2012 News archive

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December 2012
Noel Hush wins Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences    View Summary
10 December 2012
Emeritus Professor Noel HushEmeritus Professor Noel Hush, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences from Elsevier and the editors of international journal Chemical Physics Letters.
November 2012
Dr Mike Biercuk in Top 100 most influential people   View Summary
30 November 2012
Dr Mike BiercukDr Mike Biercuk, from the School of Physics, has been named in the top 100 most influential people in Sydney by the Sydney Morning Herald's the(sydney)magazine.
Professor Peter Robinson wins NSW Science and Engineering Award   View Summary
15 November 2012
Professor Peter RobinsonProfessor Peter Robinson, from the School of Physics, has won the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Emerging Research announced on 14 November 2012 at an awards ceremony held at Government House, Sydney.
Galaxies without stars - the problem of the missing hydrogen in the early Universe   View Summary
12 November 2012
Black hole quasarHydrogen is the most common element in the Universe, making up 75% of all normal matter and the content of stars. Although stars themselves are hot, they can only form out of the coldest gas when a massive cloud of hydrogen can collapse under its own gravity until nuclear fusion starts - the fusing of atoms together which releases the huge amounts of energy we see as starlight.
CHAST Templeton Lecture - The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics   View Summary
7 November 2012
Professor Anton ZeilingerFind out how our world will be revolutionised by quantum systems, when Professor Anton Zeilinger, from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, presents his free public talk 'The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics: From Einstein's Critique to Quantum Communication and Quantum Computation' on 8 November.
Big Bangs, Biospheres and the Limits of Science - Professor Martin Rees   View Summary
6 November 2012
Professor Martin ReesTake a journey through the universe and beyond - to potential other universes in a 'multiverse' - when Professor Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of the UK, presents his Sydney Ideas talk 'Big Bangs, Biospheres and the Limits of Science' on Friday 9 November.
ARC Discovery Project success for Faculty of Science   View Summary
6 November 2012
Australian Research CouncilResearchers in the Faculty of Science have been successful in obtaining funding from the Australian Research Council for 32 Discovery Projects worth a total of $12.18 million to begin in 2013.
October 2012
Dr Tara Murphy wins Young Tall Poppy of the Year   View Summary
26 October 2012
Tara MurphyDr Tara Murphy, from the School of Physics, has won the NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year Award, announced at the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards ceremony at the Powerhouse Museum on 25 October 2012.
Dr Peter Liddicoat wins Dance Your PhD competition   View Summary
16 October 2012
Peter LiddicoatDr Peter Liddicoat, a former PhD student and now staff member in the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University of Sydney, has won the international competition Dance Your PhD.
Sydney Science Forum - Rewriting Himalayan History: Ancient oceans on the top of the world    View Summary
15 October 2012
Jonathan AitchisonTake a journey to the top of the world when Professor Jonathan Aitchison, Head of the School of Geosciences, presents his Sydney Science Forum: Rewriting Himalayan History on Wednesday 17 October.
September 2012
Anthony Henderson wins Australian Mathematical Society Medal   View Summary
25 September 2012
Anthony HendersonAssociate Professor Anthony Henderson, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, has won the 2012 Australian Mathematical Society Medal, presented to him on 24 September 2012.
Are tertiary students learning to a high enough quality standard?    View Summary
24 September 2012
Manju SharmaHow can university lecturers ensure that their students are learning and achieving to the standard of a graduate and beyond? The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, hosted by the University of Sydney, will examine this question in a national forum of tertiary educators from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 September 2012.
Professor Steve Simpson presents Great Southern Land on ABC TV   View Summary
17 September 2012
Steve SimpsonExplore the amazing landscapes of Australia from the air, when Professor Steve Simpson, from the School of Biological Sciences, presents Great Southern Land - a four part documentary series on ABC TV starting on 23 September.
