2011 News archive

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December 2011
One step closer in the search for the Higgs boson   View Summary
14 December 2011
ATLAS detectorUniversity of Sydney scientists working with an international team using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, have made an important step towards the discovery of the Higgs boson - a theoretical particle that physicists predict will explain why matter has mass.
Winners in the Australian Innovation Challenge   View Summary
8 December 2011
Australian Innovation ChallengeTwo University of Sydney scientists have won Australian Innovation Challenge awards for their research - Professor Marcela Bilek, from the School of Physics, and team have won the Health award and Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, has won the Environment award.
Ageing stars are slow on the outside but fast on the inside   View Summary
8 December 2011
Red giant starWhat will our Sun look like in five billion years? It will have a fast spinning core and slow spinning surface, according to an international team of scientists, including University of Sydney astronomers Professor Tim Bedding and Dr Dennis Stello. The team has discovered that old stars called 'red giants' have slowed down on the outside, while their cores spin at least ten times faster than their outer layers.
November 2011
Two NSW Science and Engineering Award winners in Faculty of Science    View Summary
23 November 2011
NSWProfessor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, and Dr Mat Todd, from the School of Chemistry, have won NSW Science and Engineering Awards, announced at a ceremony at Government House on 23 November 2011.
Leading the way in sustainable manufacturing   View Summary
22 November 2011
Thomas MaschmeyerSustainable ways to produce plastics, foams, paints and other everyday materials could be the outcome of a $10 million, four-year project about to commence at the University of Sydney.
Carl Recsei wins Australia-Israel Scientific Exchange Foundation Postgraduate Fellow award   View Summary
17 November 2011
Carl RecseiCarl Recsei, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry supervised by Dr Chris McErlean, has won the Australia-Israel Scientific Exchange Foundation Postgraduate Fellow award, which will allow him to spend six months at the Technion in Israel in 2012.
Sunken islands could cause tectonic shift in Gondwana story   View Summary
14 November 2011
Sunken islandsIn the remote waters of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, scientists have just discovered two sunken islands, almost the size of Tasmania, which were once part of the supercontinent Gondwana.
Lindsay Soutar wins 2011 Environment Minister's Young Environmentalist of the Year Award   View Summary
10 November 2011
Lindsay SoutarLindsay Soutar, a geography tutor in the School of Geosciences, former Australian Mekong Resource Centre staff member, and previous Geography Honours student, has won the 2011 Environment Minister's Young Environmentalist of the Year Award.
Probing plants, pets and pests: Local school students become scientists at Camden Open Day   View Summary
9 November 2011
Camden Open DayHigh school students from the Macarthur District will probe plants, pets and pests as they take part in a range of science-based activities at the University of Sydney's Camden Open Day on Friday 18 November 2011.
The rules of social interaction: attraction, repulsion and one close neighbour   View Summary
8 November 2011
FishThere are three rules that govern social interactions: attraction, repulsion and the actions of one close neighbour. Or at least that's the case for the social interactions of animals in large groups, allowing them to move in synchronised formations, as found by James Herbert-Read, Dr Tim Schaerf and Associate Professor Ashley Ward, from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney.
Four Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for University of Sydney   View Summary
4 November 2011
Young Tall Poppy Science AwardsFour University of Sydney scientists have won Young Tall Poppy Science Awards from the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, announced at an awards ceremony on 3 November 2011.
October 2011
Dr Karl is the face of YouTube Space Lab competition   View Summary
24 October 2011
Dr KarlDr Karl Kruszelnicki, the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney, is the face of the YouTube Space Lab competition for the Asia Pacific region.
We eat what we are - let's detoxify the word 'chemical'   View Summary
20 October 2011
AppleOne of the best tricks of making a horror movie is not to show too much, allowing the imagination to create the monster. We can't see molecules, which is what makes them scary. We fill this vacuum with fairy stories about what molecules are. We stereotype them as toxic, or dangerous.
Sydney Science Forum: An explosive night of molecular gastronomy   View Summary
20 October 2011
Hervé ThisCome on a culinary adventure of foams, froths and frozen treats when Professor HervĂ© This, one of the two fathers of molecular gastronomy, presents at the Sydney Science Forum: 'An explosive night of molecular gastronomy' on 25 October 2011.
