2015 News archive

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December 2015
Revealing Light   View Summary
1 December 2015
Sunlight streaming through trees in a forestLight is critical to our existence. It played a role in how organic molecules - and therefore living cells - developed on Earth in the first place, but now we use it for medicine, communications, entertainment and culture. Even something as everyday as supermarket checkouts scan product barcodes using light!
November 2015
Will my boomerang come back?   View Summary
30 November 2015
A boomerang on displayAs a modern day D'harawal I am very blessed to know a lot about my Aboriginal family and culture; many Aboriginal people are not so fortunate particularly those from the initial point of European contact in the Sydney region. One of my favourite pastimes is googling my family, particularly my great grandfather, Tom Foster.
Breaking the seal   View Summary
30 November 2015
Breaking the sealIf you've ever had a long night out at the pub, you will have run across the strange phenomenon called 'breaking the seal'.
October 2015
Young scientists awarded, embark on year-long campaign   View Summary
27 October 2015
Winners of the 2015 Tall Poppy AwardsAwards by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science have recognised early career scientists who combine world-class research with a commitment to communication.
Dr Michael Bowen wins NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year   View Summary
8 October 2015
Michael BowenDr Michael Bowen, from the School of Psychology, has won the NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year award, the first time this prize has been offered as part of the NSW Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering.
September 2015
Life saving mathematics   View Summary
14 September 2015
Dr Clio CresswellAssociate Professor Samuel Müller is fascinated by sample spaces and how to extract information from them. He looks for patterns in data from a variety of disciplines, such as chemistry, biology and economics. Some of his recent work uses medical information with an analysis of melanoma data.
Jumping seamlessly through time   View Summary
9 September 2015
Wendy Zukerman, Wil Anderson, Professor Trevor Hambley, Cleo Loi, Dr Karl and Adam SpencerI had a great night a few weeks back striding across the Manning Bar stage, at the University of Sydney, with my fellow Sleek Geek, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, in our show 'Sleek Geeks Live - Unplugged and Unplanned' for National Science Week in August.
Madame Curie - the pioneer of radioactivity   View Summary
9 September 2015
Marie CurieBorn in 1867, Marie Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.
The Aboriginal science behind Sydney's nightmare traffic   View Summary
9 September 2015
Traffic in the Sydney CBDVic Lorusso may be able to relay to you live the accidents, truck breakdowns and general traffic chaos that is Sydney, but to get a real understanding of what is at the root of the problems with Sydney's roads you need to take a look at the ancient Sydney that was created by our Aboriginal Custodians and Caretakers with the use of fire.
University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize   View Summary
9 September 2015
The 2015 Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize finalists with Dr Karl and Adam SpencerOne of the most popular parts of the science calendar is the annual University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize, where primary and high school students create entertaining three minute videos on a science topic of their choice.
August 2015
Eureka Prize for Associate Professor Michael J. Biercuk   View Summary
27 August 2015
Michael BiercukAssociate Professor Michael J. Biercuk, from the School of Physics and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, has won the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, presented at a gala dinner on 26 August in the Sydney Town Hall.
Mr Gordon Wood correction   View Summary
21 August 2015
Abstract imageDetails of Mr Gordon Wood correction
July 2015
Six Eureka Prize finalists    View Summary
24 July 2015
Eureka PrizesSix teams from the Division of Natural Sciences have been named as finalists in the prestigious Eureka Prizes, known as the Oscars of Australian science.
Faculty of Science leads in industry-linked grants   View Summary
15 July 2015
Abstract imageThe Australian Research Council (ARC) has granted more than $2.2 million to researchers from the Faculty of Science under its Linkage Projects scheme in 2015.
Passing of science star Professor Harry Messel   View Summary
8 July 2015
Harry MesselProfessor Harry Messel AC CBE, a major force in science research, communication and education, and head of the School of Physics at the University of Sydney for 35 years, passed away today at the age of 93.
