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Being Human

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 »

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 »


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 »

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 »

A Virtual World of Future Discovery

Want to learn more about Careers of the Future? Download our Ultimate Science Guide today! Anthropology isn’t the study of ants (believe me, I’m asked about ants often). It is the study of people or culture. There is a much larger, more complex and heavily debated definition, but that ... Continue Reading »

Chuckles, Chortles and Giggles

Chuckles, chortles, giggles - we are all familiar with the experience of laughter. It is an involuntary physical response to happiness and humour, with the ability to cross cultural and language barriers. Laughter is one of the first ways that we learn to interact with the world, with babies developing ... Continue Reading »

Be Careful What You Eat

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). What is it with fad diets and quack remedies? While both have been around for as long as people want a quick fix for ... Continue Reading »

World Down Syndrome Day

The blueprint for a human, the DNA is packaged in a specialised way. These packages are called chromosomes. Human beings have 46 chromosomes in every single cell, containing all of the information needed for cell growth and function. Down syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome number ... Continue Reading »

Brittany Wenger: A Young Scientist

Entries to the Google Science Fair are now open! It was in 1915, that a 25-year-old Australian-born physicist named William Bragg Jnr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the field of x-ray crystallography. At the time, he was the youngest scientist ever to receive the honour. Flash ... Continue Reading »

Bad News, I’m Afraid

I've never met a stage that I would not gladly strut. Performing is my thing, when that performance is based around discussing the ideas of science. But there is something disheartening walking on stage knowing that all you have to deliver is bad news. And so it was at Womad last ... Continue Reading »

My Favourite Women of Science

Tell me who your favourite women of science are in the comments below and look out for the follow up blog on YOUR favourite women of science! In honour of International Women’s Day today (March the 8th), I wanted to look at the top ten women whom have inspired me to ... Continue Reading »

Losing Weight

Today I officially became unobese. For most of my adult life I’ve been fighting the onset of extra flab, a battle I’ve consistently come second in. A few years ago my Body Mass Index slipped over the uninspiring figure of 30; I had moved from ‘overweight’ to ‘obese’. Now I’ve ... Continue Reading »

Australia’s First Kidney Transplant

Saturday 21 February 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the first successful kidney transplant in Australia – a breakthrough made in the University of Adelaide’s Department of Surgery at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 21 February 1965 (B. Tait, 2012, p.63). This Australian first ... Continue Reading »

Elite Athletes: Mind Over Matter

“Shut up legs and do what I tell you!” – Jens Voigt With all of the media coverage of the Tour Down Under this year, I thought it would be a great time to ask; what makes an elite athlete? Is it pure natural and physical ability, or ... Continue Reading »

This Can’t End Well

Tickets $24 Adult, $18 Conc/RiAus Member, $15 Group 6+ Rated M Every part of who Jonathan used to be is dying. Rosalind is trying to juggle being a mother, a wife and Cambridge Professor in the middle of a war. Hugh dreams to be something more, but is stuck in his day ... Continue Reading »

Revisiting the future – 2014

At the beginning of this year I pulled together a list of predictions from psychics that were supposed to foretell momentous events in science during 2014. These predictions were collected from this article with the promise of a review at the end of the year – ... Continue Reading »

Why we need bees

The best thing about my job is honey. It always smells like honey, I get stung, sure, but the honey definitely makes up for it. Also, bees of all kinds are adorable. The honey bee is arguably the most famous of bees, likely because of the honey, but also because ... Continue Reading »

The Psychology Of Firefighting

Firefighters are amazing. As the rest of us turn to run from a blazing building, they’re the ones running towards it, putting themselves in danger in order to save people, animals and property from damage. It is therefore not surprising that firefighters have been the subject of several lines of ... Continue Reading »

Fallible Science

A core value of science is objectivity: being able to exclude human emotion, bias and influence as an observer to reveal the true nature of the phenomenon under investigation. But I’ve long felt that we’re kidding ourselves if we think that science and scientists are really able to approach anything ... Continue Reading »

Living with Motor Neuron Disease

The ‘ice bucket challenge’ has gone viral over the past few months and is now the most watched thing on YouTube, ever. Its popularity has been credited to a simple premise and celebrity involvement helping it to raise millions of dollars. Search Motor Neuron Disease (for Australia) or Amyotrophic Lateral ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

2014 Science Inspiration: Professor Tanya Monro

On Wednesday 17 September 2014 Professor Tanya Monro delivered the 2014 Science Inspiration Tanya Monro is a ‘bright spark’ in Australian science, driving exciting research into photonics - the science of light. As a young teenager, Tanya thought her future would be in music, before being turned onto physics by a ... 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 »

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 »

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 »
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