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Being Human

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 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 »

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 »

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 »

When The Media Get It Wrong

I was on the verge of spluttering my muesli across the living room all because of a report spewing from the ABC Breakfast program. “New research challenges Darwinian Evolution” is probably not a phrase that would invoke reflux in most people but to an evolutionary biologist and professional science communicator, ... Continue Reading »

Willie Wonders Why

‘The Braggs’ are a big deal in South Australia. There are busts on the main street, a very fancy, new building named after them at the University of Adelaide and even a beautiful children's book about their accomplishments. Even RiAus gets caught up in ... Continue Reading »

What is Chronic Pain?

The inability to feel pain is not a superpower. Bee stings, bruises, burns and bumps usually cause sudden pain and that’s a good thing. Short term, or acute pain, is a warning message that tells us to modify our behaviour and protect ourselves from further injury. So if ... Continue Reading »

What Causes Pain?

“Can you tell me how bad your pain is? On a scale of 0 - 10, where 10 is the worst pain you’ve ever felt, and 0 is no pain at all?” Have you ever had to answer this question? What is the worst pain you’ve experienced? Some people ... Continue Reading »

Exploring the History and Culture of Indigenous Australians

In modern Australia - different is good. For the most part, we celebrate our differences (cultures/beliefs/lifestyles) and encourage individuality. Recently, researchers from the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University have used DNA obtained from a 100-year old Aboriginal male’s lock of hair to show that Aboriginal Australians ... Continue Reading »

I’m Waking On Sunshine

Your consciousness has been altered, replaced with a series of cryptic, sometimes harrowing hallucinations, all five of your senses are been hindered and the action of moving once-voluntary muscles has become utterly impossible… It sounds like a scene out of a dystopian sci-fi movie but in fact, humans on average spend ... Continue Reading »

What’s New Pussy Cat?

There’s a good chance that right now some of the readers of this blog are procrastinating from other tasks. I’m not one to judge, this is the fourth fifth time I’ve tried to write this article but keep putting it off. But good on you for choosing to read ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 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 »

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 »
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