Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis is a science communicator with the Royal Institution of Australia.

  • Curly’s a competitor

    Robot beats humans in that compelling sport on ice.

    Like most Australians, I know next to nothing about curling, the sport in which competitors slide a polished stone ac...

    September 24, 2020
  • A new kind of power walking

    Nanogenerator is like a tiny personal wind turbine.

    Scientists are constantly searching for new and clever ways to make electricity. Earlier this year, for example, Cosm...

    September 24, 2020
  • Important steps on the Arabian Peninsula

    Ancient footprints may show how humans moved from Africa.

    Around 120,000 years ago, someone trudged across the Arabian Peninsula, with horses, camels and even elephants. We do...

    September 19, 2020
  • Vibrating earthworms pick up an Ig Nobel

    This is shed science at a professional level.

    When you think of award-winning scientific research, you might think of determining the structure of DNA, or Marie Cu...

    September 18, 2020
  • Shaky way to check on ocean warming

    Sub-sea quake data could help track temperature changes.

    The rumble of earthquakes far below the surface of the ocean are far more interesting than just a way of understandin...

    September 18, 2020
  • The stinging tree’s ouch

    A ferociously painful venom has been decoded.

    Australia is out to get you. If it’s not the snakes, it’s the spiders. If it’s not the spiders, it’s the sharks. If i...

    September 17, 2020
  • Australia re-enters the space race

    SA-based Southern Launch begins rocket test program.

    South Australia’s west coast will roar with the sound of rocket launches this week, as start-up Southern Launch begin...

    September 14, 2020
  • The Moon’s rusting and it’s Earth’s fault

    Iron oxide shouldn’t form on the lunar surface, yet it does.

    Rust requires three ingredients – water, oxygen, and iron. And yet the Moon, where water and oxygen are famously in s...

    September 11, 2020
  • Helping keep computer chips cool

    Integrated system proves effective and power-efficient.

    When it comes to computer chips, smaller is better. Manufacturers are continually trying to shrink their size and pac...

    September 10, 2020
  • Turning buoyancy on its head

    French researchers have floated boats “upside down” on liquid.

    At risk of stating the obvious: boats float on top of water. Yet French researchers have seemingly inverted gravity a...

    September 3, 2020
  • National Science Week goes online

    Events everywhere, join in from anywhere.

    Australia’s National Science Week is back from 15-23 August, and thanks to everything that’s happening, most events a...

    August 14, 2020
  • Online events during National Science Week

    More National Science Week events online than ever before.

    Australia’s National Science Week is back from 15-23 August, and thanks to everything that’s happening, most events a...

    August 11, 2020
  • Changing how we view eye conditions

    Virtual reality may be used to treat eye conditions.

    Growing up we were always told too much TV would make our eyes go square. But fast forward a few years and researcher...

    July 20, 2020
  • Stereotypes change, others confound

    Stereotypes of weird scientists stick in students minds.

    Years of efforts to change the stereotype of scientists may be having an effect, say Australian researchers. However,...

    June 10, 2020
  • Astronomers find source of four radio bursts

    Understanding the origins of mysterious signals.

    Fast radio bursts are one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. The immensely powerful bursts of radiation appear ra...

    June 3, 2020
  • A ‘cosmic ring of fire’ from 11 billion years ago

    Collision between galaxies created rare ring galaxy.

    Nearly 11 billion light years away lurks a super-rare type of galaxy that bears the scars of a galactic battle. Rathe...

    May 26, 2020
  • Watch as a journalist’s mind is rewired

    It’s been voted Best Film at SCINEMA 2020.

    The world is confusing and unsettling, even more so now than ever before, and more of us than ever are finding it aff...

    May 21, 2020
  • Rare elaphrosaur found in Victoria

    Fossilised bones suggest species more widespread than thought.

    A chance discovery has unearthed an unusual toothless dinosaur that roamed Australia around 110 million years ago – a...

    May 20, 2020
  • Some clues to Ryugu’s odd colours

    Researchers suggest it was a trip to the Sun.

    When Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe landed on Ryugu in February last year, it provided the opportunity not only to collect a...

    May 8, 2020
  • The unknown Diggers of Vignacourt

    ANZACs identified through facial recognition.

    Vignacourt is a town in France that few Australians have heard of. And yet the town was visited by thousands of Austr...

    April 24, 2020
  • Cocaine hippos and Kimberley donkeys

    Introduced species turn the clock back on a history of extinctions.

    The giant wombat may no longer roam the wilds of Australia, but wild donkeys certainly do. And in South America, gian...

    April 21, 2020
  • Prehistoric flies trapped in amber

    Flies encased in amber while doing the deed.