NHMRC funding success for Faculty of Science   View Summary
18 October 2011
NHMRCResearchers in the Faculty of Science have been successful in securing National Health and Medical Research Council funding for more than $4.41 million in NHMRC Project Grants, plus an NHMRC - European Union Collaborative Research Grant worth $887 250, a Research Fellowship worth $794 860 and an Early Career Fellowship worth $313 788 to start in 2012.
Protein key to curbing overeating and preventing obesity   View Summary
18 October 2011
ProteinIncluding enough protein in our diets, rather than simply cutting calories, is the key to curbing appetites and preventing excessive consumption of fats and carbohydrates, a new study led by Dr Alison Gosby, from the School of Biological Sciences, has found.
Associate Professor Min Chen wins Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year   View Summary
12 October 2011
Min ChenAssociate Professor Min Chen, from the School of Biological Sciences, has won the Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, part of the prestigious Prime Minister's Prizes for Science.
Churning galaxy is a snake pit   View Summary
6 October 2011
Snakes - interstellar turbulent gasA pit of writhing snakes - that's what the first picture of turbulent gas in our Milky Way looks like. Professor Bryan Gaensler, from the School of Physics, and his team used a CSIRO radio telescope in eastern Australia to make the groundbreaking image, published in Nature.
September 2011
University of Sydney tops world science rankings    View Summary
30 September 2011
SCImago logoThe University of Sydney has been ranked first in Australia, first in the Oceania region, and 53rd in the world in the SCImago Institutions Rankings World Report 2011, which measures international rankings of scientific output.
Faculty of Science PhD student wins Three Minute Thesis competition   View Summary
21 September 2011
Suzie FerrieSuzie Ferrie, a PhD student in the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the University of Sydney's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, where she had to explain her research in three minutes to a non-science audience.
Sydney Science Forum:The Brain on Drugs - Psychopharmacology, the effects of drugs on behaviour   View Summary
14 September 2011
Sydney Science ForumWhat is Australia's biggest drug problem? How do people become addicted to drugs? Are party drugs like Ecstasy and Miaow-Miaow really dangerous? Join Professor Iain McGregor, from the University of Sydney's School of Psychology, on an intriguing journey as he answers these questions and introduces you to psychopharmacology - the study of how drugs affect behaviour - in his free Sydney Science Forum talk on 14 September.
CAASTRO: A new way of looking at the sky   View Summary
13 September 2011
CAASTRO logoThe sky is no longer the limit, with CAASTRO - the new ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics - launched on 12 September 2011.
Sydney scientists dominate 2011 Eureka Prizes   View Summary
7 September 2011
Eureka prizes logoAll of the University of Sydney finalists at last night's Eureka Prizes took out the top prize in their category, from a physicist leading research into faster and more energy efficient communications technologies, to a team of veterinary scientists exposing questionable ethics in the racing industry.
Major gift funds cutting-edge scientific research   View Summary
2 September 2011
John HookeA generous gift of $5 million from one of Australia's leading businessmen will enable the University of Sydney to make major advances in the exciting new field of nanoscience.
August 2011
Fake personalities   View Summary
23 August 2011
Dr Carolyn MacCannHow can you avoid people who are fakers? We're one step closer with a new book by Dr Carolyn MacCann, from the University of Sydney's School of Psychology, along with Dr Richard D. Roberts from the Educational Testing Service, USA, and Professor Matthias Ziegler from Humboldt University, Germany, called 'New perspectives on faking in personality assessments'.
Technology tethers free radicals   View Summary
17 August 2011
Marcela BilekThe science world is abuzz with news of a new platform technology developed by physicists at the University of Sydney - technology that can be used in areas as diverse as disease detection through to biofuel production.
Eureka Prize finalists in six categories from the Division of Natural Sciences   View Summary
12 August 2011
Eureka PrizesEight scientists from the University of Sydney's Division of Natural Sciences have been named as finalists in the prestigious Eureka Prizes, announced on 12 August 2011.
The real rat race starts on 11 August 2011   View Summary
11 August 2011
BogulSydneysiders sometimes feel swept up in the rat race, but there's a real rat race coming to bushland around Sydney Harbour, when University of Sydney ecologists introduce populations of native bush rats, called Boguls, to bushland locations on 11 August 2011. The new Bogul populations will not only reinstate a native species to these areas, but also potentially reduce the populations of pest black rats as the Boguls compete for territory and resources.
