All future 2012 events

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February
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

SciNaPPS Seminar: Methylphenidate-mediated rescue of deficient dopamine reward prediction in ADHD   View Summary
14 February 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on dopamine reward prediction in an ADHD model at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Dr Jeff Wickens, Principal Investigator at the Neurobiology Research Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, in Japan.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is the most widely used and effective treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methylphenidate has a known cocaine-like pharmacological action on the dopamine transporter, but its therapeutic mechanism in ADHD is not completely understood.

Many pieces of evidence indicate that there is altered processing of reward in ADHD, with increased sensitivity to delay of reward and a greater than normal preference for immediate over delayed rewards.

Since dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in reward processing, modulation of reward processes by an action on dopamine is a possible mechanism for the effects of methylphenidate.

Here we show that dopamine release in response to a classically conditioned cue that precedes reward is deficient in an ADHD model, and that methylphenidate specifically rescues this anticipatory dopamine release, at doses commonly used in treatment of ADHD.

This specific action of methylphenidate provides a novel basis for its therapeutic action, in which facilitated release of dopamine by cues that predict reward is expected to bridge delays between actions and rewarding outcomes.

We propose that by increasing the anticipatory release of dopamine, methylphenidate enhances the ability to stay on task when reward is delayed.

March
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

Sydney Science Forum - A New Way of Looking at the Sky   View Summary
14 March 2012

Presented by Professor Bryan Gaensler
ARC Australian Laureate Fellow Director, Centre for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), University of Sydney

Ever since Galileo first turned a telescope to the sky in the 1600s, the push has been to build telescopes that reveal the wonders of the night sky in ever more detail. Despite all the many discoveries astronomers have made over the centuries, there are still fundamental unsolved problems about the Cosmos. How has the Universe evolved from the Big Bang to the present day? What is the extreme physics that drives the sudden changes we see in the night sky? And what are the Dark Energy and Dark Matter that make up a staggering 95% of the Universe? To make further progress, we need to do astronomy in a different way: instead of peering at tiny patches of stars in detail, we now need to step back and look at huge parts of the sky at once.

Here in Australia, we are now embarking on an exciting journey to develop this new way of looking at the sky. Professor Bryan Gaensler will describe the exciting technology that is taking shape across Australia, and will explain the amazing discoveries that we are making about the Universe through this bold new approach.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Developmental Eye Disease - Genes and Networks   View Summary
15 March 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on developmental eye disease at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Professor Veronica van Heyningen, from the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit in the UK.

Professor Veronica van Heyningen, is at the UK Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Her group's work with human developmental disease brings insight into genetic mechanisms, including cis-regulatory control, revealing the long control regions flanking many developmental regulator genes.

Studies of extra-genic chromosomal rearrangements and non-coding region mutations prompted work, in mouse and zebrafish model systems, on enhancer interactions and transcription factor binding specificity.

Genome-wide target predictions for PAX6 have revealed network complexity and the precision of binding-sequence specificity. Observations of phenotypic variability have led to studies of gene-environment interactions.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Molecular mechanisms of notch-mediated neuronal cell death in ischaemic stroke   View Summary
30 March 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on notch-mediated neuronal cell death in ischaemic stroke at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Dr Thiruma Arumugam, ARC Future Fellow in Experimental Stroke and Inflammation Research at the University of Queensland.

Notch-1 (Notch) is a cell surface receptor that regulates cell-fate decisions in the developing nervous system, and it may also have roles in synaptic plasticity and cell death in the adult brain.

Our recent findings suggest that notch signaling in neurons, glia and NSCs may be involved in pathological changes that occur in disorders such as stroke.

Studies of animal models suggest the potential of agents that target notch signaling as therapeutic interventions for several different brain disorders.

April
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

Sydney Science Forum - The Chocolate Crisis   View Summary
18 April 2012

Presented by Professor David Guest, Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources and Galit Segev, Food Scientist & Chef

Dark, delicious and decadent, the rich flavour of chocolate has inspired passions, addictions and even literature for more than three thousand years. Cacao is produced from fruit of the tropical tree, Theobroma cacao, literally meaning 'food of the Gods'. Not just appetising, chocolate also has health benefits - reducing blood pressure and enhancing psychological happiness.

Cacao is grown in West Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific - areas vulnerable to threats of climate change, political instability, pests and diseases. Rapidly increasing chocolate consumption in developing Asian economies is making chocolate manufacturers anxious about meeting demand.

To counter a chocolate catastrophe, Professor David Guest's research supports the chocolate industry by improving the sustainability of smallholder cacao production. Professor Guest's work with farmers in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville shows that good farm management increases yields, resulting in improved living standards, reduced rainforest clearing, political and social stability, and securing future supplies of chocolate.

Galit Segev, food scientist and chef, will reveal the science of working with chocolate, from technique tips to practical points.

