2016 News archive

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December 2016
Academic Advice Sessions   View Summary
15 December 2016
Academic advice sessionsThe Faculty of Science will be holding in-person academic advice sessions for enrolment for Semester 1, 2017 for both new and continuing undergraduate students for full-degree advice and unit of study selection. Advice sessions will focus on the provision of advice and assistance with degree structuring and unit of study choice.
November 2016
Alcohol & Hearing    View Summary
28 November 2016
Dr Karl KruszelnickiIt's hard to pinpoint exactly. But at every party, there comes a stage when the mood picks up. People have drunk enough alcohol to reach the point where they loosen their inhibitions, and start relaxing and dancing. The observable link to the effect of the alcohol is that the noise level goes up with the mood.
New STEM grants for schools   View Summary
25 November 2016
New STEM grants for schoolsNew funding has recently been announced by the Australian Government under the Inspiring Australia initiative to help foster STEM innovation in schools. If you have students intending to participate in STEM events and competitions, including those held overseas, take a look at the program guidelines.
What do you do with a calculator?   View Summary
25 November 2016
Dr Clio CresswellWhen should we start using calculators at school? A good question, which I am best to stay away from! This question is loaded with too many arguments concerning the role of rote learning in a young person's development. Yes, it hurts! But there is reason to believe it's the way to build pattern recognition and to free up thinking for harder problems. I will let that debate go on.
When the stars align   View Summary
25 November 2016
When the stars alignAs a kid it seemed like a long, long drive to me. My father would point out the distant Sydney city skyline barely visible on the horizon. The buildings looked like the illustrations I had seen of ancient civilisations or alien outposts compared to the wild, green, rocky landscape of our D'harawal Country in the Royal National Park. It also seemed like nothing particularly unusual to me that my father could navigate by the plants and other unassuming landmarks to find the hidden bush entrance that lead to our family's secret, ancient, sandstone rock engravings. I had no idea as a kid that what I was a part of was our living Dreaming, a manifestation of the Ancestors and their knowledges passed on from generation to generation. It is only as an adult that I realised that not all families made these pilgrimages. Not everyone was taught which plant lead to a secret path in the wild bush. Not everyone was a "D'harawal garigalonung" (D'harawal Saltwater person).
Hello Science Alliancers and welcome to our last newsletter of the year.   View Summary
25 November 2016
Adam Spencer's Time MachineHello Science Alliancers and welcome to our last newsletter of the year. It comes to you in late November, a time you might notice is marked by the plethora of Christmas ads on TV or perhaps the absence of year 12 students in your schoolyard. But November to me is characterised by feeding the media beast as I hawk my latest book.
Australian research identifies food and nutrition challenges for rural Myanmar   View Summary
19 November 2016
Australian research identifies food and nutrition challenges for rural MyanmarAustralian research identifies food and nutrition challenges for rural Myanmar
October 2016
ASELL Schools and CAASTRO in the Classroom Collaboration   View Summary
25 October 2016
ASELL Schools and CAASTRO in the Classroom CollaborationThe first collaboration between ASELL Schools and CAASTRO in the Classroom was held on 19 October, hosted at the University of Sydney with student and teacher participants from all over Australia.
CUBESATS on Catalyst   View Summary
19 October 2016
CUBESATS on CatalystTiny cube satellites revolutionise our access to space. Space has always been the playground of very big players with very deep pockets - but not anymore. It's now being invaded by a new breed of cheap, innovative satellites, smaller than a loaf of bread.
Exploring the climactic anomaly   View Summary
17 October 2016
Exploring the climactic anomalyIn a sequel to a science-art collaboration devised in 2009 entitled, Ten Trenches, geomorphologist Dr Tim Cohen and his artistic director brother Dr Michael Cohen led around 1000 people out into the paddocks of the historic Bundanon Homestead for The Medieval Bundanon. Part of Siteworks, an annual event that brings scientists, artists and community voices together to share ideas, this unique performance invited the audience to sit around a deep trench at dusk and contemplate the Medieval Warm Period (950 -1250 AD).
World changing ideas summit   View Summary
17 October 2016
Exploring the climactic anomalyBBC Future is the BBC's platform for the insatiably curious, making you smarter every day through in-depth coverage of science, health and technology. Coming to Australia for the first time, the World-Changing Ideas Summit supported by Inspiring Australia will take place in Sydney on 15 November 2016. Take the opportunity to explore the latest ideas and trends in technology, science and health through fascinating discussions with a range of Australian and international experts.
Go Wild in the Garden: it's a real buzz!   View Summary
17 October 2016
Go Wild in the Garden: itâs a real buzz!The Murray Science Hub is ushering in Spring with a hands on approach to environmental education with Go Wild in the Garden, a fun and informative way for the whole family to learn about pollination and its vital role in the natural world. Participants get to make their very own Pollinator Inn with acclaimed sculptor Joanne Diver sharing information on how community members can help encourage our native pollinators to get wild in their own gardens.
