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.

Continue reading Australia’s place in the nanotechnology race

Representing traditional ecological knowledge in northern Australia

Nauiyu community leader Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart, CSIRO’s Emma Woodward and Molly Yawulminy with the Ngan’gi calendar. Credit: Michael Douglas, TRaCK
Nauiyu community leader Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart, CSIRO’s Emma Woodward and Molly Yawulminy with the Ngan’gi calendar. Credit: Michael Douglas, TRaCK

Traditional knowledge can tell us much about the ecology of northern Australia.

The Nauiyu community from Daly River in the Northern Territory have worked with CSIRO’s Emma Woodward to create a seasonal calendar.

Continue reading Representing traditional ecological knowledge in northern Australia

Understanding how Indigenous people value rivers

Long-necked turtles are a favoured food source for Aboriginal people in northern Australia’s Daly River region. Credit: CSIRO Darwin
Long-necked turtles are a favoured food source for Aboriginal people in northern Australia’s Daly River region. Credit: CSIRO Darwin

Indigenous people value rivers in many ways. Rivers provide bush foods and medicines, they are part of a culturally significant landscape, and have the potential to sustain future water-related businesses and employment.

So it’s important to know what impact changing river flow patterns and water allocations could have on Indigenous communities.

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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.

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

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.

Continue reading PM’s Prize winner working on astronomy pathfinder

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.

Continue reading How astronomy freed the computer from its chains

School girls join study to understand black holes and the birth of stars

Black holes are some of the most bizarre objects in the universe. They can have as much mass as a billion stars combined. How did they form and how did they get so big?

Ilana Feain, Photo credit: SDP Photo, Tim Morison
Ilana Feain, Photo credit: SDP Photo, Tim Morison

“What are they doing to the galaxies in which they live?” asks Dr Ilana Feain of the CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility.

This is one of the biggest questions facing astronomers in the 21st Century. The 29-year-old astronomer will use her L’ORÉAL Australia For Women In Science Fellowship in her quest for an answer to this question.

And she is enlisting two Australian girls’ schools to contribute to a 24/7 program to observe a ‘nanoquasar’ and its associated black hole some billion billion kilometres from Earth. Continue reading School girls join study to understand black holes and the birth of stars