Fresh Science helps Australian early-career researchers find their story and their voice.
Over the past 20 years Fresh Science has trained and empowered more than 500 future leaders in science to engage with the community, media, government and industry.
In 2016, we chose 60 researchers around the country, trained them, and gave them the chance to present their science in pubs, school talks and to the media. Here are a few of their stories.
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Heading into deep water
Perth researchers help Chevron keep oil and gas flowing smoothly
Out in the Gulf of Mexico Chevron are operating a $7.5 billion platform that’s recovering oil and gas from two-kilometre-deep ocean.
It’s the largest and deepest operation in the Gulf, with over 146km of pipeline bringing oil and gas to refineries.
But pipelines operating at extreme depths in cold water and crushing pressure are prone to blockage. University of Western Australia researchers are helping Chevron keep oil and gas flowing through deep-water pipes.
Continue reading From the ocean floor to batteries—partners in energy
High-power lasers have many potential applications: from medical imaging to manufacturing, shooting down drones or space junk, or powering deep space probes. But current laser technologies overheat at high power.
Associate Professor Rich Mildren and his team have developed a technique to make diamond lasers that, in theory, have extraordinary power range. Five years ago, their lasers were just a few watts in power. Now they’ve reached 400 watts, close to the limit for comparable conventional lasers.
Continue reading Reinventing the laser
American mines are safer and more efficient thanks to Australian technologies
‘Blood tests’ for big machines
Mining companies across America are increasing the reliability of their trucks, diggers, and other big machines, and saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
They’re giving these big machines regular health tests and comparing the results with a global database for that machine.
The result? They’re fixing machines before they break. This preventative health system was developed by an Australian company, Dingo, which now has 40 people working at its bases in Denver, Brisbane, and Calgary.
Continue reading Healthier trucks and clean air underground—partners in mining technologies
Australian and American researchers and businesses are partnering to bring new manufacturing technologies to market
Paint fit for a Dreamliner
Next time you board a new Boeing Dreamliner, take note of its Australian paint.
Developed by researchers at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, ‘Paintbond’ has now been adopted across the entire Boeing aircraft fleet, and more than 1,000 aircraft have been re-coated using the technology so far.
Why is it better? The new spray-on topcoat paint technology saves time, reduces the impact on the environment, and is safer to use.
Continue reading Cars, planes…partners in advanced manufacturing
Assessing ageing bridges just got safer and easier, thanks to a high-tech radar device that fits inside a suitcase.
Developed by Dr Lihai Zhang of The University of Melbourne as part of a collaborative research project supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, the IBIS-S radar technology can scan a bridge in 15 minutes from a kilometre away, quickly assessing its condition and stability.
Continue reading Radar-in-a-suitcase making bridges safer
The idea behind quantum computing has been around for almost half a century, but getting to a point where quantum effects can be created experimentally has taken a long time.
Now that materials physics and photonics have caught up, the race is on to devise and construct a quantum device that can out-compute today’s solid-state silicon supercomputers.
And Swinburne is leading the way with the use of photons.
Continue reading Quantum computers with photons
Macquarie University researchers discovered that most sharks are colour blind, and used that knowledge to create patented wetsuit camouflage designs that are now on the market. Now the team is looking at how sharks perceive surfboards.
Associate Professor Nathan Hart, his students and collaborators are taking a new look at the sensory world of sharks. Using a range of physiological, genetic and behavioural methods, they have obtained the clearest view yet of how sharks, including notorious predators such the great white shark, see the world around them.
Continue reading Protecting surfers from shark attacks
A hidden reef exists behind the Great Barrier Reef—but it’s three times bigger than previously thought, constructed by algae, and made up of doughnut-shaped mounds.
Uncovering the true scale of the 6,000 km2 structure was made possible by airborne laser mapping technology LiDAR, provided by the Royal Australian Navy.
It has implications for the Great Barrier Reef’s habitat mapping and conservation zoning, as well as providing possible insights into past climates.
Continue reading The hidden reef made of giant algae doughnuts
Plants need water, but if that water also comes with a hefty dose of salt it can kill the plant. But the ice plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, has a clever way of storing salt in special cells, allowing it to thrive in saline coastal areas.
Continue reading How the ice plant thrives in high-salt areas