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CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research organisations in the world. We focus on creating a positive impact and on answering the big questions for industry and society.

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By 2050, 22% of the world’s population - more than 2 billion people - will be over 60 years old. Flickr/außerirdische sind gesund

Megatrends: preparing for a ripe old age

Welcome to The Conversation’s series on megatrends. What are the compelling economic, social, environmental, political and technological changes Australia must grapple with over the coming decades? In…
An experienced lab technician is one of the most readily employable people in the R&D-intensive industries. fungiman_MD

Beware: research technicians need more than just a pulse

Earlier this year the American journalist David Plotz wrote in Slate that: America needs a lot more good engineers and scientists, more competent scientists, even more mediocre scientists. I agree that…
By 2030, China is projected to be at the centre of the world’s economic activity. Just how Australia positions itself will be crucial. Syzmon Kochanski/Flikr

Megatrends: the Silk Highway and the ‘Switzerland’ of Asia

Welcome to The Conversation’s series on megatrends. What are the compelling economic, social, environmental, political and technological changes Australia must grapple with over the coming decades? In…
While the number and extent of protected areas has increased, the impact on biodiversity isn’t yet known. Flickr/Tony Rodd

Megatrends: biodiversity - going, going … gone?

Welcome to The Conversation’s series on megatrends, exploring the compelling economic, social, environmental, political and technological issues facing Australia, as part of the CSIRO’s new report, Our…
The United Nations estimates the world must increase food production by 75% by 2050 to cope with a projected population of 10 billion people. p3anut/Flickr

Megatrends: do we really need more from less?

Welcome to The Conversation’s series on megatrends. What are the compelling economic, social, environmental, political and technological changes Australia must grapple with over the coming decades? In…
Native or not? Red cabbage palms found in Palm Valley in the Northern Territory were introduced by Aboriginal people thousands of years ago. Jurriaan Persyn

What is a native and why should we care?

New molecular techniques show that an iconic palm only grows in central Australia because humans moved it there thousands of years ago. It poses the question: should we still regard this as a native species…
What are the compelling economic, social, environmental, political and technological changes Australia must grapple with over the coming decades? Flickr/Tim Donnelly

What are the future megatrends all Australians need to know about?

If hindsight is such a wonderful thing, surely foresight would be better. What if we could see what was coming at us and could position ourselves, our organisations and society to make the most of it…
More than 99.5% of the genome is identical between two humans, but that still leaves 15m positions to search through. fdecomite

Personal genomics: where science fiction meets reality

Imagine a future where doctors take a strand of your hair or a drop of your blood and tell you your DNA predicts a 78% risk of developing heart disease. On the plus side, it also predicts exactly which…
Little penguins are among a number of species that are threatened by climate change. AAP/Rick Stevens

Ocean winners and losers revealed in Marine Report Card

Fish are on the move in Australia’s waters. In southern Australia, scientists, commercial and recreational fishers, divers and beach-goers are reporting the presence of new species. The movement of species…
Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. DNA Art Online

Finding a unique path for Australia’s manufacturing future

As the manufacturing landscape shifts in response to new economic and social pressures, Australia is looking for an answer to the question: What does the future look like for Australian manufacturing…
When Curiosity lands on Mars next Monday, expect the social media buzz to be out of this world. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Houston, we have check-in: Space 2.0 and the Curiosity landing

Social media is the new frontier for space exploration, shaping an age of innovative public participation in space missions. While online communities are a-Twitter about NBC’s poor Olympic coverage, there’s…
“Most people just get used to the concept and get on with their lives.” Roger McLassus

Explainer: what is wave-particle duality

Our notion of reality is built on everyday experiences. But wave-particle duality is so strange that we are forced to re-examine our common conceptions. Wave-particle duality refers to the fundamental…
Physics puts a limit on how far you can throw a javelin. Airman Magazine

Yes, there is a limit to athletic ability – physics

In a recent thought-provoking article in The Conversation, Kate Murphy posed the question: “Is there a limit to athletic performance?”. The answer, mathematically speaking, is yes. Kate considered the…
Extinct: the Christmas Island Pipistrelle. Lindy Lumsden

Threat of extinction demands fast and decisive action

When it comes to mammal extinctions, Australia’s track record over the last 200 years has been abysmal. Since European settlement, nearly half of the world’s mammalian extinctions have occurred in Australia…
A simulated Black Hole of ten solar masses as seen from a distance of 600km with the Milky Way in the background. Ute Kraus/Wikimedia

Explainer: black holes

The concept of a “black hole” is one of the most curious in astrophysics. It’s the answer to the question: “What happens if the density of matter in a region becomes so high that not even light can escape…
Animals and livestock are often the carriers of harmful viruses. AAP

Challenge 8: Tackling global disease threats

In part eight of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Martyn Jeggo argues that we must search the animal world for clues if we are to react in time against the rise of new and emerging viruses…
The Square Kilometre Array will build on existing infrastructure, such as the KAT-7 array in South Africa. Dr Nadeem Oozeer

The Square Kilometre Array finally has a home (or two)

And so, the universe can breathe again. After a meeting of members at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport last night (AEST), the International SKA Organisation has announced that the world’s largest radio telescope…

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