June 2015
Lambert donation puts Australia at forefront of medicinal cannabinoid research   View Summary
12 June 2015
A $33.7M gift to the University of Sydney puts Australia at the forefront of cannabinoid researchA $33.7 million gift to the University of Sydney places Australia at the forefront of medicinal cannabinoid research.
The 6 Seasons of Sydney   View Summary
3 June 2015
The 6 Seasons of SydneyA modern take on ancient aboriginal knowledge in response to the book "D'harawal seasons and climatic cycles" (by D'harawal elder Aunty Fran Bodkin)
Happy International Year of Light to you all!   View Summary
3 June 2015
Adam SpencerIt's ok if you didn't know - we're all very busy - but 2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light (and Light-Based Technologies).
Blue Dress Illusion   View Summary
3 June 2015
Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?It's a very rare event when optical physics, visual neuroscience and textile technology combine to take over the Interwebs, but it almost happened in February 2015.
The place of STEM in the age of disruption   View Summary
3 June 2015
Young women using a computerThe verdict is out - the future will be powered by STEM. But Australia is lagging and unless some worrying trends are reversed, we won't have the STEM graduates we need to meet future demands.
Cosmic cinema: astronomers make real-time, 3D movies of plasma tubes drifting overhead   View Summary
1 June 2015
Tubular plasma structures have been detected in the inner layers of the magnetosphereBy creatively using a radio telescope to see in three dimensions, astronomers have detected the existence of tubular plasma structures in the inner layers of the magnetosphere surrounding the Earth.
May 2015
Cases of youth gambling increasing at Gambling Treatment Clinic   View Summary
27 May 2015
Cases of youth gambling are increasing at the Gambling Treatment Clinic University of Sydney Gambling Treatment Clinic has seen a marked increase in young people attending the service for counselling.
Professor Holmes, new fellow of the Australian Academy of Science on predicting the next pandemic   View Summary
26 May 2015
Professor Edward HolmesProfessor Edward Holmes, a world-leading expert on viral evolution from the Charles Perkins Centre has been named a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
What is the best way to kill a cane toad?   View Summary
26 May 2015
<p>Like many pests, cane toads are killed in their thousands in Australia every year.Professor Rick Shine from the University of Sydney's School of Biological Sciences has led research into the most humane way to kill a cane toad.
Wellcome support for synthetic skin that instructs body how to repair itself   View Summary
21 May 2015
Professor Tony Weiss has received a $1 million grant to develop synthetic skin.Professor Tony Weiss, from the University of Sydney has received a $1 million grant to develop his synthetic skin which has the potential to repair the injuries more quickly and effectively.
Decline of large herbivores will create 'empty landscapes'   View Summary
5 May 2015
The elephant is one of the large herbivores that may disappear in the next 20 years.The decline or likely extinction of large herbivores such as rhinoceroses, hippos, zebras, camels and elephants threaten to create 'empty landscapes' in some of the world's most diverse ecosystems.
Slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef's future   View Summary
5 May 2015
One Tree Island on the Great Barrier ReefEnvironmental factors similar to those affecting the present day Great Barrier Reef have been linked to a major slowdown in its growth eight thousand years ago, research led by the University of Sydney shows.
April 2015
How cracking explains underwater volcanoes and the Hawaiian bend   View Summary
29 April 2015
Hawaii-Emporer Bend bathymetry and gravity imageUniversity of Sydney geoscientists have helped prove that some of the ocean's underwater volcanoes did not erupt from hot spots in the Earth's mantle but instead formed from cracks or fractures in the oceanic crust.
Killer bees test a double win for Australian honeybees   View Summary
24 April 2015
Bees on a beehive frameA genetic test that can prevent the entry of 'killer' bees into Australia and worldwide spread has been created by researchers at the University of Sydney and their collaborators at York University in Canada.