Join us afterwards for an exciting array of hands-on activities including chocolate tasting.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Dopaminergic and Subcortical Modulation of Language Processing   View Summary
27 April 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the dopaminergic and subcortical modulation of language processing at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Associate Professor David Copland, from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research.

The influence of dopamine on language processing is largely unknown.

This presentation will provide evidence from individuals with Parkinson's on and off levodopa and receiving deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus suggesting subcortical modulation of lexical-semantic processing.

Subsequent fMRI and behavioural studies of healthy individuals on levodopa will be presented, supporting the view that dopamine enhances language learning and influences language processing through cortical and subcortical mechanisms.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Therapeutic Brain Stimulation   View Summary
30 April 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on therapeutic brain stimulation at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Associate Professor Zelma H. T. Kiss MD, from the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Therapeutic brain stimulation (TBS) has revolutionised the treatment of Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia over the past 15 years.

While its mechanisms remain the subject of investigation, what we have learned is that it has different effects depending on the properties of the site being stimulated. Its effects are specific to local axon terminals, soma and afferent/efferent pathways of the target. In some cases TBS may also induce changes in the whole network.

These mechanisms suggest that TBS has the potential to treat many different neuropsychiatric conditions, in addition to movement disorders.

May
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

CANCELLED: SciNaPPS Seminar: Metabolomics of the human brain in vivo - An insight on neurogenesis   View Summary
4 May 2012

PLEASE NOTE: This talk has been cancelled.

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the metabolomics of the human brain in vivo at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Professor Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas USA.

Using a new approach to analyse in vivo metabolomic biomarkers in the human brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Professor Maletic-Savatic has identified novel molecules and pathways involved in functional neurogenesis during adulthood.

CHAST: Why Do It the Hard Way? Reflections of an Antarctic Explorer    View Summary
10 May 2012

Presented by CHAST - the Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology at the University of Sydney.

Antarctic research stations and field journeys are used by NASA as allegories for long term space travel in their studies of the likely human complexities to be managed in that endeavour. As well as the emotional and psychological burdens arising in the worlds smallest and most isolated communities there remain, despite diligent endeavours to minimise them, real physical hardships and dangers.

In the past, the degree of isolation, the physical hardships and the dangers of Antarctic endeavour have been many times as great as they now are. Indeed, many of the early exploratory journeys could never have been accepted by any ethics committee because of their risk level. That they occurred speaks to the determination of the participants and the courage of the then managers of our Antarctic program to allow them.

These early endeavours were always necessary precursors to modern, somewhat less arduous or dangerous, studies, which could not have proceeded without them. Given that despite the deprivations, difficulties and dangers having long been understood, scientists, and others, have always competed very vigorously to be part of them, it is reasonable to conclude that those seeking to pursue their science or technology in Antarctica did, and do, so in the expectation of exceptional rewards commensurate with the known exceptional disincentives.

Syd Kirkby will review from the perspective of his long term association with Australia's Antarctic endeavours the nature of the disincentives and seek to explain the far outweighing rewards.

Syd Kirkby is a surveyor who has spent practically all his working life in mapping and geodesy.

In 1954, while still a student he was selected as astronomer/navigator with the joint Commonwealth/WA State Government Great Sandy Desert Expedition and used this background as a credential for selection as surveyor with the 1956 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) which wintered at MacRobertson Land, Antarctica. At this time approximately 85% of this huge continent, almost twice the size of Australia, was unexplored and, indeed, mostly unseen, by any living creature. By ship voyages, many months-long dog sledging journeys, aircraft flights and over-snow vehicle journeys he continued personal involvement with the exploration and mapping of Antarctica until the mid 1960s. During these years there was an explosion of geographical knowledge unmatched until the recent explorations of space. When the exploration phase was completed in the mid to late 1960s he oversaw for some years the Australian Antarctic mapping programme.

Between Antarctic sojourns he worked on Australian topographic mapping in various capacities and in 1976 assumed responsibility for the national topographic mapping programme. He retired from that position when the last map of the national programme was compiled in 1984.

He was awarded the Polar Medal in 1957 and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Geographical Society in 1997. In its canon of the 20th century The Australian newspaper named him as one of the 10 Australian Adventurers of the Century, in such company as Douglas Mawson, Charles Kingsford-Smith and Frank Hurley. He firmly denies the charge, on the grounds that he has not an adventurer's bone in his body. He was awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland in 2002.

SciNaPPS Seminar: The Carbon Footprint of the Resting Human Brain   View Summary
11 May 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the carbon footprint of the resting human brain at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Professor D. S. Fahmeed Hyder, from Biomedical Engineering and Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University in the US.

The term 'carbon footprint' is shorthand for the brain's incessant appetite for carbon-derived energy via glucose oxidation to support neuronal firing at nerve terminals.

Regional variability of resting energy is examined in cortical grey matter with PET data of glucose oxidation rates in normal awake humans. Uniformly high oxidative demand in the awake human brain supports widespread cortical signaling of resting-state networks, which when globally disrupted results in ubiquitous metabolic reduction.