August 2012
Sleek Geeks go regional   View Summary
9 August 2012
Sleek GeeksAnswering questions such as 'How do people get blue eyes?' and 'Will we ever colonise Mars?' the Sleek Geeks - Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer - talked fascinating science with school students all over NSW at a special video conference on 8 August to celebrate National Science Week in NSW.
Sydney Science Forum: Crowd Control - The Principles of Collective Behaviour   View Summary
6 August 2012
School of fishDiscover the principles underlying how shoals swim in synch, flocks fly in formation and herds hurry in harmony - in other words, how big groups of animals move in a coordinated fashion - when Professor Iain Couzin, from Princeton University, USA, presents his Sydney Science Forum: Crowd Control - The Principles of Collective Behaviour on Wednesday 8 August 2012.
Sleek Geeks go live with '50 Shades of Geek'   View Summary
1 August 2012
Sleek GeeksIt's a National Science Week launch like no other as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer - Australia's favourite Sleek Geeks - put the band back together in a spectacular stage show celebrating science, called '50 Shades of Geek', on 13 August 2012 at the Sydney Town Hall. This massive night of science and comedy will have you laughing so much you won't realise how much you've learnt.
July 2012
Three new ARC Australian Laureate Fellows for Faculty of Science   View Summary
30 July 2012
ARC Three Faculty of Science researchers have been successful in being funded by the Australian Research Council as Australian Laureate Fellows, announced on Monday 30 July by Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
Three Eureka Prize finalists in Faculty of Science   View Summary
27 July 2012
Eureka PrizesThree Faculty of Science researchers have been selected as finalists in the 2012 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes - the largest and most comprehensive prizes for science in the country.
Sydney Science Forum: Sympathy for the Devil   View Summary
24 July 2012
Kathy BelovOur native Tasmanian devils are facing extinction due to a contagious cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease that has already decimated 80% of the devil population. Hear what the future holds for the Tasmanian devil, when Associate Professor Kathy Belov presents on her fascinating research at the Sydney Science Forum: Sympathy for the Devil on Wednesday 25 July.
First radio waves detected from intermediate mass black holes   View Summary
9 July 2012
HLX-1 black holeThey don't broadcast top pop songs, but black holes do emit radio waves as they accumulate matter. The first radio emissions to be detected from an intermediate mass black hole have been published in the prestigious journal Science by an international team of astronomers, including Dr Emil Lenc and Dr Sean Farrell from the University of Sydney's School of Physics.
One small atomic particle for science, one giant leap for mankind   View Summary
6 July 2012
Kevin VarvellAssociate Professor Kevin Varvell, from the School of Physics, who works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, writes about the significance of the Higgs boson finding.
ARC Linkage Project success for natural sciences   View Summary
2 July 2012
ARCThree Australian Research Council Linkage Projects have been successfully funded across the division of natural sciences - the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and Faculty of Veterinary Science.
June 2012
Using the cane toad's poison against itself   View Summary
14 June 2012
Cane toadAn effective new weapon in the fight against the spread of cane toads has been developed by the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the University of Queensland.
How to teach science and computing in the age of big data   View Summary
14 June 2012
Inspiring AustraliaThe University of Sydney's National Science Challenge was successful in getting funding from the federal government as part of the Inspiring Australia scheme. Dr Tara Murphy and Associate Professor James Curran explain how participants in their program will analyse real scientific data in a range of fun, online mini-experiments, and why this is so important, as computational skills and scientific literacy are becoming increasingly critical for all Australians.
Trio of CUDOS results make an international splash   View Summary
12 June 2012
CUDOSA University of Sydney School of Physics team led by Professor Ben Eggleton and Professor Martijn de Sterke, from the Australian Research Council Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), has been selected to present three prestigious post deadline papers at the Nonlinear Photonics international meeting organised by the Optical Society of America.
Biodiversity threats traced through their supply chains   View Summary
7 June 2012
Biodiversity mappingThirty percent of threatened species are at risk because of consumption in the developed world according to University of Sydney research. The study mapped the world economy to trace the global trade of goods implicated in biodiversity loss such as coffee, cocoa, and lumber.
