Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue December 2011

Cover Story: Artificial Photosynthesis: Feeding and Fuelling the Future
A global scientific project using nanotechnology and synthetic biology to re-engineer photosynthesis may help solve our energy, food, water and greenhouse gas problems.
Wallaby neonate
Feature: Decoding the Genome of the Tammar Wallaby
The sequencing of the tammar wallaby genome has provided fascinating insights into its unique reproductive and immune systems.
Feature: Gestational Diabetes: The Effects Don’t Stop at Birth
Jenny Gunton is a Senior Research Fellow with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research’s Diabetes and Transcription Factors Group.
Feature: Is Cancer the Next of Kin to the Developing Foetus?
A gene that is important for the development of the foetus may hold new clues to how cancer cell division gets out of control, and guide the identification of new targets for cancer therapy.
A fossil compound eye, around 515 million years old, from the Emu Bay Shale.
Feature: Rapid Evolution? The Eyes Have It
The discovery of exquisite fossils on Kangaroo Island reveal that complex eyes evolved very rapidly during evolution’s Big Bang, the Cambrian explosion, half a billion years ago.
moths with popcorn
Feature: How Toxic Is Traditional Bush Tucker in the Alps?
Bogong moths are not only traditional bush tucker for indigenous people, but they are also important food for many alpine species. But does the discovery that they contain elevated levels of arsenic pose any real dangers to indigenous people or the high country ecosystem?
Banded marwong
Feature: Fish in Hot Water
Warming waters in the Tasman Sea may have exceeded the tolerance limits for fish growth. Image: Hugh Pederson
Brian Schmidt
Feature: A Nobel Week
Brian Schmidt’s world was turned upside down when he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for research that has turned our understanding of the universe inside out.
Australasian Sky: Stargazing, December 2011
Your guide and star chart for the night sky this month.
Australasian Sky: Advice for First Time Telescope Buyers
There are many junk telescopes out there, but decent starter scopes are not too expensive.
conSCIENCE: Carbon and Forests: The Big Picture
Energy generated by burning forestry waste and other biomass sources should be recognised as renewable.
Cool Careers: Fighting Lobbyists with Science
Simon Chapman has fought the tobacco industry, gun lobby and even opponents of wind farms and swimming pool fences.
Directions: Six Steps to a Balanced Economy
Australia can take six steps to secure its future as a balanced economy, says the Australian CEO of a global company.
Eco Logic: Killing Koalas with Cars, Dogs and Disease
Managing threatened species requires management of multiple threats. Conservation of koalas is a point in case.
Eureka!: Strange experiments and research findings
Facebook Boosting Grey Matter
Expert Opinion: Stem Cell Research Loses European Patent Protection
The European Court of Justice has ruled that research involving the removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage – and therefore entailing the destruction of that embryo – cannot be patented. The ruling removes a key commercial incentive for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to back stem-cell research in Europe.
Expert Opinion: Response to the Draft Murray-Darling plan
The Draft Murray-Darling Basin plan has been released.
Lowe Tech: Politicians Abandon Science, Community Abandons Politicians
Should we trust bureaucrats more than elected politicans or scientists to make decisions about new technologies?
Naked Skeptic: My Patience Is Tried
Scientists and skeptics look for evidence and change their minds when evidence requires it. For some people, however, no evidence is enough, no matter how clear.
Out of this World: Space and astronomy news from around the world
Welcome Back – From Mars
Quandary: A Hard Sell for European Scientists
A milestone case in the European Court of Justice sheds light on opposition to human embryo research.
Simon Says: Infinity Equals Nothing
The work of Australia’s new Nobel Laureate challenges the semantics of the absolute.
Online Feature: Black holes might exist, but let’s stay sceptical
Peruse the astrophysical literature and you could be forgiven for thinking black holes exist. But do they really?
Online Feature: University challenged for giving undeserved credibility to alternative therapies
Some of Australia's most prominent doctors, medical researchers and scientists have put their names to a letter criticising a university's decision to teach an alternative medicine course as if it were science.