This designation of fMRI-based networks requiring globally high metabolic demand differs from previous descriptions that focus on small regional differences.

Sydney Science Forum - Dr Karl's Brain Food   View Summary
16 May 2012

Presented by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Julius Sumner Miller Fellow, School of Physics, the University of Sydney

Australia's favourite science 'guy', Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, will present his latest swag of super science stories. If you like your science dished up with a big serving of humour, then don't miss this opportunity to see Dr Karl live at the University of Sydney. Get the lowdown from Dr Karl, and find out what his favourite Brain Food is!

At the end of the talk, you'll have the opportunity to ask Dr Karl those burning science questions that you've been pondering for years.

SciNaPPS Seminar: The hidden layer of genomic programming in human development and cognition   View Summary
25 May 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the hidden layer of genomic programming in human development and cognition at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Professor John Mattick, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

It appears that the genetic programming of humans has been misunderstood, because of the assumption that most genetic information is transacted by proteins.

Surprisingly, the human genome contains only about 20,000 protein-coding genes, similar to those in nematodes with only 1,000 somatic cells. By contrast, the extent of noncoding DNA increases with increasing developmental complexity, reaching 98.8% in humans.

Recent evidence indicates that the vast tracts of non-protein-coding sequences in the human genome are not junk, but rather specify hard- and soft-wired regulatory systems that direct the epigenetic processes underpinning development and brain function.

June
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

SPECIAL EVENT: Watch the Transit of Venus   View Summary
6 June 2012

View the Transit of Venus at The University of Sydney

The Transit of Venus holds a significant place in the history of Australia. When James Cook first set off from the shores of England, his stated objective was to observe the transit of Venus from Tahiti. The reason for this was to pin down the distance scale of the Solar System - important not only for science, but also for navigation. It was only after this vital mission was complete that he set out to find the southern continent. More than two centuries later, Australia's oldest university is proud to be observing the last transit of Venus of this generation.

The University of Sydney Physics Society will be holding a public viewing of the Transit of Venus on 6 June 2012, for the entirety of its duration. This will be the last time Venus will transit the Sun until 2117. In conjunction with the School of Physics, Faculty of Science and our sponsor Australia Telescopes, we will have several solar telescopes for observing, transit eye glasses and an internet stream of the transit as seen from other locations. We will also be collaborating with a group at Hong Kong Polytechnic to replicate James Cook's experiment, to find the distance from the Earth to the Sun using measurements of the transit. Dr.Karl Kruszelnicki and four researchers from the School of Physics, Profs. Tim Bedding, Iver Cairns and Mike Wheatland, and Dr. Paul Hancock, will be giving short talks throughout the day on the science of the Transit, exoplanets and sunspots.

VIEW THE FULL EVENT SCHEDULE HERE.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Measuring Empathy in Autism   View Summary
8 June 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on measuring empathy in autism at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Dr Sander Begeer, from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney.

Deficient empathic skills are a core diagnostic feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

However, the instruments for measuring empathy in normally intelligent individuals with ASD are limited.

Various new instruments and approaches will be discussed, that also highlight the need to specify the definition of empathy.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Life, Death and Work After Depression   View Summary
15 June 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on life, death and work after depression at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Professor Arnstein Mykletun, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The majority of people with anxiety and depression will never seek treatment. Thus, the prognosis of mainly untreated anxiety and depression has to be studied by following large cohorts.

Using epidemiological studies from Norway, results will be presented and discussed in a public health perspective on challenges for the organisation of treatment and prevention.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Abnormal Balance Between Learning Systems In Addiction   View Summary
22 June 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on abnormal balance between learning systems in addiction at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Presented by Dr Lee Hogarth, from UNSW.

Learning theory has articulated a standard model of motivated behaviour which provides a basis for understanding pathological learning in addiction. This model includes drug-seeking as reflected by the summation of three dissociable controllers, goal-directed drug-seeking, stimulus-elicited drug-seeking and habitual drug-seeking.

The talk will outline human procedures translated from animal behavioural neuroscience which isolate the contribution of these three controllers to drug-seeking, specifically, their differential roles in vulnerability to dependence, pharmacotherapy and loss of intentional regulation of behaviour.

July
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

2012 Agriculture Research Symposium: Soil Security   View Summary
17 July 2012

Throughout the epochs, civilisations that have failed to secure their soil have fallen by the wayside of history. With globalization securing soil is crucial for the whole of humanity's future wellbeing.

The 2012 Agriculture Research Symposium - jointly hosted this year by the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and the United States Studies Centre - will bring together experts from across the globe to discuss the different dimensions and approaches that must be considered in the development and establishment of international research and policy agreements on Soil Security.

