[ASC-media] science stories: cheaper solar power, better video cameras and more

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Tue Aug 29 15:30:13 CEST 2006


I'm writing to brief you on a fresh bunch of stories with a science
theme this week. 

Our Fresh Scientists are learning from nature to create solar cells and
better video cameras:

- Out Monday: 

              - Why can we see what our cameras can't? - video cameras
learn from insect eyes

- Out Tuesday:

               - Creating a better leaf: re-inventing nature for cheaper
solar power

               - Mercury Rising!  Offices to stay cool and save dollars

Also Tuesday we will announce that physics in Australia is booming and
more students are needed to meet demand.

The stem cell debate continues. We have a guru to guide you through the
science behind the debate. 

Could bacteria eat through the toxic soil threatening Sydney's Botany
Bay? One of the Eureka Prize winners returns to Australia this week - he
missed his moment in the spotlight last week but his story is still very
topical.

Aboriginal art to get laser cleaning: Australian treasures including
Aboriginal paintings and funerary poles could soon be getting a
state-of-the-art clean thanks to the latest laser technology developed
by the 2006 Women in Physics lecturer

Finally, if you know scientists in need of a little guidance, we are
running workshops to help scientists learn to work with media. 

Take a look at the details below and for more information please give
Sarah Brooker a call on 0413 332 489, or myself on 03 5253 1391, or
email niall at scienceinpublic.com. 

Kind regards

Niall


Here are the details:


_____________

WHY CAN WE SEE WHAT OUR CAMERAS CAN'T? - VIDEO CAMERAS LEARN FROM INSECT
EYES

The bane of all wedding videos-that picture of the bride in front of the
window where her face so dark that you can't see the features-may soon
be a thing of the past.

By mimicking how insects see, an Adelaide researcher can now produce
digital videos in which you can see every detail. The technique solves a
critical problem for surveillance cameras, where the clarity of images
is everything.

Full story: www.scienceinpublic.com/sciencenow/2006/russell.htm

IMAGES: Russell has short videos demonstrating the difference his
technology makes.

For interview or more information contact: Russell Brinkworth on (08)
8303 8067 or 0434 113 645 or at russell.brinkworth at adelaide.edu.au

_____________

CREATING A BETTER LEAF: RE-INVENTING NATURE FOR CHEAPER SOLAR POWER

A research team in Sydney has created molecules that mimic those in
plants which harvest light and power life on Earth.  

Full story available on embargo Tuesday 29 August 10am:
www.scienceinpublic.com/sciencenow/2006fresh.htm

For interview or more information contact: contact Dr Deanna
D'Alessandro (02) 9351 3951, 0411 416 449 email deanna at chem.usyd.edu.au
or Jasmine Chambers +61 2 9351 5397, jasminec at science.usyd.edu.au.

Also visit
http://www.chem.usyd.edu.au/public/facilities/molecular_electronics.
_____________

MERCURY RISING!  OFFICES TO STAY COOL AND SAVE DOLLARS

A research team in Sydney has developed a modified ventilation system
for commercial buildings that maximises the use of any available
renewable energy. They hope that the new system will reduce the
consumption of mains electricity by 15 to 20%.

Full story available on embargo Tuesday 29 August 10am:
www.scienceinpublic.com/sciencenow/2006fresh.htm

For interview or more information contact: contact Simon Shun on (02)
9451-5011 or 0411 057 241, s.shun at hotmail.com, or Dan Gaffney,
Journalist, Science Faculty, UNSW on 0411 156 015,
dgaffney at science.unsw.edu.au
_____________

PHYSICS IN AUSTRALIA BOOMING - MORE STUDENTS NEEDED TO MEET DEMAND

Students looking for wide career opportunities, good pay and a chance to
be at the cutting edge of discovery should enrol in a university physics
course. 

That's the message from David Jamieson, President of the Australian
Institute of Physics (AIP), who is keen to attract tomorrow's university
students into physics.  

"Physics in Australia is booming," says Jamieson. "We have an
unprecedented number of very high profile projects in Australia with
physics at their core." 

For more information or to interview contact: David Jamieson on (03)
8344 5376 or 0408 344 024 or Dan O'Keeffe on (03) 9561 7602 or 0409 501
202
_____________

ABORIGINAL ART TO GET LASER CLEANING

Australian treasures including Aboriginal paintings and funerary poles
could soon be getting a state-of-the-art clean thanks to the latest
laser technology.

Deb Kane, professor in the physics department at Macquarie University in
Sydney, is using short pulsed lasers to clean contaminants from the
surface of some of Australia's unique heritage.

She's on a national tour promoting women in physics, at a time when
physics is booming, and industry is desperate to attract more
physicists. 

This year's Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) 'Women in Physics'
lecturer, Professor Kane has for some time been using lasers to clean
the surface of very small objects such as optical materials. 