Sydney Science Forum: Synthetic Biology - The next gen of GM   View Summary
5 August 2011
Synthetic BiologyImagine if we could make cells that would help us tackle today's challenges - cells that could clean up oil spills, produce fuel, break down waste and even improve our health. Find out how Synthetic Biology is allowing scientists to reprogramme life from manufactured genomes, at Dr Jim Haseloff's free Sydney Science Forum talk at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 10 August 2011.
Tara Diversi takes us From Trakkies to Bikinis   View Summary
2 August 2011
From Trakkies to BikinisCome hear Tara Diversi, from the Discipline of Nutrition and Metabolism in the School of Molecular Bioscience, talk on the topic of 'From Trakkies to Bikinis' on Tuesday 2 August as part of the Xchange series of talks run at The Ivy.
Sydney Science Forum: Soils to Society - The unseen power beneath our feet   View Summary
1 August 2011
John CrawfordSoil is not just a mysterious underworld, but a critical part of the system that fosters human life. Find out how human health is intrinsically linked to soil health, and how we are in danger if we don't effectively manage soil, at Professor John Crawford's free Sydney Science Forum talk at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 3 August 2011.
July 2011
Science in the City engages thousands of students in the wonder of science    View Summary
1 July 2011
Science in the CityMeeting the monsters beneath our feet, making super conductors float mid-air, learning about great chemical disasters and meeting Dr Karl are just some of the exciting experiences school students attending Science in the City in August 2011 will enjoy.
June 2011
John Moraes wins Tech on Tap   View Summary
20 June 2011
Tech on TapJohn Moraes, a PhD student working with Associate Professor SĂ©bastien Perrier and Professor Thomas Maschmeyer in the School of Chemistry, has won Tech on Tap - a science communication competition giving PhD students and researchers the opportunity to explain their research, and how it will benefit society, in 2.5 minutes.
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller made a Member of the Order of Australia   View Summary
15 June 2011
Jennie Brand-MillerProfessor Jennie Brand-Miller, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has been made a Member of the Order of Australia, announced in the Queen's Birthday Honours on 13 June 2011.
The real rat race   View Summary
8 June 2011
BogulSydneysiders sometimes feel swept up in the rat race, but there's a real rat race coming to bushland around Sydney Harbour, when University of Sydney ecologists introduce populations of native bush rats, called Boguls, to bushland locations in July. The new Bogul populations will not only reinstate a native species to these areas, but also potentially reduce the populations of pest black rats as the Boguls compete for territory and resources.
Professor Bryan Gaensler speaks at TEDxSydney   View Summary
3 June 2011
Bryan GaenslerProfessor Bryan Gaensler, from the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), was invited to present as a guest speaker at TEDxSydney on Saturday 28 May 2011. TEDxSydney is a local version of the US-based TED enterprise which brings together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design.
ARC Linkage Project success for Faculty of Science   View Summary
2 June 2011
ARCThe Faculty of Science has been successful in securing funding from the Australian Research Council for six Linkage Projects worth $2.438 million in total, to start in July 2011. ARC Linkage Projects link researchers in higher education with partner organisations outside of the higher education sector to conduct collaborative research in any discipline.
Dr Ian Johnston talks about The Science of Sex Appeal   View Summary
1 June 2011
XchangeCome hear Dr Ian Johnston, from the School of Psychology, talk on the topic of 'The Science of Sex Appeal' on Tuesday 7 June as part of the Xchange series of talks run at The Ivy.
May 2011
Dr Michael Biercuk wins National Measurement Institute Prize   View Summary
23 May 2011
Michael BiercukResearch into the most sensitive measurement of force yet recorded has earned Dr Michael Biercuk, from the School of Physics, the National Measurement Institute Prize for excellence in measurement techniques by a scientist under 35.
Depression can break your heart, literally   View Summary
17 May 2011
Broken HeartHaving a 'broken' or a 'heavy' heart is a description often used by people who are feeling down or depressed. It turns out they're not that far off the mark.
April 2011
Nanotechnology breakthrough: slowing down light   View Summary
28 April 2011
Photonic chipGroundbreaking research in quantum light source, led by the University of Sydney, will result in information speeds many times faster and data that is almost impossible to hack.
Heavy, fast and furious: stars of the Milky Way   View Summary
20 April 2011
Astro thumbnail imageA Faculty of Science astronomy team has developed a way of finding the truly massive stars in our Milky Way.