View the Transit of Venus   View Summary
5 June 2012
Transit of VenusSee the planet Venus cross in front of the sun during the Transit of Venus on 6 June, at a public event run by the University of Sydney Physics Society. It's your last chance to see Venus transit the sun until December 2117!
May 2012
Special seminar by award winners in science and mathematics education    View Summary
18 May 2012
IISMEHear from six 2011 award winners in science and mathematics education, when the Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME) runs a special seminar on Tuesday 22 May 2012.
Sydney Science Forum: Dr Karl's Brain Food   View Summary
15 May 2012
Dr Karl's Brain Food Discover why 90% of the cells in your body aren't your own, learn what the speed of death is and find out how the Apple logo got its bite, when Dr Karl Kruszelnicki presents his Sydney Science Forum - Dr Karl's Brain Food on Wednesday 16 May 2012.
April 2012
The quantum future is crystal clear: Tiny crystal revolutionises computing   View Summary
26 April 2012
Mike BiercukComputing technology has taken a huge leap forward thanks to a tiny crystal of trapped ions used in experiments by Dr Michael Biercuk, from the University of Sydney's School of Physics and ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, with US and South African colleagues.
Ray of light: Breakthrough in solar cell efficiency   View Summary
19 April 2012
Solar cells imageLow cost solar cells suitable for rooftop panels could reach a record-breaking 40 percent efficiency following an early stage breakthrough by a University of Sydney researcher and his German partners.
Uncovering a secret weight-loss trick from the galaxy's biggest stars   View Summary
12 April 2012
Red Giant StarPutting all dieters to shame, the red giant stars of our galaxy lose many times the entire mass of the Earth, every year.
New ultra small laser opens up a world of possibilities   View Summary
4 April 2012
LaserAn international team of scientists, including Dr David Moss, from the University of Sydney's School of Physics, has created a new form of ultra small laser that will revolutionise many fields.
Sydney Science Forum: The Chocolate Crisis   View Summary
3 April 2012
ChocolateDark, delicious and decadent, the rich flavour of chocolate has inspired passions, addictions and even literature for more than three thousand years. However, a chocolate supply crisis may be looming. Hear how Professor David Guest, from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, is helping counter a chocolate catastrophe when he gives his Sydney Science Forum talk - The Chocolate Crisis - on 18 April.
March 2012
Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science   View Summary
27 March 2012
Joss Bland-HawthornProfessor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, from the School of Physics, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, announced on 26 March 2012.
Dr Sheehan Olver wins the Adams Prize in Mathematics   View Summary
26 March 2012
Adams PrizeDr Sheehan Olver, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, has won the 2012 Adams Prize in mathematics - one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes awarded by the University of Cambridge.
Grace Shephard selected for Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting   View Summary
16 March 2012
Grace ShephardGrace Shephard, a PhD student in the School of Geosciences, has been selected from a very competitive field of international applicants to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany to be held 1-6 July 2012.
Sydney Science Forum: A new way of looking at the sky   View Summary
9 March 2012
Bryan GaenslerHear how Australian astronomers are leading the way with a revolutionary new approach to looking at the sky, when Professor Bryan Gaensler, Director of CAASTRO - the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics - presents his Sydney Science Forum 'A new way of looking at the sky' on Wednesday 14 March.
Making a killer entrance: the devastating effects of space travel   View Summary
8 March 2012
Alcubierre warpTurns out rapid long distance space travel could create the ultimate killer entrance… not in a stylish way, but by devastating your destination and annihilating anything around the arriving spacecraft, according to calculations by Professor Geraint Lewis and two of his Honours students in the University of Sydney's School of Physics.
CAASTRO brings astronomy and music together   View Summary
5 March 2012
Bryan GaenslerExploring the connections between astronomy and music, Professor Bryan Gaensler, Director of CAASTRO - the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics - will present at a special concert presented by Musica Viva and Canadian chamber orchestra, Tafelmusik, on Saturday 10 March.
