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What's the buzz about bees?

There’s been a lot of attention given to European honey bees (Apis mellifera) recently. Even the Federal Parliament has got into the act, introducing bee hives to Parliament House in March and celebrating the first honey harvest this month. But why should we care about European honey bees? Do they really affect our lives in any meaningful way?  Read more...

Indigenous knowledge: adding value to science and innovation

 This year is a significant one for the evolution of Indigenous Affairs policy in Australia. It marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, while the government is reviewing its Closing the Gap targets and the mechanisms used to address them. Two of the targets relate to Indigenous employment and economic development. This article considers two case studies where the Indigenous knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contributed to scientific research and innovation. In one, the approach has empowered the local community, with the potential to significantly improve employment and economic development. In the other, Indigenous communities have had little say... Read more...

Fifty Years since our First Satellite—Highlights of Australia and Space

Fifty years ago this month, Australia entered the space age. On 29 November 1967, we launched our first satellite at Woomera, South Australia. The Weapons Research Establishment Satellite, known as WRESAT, had an orbiting life of 42 days, and circumnavigated the globe 642 times before it ran out of battery. Its purpose was to provide scientific data on upper atmosphere physics. Planned, built and launched in just eleven months, WRESAT was a landmark in Australian science, and an early high point of the Australian space industry. Australia became the seventh nation to send a satellite into orbit and the third nation to both design and launch an orbiting satellite from its own territory. Video... Read more...

Astronomical events

Some 242 years ago, Captain James Cook explored the eastern coast of Australia, after having been sent to the South Pacific Island of Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus in 1769. He was sent there partly in order to help astronomers of the day estimate the size of the solar system. Australia’s long and distinguished association with astronomy had begun.On 6th June 2012, just before 8:30 am along the east coast of Australia, the tiny dot of the planet Venus will again pass slowly across the face of the Sun, as seen from Earth. Such ‘Transits of Venus’ are infrequent events; the next transit does not occur until 2117 so this is one for us to savour. Many smaller observatories her... Read more...

Australia's current spending on science research and development

  The awarding of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics to Professor Brian Schmidt, an Australian National University (ANU) professor of Astrophysics, for his role in the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, is a significant achievement not only for ANU but also for Australia. It is the first time in almost one hundred years that an Australian has won a Nobel Prize in Physics – William and Lawrence Bragg, a father and son team, were the last Australians to win a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 – and it is the sixth Nobel Prize to be won by an ANU researcher. In light of this great achievement, it is pertinent to ask about the broader state of he... Read more...

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