"At the sub-micron level particles can become strongly adhered to
surfaces," says Professor Kane. "Removing such contaminants, without
damaging the properties of the underlying material, can be very tricky
and raises fundamental questions about how materials work at small
scales." 

Now Professor Kane has won seed funding which will enable her to use her
understanding of materials to help conserve Australian artwork.

Professor Kane is the tenth annual AIP Women in Physics lecturer. She
will be giving a public lecture on Wednesday 23 August at the University
of Melbourne in the Elizabeth Murdoch Theatre A - 6pm for 6.30 pm.

Full story: www.scienceinpublic.com 

More information or to interview contact: Deb Kane on (02) 9385 5928 or
David Jamieson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics on (03)
8344 5376 or 0408 344 024


________________________ 

BEHIND THE STEM CELL DEBATE

Elizabeth Finkel is willing and able to guide your audience through the
science behind the stem cell debat. Elizabeth's book "Stem Cells -
Controversy at the Frontiers of Science" was released by ABC Publishing
last year. 

________________________ 

"THE OSCARS OF SCIENCE" 

Twenty prizes, $200,000 for Australia's top scientists, science leaders,
educators and journalists

Over $200,000 were presented to 29 winners at the 17th annual Australian
Museum Eureka Prizes dinner at Sydney's Royal Hall of Industries on the
night of Tuesday 22 August. Highlights include: 

- How dirty is the bottom of the Harbour? A Sydney CSIRO team has given
us the tools to provide the answer for sediment everywhere. 

- Aussie snakes fight back against invading toads. Rick Shine says that
snakes are tougher and more caring than we think. And they are fighting
back against the cane toad invasion. 

- Could a crossword a day keep dementia at bay? Michael Valenzuela's
landmark research at the University of New South Wales suggests that
mental exercises in the elderly might help prevent dementia. 

- Oceans model proves the value of getting the drift. Matthew England
and his colleagues at the University of New South Wales have created a
computer model that can reliably predict ocean circulation. And it's
already highlighting the role of ships in spreading invasive ocean pests
like jellyfish. 

- Animals and humans breathing easier. How toxic is the air we breathe?
Traditionally, this question is answered by having animals breathe
contaminated air. Now, a team led by Amanda Hayes at the University of
New South Wales has found a better, more humane and cheaper way to test
for toxicity, by using human lung cells growing on a membrane. 

- Spooky action guarantees unbreakable quantum code. Researchers at the
University of Queensland and the Australian National University have
created a new way of encrypting information using quantum physics. 

- From astrophysics to successful drug company. In 1988 Graeme Blackman
listed the Institute of Drug Technology (IDT) on the Australian Stock
Exchange. Today, IDT Australia employs over 200 people and exports
active pharmaceutical ingredients to some of the world's biggest
pharmaceutical companies.

- Harnessing bugs to clean up Australia. Mike Manefield is intent upon
cleaning up Australia-with the help of hungry bacteria with an
insatiable appetite for hydrocarbons. Our pollution problem is their
breakfast. 

- Scientist's leadership drives Qld biotech revolution. In less than 20
years John Mattick has helped transform biotechnology in Queensland,
leading to the creation of a series of institutes, while also pursuing
his own investigations into the role of so-called junk DNA and
non-coding RNA. 

Full press releases are available online. 

Visit our website. www.amonline.net.au/eureka/media 

Further information: contact Sue Nelson, 02 9907 8241, 0403 343 275 or
qtcom at optusnet.com.au

_____________________ 

MEDIA TRAINING FOR SCIENTISTS

We (Science in Public) are holding more of our popular media training
sessions for scientists.  

The one day courses will be held on Thursday 28 September, Tuesday 24
October and in November, date to be confirmed. 

The cost is $550 + GST per person. Numbers will be limited to 12 people
per course.

For more information visit
http://www.scienceinpublic.com/media_training.htm, email
niall at scienceinpublic.com or call 03 5253 1391.

________________________ 

For all stories feel free to contact me on 03 5253 1391 or
niall at scienceinpublic.com or Sarah Brooker on 0413 332 489 or
sarah at scienceinpublic.com 


Kind regards,

Niall

_____________ 

Niall Byrne
Science in Public
Ph +61 3 5253 1391
email niall at scienceinpublic.com
PO Box 199, Drysdale Vic Australia
www.scienceinpublic.com



___________

Niall Byrne

Science Communication Consultant
Science in Public
PO Box 199 Drysdale 3222 Australia
(185 Scotchmans Road Portarlington 3223) Ph +61 3 5253 1391, fax +61 3
9923 6008, mobile 0417 131 977 
niall at scienceinpublic.com or niallprivate at scienceinpublic.com for
personal matters
www.scienceinpublic.com

Other useful webs:
http://www.scienceinmelbourne2007.org
http://www.freshscience.org
http://www.freshinnovators.org 


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