The Symposium will investigate the Political, Economic, Social and Scientific dimensions with a line-up of local experts and a cross-section of international speakers including:

  • Professor Edward B Barbier - John S Bugas Professor of Economics, University of Wyoming, USA
  • Professor Johan Bouma - Emeritus Professor of Soil Science, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Professor Cornelia Flora - Charles F. Curtis Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, USA
  • Professor Rattan Lal - Distinguished Professor, School of Environment & Natural Resources, Ohio State University, USA

Hosted by Professor Mark Adams, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and Professor Robert Hill, Adjunct Professor in Sustainability from the United States Studies Centre, the 2012 Research Symposium is relevant to scientists, economists, industry, government and business

A coherent Soil Security strategy will maintain and improve the world's soil resources to ensure continuity of quality food, fibre and fresh water, making major contributions to energy and climate sustainability and maintaining biodiversity and the overall protection of ecosystem goods and services.

For more information please contact Jessica Morris - jessica.morris@sydney.edu.au or Jas Chambers - jas.chambers@sydney.edu.au

A public lecture on Soil Security will be hosted on Monday 16 July in the University's Great Hall, featuring international guests.

REGISTER HERE.

Sydney Science Forum - Sympathy for the Devil   View Summary
25 July 2012

Presented by Associate Professor Kathy Belov
ARC Future Fellow and Head of the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group, Faculty of Veterinary Science, the University of Sydney

Cancer is not normally contagious, however Australia's Tasmanian devil is facing extinction due to a new transmissible cancer: Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

The disease, which has no cure and has already decimated 80% of the Tasmanian devil population, has evolved due to a lack of genetic diversity amongst wild devil populations and is passed from devil to devil when they bite each other. The cancerous cells do not invoke an immune response and infected devils succumb to starvation within six months.

Join Associate Professor Katherine Belov as she discusses her fascinating and award winning genomics research and talks about preserving this unique species both in the wild as well as captivity.

Afterwards, meet and learn more about Australian marsupials and participate in activities and interactive demonstrations.

August
Exhibition - Coral: Art Science Life   View Summary
13 February 2012 to 31 August 2012

Fringing the Australian coastline is 50,000 square kilometres of living reefs - just under one fifth of the world's total reef area.

These densely populated habitats of tropical waters house about 25% of all ocean species. Despite their vital role in a healthy ocean 10% of the world's reefs have already been ecologically destroyed. It is estimated that half of the world's reefs will collapse by 2020. The bounty and beauty of these living structures and the fragility of their future was the impetus for an exhibition held in the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum in 2012, called Coral: art science life.

The exhibition explores reefs from a number of different perspectives. In Coral: art four artists exhibit works that explore our relationship with this fragile waterscape. In Coral: science the work of four University scientists demonstrates the importance of research for understanding the reefs and their future. In Coral: life two schools in the Torres Strait share their vision of living on the reefs of the Coral Sea.

The exhibition features displays on the University's research on coral reefs and highlight the diverse work of four researchers' to better understand and preserve Australia's evolving marine systems: geosciences senior lecturer Dr Jody Webster, Director of the University's One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef Dr Maria Byrne, Macleay Museum ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill, and marine biologist Dr Adrienne Grant. The Macleay Museum contains coral specimens collected as early as William John Macleay's 1875 expedition to New Guinea - remarkably early given it was only a few decades earlier that Charles Darwin had demonstrated how coral reefs were living entities rather than static stone structures as had been previously thought.

"Coral: Art Science Life examines the boundaries of our concern for the coral reefs and spongy life forms sustaining life on the Queensland and NSW coasts," says Macleay Museum senior curator Dr Jude Philp says. "It allows us to appreciate the richness, history and vulnerability of these treasured natural assets."

The exhibition runs at the Macleay Museum until 31 August.

Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm
The first Saturday of every month 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays

Sydney Science Forum - Gorgeous Geometry: Art, Optics & Butterflies   View Summary
15 August 2012

Presented by Associate Professor Leon Poladian
School of Mathematics and Statistics, the University of Sydney

Repeating patterns are very popular in art, from the lattice windows and mosaics of the famous Alhambra 14th Century Islamic palace in Spain to the mind-boggling designs of M. C. Escher. Repeating patterns also occur in nature and cause stunning iridescent colours such as those on peacocks, beetles and butterflies when these patterns are the same size as wavelengths of light. Evolution has produced the greatest complexity and diversity of optical phenomena caused by geometry.

Join Associate Professor Poladian on a gorgeous geometric journey from the mathematics of geometry in art to how geometry and optics combine to produce the amazing colours of butterflies.

SciNaPPS Seminar: The role of GLIA in the regulation of mood state and cognitive function   View Summary
31 August 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the role of GLIA in the regulation of mood state and cognitive function.