Be part of Inspiring Science at the library   View Summary
17 October 2016
Be part of Inspiring Science at the libraryFor the past two years, Inspiring Australia has presented regular talks at Ultimo Library, with two early career researchers invited each month to share their knowledge with community members. These events have proved popular with both the scientists involved and library patrons, who appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the relevance of science to everyday life. We are now seeking researchers for our 2017 season, with free presentation skills training provided to participants in February 2017.
Four Winds Bioblitz   View Summary
17 October 2016
Four Winds BioblitzFour Winds, in partnership with the Atlas of Life, is proud to announce a collaborative and unique event near Bermagui on the Far South Coast of NSW that features two fun-filled days of music, nature and shared creativity. Everyone is welcome to join over 60 guided surveys including flora walks, reptile hunts, peacock spider searches, night-time moth and possum surveys and motion sensitive camera trap discoveries.
What's your story?   View Summary
17 October 2016
Whatâs your story?Inspiring Australia works with scientists around the country to create memorable events and activities designed to engage everyday people with science, technology and innovation. Our programs include theatrical performances, citizen science, community festivals and artistic collaborations that bring science and technology to life and tell intriguing stories about the amazing things that scientists do. We do this because we know that there are many people who don't know what scientists do or why research matters.
Young Tall Poppy NSW winners   View Summary
17 October 2016
Young Tall Poppy NSW winnersThe Tall Poppy awards are run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science to honour up-and-coming scientists who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science.
Community attitudes to genetic testing   View Summary
17 October 2016
Community attitudes to genetic testingAre you curious about some or all of your genes? What would you use your genetic information for? Would you trust it? Would you share it? A team of Australian researchers wants to know your views. The Genioz project aims to understand Australians' views and expectations of new tests that provide people access to their own genetic information.
Does stress cause cancer?   View Summary
14 October 2016
Does stress cause cancerCan stressful life events, such as divorce or conflict at work, result in a serious illness like cancer? Find out, when Professor Phyllis Butow presents her Sydney Science Forum - Does Stress Cause Cancer? - on Wednesday 19 October.
Sydney Ideas - The Secret Life of Air   View Summary
12 October 2016
The Secret Life of AirThe Secret Life of Air: why our ignorance of biodiversity poses both enormous opportunities for discovery & threats to the persistence of civilisation
Amgen Biotechnology Experience Information Evening   View Summary
12 October 2016
Amgen Biotechnology Experience Information EveningThe Amgen Biotechnology Experience is an innovative science education program that introduces students to the importance of scientific discovery through a molecular biology learning experience that links core science concepts to real-world applications.
Banana Peel Slipperiness   View Summary
10 October 2016
Dr Karl KruszelnickiThey're yellow, radioactive, high in potassium and very slippery. (Spoiler Alert - some of what you just read is wrong.) Yes, they're bananas and we have just found out why they are so slippery. It's because of carbs and proteins, which are trapped inside tiny bumps on the inner layer of the banana skin.
Yarning and Peer Review - The world's first research methodologies    View Summary
10 October 2016
Scientists and Mathematicians in SchoolsIt is the kind of dream that you know is not really a dream. So real. So visceral. There is no dulling of the senses or confusion of consciousness. More real than reality. I am walking up to a fire with a coolamon (bowl) in my hands. It is a balmy day. The air is hazy with smoke. The Ancestors are sitting around waiting for me when someone, but no one, says: "You can't fill your coolamon as soon as you get here". So, I take a seat at the fire and the dream ends. But my Dreaming has just begun.
Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools   View Summary
10 October 2016
Scientists and Mathematicians in SchoolsScientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) is a national program funded by the Australian Government and managed by CSIRO. SMiS partnerships change perceptions of what a STEM professional is and what they do, making the skills and careers relevant for young and curious minds.
Olympians, maths and the HSC   View Summary
10 October 2016
Adam SpencerSince we last met, our nation has faced the existential crisis of our performance at the Rio Olympics. Australia, a sports loving nation, did not fare as well as we had expected and the usual hand-wringing has begun. Do we need administrative reform or just more money? Are the glory years forever gone? Can we justify the expense as it is? What does it all mean for us a country?
Puzzle Hunt   View Summary
10 October 2016
Dr Clio CresswellSudoku, crossword puzzles, Picross, or the latest fad of 'puzzle rooms' to escape from… puzzles, puzzles, puzzles… To capitalise on our love for puzzles, the Sydney University Mathematics Society (ƩUMS) runs the ƩUMS Puzzle Hunt each year, to encourage people to employ mathematical thinking without having to understand any maths.
