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Analysis and Comment (21)

What’s the use of this? What’s the use of this? Lab Science Career

Are we focusing too much on examining practical science?

Science evokes images of Bunsen burners, coloured liquids, vapours rising from flasks, white coats and safety goggles. But are we making too much of the rigid assessment of the practical parts of science…
‘A Journey Round my Skull’. ‘A Journey Round my Skull’. Jonathan Blackford, Kindle Theatre

What theatre and science can learn from one another

C.P. Snow’s pessimistic view of “two cultures” – the arts and the sciences at war with each other, glowering across no man’s land, entrenched in their embattled fortress of true expression (as each saw…
‘Avoid cat’, or ‘torment cat’? ‘Avoid cat’, or ‘torment cat’? anti_christa

What to expect from Dyson’s new robotics lab

James Dyson’s decision to fund a robotics laboratory at Imperial College London may not lead to the super advanced robot friends of our dreams, but what he has planned could make robotic domestic appliances…
Two of millions of cane toads found across northern Australia. Two of millions of cane toads found across northern Australia. Mark Lewis, Radio Pictures, Mullumbimby

Everyone agreed: cane toads would be a winner for Australia

When cane toads were released in Australia in 1935, they were the latest innovation in pest control, backed by a level of consensus support that a scientist could only dream of. So what went wrong? Research…
The demand for open access resulted in an explosion of refereed journals, free to anyone that wanted to view them. The demand for open access resulted in an explosion of refereed journals, free to anyone that wanted to view them. h_pampel/Flickr

Hoax highlights the pitfalls and perils of open access publishing

Open access has become the catch-cry of academic science, demanding all research be freely available to anyone. But it leaves open the question of how publishers are to make money. Traditionally, libraries…
Bees are dying, but scientists and beekeepers are at loggerheads over what to do about it. Bees are dying, but scientists and beekeepers are at loggerheads over what to do about it. Nick Ansell/PA

Sometimes science can’t see the wood for the bees

The EU banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for two years in April, after a sustained campaign by beekeepers, green groups and environmental organisations across Europe. These groups are convinced…
Complicated, but not as complicated as us. Complicated, but not as complicated as us. NASA

To be effective citizens, we all need a feel for science

Science isn’t just for scientists. It’s not just a training for careers. Today’s young people – all of them – will live in a world, ever more dependent on technology, and ever more vulnerable to its failures…
There needs to be a fundamental shift in how a scientist is viewed and measured. There needs to be a fundamental shift in how a scientist is viewed and measured. Søren Rajczyk

Breed scientists better for a better breed of science

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Jee Hyun Kim examines how the culture of academia…
We’re shortchanging our students by waiting to introduce the big scientific ideas until high school. We’re shortchanging our students by waiting to introduce the big scientific ideas until high school. Young mozart image from www.shutterstock.com

Searching for scientific Mozarts: get em' while they’re young

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Jennifer Donovan, Carole Haeusler and Ian…
You’re no more likely to lose heat from your head than other parts of your body – except your hands and feet. You’re no more likely to lose heat from your head than other parts of your body – except your hands and feet. Taylor Mackenzie

Monday’s medical myth: you lose most heat through your head

As the weather starts to cool down and winter clothes enter rotation in our wardrobes, some peculiar combinations emerge: shorts and scarves; thongs and jackets; T-shirts and beanies. The last is often…
Scientist Laurence Krauss has said the philosophy of science is hard to justify. Scientist Laurence Krauss has said the philosophy of science is hard to justify. World Economic Forum/Flickr

Philosophy under attack: Lawrence Krauss and the new denialism

I really shouldn’t let myself watch Q&A. Don’t get me wrong, the ABC’s flagship weekly panel show is usually compelling viewing. But after just a few minutes I end up with the systolic blood pressure…
Researchers have invested hundreds of hours to enhance their applications, only to miss out. Researchers have invested hundreds of hours to enhance their applications, only to miss out. Paperwork image from Shutterstock.com

A better way to award NHMRC’s medical research grants

Last Friday, the results for this year’s round of applications for National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) grants were released. Because headlines focus on success and rankings, universities and medical…
Leave “wicked” to the witches and let’s get on with the job of policy research. Leave “wicked” to the witches and let’s get on with the job of policy research. Witches image from www.shutterstock.com

Too many ‘wicked problems’: how science, policy and politics can work together

Wicked problems, so we are told, are everywhere. Climate change, conflict, an ageing population, obesity… the list goes on. The debate over asylum seekers, difficult and important and politically charged…
Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s report, released today, presents some serious concerns for the future of Australian science. Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s report, released today, presents some serious concerns for the future of Australian science. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

A prescription for healthy science? Chief Scientist’s report points the way

Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s Health of Australian Science report, launched today at the National Press Club, starts on an optimistic note. Australian science is generally in good health: school students…

Scientific research spending lags behind smaller countries

Nations half the size of Australia spend more on scientific research, have higher employment levels for scientists, and greater appeal to foreign investors, according to a report on Australia’s global…
Flickr/Discover Science & Engineering

Primary school science education – is there a winning formula?

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, released a worrying report earlier this year. Unhealthy Science? University Natural and Physical Sciences 2002 - 2009/10 revealed the number of students studying…
The less Australia reaches outwards, the less it will reap the rewards. The less Australia reaches outwards, the less it will reap the rewards. Sean MacEntee

Shrinking piece of the pie chart – Australian science and the world

Have you used your mobile phone, taken medicine or banked online today? As consumers, we benefit directly from the increasing pace of innovation. But ten years into the Asian century, the source of innovation…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (6)

Man-made mini human brains

In a world first, Austrian researchers have grown human stem cells to form pea-sized amounts of brain tissue that replicated…