Stories of Australian Science 2012

2012-thumb We’ve put together this collection of Australian science stories to give journalists and others around the world a taste of the breadth and depth of research activity in Australia.

You’ll read about uniquely Australian work: a new form of chlorophyll found at Western Australia’s Shark Bay; the immune tricks of wallabies; protecting lives and buildings from bushfires; and the role of synchrotron light in making great Australian wines.

This year, as we reviewed the collection, we realised that there was a strong physical sciences theme. That wasn’t deliberate. But it’s been a good time for the physical sciences in Australia. The nation will share constructing the world’s largest radio telescope with South Africa. A precursor, the SKA Pathfinder telescope, is already booked out for the next five years. And Australia’s high energy physicists shared in the announcement of the Higgs boson in July this year

The renaissance in the physical sciences in Australia also reflects the growing convergence of the physical and life sciences

The Australian Synchrotron, for example, has been a boon for life scientists. They’ve been queuing up for access to its powerful beams. And a dedicated life sciences supercomputer has been contributing to cancer genetics. These are just two of a series of substantial infrastructure investments that have underpinned Australian science recently.

Billions of dollars have been invested by the Federal government over the past decade. Now those investments are bearing fruit. In these pages you’ll read how non-scientists are turning their ideas into reality thanks to a national fabrication facility; and how shared data is fast-tracking discoveries in astronomy, and giving the public access to 18 million observations of Australia’s flora and fauna.

We also present the winners of some of Australia’s leading science prizes.

Please feel free to use the stories for your own social media, website, or publications. Everything is available for reuse under a Creative Commons licence.

Browse the collection

You can browse this year’s collection at

Or use the menus on the left to search all our stories by field or science, organisation or State.

The full publication is also available as a PDF and in print. If you’d like us to send you some copies please email


Hidden art brought to light


The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Neutrons revealing new battery technology and stopping train derailments

A new era for Australian astronomy

The smallest devices transform science and art

Bionics: from hearing to sight to calming an epileptic storm

Bushfire shelters, an anti-bingle radar, and printable solar cells

New materials for clean energy and more efficient oils, and more

Something borrowed, something new

Looking into our cells

For Women in Science

 Light fast-tracking Australian science

The Higgs and high energy physics down under

Better data, better research

Making use of our energy

Hundreds of Aussie science achievements that you can share in speeches, posts and publications