Presented by Dr Frederick Rohan Walker, from the University of Newcastle

ABSTRACT: Our research group has determined that chronic uncontrollable stress affects microglial activity within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and, that these alterations are meaningfully related to corresponding changes in PFC regulated cognitive function. Specifically, we have observed that chronic stress induced microglial alterations are positively correlated with increases in long-term neuronal activation. We have also determined that chronic stress impairs spatial working memory, a PFC dependent function, and that the putative anti-microglial activation drug minocycline improves this impairment. Chronic stress is unlikely to provoke changes in microglia via a classical inflammatory pathway as we could find no compelling evidence of increased pro-inflammatory cytokine release (IL-1ß) antigen presentation (MHC-II) or apoptosis (activated caspase-3). We have confirmed also that these changes are driven by stress induced disturbances in microglia-extracellular matrix interactions. Collectively, these results confirm that microglia play a significant role in mediating the effects of stress on the PFC and highlight a completely unexplored neurobiological mechanism through which they may accomplish this.

September
CANCELLED: SciNaPPS Seminar: Cortical demyelination in early multiple sclerosis   View Summary
7 September 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on cortical demyelination in early multiple sclerosis

Presented by Dr Reem F Bunyan, Neurosciences Centre, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

ABSTRACT: Cortical demyelination was previously studied in autopsies of patients with chronic multiple sclerosis. The clinical correlates of these lesions are progressive disability and cognitive impairment. Conventional neuroimaging studies do not typically show cortical plaques. New evidence from tissue obtained in brain biopsies shows that cortical demyelination is frequently found in early multiple sclerosis. Cortical lesions are often inflammatory in nature and associated with meningeal inflammation. The clinical correlates of early cortical demyelination need to be further studied.

Sydney Science Forum - Emotional Intelligence: Figuring Fact from Fad   View Summary
12 September 2012

Presented by Dr Carolyn MacCann
School of Psychology, the University of Sydney

The idea of 'emotional intelligence' took the world by storm in the mid-1990s. Everyone wanted to know their 'EQ' and was sure that it was much more important to success in life than IQ. Many professionals in human resources, education, clinical psychology and coaching began to believe that emotional skills and competencies, such as emotion management and understanding, were more important for high-level functioning than intelligence and personality. In the intervening years, scientists put these claims under the microscope to work out how important emotional intelligence is. Dr Carolyn MacCann will filter out facts from fads as she reviews the research on emotional intelligence. Does emotional intelligence exist? Can we measure it? Is it really as important to life success as the hype suggests? Find out the different ways that researchers conceptualise and measure emotional intelligence, as well as the usefulness of emotional intelligence in business, education and well-being.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Social anxiety in austism spectrum disorders: A new target for new treatments?   View Summary
12 September 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on social anxiety in austism spectrum disorders.

Presented by Stefano Pallanti, MD PhD Professor of Psychiatry, University of Florence (Italy) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York (USA)

ABSTRACT: Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by fearing of humiliation or embarrassment in social situations, leading to social withdrawal and isolation. Early age of onset increases the risk. There is substantial co- morbidity with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a disorder defined by qualitative impairment in reciprocal social development, coupled with deviant, delayed development and communication, and restricted behaviour and interests. Assessment of this overlap involves several issues, including hypervigilance-avoidance biases, gaze aversion, facial emotion recognition, social information apprehension and processing; all these functions can be assessed but also modulated with neurophysiology and might represent a target in both assessment and comprehensive care of ASD. Thus, investigation may prove important for treatment of anxious symptoms that coexists in ASD.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Clinical neurobiology of sleep apnea   View Summary
14 September 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the clinical neurobiology of sleep apnea

Presented by Ron Grunstein, Professor of Sleep Medicine, University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

ABSTRACT: Sleep apnea is a common disorder affecting 20% of older adults and very common in transport workers. In severe cases, there is marked sleep fragmentation with intermittent hypoxia and hypercapnia but there is marked disease heterogeneity in severity of symptoms/clinical findings that is often unrelated to severity of the sleep disorder. Treatment is essentially mechanical and in the case of nasal CPAP, treatment adherence can be measured very accurately. This allows close examination of dose/response relationships and placebo responses in neurobiological outcomes.

Natural Sciences Postgraduate Information Evening   View Summary
20 September 2012

The Natural Sciences Postgraduate Information Evening is designed to help you make the right choices for the next step in your education and career preparation. You will be able to speak with specialist advisors who will highlight all your options - options for Honours, Graduate Entry programs, Postgraduate Coursework, PhD and other research opportunities.

Staff from the Division of Natural Sciences will be on hand to answer your questions about postgraduate options in a range of areas.

Drinks and refreshments will be provided.

October
Recent progress in modelling past greenhouse climates and implications for the future   View Summary
12 October 2012

Presented by Professor Matthew Huber
Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, USA

Friday 12 October 2012, 3-4pm
Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre

Professor Huber is visiting Australia as a Distinguished Lecturer supported by the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium, and has been heavily involved in the forefront of research linking geoscience information on past climates with climate modeling for both the past and the future. His presentation should be of great interest to those interested in Earth and Climate Science.