    There’s bad days, and then there’s this. Around 41 million years ago, two prehistoric flies on the southern tip of Go...

    April 8, 2020
  • Dolphins form “boybands”

    Coordinating vocalisations to woo fertile females.

    Boybands are synonymous with woo-ing women with love songs. From N*Sync to Backstreet Boys, even BTS, the harmonies, ...

    April 3, 2020
  • AI should take no chances with our safety

    We need to apply airline thinking to AI.

    You’d thinking flying in a plane would be more dangerous than driving a car. In reality it’s much safer, partly becau...

    March 27, 2020
  • How to survive isolation

    Expert tips that make isolation more bearable.

    With more countries heading towards societal lock down, increasingly enforced social distancing, and people being ord...

    March 26, 2020
  • Female swamp wallabies are always pregnant

    They’re probably pregnant for their entire adult life.

    Pregnancy is tough and giving birth is even tougher. Then there’s giving birth while pregnant - it sounds horrible....

    March 11, 2020
  • Do women find beards attractive?

    Dislike of beards because they’re potential homes to bugs and lice.

    Beards are a weirdly commonly studied topic. Researchers around the world have long examined the effect a bit of bris...

    January 16, 2020
  • Epic Australian telescope on its way back

    Volunteers are restoring the Great Melbourne Telescope.

    When you first see it, it looks like a ray gun from the mind of Jules Verne. Its swirling lattice-like barrel stretch...

    December 27, 2019
  • Fireball over SA could have been a “Minimoon”

    Minimoon spotted as it exploded in the atmosphere in 2016.

    Rocks explode in Earth’s atmosphere fairly regularly, and at first glance a bolide spotted over South Australia in 20...

    December 3, 2019
  • This is not how you use marijuana

    Beyond retrieval in a nasal cavity.

    There’s lots of ways to use marijuana. And there’s lots of ways of sneaking stuff into prison.But an unnamed Austra...

    November 5, 2019
  • Don’t laugh, fart science is important

    There is actually a lot farts can teach us about our gut.

    The humble fart could play an important role in our digestive health, say Australian scientists. So much so, they've ...

    September 17, 2019
  • The strange story of Neil Armstrong’s bag

    A very expensive, one-of-a-kind bag is mired in controversy.

    In July 2017 famed auction house Sotheby’s auctioned a unique piece of space history. The prices were expected to rea...

    July 17, 2019
  • A sugar tax and warnings on soft drinks

    Australians support campaign to tackle obesity.

    It might cost us more but we’re are generally okay with a sugar tax on soft drinks, shows a new survey of Australian ...

    July 1, 2019
  • Astronomers confirm circumplanetary discs

    Critical piece in formation of a planet seen for first time.

    Astronomers have captured, for the very first time, images of a disc of hot gas and dust surrounding a newly formed p...

    June 5, 2019
  • Second pill testing trial proves its worth, again

    It’s time to start pill testing more often.

    Australia’s second ever pill testing trial at Canberra’s Groovin The Moo has, once again, shown the benefits of pill ...

    April 29, 2019
  • Crab nanoparticles could treat lung cancer

    Chitosan nanoparticles made from crab shells could be key.

    People with lung cancer could one day be treated by inhaling chemotherapy via chitosan nanoparticles – a powder made ...

    April 16, 2019
  • Astronomers react to black hole images

    First image of black hole has amazed Australian experts.

    In one of the biggest scientific announcements of recent times, an international collaboration of astronomers and ast...

    April 11, 2019
  • Climate change report shows the current reality

    Experts respond to the grim reality of climate change.

    The World Meteorological Organisation’s State of the Global Climate report has been released and makes for grim readi...

    March 28, 2019
  • Engineering the Square Kilometre Array

    Square Kilometre Array creates unique engineering challenges.

    The largest, most powerful telescope ever conceived – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), is going to have over a hundr...

    February 26, 2019
  • Get a grip! Designing robots that can pick things up

    Easy for humans, grasping objects is a significant challenge for bots and the people who design t...

    Scientists have analysed more than 5000 one-handed human grasps and object handovers in an attempt to help robots bet...

    February 24, 2019
  • Australia sets the pace to renewables

    Australia’s per capita rate of new renewables is world leading.

    Australia is streaking ahead of other countries when it comes to renewable energy, to the extent where we may reach o...

    February 8, 2019
  • Nuclear weapons solve the Lungfish riddle

    Scientists have worked out the longevity of Lungfish.

    The lungfish is a particularly weird fish.As well as the usual gills, as its name suggests it also has a fully func...