Unexpected challenges for LGBs in outer metropolitan areas   View Summary
24 April 2015
A gay couple standing side by side.Lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians living on the outskirts of major cities experience similar levels of discrimination and social isolation to those living in rural and remote areas, research led by the University of Sydney has shown.
Archaeology of a million stars to unravel galaxies' evolution   View Summary
9 April 2015
Illustration of a spiral galaxy on a star field backgroundThe GALAH survey of a million stars is an international five-year project, led by Australia, involving 70 astronomers from 17 institutions in eight countries.
Disaster management for people with disabilities in Southeast Asia   View Summary
9 April 2015
Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes and Dr Emma CalgaroResearchers from the School of Geosciences are leading a project with the goal of helping people in Southeast Asia with disabilities cope better with disaster management.
March 2015
Donors' vision becomes reality: launch of STEM Academy for teachers   View Summary
31 March 2015
The official launch of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy at the University of Sydney.The official launch of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy at the University of Sydney.
Discovery holds promise for gene therapy and agriculture   View Summary
26 March 2015
Dr Rodrigo ReisA key step in understanding the mechanism by which plants control the genetics of their enviromental adapatability has been made in research led by the University of Sydney.
A game of homes: why honeybees don't go to auctions   View Summary
24 March 2015
A bee landing on a yellow flowerProfessor Mary Myerscough, from the University of Sydney's School of Mathematics and Statistics will talk about 25 years of using maths to understand the life of bees.
Ten tips to start becoming a wine expert   View Summary
20 March 2015
Dr Alex Russell sampling red wine.Becoming an expert in anything takes a lot of work. But when that work involves tasting a lot of wine how hard can it be?
The mathematics of why grannies exist   View Summary
4 March 2015
An elderly woman lookin down her nose over her glassesIf our species is built on procreation and survival of the fittest why do women live well beyond reproductive age?
Sneeze in Sunlight   View Summary
4 March 2015
Illustration of a person sneezingLight still has many mysteries. One of its biological mysteries is why some people sneeze when they go out from the dark into the sunlight.
Mathematics and Science Ambassador: Year Two   View Summary
4 March 2015
Adam Spencer takes a selfie with first year science students of 2015The last week of February saw the university's Faculty of Science O'Week reception welcome hundreds of curious, excited new minds to its family. The message I shared on the day was that now, more than ever, Australia needs our best and brightest to be applying themselves to matters scientific.
February 2015
Sobering effect of the love hormone   View Summary
24 February 2015
Dr Michael Bowen from the School of PsychologyResearchers at the University of Sydney and University of Regensburg have discovered that oxytocin can counteract the effect of alcohol in rats.
Let's talk about sex...after cancer   View Summary
20 February 2015
Dr Catalina DawsinRekindle is a website resource developed by the University of Sydney and Cancer Council NSW to help cancer survivors and their partners improve their sexual wellbeing.
Time for a bold dingo experiment in NSW national park   View Summary
17 February 2015
Dingoes could help restore biodiversity and degraded rangelandsSturt National Park in north-western NSW would be an ideal site to test whether dingoes can help restore biodiversity and degraded rangelands.
January 2015
Ancient star system reveals earth-sized planets forming near start of Universe   View Summary
28 January 2015
A Sun-like star with orbiting planets has been discovered by an international team of astronomers.An international collaboration of scientists, led by the University of Birmingham and contributed to by the University of Sydney has discovered the oldest star hosting earth-sized planets.
Small drop in sea level had big impact on southern Great Barrier Reef    View Summary
22 January 2015
An aerial photo of a coral reefResearch on the southern Great Barrier Reef led by the University of Sydney's School of Geosciences has shown that a minor sea level change stalled coral reef growth for thousands of years.
How Gillard's experience inspires or discourages women   View Summary
13 January 2015
Former Prime Minister Julia GillardResearch from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney has shown that attitudes to gender roles determine whether woman are encouraged or discouraged by Julia Gillard's experience as prime minister.