Abstract
One of the main criticisms of model-derived predictions of future climate change is that these climate models have not been validated by comparing them with past, natural climate change. Nothing could be further from the truth. For over thirty years, the same kinds of models that are used for predicting future climate change have been applied to studying past climate changes and their predictions, as compared with the geological archives. From these geological archives we can derive qualitative and quantitative estimates of past climates, including their temperatures and rainfall amounts, and compare them with output from climate models. One consistent theme that has emerged from these comparisons is that models produce the right direction of change, i.e. a much cooler world during the Last Glacial Maximum and a much warmer world during the Eocene and Cretaceous 'greenhouse climates', but that the models tend to underestimate the climate extremes of these intervals. The fact that models tend to underestimate past climate changes implies that they are not sensitive enough to the different boundary conditions of those past worlds, which has interesting implications for our projections of the future.

In my talk I discuss these issues and present some recent progress in paleoclimate modelling in which we show that inclusion of a more complete representation of cloud and aerosol physics within climate models substantially improves the model's representation of the past. We also use these improved models to make inferences about the future.

Biographical overview

Research Interests Past, present and future climate, mechanisms that govern climate, and the different forms that climates can take on Earth and other planets.

Education Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz (Earth Sciences), 2001 M.S.,University of California Los Angeles (Atmospheric Sciences), 1997 B.A., University of Chicago (Geophysics Honors), 1994

Publications Matt Huber has published widely since he was working on his PhD, in highly-ranked journals. Since 2000 he has published 61 papers covering a broad range of issues, and making good use of his training in both Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Among the co-authored papers are five in Nature.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Self, Non-Self and Schizophrenia   View Summary
12 October 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on Self, Non-Self and Schizophrenia

Presented by Dr Thomas Whitford
School of Psychology, UNSW

ABSTRACT: Self-generated sensations typically feel less salient than externally-generated sensations, with tickling as a well-known example. An abnormality in this process of sensory self-suppression has been argued to underlie some of the most bizarre yet characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia, in which patients misattribute self-generated actions to external agents. The talk will start with a review of the evidence for sensory self- suppression from the animal and human literature. I will also present electrophysiological and Diffusion-Tensor Imaging data suggesting that schizophrenia patients may show conduction delays in the neural signals ("corollary discharges") that are normally involved in distinguishing between self-generated and externally-generated sensations.

Sydney Science Forum - Rewriting Himalayan History: Ancient Oceans on the Top of the World   View Summary
17 October 2012

Presented by Professor Jonathan Aitchison
School of Geosciences, the University of Sydney

The Himalayan mountains are the classic example of what happens when two continents collide. Geology textbooks will tell you that the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau collided 55 million years ago and produced the world's highest mountain system, including the world's highest peak - Mount Everest. However, Professor Jonathan Aitchison and his research team have spent the past 16 years working in Tibet and their data indicates India experienced multiple collisions as it travelled north, with the final collision between India and Asia occurring considerably later than originally thought. Find out about this developing story and how Professor Aitchison's discoveries may rewrite Himalayan history.

As the massive Himalayan mountain chain was thrust skywards it had a profound effect on global climate systems diverting atmospheric circulation patterns and leading to establishment of the Asian monsoonal weather pattern. So understanding the timing for initiation of the collision between India and Asia is of fundamental importance as it affects our understanding of the rates of numerous global processes. Join Professor Aitchison as he reveals his amazing geological discoveries and takes us on a journey to the top of the world.

CHAST Lecture: Beyond the Brain - memory in science and culture   View Summary
18 October 2012

Presented by CHAST - the Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology at the University of Sydney.

Human memory is subjective, neural, social, and technological. The study of remembering therefore requires the pooled resources and methods of many disciplines. Professor John Sutton develops an integrative approach to complex ecologies of memory which aims to span or dissolve the 'two cultures' divide. Describing recent research on how people remember shared experiences together, and on interactions between memory and movement skills, he argues that history and psychology are equally important in understanding how we make sense of our past.

Speaker biography:

John Sutton is Professor of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, where he was previously Head of the Department of Philosophy. He is author of Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to connectionism (Cambridge UP) and coeditor of the journal Memory Studies. His research draws on the methods and theories of the cognitive sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Current projects include work on perspective in memory and imagery, cognitive history, and embodied skill.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Rods, Tracks and Trains: Microglia in the diffuse-injured brain   View Summary
19 October 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on Rods, Track and Trains: Microglia in the diffuse-injured brain align and couple to influence circuit reorganization

Presented by Jonathan Lifshitz, PhD
Director, Translational Neurotrauma Research Program, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital

ABSTRACT: Brain microglia morphology mirrors their function, with ramified microglia surveying the micro-environment and rapidly activating upon injury. Notably, microglia with a rod-like morphology were documented a century ago, but their function remains enigmatic. We now have evidence for the time course, location, and surrounding architecture associated with rod microglia after experimental diffuse brain injury. Using Iba-1 immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate rod microglia in sensory cortex weeks post-injury, peaking in the first week post-injury. Rod microglia appear to elongate with processes extending from the polar ends of the soma. These cells then abut one another to form trains that lay adjacent to cytoarchitecture of dendrites and axons. Rod microglial differentially express some classical markers of reactive microglia (Ox6, CD68). The preferential location of rod microglia to somatosensory cortex suggests a role in late onset, sensory sensitivity.

