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A 3-kilometre-long arm of the Virgo detector at the European Gravitational Observatory. Source: EGO-Virgo - CC-BY-SA

Gravitational Waves arrive in Europe

The 2015 discovery by the US gravitational wave observatory LIGO of a distant chirp from the death-spiral of two black holes was a tremendous intellectual, engineering and scientific achievement. Since…
A man stands in front of a convoy of tanks in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989. REUTERS Arthur Tsang

On HIV, Tiananmen Square and science

In light of the fact that the Australian government has announced its intention to place a lifetime visa ban on boat people who arrive here, and that in America one of the candidates for the US Presidency…
Boys with toys? Flickr/Simon Rankin

The astronomy “Toy Story” row

I was initially rather excited to see that one of my friends and collaborators, Professor Shri Kulkarni from Caltech, had his picture littering my Facebook feed recently. Unfortunately for Shri, it was…
Bjorn Lomborg seems to irritate the hell out of many environmentalists. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Bjorn again

Bjorn Lomborg seems to inspire anything but consensus, but is his approach all that bad?
George Collins, Swinburne Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Development) Swinburne University of Technology

A tribute to George Collins (1955-2014) Swinburne Deputy Vice Chancellor (R&D)

Now that universities are billion-dollar enterprises their senior leaders are often seen to be distant and aloof, with a chasm separating them from “the workers” and the day-to-day demands of teaching…
Interstellar stars Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain glitzing it up for the European premiere. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

On Interstellar and ‘real physics’

Poor old Richard Branson. SpaceShipTwo has only just stopped smouldering after struggling to get more than 20km from the Earth and there’s the Nolan brothers getting Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway…

Facebook: the last post?

In retrospect if I’m being honest our relationship had been in trouble for some time. It had all started off innocently enough, sharing some photos of my latest trip or cycling exploit, exchanging stories…

Citizens unite online to beat big business

There’s nothing corporations like more than a good monopoly. Plug in the consumer and turn on the profits! In Australia there’s seemingly no end to the spiralling cost of living as our utilities, banks…

MH17: why wars are our collective problem

It’s easy to sit in suburban Melbourne and flick past the news of the latest conflict in some far corner of the world and think that it’s none of our business. Sure, it’s been a bad few years in Syria…