New report shows universities crucial to ACT economy

A new report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by The Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Canberra (UC), found the two leading institutions contributed more than $1.7 billion of activity to the ACT economy. The report underlines Canberra’s strength as a university town and demonstrates the importance of the higher education sector to …

Orion Test Flight a Critical Step on NASA’s Journey to Mars

America embarks on a long-lasting trip to Mars this Thursday. Orion’s maiden flight, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), slated to test spacecraft’s crucial systems is a critical first step on our journey to destinations beyond Earth never before visited by humans, like asteroids and Mars. “Everyone is very excited about this mission,” Stephanie Schierholz, NASA spokesperson …

Scientists confirm new bird species in Indonesia

Scientists have confirmed a new bird species found in the tropical rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii) lives in the forest canopy of the rugged hills of Sulawesi, and has heavily streaked underparts and relatively short wings. Ding Li Yong, a PhD student at the Fenner School of …

Weekly Science Picks

It’s Sunday… Hurray! It’s our time to review what have happened during the last 7 days. This time we bring you the most exciting stories from biology, nature and wildlife. So, let’s start our tour! Grey seals identified as killers behind mystery harbour porpoise deaths Using DNA analysis of the the bite wounds, a Dutch …

Australia’s biosecurity may be shocked

A human disease pandemic, European honey bee colonies wiped out and an invasion of a devastating wheat disease are just three potential biosecurity threats facing Australia, according to a report released this week. These three events alone could devastate Australia’s agricultural industries, economy and environment, and could severely alter our way of life. But, how …

Weekly Science Picks

Here we are at the end of one more exciting and fascinating week. It’s our time to summarise what have happened during the previous 7 days. The focus of today’s editor’s selection would be on psychology, neuropsychological and medical research. So, let’s start our journey! Psychology: How many senses do we have? We often talk …

Finding new ways to make drugs

Chemists have developed a revolutionary new way to manufacture natural chemicals and used it to assemble a scarce anti-inflammatory drug with potential to treat cancer and malaria. The breakthrough could lead to new and cheaper ways to produce rare drugs in large quantities. “We took small molecules and clipped them together like Lego,” said lead …

Spiral laser beam creates quantum whirlpool

Physicists at ANU have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons. “Creating circulating currents of polaritons – vortices – and controlling them has been a long-standing challenge,” said leader of the team, theoretician Dr Elena Ostrovskaya, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering …

Ocean primed for more El Niño

The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Niño weather events, a new study has shown. A team of US, Australian, and Canadian researchers sampled corals from a remote island in Kiribati to build a 60-year record of ocean surface temperature and salinity. “The trend is unmistakeable, the ocean’s primed …