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Entropy Theories in State of Disorder

Image of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking in freefall flight on board a modified Boeing 727 jet that completes a series of steep ascents and dives to create short periods of weightlessness due to freefall. During this flight Hawking experienced eight such periods. Now one of his theories about entropy is in freefall too. Photo: NASA

By Stephen Luntz

Australian researchers have found that there is more disorder in the universe than previously realised – and that one of Stephen Hawking’s assumptions is probably wrong.

Radio broadcaster Terry Lane used to claim that he lay in bed at night worrying that entropy is increasing. It seems he now has more to worry about than he thought following the discovery that there’s more entropy in the universe than previously realised.

Neutrino Hint from Radioactivity Puzzle

By Peter Pockley

The discovery that the decay rates of radioactive isotopes may not be immutable "constants of nature" could open fresh ways of detecting neutrinos and protecting astronauts and satellites in space.

A Mystery of Astronomical Proportions

By Christine Nicholls

At least one-third of all red giant stars have a mysterious variation in brightness that has astronomers stumped.

Rise of the Machines

By Trevor Lithgow

The cells in our body work because of the many "molecular machines" within them – but where did these machines comes from?

Sea Slugs Turn up Heat on Bleaching

By Ingo Burghardt

Symbiotic sea slugs employ similar zooxanthellae species as corals, offering fresh insights into why heat-stressed corals bleach.

NASA's Uncharted Future

By Morris Jones

What does the scrapping of NASA's plans to revisit the Moon mean for space exploration?

Can Mimicking Nature Quench Our Thirst?

African Stenocara beetle

photo: Hans Hillewaert

By Stuart Thickett, Chiara Neto and Andrew Harris

Patterned polymer surfaces based on the African Stenocara beetle could be applied to our roofs to collect drinking water from the atmosphere.

Maintaining a stable supply of drinking water in Australia is a continual challenge. In 2006 the drought that gripped most of the Australian mainland was termed “the worst drought in 1000 years”, with the once-ferocious Murray River receiving only 5% of its average inflow.

A Matter Of Time

image of woman holding her bowed and bald head in hands

photo: iStockphoto

By Martin Ashdown and Brendon Coventry

Successful treatment of cancer may depend on the accurate timing of chemotherapy or vaccine therapies to match fluctuations in each patient’s immune system.

Not all cancer patients are cured by chemotherapy, biological therapies, radiotherapy or surgery. Some patients can have complete regression of all cancer, while others do not appear to be responding or show some level of clinical response but not enough to overcome the tumour.

This variability has remained unexplained for many decades, and at the end of this week about 800 Australians with cancer will be dead. In the US the numbers will be close to 12,000 per week.

The Top 10 WEIRD Science Stories of 2018


There was no shortage of weird and wonderful science in 2018.

There was no shortage of weird and wonderful science in 2018 - octopuses were high on ecstasy, a billionaire shot a car into space, scientists injected memories between sea snails and someone started a petition to drink the 'mummy juice' found in a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus, among many other peculiar science tales.

Scientists gave octopuses ecstasy and they started hugging

Birth of the Red Sea

Peter Betts standing on exposed coral reef on the Farasan Islands

Peter Betts standing on exposed coral reef on the Farasan Islands in the southern Red Sea. The coral has been uplifted by upwelling of a salt diapir beneath the reef.

By Peter Betts

New evidence about the creation of the Red Sea has fundamentally changed how geologists understand the birth of oceans.

The thin, solid crust on which we live represents only about 1% of the distance to the Earth’s centre: 5–10 km thick under the oceans and 25 –70 km thick under the continents. Yet its evolution and movement, and its interaction with the underlying mantle, give rise to almost all the geological events of significance to us, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the formation of mineral deposits, oil and gas reserves, underground lakes, mountains and oceans.