September 2016
We should learn to love germs   View Summary
13 September 2016
Dr Nick ColemanMicrobiologist, Dr Nicholas Coleman, discusses the US Food and Drug Administration ban on the use of antibacterial compounds in household products such as liquid soaps.
Dr Michael Bowen wins Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher   View Summary
1 September 2016
Dr Michael BowenDr Michael Bowen, from the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Science, has won the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, presented at a gala dinner on 31 August in the Sydney Town Hall.
July 2016
Up to four PhD stipends in Pollination Ecology   View Summary
4 July 2016
A honey bee on a flowerProf Ben Oldroyd and Dr Tanya Latty have recently secured funding from the Australian Government for a project that will examine the biology of pollinating insects in Australian crops.
June 2016
SAGE gender equality in STEMM   View Summary
15 June 2016
Young female researchers in a laboratoryThe University of Sydney is participating in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot program and currently seeks staff from all areas of the University, not only science academics, to join the SAGE Self Assessment Team (SAT) that will drive the project across campus.
May 2016
The Science of the Didgeridon't (if you're female)   View Summary
30 May 2016
Get Down with DNSMuch of Aboriginal technology appears very simple - primitive, almost, from a first look - but on closer inspection the tools and instruments created and used by Aboriginal people are actually very complex arrangements of many different principles and applications of science.
SUMS   View Summary
27 May 2016
SUMSSydney University Mathematics Society -, said as SUMS, spelt ƩUMS, because the upper case Greek letter '"Ʃ'" is the symbol for '"sum'" in mathematics -, calls itself a club for students with an interest in any and all things maths-related.
Bouncing Batteries   View Summary
27 May 2016
Bouncing Batteries Science AllianceAn ordinary family can easily have dozens of alkaline batteries operating in various devices around the house. They'll be in smoke detectors and remote controls, thermostat controls and wall clocks, children's toys, flashlights and the like.
Get down with DNA   View Summary
27 May 2016
Get Down with DNSExplore cutting edge applications of DNA science at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney with Dr Ellen Jorgensen from Brooklyn.
Girls in Tech: Inspiring the Next Generation of Creative, Entrepreneurial and Digital Women.   View Summary
27 May 2016
Get Down with DNSDid you know only a quarter of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians are women?
Ian has the TED X Factor   View Summary
26 May 2016
Ian Conway LambA University of Sydney Master of Science student with an eye for business has won one of five TEDxSydney St George Bank Kick Start grants worth $25,000.
Talented Student Program visits Westmead   View Summary
10 May 2016
TSP studentsA group of students from the Faculty of Science's Talented Student Program (TSP) visited the Westmead health precinct on 9 May, to find out more about the breadth and depth of research opportunities on offer.
March 2016
Maths: Womens' Work   View Summary
21 March 2016
Dr Clio CresswellDr Clio Cresswell is a mathematician, writer, and media personality. She is a visiting fellow at the school of mathematics at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Sydney University's Nanoscience Hub makes the news   View Summary
9 March 2016
Uni takes a quantum leap into scienceâs next frontier - In the NewsA small team of scientists is helping to kick-start the next scientific revolution, writes Marcus Strom from the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Science of being Aboriginal   View Summary
1 March 2016
Slippery Surfaces - How nanoscience is changing our material worldIn this enlightened age of genetic research there have been some amazing revelations about our Australian Aboriginal ancestry using DNA testing. Research from Copenhagen University has revealed that the results of genetic tests performed on a one hundred year old piece of hair from an Aboriginal man shows that Aboriginal people were the first to migrate out of Africa approximately 70,000 years ago.
Slippery Surfaces - How nanoscience is changing our material world   View Summary
1 March 2016
Slippery Surfaces - How nanoscience is changing our material worldSlippery Surfaces - How nanoscience is changing our material world
Welcome to the Ideas Boom   View Summary
1 March 2016
Ideas BoomYou may have noticed the Ideas Boom television commercials and bright yellow ads popping up in bus shelters and other public places in the past month. The Ideas Boom is the Australian Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) that positions innovation and science as the key to new sources of growth, high-wage jobs and economic prosperity.
Hello and welcome to Science Alliance for 2016.   View Summary
1 March 2016
Adam SpencerAs the University's Mathematics and Science Ambassador, I've had great fun hitting the ground running this year and would like to share a couple of those experiences.
Schools Outreach Save the Dates   View Summary
1 March 2016
Science AllianceMark the dates for Mega Maths Day, Camden Open Day and the Agriculture HSC Seminar
February 2016
DragonFly Telescope    View Summary
11 February 2016
Dragonfly TelescopeWhen professional astronomers need new designs of telescope, they're looking at forests of paperwork, tens of millions of dollars at the very least, and a decade or two. But thanks to one astronomer's hobby of nature photography, he got his radical telescope very quickly and cheaply - and also got us one step closer to solving the mystery of how galaxies spring into existence.