Here comes the Sun

It can feel challenging in the world right now to hold onto our optimism for the future, as we do our best to face down the many hurdles of the pandemic. But those of us who work in the field of solar power research are feeling very fortunate. We have so much to feel not … Continue reading Here comes the Sun

Breakthrough in quantum computing

Quantum engineers from UNSW Sydney have made a critical breakthrough in the development of quantum computing technology, solving a problem that has long frustrated scientists and until now represented a major roadblock to the development of the next generation of computers. The problem in question involves spin qubits, which are the basic units of information … Continue reading Breakthrough in quantum computing

The polymer brush solution

Polymer brushes are substances with a range of medical and environmental uses – environmentally friendly cleaning products, environmental remediation, minerals processing, biotechnology, sensors, drug delivery, and membranes – but the way they behave at the nano level isn’t entirely clear. Cosmos spoke to Dr Andrew Nelson, an instrument scientist at the Australian Nuclear Science and … Continue reading The polymer brush solution

“Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

How much control do you have over your thoughts? What if you were specifically told not to think of something – like a pink elephant? A recent study led by UNSW psychologists has mapped what happens in the brain when a person tries to suppress a thought. The neuroscientists managed to ‘decode’ the complex brain activity … Continue reading “Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

If you tend to notice faces in inanimate objects around you, you’re not alone. It could be the Virgin Mary in a toastie, a house scowling at you, a bowling ball surprised you want to put your fingers in there, or a capsicum screaming in horror – our brains love to put faces where they’re … Continue reading Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

Online events during National Science Week

Australia’s National Science Week is back from 15-23 August, and thanks to everything that’s happening, most events are now online. So now you don’t need to be worried about missing out on any of Australia’s biggest celebration of all things science – you can do check it all out from your own home. Here are … Continue reading Online events during National Science Week

Pesticides to blame for bigger dingoes?

Dingoes have gotten around 6-9 per cent bigger over the past 80 years, new research from UNSW and the University of Sydney shows – but the growth is only happening in areas where poison baiting is used. The findings, published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, compared the sizes of dingoes that lived in … Continue reading Pesticides to blame for bigger dingoes?

Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Have you ever wondered why stars twinkle? It’s because turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere makes light emitted from the star wobble as it completes it’s light years-long journey to the lenses in our eyes and telescopes. But now scientists from international research institutions including UNSW Sydney have found the best place on Earth where  – … Continue reading Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Migration: impact on whales’ health

  Whale-watching season is usually a delight for scores of whale watchers along the east coast of Australia. For scientists too, it’s an opportunity to study the mega creatures up close. But for the whales themselves, it’s potentially a time of less than optimal health. UNSW Sydney researchers collected and analysed samples of whale blow … Continue reading Migration: impact on whales’ health

We can all be stargazers – now is the perfect time

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to put their day-to-day lives on pause, whether this meant cancelling travel plans, working or studying from home, or putting a halt to in-person social interaction. As we look for silver linings, astrophysicist, proud Wiradjuri woman and UNSW PhD candidate Kirsten Banks says stargazing conditions have never been … Continue reading We can all be stargazers – now is the perfect time

Lessons from climbing the highest mountains

Climbing the world’s highest mountains may seem worlds away from a lab, but not for cardiologist Dr Nikki Bart. The UNSW lecturer, cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, and heart researcher at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is not just a leading scientist. Bart is also a world record-breaking mountaineer. With her mother, the duo became the … Continue reading Lessons from climbing the highest mountains

The mystique of mathematics

  Mathematics is visible everywhere in nature, even where we are not expecting it. It can help explain the way galaxies spiral, a seashell curves, patterns replicate, and rivers bend. Even subjective emotions, like what we find beautiful, can have mathematics as an explanation. “Maths is not only seen as beautiful – beauty is also … Continue reading The mystique of mathematics