    February 7, 2019
  • Algorithm helps AI triumph in Atari

    And that’s news for more than just gaming fans.

    In 2015, Google’s DeepMind AI was tasked with learning to play Atari video games. It was quite successful too, becomi...

    January 31, 2019
  • Nine pill testing myths

    In all the talk, some myths keep being trotted out.

    From politicians to the public, the same myths keep being rolled out about pill testing. Here are nine of the most co...

    January 31, 2019
  • It’s our genes that make us stay up late

    And that could lead to mental health issues. Ben Lewis reports.

    If you’ve ever wondered why some people are up at the crack of dawn while others prefer to sleep late, the answer can...

    January 29, 2019
  • Blood test may give early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

    Protein from dying neurons reveals neurodegeneration.

    A simple blood test could detect the early danger signs of Alzheimer’s disease long before confusion and memory loss ...

    January 22, 2019
  • Boosting intermittent fasting benefits

    When combined with calorie restriction between fasts.

    The best way to get the most out of intermittent fasting is to combine it with a controlled diet between fasts, shows...

    January 18, 2019
  • How does pill testing work?

    What actually happens during a pill test?

    Pill testing is back in the headlines after the deaths of 5 young people in 4 months, and the release of more studies...

    January 16, 2019
  • Model predicts firestorms

    The shape of a bushfire predicts catastrophic firestorms.

    Facing another potentially catastrophic summer of bushfires, Australian scientists have been able to predict what mak...

    January 9, 2019
  • Project to make ground-based telescopes ‘three times sharper than Hubble’

    An Australian-led design project will develop a system that promises to revolutionise ground-base...

    Astronomers are set to get a wider, sharper and more sensitive view of the universe than ever before thanks to an Aus...

    December 12, 2018
  • ‘Nebular neon’ confirmed deep inside the Earth

    Discovery adds to debate over how the planet formed. Ben Lewis reports.

    The early formation of Earth was a relatively rapid process that trapped water and gases in the planet's mantle from ...

    December 6, 2018
  • A bundle of ultra-compact massive galaxies found

    Surprise discoveries afford new opportunities to study conditions in the early universe. Ben Lewi...

    Astronomers have announced as many as 29 newly discovered massive ultra-compact galaxies within five billion light ye...

    November 26, 2018
  • New ‘super-earth’ discovered in the sun’s neighbourhood

    A planet three times bigger than Earth orbits a star just six light-years away. Ben Lewis reports.

    Astronomers have announced the discovery of a super-Earth in our relative neighbourhood.The planet measures around 3....

    November 14, 2018
  • Existence of mysterious dust clouds close to Earth cautiously confirmed

    Astronomers may have captured images of a mysterious, hard to spot dust cloud just 400,000 kilome...

    A controversial 60-year-old idea has shot into the realms of possibility, thanks to new observations of one, and pote...

    October 30, 2018
  • In a collision between plane and drone, it’s bad news for both

    US researchers have fired a drone at an aircraft wing to see what would happen in a collision, an...

    Drones hitting planes cause much more damage than expected.Poorman, et al/University of Dayton Research InstituteFlyi...

    October 21, 2018
  • Astronomers reveal a likely second neutron star merger

    A gamma ray burst from 2015 was caused by the same type of event that produced the gravitational ...

    In October 2017 a group of astronomers excitedly announced they had simultaneously observed light and gravitational w...

    October 18, 2018
  • Young star with four gas giant planets baffles astronomers

    A young star has a planetary system befitting one much older, creating questions about how planet...

    A two-million-year-old star has been found to have four gas giant planets in orbit around it, the first time that so ...

    October 17, 2018
  • A centuries-old astronomical mystery is solved

    What was thought to be the formation of a star was actually a cataclysmic collision. Ben Lewis re...

    Nearly 350 years ago, the French monk and astronomer Voituret Anthelme joined others around the world watch a new sta...

    October 11, 2018
  • Cassini data reveals Saturn’s layer of imprisoned protons

    The planet plays gaoler to an isolated inner belt of radiation. Ben Lewis reports.

    Saturn’s magnetic field is already acknowledged as odd, but researchers have now discovered it to be even stranger th...

    October 9, 2018
  • Microquasar detected emitting high energy radiation from its outer reaches, not its core

    Results from 1000 days of data have caught astrophysicists by surprise. Ben Lewis reports.

    For the first time, scientists have detected a stream of gamma-radiation coming from the outermost regions of a micro...

    October 3, 2018
  • Luminous blue variables erupt in stellar geysers

    Modelling explains rare but spectacular astronomical phenomenon. Ben Lewis reports.

    A simulation of the turbulent gas that develops in the outer layer of a luminous blue variable star, eventually erupt...

