Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Online Feature

What do we want from Australia's new submarines?

The Australian government’s decision to spend A$50 billion to double its submarine fleet to 12 was based on a number of considerations about what the new submarines would be required to do.

In military parlance, the value of submarines can be discussed in terms of the missions they can carry out and the military effects they can create, such as:

Originally published in The Conversation.

Kitchen Science: gastrophysics brings the universe into your kitchen

You can learn a lot about the cosmos in the kitchen. Shutterstock/Wikimedia

This title will probably come as a surprise to you. Astrophysics concerns enormous scales of space, time and energy; kitchens are relatively small, homely places.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Why does Australia need submarines at all?

The Australian government this week committed to spending A$50 billion on a fleet of 12 new submarines, contracted to French company DCNS and to be built in South Australia.

But how will these submarines meet with Australia’s strategic requirements, particularly beyond 2030, when the first of the new submarines will become operational?

Originally published in The Conversation.

How high-speed wireless compares to cable in boosting our internet speeds

Wireless internet may have its uses but cable is still the way to go. Shutterstock/Surkov Vladimir

Australia’s national broadband network continues its roll out with more than 900,000 premises now conne

Originally published in The Conversation.

A shake-up in Australia's busy TV industry as Quickflix calls in the administrators

Quickflix was the first to offer video on demand in Australia and it could be the first to fold. Shutterstock/ibreakstock

Australia’s first video-on-demand (VoD) service, Quickflix, issued a The Conversation.

Apple's slowdown highlights how growth-obsessed investors distort our view of value


Apple has reported its first decline in revenues and income for the past 13 years. The market and media has reacted predictably with an 8% fall in Apple’s stock price.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Up close and personal: virtual reality can be an instrument for social change

Virtual reality can trigger emotions that text can't convey. Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Virtual reality (VR) has arrived.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Why the French submarine won the bid to replace the Collins-class

The winning submarine is the French Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A. DCNS

France will be awarded the contract to partner with Australia to build the next generation of submarines to replace the Collins-class, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Why are we still searching for the Loch Ness monster?

People are fascinated by the unknown, by the possibility that there are things out there that are yet to be discovered.

We think that most of our planet has been mapped by satellites and continents have been thoroughly explored. Although scientists estimate that millions of species are yet to be discovered, these are mostly assumed to be very small animals, especially invertebrates.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Do wind vent holes in banners make a difference? We used a wind tunnel to find out

The next time you see a banner hung across a street or from a bridge, or hoisted as part of a street march, protest or demonstration, take a closer look. You may see that the banner has holes or slits cut into it.

But why would someone cut holes into a perfectly good banner?

These are so-called “wind vents”, and for some reason people have been mutilating their banners with these holes in the belief that their presence will significantly reduce the wind loading on the banner.

Originally published in The Conversation.