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A thread of the cosmic web: astronomers spot a 50 million light-year galactic filament

Ray Norris, Author provided

At the very largest scale, the Universe consists of a “cosmic web” made of enormous, tenuous filaments of gas stretching between gigantic clumps of matter.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Eastern Australia has hundreds of enigmatic volcanoes. New research shows how they formed

Luisa Denu / Unsplash

The landscape of eastern Australia is dotted with hundreds of extinct volcanoes.

Originally published in The Conversation.

The best gift in the galaxy: an astronomer’s guide to buying a home telescope


Since time immemorial, humans have been fascinated by the night sky.

Originally published in The Conversation.

What's behind the gender imbalance in top-level chess?

Unlike the wildly popular Netflix chess-themed series The Queen’s Gambit, female players have struggled to climb to the top of the real-life chess world. Just 37 of the more than 1,600 international chess grandmasters are women.

Originally published in The Conversation.

An Australia–NZ travel bubble needs a unified COVID contact-tracing app. We're not there

New Zealand’s coronavirus contact-tracing app COVID Tracer was revamped yesterday.

It now uses the Bluetooth-based Google/Apple exposure notification (GAEN) framework. This allows Android and Apple (iOS) devices to communicate via a contact-tracing mechanism built into the devices’ operating systems.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic

Alecia Carter, Author provided

In the midst of a human pandemic, we have some good news about a wildlife one: our new research, published today

Originally published in The Conversation.

Upheaval at Google signals pushback against biased algorithms and unaccountable AI

TechCrunch, CC BY-SA

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Bad space weather may make life impossible near Proxima Centauri

Artist's depiction of a flare-coronal mass ejection event on Proxima Centauri. Mark Myers, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), Author provided

If you look up in the southern sky you can see the “pointer” stars, pointing towards the Souther

Originally published in The Conversation.

Alan Finkel: how a late-night phonecall in 2016 triggered 'incredible progress' on clean energy

Like so much of what I have done as Australia’s Chief Scientist, the electricity market review of 2017 was unexpected.

I was driving home after delivering a speech late one night in October 2016 when then federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg called and asked if I would chair a review of the National Electricity Market.

Originally published in The Conversation.