    September 30, 2018
  • Astronomers observe matter falling into a black hole at superfast speeds

    Matter has been falling at 30% of the speed of light could explain the frequency of supermassive ...

    New observations have discovered matter falling into the black hole at the centre of a galaxy dubbed PG1211+143 at ar...

    September 25, 2018
  • A galactic near-miss set stars on an unexpected path around the Milky Way

    A close pass from the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy sent ripples through the Milky Way that are still ...

    Between 300 and 900-million years ago the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy made a close pass by the Milky Way, setting millio...

    September 23, 2018
  • Spider mites cope without immune system

    Fussy eating is a lifesaver for this arthropod species.

    The two-spotted spider mite avoids bacterial infections not by relying on an immune response or physical protection, ...

    September 18, 2018
  • Plants flash a warning signal when under attack

    Calcium channel signals are quick to respond.

    When plants are under attack from a very hungry caterpillar, a warning signal flashes through the plant to the other ...

    September 13, 2018
  • Massive gas jets seen streaming from early universe galaxy

    Scientists study star formation in a young and rambunctious system. Ben Lewis reports.

    Astronomers have spotted massive fast-moving jets of gas streaming from a galaxy in the very early universe, just one...

    September 6, 2018
  • Ancient Samarra’s glass was largely homemade

    Treasures from Muslim city were products of local industry.

    The city of Samarra, located in present-day Iraq, was a hub of glass-making and trade around 1200 years ago, accordin...

    August 22, 2018
  • Sax Institute’s Research Action Awards

    Organisation seeks to reward early career achievements.

    Early career researchers are being encouraged to enter the Sax Institute’s highly regarded Research Action Awards, ce...

    August 22, 2018
  • Huge jets of water found streaming from distant protostar

    Radio-telescopes in Chile push the limit for terrestrial observations. Ben Lewis reports.

    Astronomers have spotted incredible jets of water vapour streaming away from a protostar in the Cat's Paw Nebula, a s...

    August 21, 2018
  • Gender difference in seeing fast-moving objects suggests autism clue

    Men see high-speed visual stimuli more quickly than women, and no one knows why. Ben Lewis reports.

    When it comes to detecting quickly moving visual objects, men are faster than women, according to research published ...

    August 19, 2018
  • The planet KELT-9b literally has an iron sky

    Iron and titanium have been foundin the atmosphere of a super-hot giant exoplanet. Ben Lewis repo...

    KELT-9b, one of the most unlikely planets ever discovered, has surprised astronomers yet again with the discovery tha...

    August 19, 2018
  • Robots aren’t always nice, and that’s sometimes good

    Studies raise concerns over robot influence on children, but find hostile behaviour can improve a...

    Robots can exert peer pressure on kids, and make adults concentrate harder at work by acting in ways interpreted as m...

    August 15, 2018
  • The secret of Elephant cancer resistance

    A gene inactive in many species has been revived by elephants.

    Elephants possess a weaponised zombie gene that protects them from cancer by preventing rogue cells from forming, acc...

    August 14, 2018
  • Earth’s oldest rocks were formed by meteorites

    A four-billion-year geological mystery resolves if cosmic intervention enters the picture. Ben Le...

    The oldest rocks on Earth may have formed in an apocalyptically fiery barrage of meteorites that melted the planet’s ...

    August 14, 2018
  • When and how to watch the 2018 Perseid meteor shower

    For sky-watchers in the north, this weekend promises to be spectacular. Ben Lewis reports.

    The Perseid meteor showers are an annual summer highlight for the northern hemisphere, when seemingly hundreds of met...

    August 9, 2018
  • A visit to the park may lift the mood

    A boost in positive words after getting among the trees.

    Scientists have discovered that just spending time in leafy parks can improve the emotion and decrease the negativity...

    August 9, 2018
  • Explosive stellar replay offers clue to bright star survival

    The brightest star in our galaxy should have destroyed itself 170 years ago, but didn’t. Now astr...

    About 170 years ago astronomers watched as Eta Carinae, the brightest star in our galaxy, unleashed an almighty outbu...

    August 5, 2018
  • Using mice to explore Alzheimer’s and smell

    Separate projects find geneticists using rodents.

    One of the mechanisms by which Alzheimer’s disease causes memory impairment may have been uncovered, according to new...

    August 2, 2018
  • Super-rare diamonds form at extreme depths

    Not only are they worth a lot of money, but they also contain valuable clues to how the world wor...

    Blue diamonds, which account for less than 0.02% of all diamonds ever mined, form up to four times deeper in the Eart...

    August 1, 2018

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