Stories of French-Australian Innovation

Changing lives together: from water to astronomy to cancer, this collection showcases outstanding collaborations between French and Australian researchers.

Scientific collaboration between Australia and France stretches back to the early days of European settlement, when La Pérouse built an observatory at Botany Bay in 1788.

Continue reading Stories of French-Australian Innovation

Honey for your wounds?

The benefits of using medical-grade honey to treat and prevent infection in wounds has been confirmed by Sydney researchers.

Dr Nural Cokcetin tested more than 600 Australian honey samples and documented the antibacterial activity, which strongly corresponds to the levels of methylglyoxal (MGO), one of honey’s most active ingredients.

Continue reading Honey for your wounds?

The hidden infection causing infertility

One in five cases of infertility are caused by scars due to past infections with chlamydia, but in most cases people don’t know they were ever infected.

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have discovered that a specific set of our genes switch on within half an hour of infection, which could lead to new treatments.  

Continue reading The hidden infection causing infertility

Signs of the dietary environment

School-aged children are surrounded by messages about food and nutrition, from shop signs to brand advertising. Linguists from Indonesia and Australia have developed a new way of studying how this affects them, using smartphones and clever analysis.

In a project financed by The Australia-Indonesia Centre and led by Dr Sisilia Halimi of Universitas Indonesia and Professor Lesley Harbon of the University of Technology Sydney, researchers used their phones to take pictures of the ‘linguistic landscape’ around schools and their surrounds, in fact anywhere written text was evident.

Continue reading Signs of the dietary environment

Tracking dust

Statisticians have revealed the surprising source of dust that plagues townships beside a Hunter Valley rail line delivering coal to Newcastle’s busy port.

Airborne dust increases as trains pass. But it wasn’t clear exactly how—for example, whether the dust was escaping uncovered coal wagons or coming from the diesel engines pulling the wagons. The answer was surprising.

Mathematicians from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers correlated air-pollution data against information on passing trains and weather conditions.

Continue reading Tracking dust

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)

Australia’s SKA demonstrator already booked out

The sky's no limit with ASKAP
THE FIRST ASKAP DISH BEING ERECTED IN FEBRUARY 2010. CREDIT: DAVE DEBOER, CSIRO

It’s not due to begin operating until 2013, but astronomers from around the world are already lining up to use CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). In fact, the first five years of ASKAP’s operation are already booked out, with ten major international Survey Science projects looking for pulsars, measuring cosmic magnetic fields, studying millions of galaxies, and more. Continue reading Australia’s SKA demonstrator already booked out

Galactic archaeology— digging into the Milky Way’s past

ASTRONOMERS ARE HUNTING ‘FOSSIL’ STARS FROM GALAXIES DEVOURED BY THE MILKY WAY CREDIT: HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (AURA/STSCI/NASA/ESA)
ASTRONOMERS ARE HUNTING ‘FOSSIL’ STARS FROM GALAXIES DEVOURED BY THE MILKY WAY CREDIT: HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (AURA/STSCI/NASA/ESA)

Ken Freeman is hunting for fossils. But he’s not looking for old bones—he’s exploring the very origin and history of our Milky Way galaxy.

Conventional theory says that our galaxy grew big by engulfing smaller ones. If this is correct, stars from the original galaxies should be still identifiable within the main mass of stars via several tell-tale signs, from unusual velocities to spectral types. These stellar fossils would point to the galaxy’s birth and growth. Continue reading Galactic archaeology— digging into the Milky Way’s past

Nurturing super astronomers at home

SUPER SCIENCE FELLOW DR JAMES ALLISON AT NARRABRI DURING AN OBSERVING RUN AT THE AUSTRALIA TELESCOPE COMPACT ARRAY. CREDIT: ANANT TANNA.
SUPER SCIENCE FELLOW DR JAMES ALLISON AT NARRABRI DURING AN OBSERVING RUN AT THE AUSTRALIA TELESCOPE COMPACT ARRAY. CREDIT: ANANT TANNA.

Advanced telescopes need advanced astronomers to run them. Australia is matching the millions of dollars it is investing in new telescope technology with funds to help train the rising stars of Australian astronomy.

“We’ve had big investments in infrastructure, and now we need young scientists with the expertise to use them,” says Elaine Sadler, professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney and chair of the National Committee for Astronomy.

One new tranche of research funding for early career astronomers comes in the form of three-year Super Science Fellowships from the Commonwealth Government. In 2011, 14 young astronomers became Super Science Fellows, joining the 17 who started work in 2010. All up, astronomy will receive one-third of the Federal Government’s $27 million commitment to the Fellowships program. Continue reading Nurturing super astronomers at home