2010

New genus of bugs discovered at WA alumina refinery

Previously unknown species of naturally-occurring bacteria have the potential to save the alumina and aluminium industries millions of dollars while helping to reduce their impact on the environment, microbiologist Naomi McSweeney has found in a collaborative project between Alcoa of Australia, CSIRO and the University of Western Australia. [click to continue…]

…by putting the squeeze on mining waste

You may not be able to squeeze blood out of a stone but, by applying the right amount of ultrasound during processing, Jianhua (Jason) Du and colleagues from the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) have been able to squeeze a considerable amount of fresh water from mining waste. [click to continue…]

Australian researchers have invented a new clock that will bring atomic accuracy to your desk.

Skype, online games, air traffic control, smart energy grids – all rely on accurate timing across the internet. But our present computers aren’t accurate enough. They can synchronise with an atomic clock over the internet. But even tiny delays across the network introduce errors – your video conversation gets out of sync, you lose your online game, or the electricity grid wastes power. [click to continue…]

Patented South Australian technology

South Australian researchers have invented and patented a new technology for delivering cosmetics and drugs to the skin.They are using nanoparticles of silica (essentially sand) to create longer lasting cosmetics and creams that control the delivery of drugs through the skin.

They already have a family of international patents on their technology, and are now actively looking for commercial partners to get their invention out of the lab and on to your skin.

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Imagine printing your own room lighting, lasers, or solar cells from inks you buy at the local newsagent. Jacek Jasieniak and his colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua in Italy, have moved a step closer to such a future, by developing liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print devices.

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A compound produced by a pregnant lizard may provide important information on the origins and treatment of cancer in humans, according to zoologist Bridget Murphy from the University of Sydney, who discovered the protein, which is pivotal to the development of the lizard placenta.

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Cling wrap captures CO2

15 June 2010

in 2010

High tech cling wraps that ‘sieve out’ carbon dioxide from waste gases can help save the world, says Melbourne University chemical engineer, Colin Scholes who developed the technology.

The membranes can be fitted to existing chimneys where they capture CO2 for removal and storage. They are already being tested on brown coal power stations in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley, Colin says. His work is being presented for the first time in public through Fresh Science, a communication boot camp for early career scientists held at the Melbourne Museum. Colin was one of 16 winners from across Australia. [click to continue…]

A shoulder-joint implant, with the ball and socket on the opposite bones from nature, can significantly improve the quality of life of patients with severe arthritis and tendon tears, says medical engineer David Ackland from the University of Melbourne.

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Feeding weeds fertiliser sounds like exactly the wrong thing, if you want to get rid of them, but Jennifer Firn of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems has been doing just that—to control African lovegrass, an invasive species of rangelands in every Australian state.

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A young Monash University chemist and her colleagues have successfully strengthened insulin’s chemical structure without affecting its activity. Their new insulin won’t require refrigeration.

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A young UNSW researcher has created conductive bioplastics which will transform the performance of bionic devices such as the cochlear ear and the proposed bionic eye. [click to continue…]

A biotechnologist from the South Australian Research and Development Institute has taken using “everything but the pig’s squeal” to new lengths. Through clever recycling of pig waste, Andrew Ward has been able to produce feed for aquaculture, water for irrigation, and methane for energy. His ‘waste food chain’ can be applied to breweries, wineries and any system producing organic waste. [click to continue…]

How do black holes eat?

8 June 2010

in 2010

Using galaxies as cosmic telescopes to reveal the diets of the black holes at the heart of every galaxy.

Anglo-Australian Observatory Astronomer David Floyd has been able to observe matter falling into a super-massive black hole – one of the Universe’s brightest objects. [click to continue…]

Silk could provide a sophisticated new way of monitoring health, Peter Domachuk, a physicist from the University of Sydney, has found.
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Wind speed plays a bigger role than temperature in creating dangerous conditions for bushfires, says Dr Andrew Dowdy a physicist from the Bureau of Meteorology. [click to continue…]

Young Tasmanian electrical engineer Natalia Galin has turned US technology into a robust helicopter-borne radar system that can accurately measure the thickness of snow on polar sea ice.

Her work will improve NASA’s satellite measurements of what’s happening to the Antarctic sea ice, and will contribute to more accurate climate models. She will present her results for the first time in public this week at Fresh Science – a national science talent search – at the Melbourne Museum. Natalia is one of 16 winners from across Australia. Further stories will be issued Tuesday and Thursday.

High resolution photos of Natalia working in Antarctica are available online.

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