Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

Vision for a Science Nation


The Australian Government is developing a comprehensive science policy that will be underpinned by a strategy for a science nation in which scientific thinking and applied science can be found in all sectors of our economy.

A paper from the Chief Scientist, released in September 2014, set out the case for concerted effort in STEM. It has received positive feedback from all sectors of the community. In April this year, the Commonwealth Science Council considered actions the Government could take to respond.

The consultation on STEM will be one very important component in delivering our plan to develop a nation in which science is not only valued for its intrinsic merit, but also for its practical applications.

Why We Are Consulting

The purpose of this consultation is to test the Government’s response to the recommendations in the Chief Scientist’s report: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future.

The Government has set in train activities and policies to improve our STEM performance and address the Chief Scientist ‘s recommendations. This paper highlights those activities and identifies additional actions that can be taken.

This is an opportunity for all Australians to have their say.

Fellow aims for biology booster

The Australian 24 June page 32

A project that promises to do for biology what the periodic table did for chemistry was among 15 successful Australian Laureate Fellowships announced yesterday.

The University of Queensland’s Philip Hugenholtz was awarded $2.98 million across six years for his project titled ‘Reconstructing the universal tree and network of life’.

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Expanding the DNA alphabet: ‘Extra’ DNA base found to be stable in mammals

EurekAlert 22 June 2015

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Babraham Institute have found that a naturally occurring modified DNA base appears to be stably incorporated in the DNA of many mammalian tissues, possibly representing an expansion of the functional DNA alphabet.

The new study, published today (22 June) in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, has found that this rare ‘extra’ base, known as 5-formylcytosine (5fC) is stable in living mouse tissues. While its exact function is yet to be determined, 5fC’s physical position in the genome makes it likely that it plays a key role in gene activity.

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WA Government agrees to examine new information on Agent Orange legacy

ABC news 23 June 2015

WA Agriculture Minister Ken Baston says he will examine any new information on reports of generational health problems from toxic chemicals linked to Agent Orange in the Kimberley.

During the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of mostly Indigenous men were employed by the Agricultural Protection Board to eradicate weeds across parts of the West Kimberley.

With no protection gear offered for much of that time the men were routinely exposed to the now banned substance 245T, an ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange.

Detecting the undetectable: New chip identifies chemicals in ultratrace amounts

EurekAlert 18 June 2015

A George Washington University professor has designed new technology that can identify traces of chemicals at 10-19 moles, a previously undetectable amount. This minute quantity can be conceptualized as 10 times below a billionth of a billionth of a teaspoon of water.

Workshop – Advanced Leadership for Scientists Masterclass 2015

21-22 October 2015, Canberra ACT;  5-6 November 2015, Sydney NSW;  10-11 November 2015, Melbourne Vic

Scientists often climb the leadership ladder through their scientific achievements and technical abilities. But few are prepared with the leadership skills necessary to develop and manage a best practice scientific team. In order to maximise performance in the laboratory and other settings, principal
scientists must employ a number of skills including strong communication, emotional intelligence and authenticity.

In this workshop, delegates will explore the leadership skills demanded of scientific professionals to increase team performance and fast-track research outcomes, in a real-time decision-making environment.

Click here for more information including full program

Big idea: the push to grant greater rights to chimpanzees

Sydney Morning Herald Peter Munro 13 June 2015

The similarities between our species helped drive changes in the United States last week that will require scientists wanting to perform harmful tests on chimps to apply for permits, which will be granted only if it benefits their species.

Primate researcher Jane Goodall hailed the move as a “new consciousness”. The National Association for Biomedical Research instead said the rules would inhibit the production of vaccines.

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