Sydney Science Forum - The Blue Future: The robotic exploration of the oceans   View Summary
11 April 2011
Tony HaymetRobots are revolutionising how we explore our oceans. Find out what this new era of ocean exploration means when Professor Tony Haymet, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA, presents his free public talk 'The Blue Future: The robotic exploration of the oceans' as part of the Sydney Science Forum on Wednesday 20 April 2011.
CUDOS launch   View Summary
7 April 2011
CUDOSCUDOS - the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems - was officially launched on 6 April 2011 by Senator Kim Carr, the federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, at an event held in the MacLaurin Hall at the University of Sydney.
The Authority of Science   View Summary
4 April 2011
Authority of ScienceWhen should we listen to scientists? And why should we consider what they say with any more authority than other voices in debates? Find out at a free public event on 8 April 2011 or the whole Authority of Science Conference from 8 to 10 April 2011.
This Wednesday - Belief and Science: the Belief/Knowledge Dilemma   View Summary
4 April 2011
Belief and Science discussionOn Wednesday 6 April, join David Malouf and Barry Jones in this Royal Society of NSW lecture.
March 2011
From little things big crops grow: ants and termites boost wheat yields   View Summary
30 March 2011
Nasute termiteIn an exciting experiment with major implications for food production under climate change, Dr Nathan Lo, from the School of Biological Sciences, with colleagues at CSIRO, have found that allowing ants and termites to flourish increased a wheat crop's yield by more than one third.
Irrational eyes: seeing curves that aren't there   View Summary
30 March 2011
visual illusionWe can't always believe our eyes - we've all experienced visual illusions where our brains create visions of objects that aren't actually there. Why this happens is often explained in terms of our brains filling in the gaps logically: we see what is most likely to be there. However, Professor Bart Anderson, from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney, has discovered new forms of visual illusions which cause the brain to create highly improbable shapes that aren't there.
Three new Fellows of Australian Academy of Science elected from Faculty of Science   View Summary
25 March 2011
Australian Academy of ScienceThree scientists from the Faculty of Science have been honoured by being elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science. Professor Trevor Hambley, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, from the School of Chemistry, and Professor Ross McPhedran, from the School of Physics, were named as new Fellows on 23 March 2011.
World first: database to predict and prevent disease from spreading   View Summary
16 March 2011
Eddie HolmesProfessor Edward Holmes, an internationally renowned infectious diseases expert, has won a five-year, $4 million National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellowship to conduct research jointly at the School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Institute for Emerging and Infectious Diseases.
February 2011
Sydney Science Forum: Tim Jarvis - Life and Death in Antarctica    View Summary
21 February 2011
Tim JarvisCome hear Tim Jarvis, environmental scientist and renowned explorer, recount his recent unassisted expeditions to both polar regions and share his intriguing environmental findings, when he presents his Sydney Science Forum public talk 'Life and Death in Antarctica' on 16 March 2011.
Drugs, food and adventure at the 2011 Sydney Science Forum   View Summary
17 February 2011
2011 Sydney Science ForumCome along to the free science lectures in this year's Sydney Science Forum for the latest in scientific research, ideas, possibilities and innovations.
January 2011
The real social network: larger social groups make faster and more accurate decisions   View Summary
25 January 2011
School of fishTurns out social networking is not just a fun way to fill time - it can also be life saving. New research led by Associate Professor Ashley Ward, in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, shows for the first time that larger social groups make faster and more accurate decisions. This crucial benefit may have been important in promoting the evolution of sociality, a strategy used by a huge variety of animals from ants to humans.
Dr Anthony Henderson wins first Christopher Heyde Medal   View Summary
10 January 2011
Dr Anthony HendersonDr Anthony Henderson, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, has won the 2011 Christopher Heyde Medal from the Australian Academy of Science - the first time the medal and $10 000 prize has been awarded.
Professor Ruth Hall wins Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture   View Summary
10 January 2011
Professor Ruth HallProfessor Ruth Hall, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the prestigious 2012 Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture from the Australian Academy of Science.
Online survey targets internet gambling    View Summary
7 January 2011
Dr Sally GainsburyThe results from an online survey will enable groundbreaking research into internet gambling, one of the fastest growing forms of gambling in Australia.