February 2012
Open Source Drug Discovery for Malaria   View Summary
28 February 2012
Open Source Drug Discovery for MalariaImagine if drug research could happen with inputs from thousands of scientists around the world sharing data in real time, with the process not slowed down by patents and commercial interests. To explore the issues around this new approach to drug discovery, Dr Mat Todd, from the School of Chemistry, led a meeting on Open Source Drug Discovery for Malaria on 24 February.
Gareth Denyer wins Life Technologies Education Award   View Summary
21 February 2012
Gareth DenyerAssociate Professor Gareth Denyer, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the 2012 Invitrogen Life Technologies Education Award from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Carbon, water, food: quo vadis agriculture at Australian universities?   View Summary
16 February 2012
Mark AdamsThis week's cancelation of the intake of students to the agriculture program at the University of Western Sydney has justifiably rung alarm bells. Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, was quick to argue that a strategy of hope was not going to address the decline in the number of students selecting agricultural science as their first preference at university. We need to do things differently.
Intermediate Mass Black Holes and Revelations   View Summary
16 February 2012
Black holeJust like the popular Muse album 'Black Holes and Revelations', a research team led by Dr Sean Farrell, at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney, has found that a newly discovered type of black hole - an Intermediate Mass Black Hole - reveals clues on how galaxies are formed.
Human 'shock absorbers' discovered   View Summary
16 February 2012
SkinAn international team of scientists, led by the University of Sydney, has found the molecular structure in the body which functions as our 'shock absorber'.
Just ask the locals: new way to tell if a species is native    View Summary
15 February 2012
bandicoot'You'll get the best advice from asking the locals' is a tip often used by travellers. It's also a radical new way to determine whether an introduced species has become a native species - by asking the other local species - according to research by Alexandra Carthey, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, and her supervisor Associate Professor Peter Banks.
Helping students cope with first year mathematics   View Summary
14 February 2012
IISME MathsThe number of high school students choosing the right level of mathematics to prepare for university mathematics and science courses continues to decline, so universities have been employing new and inspiring methods to get students up to speed in mathematics.
Recognition for research which will create jobs and reduce carbon footprint    View Summary
10 February 2012
Thomas MaschmeyerFor his work on catalysis and sustainable processes, including developing methods to create low carbon crude and heavy fuel oil substitutes, the University of Sydney's Professor Thomas Maschmeyer has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Applied Research Medal from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
Professor Ben Eggleton wins Walter Boas Medal   View Summary
3 February 2012
Ben EggletonProfessor Ben Eggleton, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), in the School of Physics, has won the 2011 Walter Boas Medal from the Australian Institute of Physics. Professor Eggleton will receive his medal at an awards ceremony in March 2012 in Melbourne.
January 2012
Joss Bland-Hawthorn wins the 2012 Jackson-Gwilt Medal   View Summary
13 January 2012
Professor Joss Bland-HawthornProfessor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, from the School of Physics, has been named as the winner of the 2012 Jackson-Gwilt Medal, announced at the Royal Astronomical Society's annual meeting in the UK on 13 January 2012.
Hotter homes produce smarter babies   View Summary
11 January 2012
Bassiana duperreyi lizardA hotter home appears to produce babies with better cognitive abilities - but before you turn up the home heater to make your baby brainier, the research was conducted on the Australian lizard Bassiana duperreyi. Many traits in young reptiles are determined by the temperature of the nest, so Joshua Amiel, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, and his supervisor, Professor Rick Shine, looked at how incubation temperature would affect the learning performance of these lizards.
Scientists get funny at Bright Club   View Summary
9 January 2012
Bright ClubTurning science into stand-up comedy, three scientists in the division of Natural Sciences at the University of Sydney will take to the stage as part of Bright Club at the Sydney Festival over three nights in January. James Heathers, a PhD student in the School of Psychology, Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli, from the School of Biological Sciences, and Professor Alex McBratney, from the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, have been selected for their comic skills and ability to make science snigger-worthy.