Traffic matrices for more reliable digital networks

We’ve all cursed an ineffective digital network, whether it’s delays streaming the latest Game of Thrones or a dangerous mobile phone overload during bushfire season. But no-one wants to pay extra for an over-engineered network. The secret to designing and testing a digital network to find the happy medium is a mathematical tool called a traffic matrix: a model of all the digital traffic within the network. Continue reading Traffic matrices for more reliable digital networks

Seeing through bushfire smoke

Cool thinking by an Australian defence scientist while a bushfire bore down on his family home provided first responders with clearer satellite images of the blaze, and likely prevented further devastation.
Launching WorldView 3 satellite that carries a Short Wave Infra-Red sensor. Credit: Lockheed Martin
Launching WorldView 3 satellite that carries a Short Wave Infra-Red sensor. Credit: Lockheed Martin
The Sampson Flat bushfires in South Australia claimed the lives of around 900 animals, destroying 27 houses along with other property in January 2015. Chris Ekins evacuated his family, but while preparing to protect their home he heard on local ABC radio that aircraft were having difficulty seeing through the smoke. Continue reading Seeing through bushfire smoke

Maths to answer big questions (it’s not always 42)

Many of today’s big questions can only be answered with new mathematical and statistical tools. That’s what the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers are working on, and they’re finding real-world applications in areas as diverse as: Continue reading Maths to answer big questions (it’s not always 42)

Unboiling an egg

Scientists in Australia and California have worked out how to unboil an egg. It may sound like an odd discovery, but it’s changed the way scientists think about manipulating proteins, an industry worth AU$160 billion per year. Flinders University Professor Colin Raston and his team have developed Vortex Fluid Technology – using mechanical energy, or spinning, to reverse the effects of thermal energy, or boiling. Continue reading Unboiling an egg

Not to be sniffed at! Nose spray offers pain relief in childbirth

Pain relief during childbirth may soon be delivered via a self-administered nasal spray, thanks to research from University of South Australia midwifery researcher, Dr Julie Fleet. Well known for its use in delivering pain relief to children and in managing pain in patients being transferred by ambulance, the nasal spray analgesic drug, fentanyl, has now been shown to be effective in relieving labour pain.
Julie Fleet, University of South Australia)
Julie Fleet, University of South Australia
In fact Julie and her colleagues at Flinders University and the University of Adelaide have found that fentanyl nose spray is just as effective as pethidine injections, which are commonly used, but fentanyl has fewer side effects for both mother and baby. Continue reading Not to be sniffed at! Nose spray offers pain relief in childbirth

Predicting change, brains, trains and mental health

State Awards

“Trait-based ecology” enables Macquarie University’s Mark Westoby to explain patterns of species occurrence and abundance and to understand the impacts of climate change and changing patterns of land use. He received the $55,000 NSW Scientist of the Year. Nanocapsules for drugs delivery: Frank Caruso is making miniature capsules that could better deliver drugs for cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular diseases. He won one of the 2014 Victoria Prizes for Science & Innovation worth $50,000. Continue reading Predicting change, brains, trains and mental health

Using Japanese to inspire students

Many teachers struggle to make science fun for their students. For a Canberra teacher, this means creating an environment where every student can see the impact of science in daily life. And an Adelaide teacher is keeping kids engaged by teaching science in Japanese.

Brian Schiller says “students can play and create, and relate their learning to the world around them”. Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear
Brian Schiller says “students can play and create, and relate their learning to the world around them”. Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear
Geoff McNamara from Melrose High School in Canberra has created a hothouse of science learning—complete with a seismometer, GPS antenna and weather station, each transmitting real-time data straight into the classroom. "We all need science literacy to navigate the complexity of the modern world," says Geoff. So he reaches out to each student's interests— from genetics to driving to cosmology— to demonstrate the inevitable relevance of science. Continue reading Using Japanese to inspire students