L’Oréal Fellow looking for dark energy

Tamara Davis is looking for dark energy. Credit: timothyburgess.net
Tamara Davis is looking for dark energy. Credit: timothyburgess.net

In 1998 astronomers made an astonishing discovery—the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. The discovery required a complete rethink of the standard model used to explain how the Universe works.

“Now we know that stars, planets, galaxies and all that we can see make up just four per cent of the Universe,” says Dr Tamara Davis, a University of Queensland astrophysicist.

“About 23 per cent is dark matter. The balance is thought to be dark energy, which we know very little about.”

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Nano-magnets to guide drugs to their target

Nano-cricket balls of silver precisely engineered with defect using spinning disc processing.
Nano-cricket balls of silver precisely engineered with defect using spinning disc processing.

Microscopic magnets ferrying drugs through the bloodstream directly to diseased tissue are a new ‘green chemistry’ product which will improve health and the environment.

A team led by Prof. Colin Raston, of the University of Western Australia fabricated the nano ‘bullets’ which can be directed by an external magnetic field to specific parts of the body. The new technology will enable doctors to send the drugs directly to the disease site, leaving healthy tissue intact and minimising toxic side-effects.

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Australia’s place in the nanotechnology race

CSIRO_CliveD_GloveboxCSIRO researchers are applying nanotechnology to drug delivery, medical body imaging, nerve repair, smart textiles and clothing, medical devices, plastic solar cells (see From plastic money to plastic electricity) and much more.

“Nanotechnology is not an industry—it is an enabling technology,” says Clive Davenport, leader of CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship.

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MCEC hosts the world’s synchrotron scientists

Synchrotron scientists at the ‘6 Star Green Star’-rated Melbourne Convention Centre.
Synchrotron scientists at the ‘6 Star Green Star’-rated Melbourne Convention Centre.

Hundreds of the world’s leading synchrotron scientists descended on Melbourne in September when the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre hosted the 10th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation and Instrumentation 2009 (SRI2009).

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Rapid expansion in NZ and WA astronomy

Teams from Australia, India and North America are collaborating to creat the Murchison Widefield Array Radio Telescope. Credit: David Herne, ICRAR
Teams from Australia, India and North America are collaborating to create the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. Credit: David Herne, ICRAR

Western Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is only three months old but is rapidly expanding—much like the early Universe. ICRAR’s scientists have ambitious projects ahead contributing to global science and engineering through the SKA.

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Australia and New Zealand—the home of next-generation radio astronomy?

Artist's impression of the Australian SKA Pathfinder currently being built in outback Western Australia. Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions/CSIRO
Artist’s impression of the Australian SKA Pathfinder currently being built in outback Western Australia. Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions/CSIRO

Imagine a telescope so revolutionary that in one week it will gather more information than that contained in all the words spoken in human history.

The Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope and will dramatically increase mankind’s understanding of the universe.

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PM’s Prize winner working on astronomy pathfinder

John O’Sullivan with a prototype of the revolutionary phased array feed for the ASKAP. Credit: Chris Walsh, Patrick Jones Photo Studio
John O’Sullivan with a prototype of the revolutionary phased array feed for the ASKAP. Credit: Chris Walsh, Patrick Jones Photo Studio

CSIRO’s Dr John O’Sullivan, winner of the 2009 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, is now working on the next generation of radio telescopes.

John’s latest efforts are directed towards the development of an innovative radio camera or ‘phased array feed’ with a uniquely wide field-of-view for the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.

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Supercomputer to test nanoparticles before we make them

Playing with virtual gold nanoparticles. Credit: Amanda Barnard, CSIRO
Playing with virtual gold nanoparticles. Credit: Amanda Barnard, CSIRO

Every new technology brings opportunities and threats. Nanotechnology is no exception. It has the potential to create new materials that will dramatically improve drug delivery, medical diagnostics, clean and efficient energy, computing and more. But nanoparticles could also have significant health and environmental impacts.

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How astronomy freed the computer from its chains

John O’Sullivan’s search for exploding black holes led to fast, reliable Wi-Fi. Credit: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
John O’Sullivan’s search for exploding black holes led to fast, reliable Wi-Fi. Credit: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

When you use a Wi-Fi network—at home, in the office or at the airport—you are using patented technology born of Australian astronomy.

Australia’s CSIRO created a technology that made the wireless LAN fast and robust. And their solution grew out of 50 years of radio astronomy and one man’s efforts to hear the faint radio whispers of exploding black holes.

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Measuring mercury with a Midas touch

Nano-gold spikes magnified 200,000 times. Credit: RMIT
Nano-gold spikes magnified 200,000 times. Credit: RMIT

RMIT University researchers have used nanotechnology to create a pioneering sensor that can precisely measure one of the world’s most poisonous substances—mercury.

The mercury sensor developed by RMIT’s Industrial Chemistry Group uses tiny flecks of gold that are nano-engineered to make them irresistible to mercury molecules.

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