Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue July/August 2015

The first phase of the Square Kilometre Array at night.
Cover Story: What Is the SKA?
The Square Kilometre Array is an unprecedented international collaboration to build the world's largest radio telescope and address some of the most fundamental questions of modern science.
CSIRO's ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory
Feature: A Universe of Benefits
The Square Kilometre Array will not only bring new insights about the universe but also provide technological advancements and opportunities for industry and the wider public.
Credit: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
Feature: The First Galaxies in the Universe
By measuring the spatial distribution of cosmic hydrogen, the SKA will help to answer some of the biggest missing pieces in our knowledge of the universe’s history, including when the first galaxies formed and how they influenced the universe around them.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/VLA/MPIA
Feature: Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution with the SKA
The SKA will provide new insights into how galaxies are assembled over time, from the hydrogen gas that fills the universe to the properties of dark matter and dark energy that dominate the large-scale structure of the cosmos.
The giant radio galaxy Hercules A.
Feature: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Magnetism
Understanding the origin and evolution of magnetic fields in the universe is one of the great challenges of modern astrophysics. The unique capabilities of the SKA will provide astronomers with the best tools to explore how, when and where magnetic fields in the cosmos formed.
 CSIRO’s 64-metre Parkes radio telescope showing an extragalactic radio burst
Feature: The Transient Radio Sky
With the ability to scan the entire sky each night, the Square Kilometre Array will enable astronomers to catch transient events like gamma-ray bursts and fast radio bursts, as well as phenomena that are so short-lived they have never been detected.
A pulsar is the remnant core of a star that has undergone a supernova explosion.
Feature: Pulsars, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves
The SKA will be able to study thousands of pulsars in sufficient detail to detect gravity waves.
proto-planetary disk of dust and gas swirling around a newly formed star
Feature: The Cradle of Life: A Cosmic Search for Ourselves
The SKA will have an unprecedented capability to listen for traces of any advanced civilisations within 1000 light years of Earth, which encompasses hundreds of thousands of solar systems.
Credit: alexovicsattila/iStock
Feature: Big Data for Big Astronomy
The Square Kilometre Array will generate huge amounts of data. Can computing capacity keep up?
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
The Bitter Pill: “Integrative Medicine” Has No Place in Universities
With their financial resources under threat, Australia’s universities need to resist the temptation of offering lucrative courses that rebadge complementary therapies as “integrative medicine”.
Directions: Energy Productivity Can Cut Costs and Encourage Growth
Australia needs to double its current level of national energy productivity by 2030.
Eco Logic: Perversity in the Pasture
Hundreds of the invasive plant species that inflict environmental and economic damage in Australia were originally developed and distributed as pasture species, yet we don’t seem to have learnt from these mistakes.
Eureka!: A Piece of String is Better to Check for Body Fat than BMI
Body Mass Index may not be the best measure of obesity and risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Fit: Biggest Losers, Biggest Gainers
How much weight can we lose or gain, and how quickly?
Fossil File: Developing Fossil Sites for Education and Employment
A combination of active scientific research and a thriving local tourism industry is the model that many countries can adapt to protect and develop their most significant fossil sites.
Lowe Tech: Budget Delivers Austerity Measures for Science
Science agencies were delivered substantial funding cuts in the 2015 Budget.
Naked Skeptic: Argumentum ad whateverum
A guide to four fallacies that derail many debates about science.
Neuropsy: Things that Go Bang in the Night
Exploding head syndrome, which results from neurological dysfunction during the sleep–wake transition, may be more widespread than realised.
Out of this World: New “Puffy Planet” Found
A “puffy planet” has been discovered, as well as fresh evidence that asteroids have delivered water to exoplanets.
Quandary: Germline Tinkering Sparks More Controversy
The ability to “edit” the genome has already seen Chinese scientists accidentally introduce mutations into human embryos.
Simon Says: Of Science and Snake Oil
Marking this year’s Budget speech and the responses it provoked for their “science” content turns up a rare spread of results.
Up Close: Brain ever changing: Neuroplasticity and its role in mental health
Behavioural neuroscientist Prof Anthony Hannan gives a neuro-researcher’s view of the dynamic, bidirectional interplay of brain and body, and the protective and destructive implications for both our mental and physical health.
Up Close: Disciples of the interdisciplinary: Researchers crossing boundaries to unleash creativity
Neuroscientist and science communicator Dr Daniel Glaser discusses the synergistic dividends that arise from research efforts that cross traditional research domains.