Science + Technology – Analysis and Comment

A prehistoric scene showing ancient penguins, elephant seals and giant marsupials. A rich diversity of both marine and land creatures once lived at Beaumaris, Melbourne, about 7 million years ago. Peter Trusler, Monash University

We need to protect the fossil heritage on our doorstep

Palaeontologists say it's rare to find a rich fossil site in an urban area. That's why they're worried such a site near Melbourne could be threatened by proposed development.
Family resemblance isn’t only down to genes, but also to the influence of the environment on those genes. Mitchell Joyce/Flickr

Epigenetics: phenomenon or quackery?

Epigenetics is increasingly used as a buzzword to sell pseudoscientific products, but the truth of epigenetics is even more interesting – and complex – than the quacks claim.
The 64-metre Parkes Radio telescope will be instrumental in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. CSIRO/David McClenaghan

The hunt for ET will boost Australian astronomy

The Parkes radio telescope is part of the US$100 million search for life elsewhere in the universe, but the investment will also benefit other space research at The Dish.
Breaking down the colours in the star light can reveal more about what you are looking at. Flickr/Indigo Skies Photography

Explainer: seeing the universe through spectroscopic eyes

Astronomers can tell a whole lot more about a star or a galaxy if they break up the visible light in a rainbow of colours.
What could be out there? That question eventually led to the discovery of Pluto. ESO/L. Calçada

Finding Pluto: the hunt for Planet X

The existence of a "Planet X" in the outer solar system was the subject of great speculation, and was finally settled with the discovery of Pluto in 1930.
The cycles of nutrients into the oceans following the building of mountains may have been a prime driver of evolutionary change. John Long, Flinders University

Plate tectonics may have driven the evolution of life on Earth

The rise and fall of the essential elements for life could have influenced the way life evolved over many millions of years.
One of the most detailed images of Pluto captured by New Horizons just before it’s closest approach to the dwarf planet. NASA/APL/SwRI

Beyond Pluto: New Horizons' mission is not over yet

Now the flypast of Pluto is over the space probe New Horizons will begin sending the data back to Earth. It will take many months but what will it reveal about the dwarf planet?
The classic lecture theatre hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Justin Kern/Flickr

Let’s not abandon the humble lecture quite yet

Lectures are being abandoned in favour of "flipped" classes, with lots of short videos and quizzes. But the lecture format has merits that shouldn't be overlooked.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt (centre) prior to the Queensland Budget being delivered in State Parliament in Brisbane. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Queensland’s budget puts it back on track to be a smart state

The Palaszczuk government's first budget for Queensland has promised to drive new investement and jobs in the knowledge based sectors.
New Horizons' look at Pluto’s Charon-facing hemisphere reveals intriguing geologic details that are of keen interest to mission scientists. This image was taken on July 11, 2015, when the spacecraft was 4 million km from Pluto. NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Pluto and its collision-course place in our solar system

The New Horizons spacecraft is only hours away from its closest approach to Pluto. It's hoped the brief encounter will help answer many questions about the oddball member of our solar system.