word that makes me think of dinosaurs and epic scenery. In reality though, palaeontology is based in facts and science that are much more exciting and interesting than anything my imagination can come up with. What is Palaeontology? Palaeontology is actually the study of life on Earth through time ... Continue Reading »

How Robot Hands Explore Touch

You’d never find me on a flight to Mars. I love my sci-fi and my scientific research, but I am WAY too practical to risk my entire life for a glimpse of the intrigue and majesty of space. Offer me a beautifully crafted robotic arm, however, and I may ... Continue Reading »

The Zombies of Nature

Zombie outbreaks are obviously a particular concern for everyone and should be part of everyone’s apocalypse preparations. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has mapped a Zombie outbreak and how it would spread through the United States, with it now forming an ongoing campaign. But ... Continue Reading »

Charlotte’s Global Web – The Ethics of Worldwide Animal-Based Scientific Research

Scientific research sometimes requires the use of animals. It's a fact. It's also a fact that animals can't always be replaced by alternative methods. All too often, activist groups such as PETA are blatantly over-hyping the subject of animal research, selecting shocking, and sometimes brazenly inaccurate, images. To tug at our ... Continue Reading »

Atmosphere of Hope

“The Lancet Commission’s diagnosis is that our planet is very sick indeed, with a steeply rising temperature. The physics and facts of human driven climate change are now indisputable.” …however, amongst the fears of impending doom, there is an Atmosphere of Hope. This was the theme ... Continue Reading »

Why Do We Have Belly Buttons?

Watching little kids discover their belly buttons is one of the cutest things. Their fascination is understandable; it is a part of our body that actually serves no real purpose. So why do we even have a belly button? The belly button (clinically known as the navel or umbilicus) is actually ... Continue Reading »

What is Lint?

You’re not alone if you find the thought of things hiding in your belly button disturbing. The multi-coloured matter known as navel lint (or commonly ‘belly button fluff’) has disgusted and perplexed us for centuries. So what exactly is navel lint, and where does it come from? How does it get ... Continue Reading »

There’s a Scientist in the Kitchen

“…while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus, we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés” – Nicholas Kurti, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, 1969. Can cooking be a science? According to Molecular Gastronomy, it can. While some may immediately associate this with the ... Continue Reading »

Mosquitoes, You and Climate Change

Mosquitoes are undoubtedly some of the most annoying guests at Australian barbecues. They attend only to feed on your blood, not your food. Mosquitoes require the proteins in blood to produce viable, healthy eggs and you may have experienced: mosquitoes prefer some humans over others. However, not all ... Continue Reading »

Living with Bushfires

I choose to live in an area of high bushfire risk. I'm not alone, many of my fellow Australians live in similar areas on the margins of our cities or in country and rural areas. As the weather turns and we approach the bushfire season, I thought I should outline ... Continue Reading »

Riding Light – The Science of Solar Sails

‘Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether’ - Johann Kepler, Astronomer (1571 –1630) The silver sail unfurled and stretched taut as it was filled by the solar wind. Flown by the sun like a kite, LightSail-A glided through the air and began its sightseeing tour from Earth’s orbit. ... Continue Reading »

How do we Taste?

Taste – It can evoke intense emotions in us from utter disgust through to elated pleasure. This is due to our ability to distinguish five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and the more recently discovered flavour known as umami. These tastes are detected by the cells on the tongue ... Continue Reading »

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Humans spend, on average, about a third of their lives sleeping. Logically, this seems like a massive waste of time, and a dangerous one too, since sleeping leaves us vulnerable and unaware of what's going on around us. You'd think we would be much better off if humans ... Continue Reading »

The Role of Tannins in Wine

You may remember the classic prank of betting someone that they cannot swallow a teaspoon of cinnamon. If you were ever unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of this bet you will no doubt recall a feeling like your jaw has seized up entirely, wired shut almost. You ... Continue Reading »

Why Did You Become a Scientist?

I am a (very) early career researcher. So early in fact that I haven’t even gotten my PhD yet. I am coming up to the end of the second year of my PhD in Biological Science and as the work load increases, I start to worry if I can in ... Continue Reading »

Medicine’s Future Runs on Electricity

A message from our partner Imagine taking a medicine without swallowing a pill or having an injection. A treatment that instead works by implanting a miniaturised electronic device, smaller than a grain of rice, into your body. It sounds like science fiction, but research into bioelectronic medicine is happening now. It’s ... Continue Reading »


A few years ago, thanks to RiAus, I had the incredible experience of meeting astronaut Andy Thomas. Last week, I got to see Chris Hadfield in action. I took my Mum with me to see Chris. Her head is still in the stars, as ... Continue Reading »

Sweet Science

There really is nothing quite like sharing a lovely homemade cake with family and friends on birthdays or just as a weekend treat. Many of us first got introduced to cake baking as kids; watching our mothers or grandmothers bake and waiting for that moment when you were allowed to ... Continue Reading »

Drake’s Equation

Our fascination with extraterrestrial life is long-standing. Hollywood has successfully created an entire genre based on this fascination including hits such as Alien, E.T. and Men in Black. The recent discovery of Earth 2.0, also known as Kepler 452b, has once again brought to the forefront our fascination with ... Continue Reading »

The Thinking Years

When I think back on my years as a post graduate student, I realise that I had it all wrong. Prior to that time, all through my high school and undergraduate education, I saw getting a PhD as the pinnacle, the peak of achievement and the end of a fabulous ... Continue Reading »

What’s In a Beard?

A beard is more than a golden ticket into the Secret Men’s Society, granting guys the right to the Knowing Nod when passing their bearded comrades. The manliness projected by a beard, however, is not merely subjective. Charles Darwin suggested, in his book The Descent of Man, that beards, including ... Continue Reading »

Why do Humans Breastfeed?

All mammals breastfeed their young. This process is time-consuming and cumbersome, so why did it evolve? Current theory says that it developed as a way to rapidly develop a complex immune system in infants. As time went on, breastfeeding benefits became more complex- the concentration of nutrients in the mother’s ... Continue Reading »

The Animals of Antarctica

The animals of Antarctica have always held a special fascination for me. For someone who can’t handle the cold and is more likely to hibernate like many northern species of animal, our southern friends fascinate me like no other. It would even be amazing to visit them someday… if I ... Continue Reading »

New Clear Thinking on Risky Business

The future will always be a risky business. Decisions we make today will shape the world we build tomorrow. So how do we manage the risks of the future within our planning today? Risk is perhaps the most difficult concept to communicate because what you make of it depends heavily on ... Continue Reading »

Life on the Seven Seas

Everything is affected by climate change. From the mountains to the bottom of the ocean, our every action can have an impact on the world around us. The 25zero campaign helps to highlight the impact through the loss of our snow-capped mountains along the equator. But it’s not ... Continue Reading »

Shake Your Tail Feather

Animal sex is great. No wait… that came out wrong. Let me start again. There is nothing quite as weird as sex in the animal world. It’s an ever-giving fountain of fascinating material if you like the strange side of science. Here are some of my favourites. Do you have a favourite ... Continue Reading »

World Hepatitis Day 2015

Hepatitis has been a hot topic recently due to the identification and recall of Nanna’s frozen berry products as they were contaminated with the hepatitis A virus. The severity of viral hepatitis or the impact of this disease on our community is however not widely known. So ... Continue Reading »


Register for free RiAus Education resources