Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Cover Story

Cover Story

The Truth About Impact Craters

Wolf Creek crater

Wolf Creek crater

By Fred Jourdan

The Earth is scarred from meteor impacts, but how old are they and do these ages match the dates of mass extinction events?

Fred Jourdan is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University.

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How Does a Black Hole Eat Its Breakfast?

A large black hole

A large black hole located at the centre of an active galaxy. An accretion disk forms as matter falls inwards from the galaxy. The matter forms a spiral disc that is compressed and heated so that it begins emitting photons. The accretion disk becomes so hot that its radiation physically pushes matter away from the black hole, and accelerates gas into the jets that emerge from its poles.

By David Floyd

The bending of space–time by mass allows astronomers to peer deep into the universe, and they have begun to use this to probe one of the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe: the explosions of light surrounding black holes known as quasars.

David Floyd is an Australian Astronomical Observatory “Magellan Fellow” and researcher at the University of Melbourne.

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The Risky Business of Being Male

Foetus

Male and female babies may need to be treated differently in the neonatal intensive care unit.

By Vicki Clifton

Female babies are more likely to survive a stressful pregnancy.

A/Prof Vicki Clifton is NHMRC Research Fellow at the Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide.

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The Rise of Intelligence

evolution

What were the influences that drove the evolution of intelligence?

By Kim Sterelny

What were the influences that drove the evolution of intelligence in humans?

Kim Sterelny is Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University and holds a Personal Chair in Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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The True Believers

Image of crucifixion

Why do we believe in God, resurrection, UFOs, clairvoyants and alternative medicines?

By Krissy Wilson

Are we pre-programmed to believe in weird and wonderful things that lack any significant scientific basis, and are some of us more likely to believe than others?

Krissy Wilson is a lecturer in psychology at the University of Tasmania. This is an extended version of an article that appeared in The Skeptic.

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Inside the Minds of the Trendsetters

image of Trendsetter

Social psychologists and consumer behaviourists have found that a small group of consumers are more “knowledgeable” than the majority of consumers. Known as “market mavens”, this group comprises 10–15% of the general population.

By John Gountas and Joseph Ciorciari

Brain scans have revealed which personality types are the most influential in the widespread adoption of new trends and technologies.

Dr John Gountas researches consumer behaviour at La Trobe University’s Faculty of Law and Management. Dr Joseph Ciorciari is a cognitive neuroscientist at Swinburne University’s Brain Sciences Institute.

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Meeting the Missing Link

Image of fossil skull

The cranium of the juvenile skeleton. Photo: Brett Eloff courtesy Wits University

By Paul Dirks

Paul Dirks gives a first-hand account of the expedition that found a new species of hominid linking humans and apes.

Professor Paul Dirks is Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University, and former Head of the School of GeoSciences at Wits University in South Africa.

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