November
4th IPOS Symposium: Low Frequency Photonics: Bridging the Gap   View Summary
5 November 2012 to 6 November 2012

This year's symposium, organised by the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS), will bring together researchers from Australia and around the world in the fields of photonics and optics. It will focus on the optical physics and technology, application and future directions in the mid-infrared, terahertz waves and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

A key goal of the symposium is to seek ways to "bridge the gap" between near infrared photonics and the optics at these longer wavelength regions critical to many existing and future applications.

Invited speakers include:

  • Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, will give the opening address.
  • Dan Mittleman, Rice University, USA, speaking on terahertz surface plasmons.
  • José Capmany, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain, speaking about integrated microwave photonics.
  • Roberto Morandotti, Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications, Canada, speaking nonlinear terahertz science.
  • Lorenzo Faraone, The University of Western Australia, speaking about multispectral infrared photodetectors.


EVENT DETAILS:
When: Monday, 5 & Tuesday, 6 November 2012, Registration from 9am
Where: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre (Level 1), Eastern Avenue Complex, University of Sydney
Cost: FREE, but REGISTRATION is essential

CHAST Templeton Lecture   View Summary
8 November 2012

The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics: From Einstein's Critique to Quantum Communication and Quantum Computation

Presented by Anton Zeilinger, from the University of Vienna and Austrian Academy of Sciences.

In his criticism of quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein focused in the physics of individual quantum systems. For example he criticised the inherent randomness of individual events ("God does not play dice") or quantum entanglement of particle pairs as "spooky". He specifically stressed the difficulties of defining an observation-independent reality. In his criticism, he turned out to be not correct.

Beginning in the 1970s experiments initially realising early gedanken experiments led to a plethora of new phenomena. Surprisingly, these experiments opened up the new field of quantum computation and quantum communication.

The talk will focus on recent experiments. Also, a few examples will be given of how those fundamental points which Einstein criticised have become cornerstones of quantum communication, quantum teleportation, and quantum computation. A most interesting result in quantum computation is blind quantum computation, which enables absolute security in a future quantum internet.

Finally, the status of the fundamental questions today will be reviewed and possible future developments will be discussed.

Speaker Biography:

Anton Zeilinger is currently Director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Vienna.

Professor Zeilinger is best known for his work on the foundations of quantum mechanics and their applications in quantum information technology, such as quantum computation and cryptography. He has been a pioneer in the areas of entanglement and more recently quantum interference for macroscopic molecules. His work on the teleportation of quantum information over increasingly large distances has been widely covered in the mainstream press. In 2005 The New Statesman named Zeilinger (along with Barack Obama) as one of the ten people who could change the world.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 Wolf Prize in Physics, the Inaugural Isaac Newton Medal from the Institute of Physics (UK, 2008) and the King Faisal Prize (2005).

Open to all. No booking necessary. Free admission.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Seven Years of Alzheimer's Research   View Summary
9 November 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on Seven Years of Alzheimer's Research

Presented by Professor Jurgen Gotz
Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CADR), Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), The University of Queensland

ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an incurable disease that affects a growing ageing population. Recent clinical strategies include vaccinations and the modulation of the formation, aggregation and clearance of proteins such as Aβ and tau both of which form insoluble deposits. I will discuss how we employed transgenic mouse models to identify underlying pathomechanisms and develop tailored treatment strategies. I will present data that identifies mitochondrial dysfunction as a key mechanism in neurodegeneration.

Recent publications: Neuron 75: 618 (2012); Aging Cell 11: 360 (2012); Nature Reviews Neurosci 12: 65 (2011); Cell 142: 387 (2010); PNAS 107: 13888 (2010); PNAS 106: 20057 (2009); Nature Rev Neurosci 9: 532 (2008); PNAS 105: 15997 (2008); PNAS 104: 19232 (2007)

Schrodinger's Machines: A research forum on engineered quantum systems   View Summary
9 November 2012

Quantum mechanics has captured our imagination more than any other physics theory because of the intrinsic strangeness of many of its principles. Physicists are opening a door between our world and that of the quantum with experiments that "coherently" manipulate individual quantum systems and harness their entanglement. But how can we harness the most exotic phenomena in the quantum world to enable fundamentally new quantum technologies?

This event is open to all students and staff in the Faculty of Science. Research students (PhD and Honours) from all fields are particularly encouraged to attend. A moderated discussion will follow each presentation.

FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2012
10.00am - 12.30pm
Slade Lecture Theatre, School of Physics

PROFESSOR GERARD MILBURN
The University of Queensland

10.15am - 11.00am

Prof Gerard Milburn is a theoretical physicist and director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems. He has worked in the fields of quantum optics, quantum measurement and stochastic processes, atom optics, quantum chaos, mesoscopic electronics, quantum information and quantum computation, and most recently in quantum nanomechanics and superconducting circuit QED. He has also written several non-technical books on quantum technologies and quantum computing.

PROFESSOR ANTON ZEILINGER
The University of Vienna

11.30am - 12.15pm

Prof Anton Zeilinger is an experimental physicist who explores the fascinating properties of quantum physics using entangled photons and beyond. He performed many experiments with entangled photons including tests of quantum nonlocality, quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography, all-optical one-way quantum computation and a number of quantum gates. In single-particle interference, he has performed a number of experiments in atom interferometry and pioneered quantum interference of large molecules, like C60 and C70.

No RSVP required.

Morning tea will be served between presentations.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Positive Computing: How can technology support wellbeing?   View Summary
16 November 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on Positive Computing: How can technology support wellbeing?

Presented by A/Prof Rafael A. Calvo
School of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of Sydney

ABSTRACT: As computers are gradually embedded into all the life experiences that shape us, isn't it our responsibility to expect more from the way they impact our lives? This seminar will present an interdisciplinary approach to developing technology that positively influences wellbeing, in its broader sense. Our work includes new forms of e-therapy interventions as well as strategies for including wellbeing considerations into the design of all software applications. I will cover new evidence of the multiple ways in which technology is changing the way we feel, think and behave. The literature on wellbeing coming from psychologists and educational researchers is then used to describe a framework for developing digital experiences that support wellbeing.

2012 Liversidge Lecture: Low Carbon Technologies: From Brown Coal and Biomass to Solar Hydrogen   View Summary
19 November 2012

Never has the need for low carbon technologies so pressing and research into lowering CO2 emissions associated with power generation, fuels and chemicals production been more important.

Dr. Thomas Maschmeyer, is Professor of Chemistry and ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney and serves as Director of the Laboratory of Advanced Catalysis for Sustainability. Dr Maschmeyer is one of the leaders in the global race to develop such technologies, which are based not only on a range of readily available and renewable biomass or solar energy, but also on huge efficiency improvements in the use of fossil-based inputs.

Tonight Dr Maschmeyer will discuss three innovative approaches to improving carbon utilisation:

  • Converting low energy brown coal (lignite) into useful, efficient, high energy oils, chemicals and black coal
  • Converting pulp, paper waste or macro-algae into chemicals and oils suitable for conventional petrochemical operations
  • Engineering nanoparticle surfaces that can facilitate solar powered creation of hydrogen from waste water

Find out how cutting edge research might provide solutions and alternatives to future resource security concerns and greenhouse gas emissions as well as the political and economical ramifications of the continuing reduction in Australian refining and chemicals processing capacity.

SciNaPPS Seminar: Innate Immune Activation in Spinal Cord Injury   View Summary
23 November 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on Innate Immune Activation in Spinal Cord Injury: Role of complement anaphylatoxin receptors in the pathology associated with spinal cord injury.

Presented by Dr Marc Ruitenberg
School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland

ABSTRACT: Inflammation following spinal cord injury (SCI) causes secondary pathology in neural tissue that was originally spared, thereby worsening recovery. With no effective anti-inflammatory treatments available, a better understanding of the key cellular and molecular mediators of this inflammatory pathology is critical for the development of new therapies. We have used genetic and pharmacological approaches to study the role of complement anaphylatoxin receptors, C3aR and C5aR, in the pathology associated with SCI. Our findings reveal an unexpected anti-inflammatory role for C3aR whereas C5aR was found to serve a dual role, with signaling through this receptor being injurious early after injury but neuroprotective in the post-acute phase. Based on these findings, we propose acute C5aR antagonism as a therapeutic option to dampen the inflammatory response to SCI and improve recovery.

December
SciNaPPS Seminar: Development and function of the hypothalamus   View Summary
7 December 2012

SciNaPPS - Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry/Psychology Seminars - presents this free seminar on the development and function of the hypothalamus

Presented by Associate Professor Gil Levkowitz
Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

ABSTRACT: We utilize zebrafish as a vertebrate model organism to study the development and function of the various neurons that make up the hypothalamus. Our main goals are to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying
1) hypothalamic specification, morphogenesis and circuit formation during development
2) hypothalamic control of body homeostasis in the mature brain.
Specifically, we characterize the exact neuroanatomical structure of hypothalamic neurons in the zebrafish brain and identify factors regulating the specification and connectivity of select hypothalamic cell populations. In parallel, we are investigating the role of activity- dependent hypothalamic gene regulation in mediating responses to homeostatic challenges. These wide- ranging findings have advanced understanding of the embryonic development, neuropeptides biology and molecular physiology of the vertebrate hypothalamus.